Where does Fremont East end? Nobody knows. We agree on where it begins (Las Vegas Boulevard), but its end point is more of a mystery. Google Maps doesn’t offer a boundary, and the LVCVA’s website is no help, either. It merely says, “[T]he Fremont East district sits adjacent to the popular tourist attraction called Fremont Street Experience.” Thanks. So I headed Downtown to ask around.
I started with Bobby, who works as a pitchman for the Brass Lounge on Fremont Street at Las Vegas Boulevard. “I think Fremont East goes all the way down to El Cortez, but you don’t want to go past there at night,” he said. “My friend lives here, and she says, ‘Nothing good is past El Cortez.’”
I walked toward El Cortez and met a young couple with three young kids. They’d just finished a late lunch at Le Thai. “It ends at the arched sign over there,” the dad told me, pointing toward the red and silver banner that hangs over Eighth Street. “But it’s expanding.”
“We love this area,” the mom said, referring to the restaurants and bars between Las Vegas Boulevard and El Cortez, “but that’s not a place we’d take our kids to,” she added, pointing east.
I walked to an Eighth Street bus stop, where I met James, who’s lived in Vegas for 12 years. “Fremont East goes all the way to Boulder Highway,” he said, as confident as anyone else.
I continued on to Ferguson’s Motel on 11th Street, which was purchased by Downtown Project with plans to fill the vacant building with a trio of bars and retail or gallery spaces. That sounds great, but it’s a long four blocks between the motel and that Eighth Street banner. Even if Fremont East does technically reach past 11th Street—even if it is expanding—saying it’s so doesn’t mean people will make that walk. Not until there are draws on Eighth, Ninth and 10th streets, too—in place of empty parking lots, empty storefronts and trash.