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Knowing Vegas: What actually counts as Downtown?

Between the unincorporated areas of Paradise and Winchester and master-planned communities like Anthem and Summerlin, the borders around the Las Vegas Valley get pretty confusing, but Downtown Las Vegas’ borders really depend on who you ask and in what context.

Some consider downtown just Fremont street; others consider downtown any area owned by the Downtown Project. Some consider the older, smaller neighborhoods like the Scotch 80s and the John S. Park neighborhood as downtown.

A quick Google search will reveal that the downtown borders are Washington Avenue at the north, Eastern Avenue to the east, Main Street to the west, and Charleston Boulevard to the south. Or, at least, Google says so.

This encompasses Fremont Street, The Arts District and some of the older neighborhoods to the north.

The city of Las Vegas doesn’t have an official, strictly defined “downtown” with specific boundaries, according to the city’s public information office. The city does, however, describe “districts” in the downtown area, for city planning purposes.

Downtown isn’t a master-planned community like Mountain’s Edge or Summerlin, and its borders have always been shifting. As small businesses slowly take over Main Street heading south, many will probably call that downtown, too.

It’s all about context. The Downtown Las Vegas area is home to streets full of restaurants, casinos, shopping, law offices and homes. The casino-heavy area around Carson Avenue might be downtown to someone, but the 18b Las Vegas Arts District isn’t.

You’ll still find people that call The Strip downtown, even though there’s been a sign saying “Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas” for almost 13 years. But does that sign mean anything?

The sign is situated near 1431 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, a few steps from the A Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, which is south of Charleston Boulevard. So apparently Google doesn’t consider the “Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Sign,” erected in 2002, an actual sign of downtown.

What would you call downtown?

Contact Kristen DeSilva at 702-477-3895 or kdesilva@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @kristendesilva

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