The world has started to travel again. While COVID remains a concern around the globe, vaccinated travelers are taking precautions and venturing out to safe and accessible destinations. For many in America, this has meant heading overseas to various far-flung destinations. For others though, it can mean a simpler trip to a go-to vacation spot right here in the U.S.
Enter Sin City.
Las Vegas remains an incredibly popular tourist destination largely because of its main attractions. In 2019 in fact — before the pandemic struck — tourist numbers in the city were on a steady rise, with nearly 50 million people visiting after about 42.1 million did so in 2018. In 2021 meanwhile, Vegas has seen a promising rebound following the worst days of the pandemic.
It stands to reason that for the most part, these millions of tourists are heading to Vegas to enjoy the classic attractions. Some of those attractions actually have something of a vintage feel to them. For instance, many of the resorts have been in place for decades. Additionally, Vegas remains the unofficial world capital of poker — a place where poker’s main event is still held, and where people flock for that old-school sense of high-roller status that comes from dressing up a bit and stacking up some chips. On the other hand, many of the classic attractions in Vegas are distinctly modern. While the World Series of Poker and a hangout in the Bellagio lobby may feel pleasantly vintage, much of the enthusiasm travelers feel for Sin City has to do with DJ-directed pool parties, pulsing nightclubs, and luxurious, cutting-edge hotel suites and spas.
As much as this blend of main attractions may be responsible for the impressive tourist numbers though, Vegas has also become increasingly well known for alternative attractions and activities — particularly as the city looks for ways to appeal to new demographics and younger travelers.
These days, it’s understood that there are more and more alternative things to do in and around Vegas, from hiking in nearby canyons, to seeking out trendy restaurants, to checking out the fun of Fremont Street. These types of attractions and activities are helping to expand the appeal of Vegas — and yet even these only scratch the surface.
The city is also home to a lot of “secret” attractions or less-heralded thrills that a lot of travelers come to adore when exploring. And because we figure you know about the main highlights of the city (which are covered in countless other Vegas travel posts around the internet), we want to focus on a particularly lovely off-the-beaten-path aspect of the city that gets far too little attention. Specifically, we’re referring to a wonderful collection of vintage art and antique shops you can visit when you’re not entertaining yourself at the resorts.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these places exist in a city where even some of the main attractions, as mentioned, have a bit of vintage flavor to them. Nevertheless, there’s something quite strange and alluring about stumbling on an antique shop in the shadow of the glittering luxury resorts of Las Vegas.
Specifically, these shops comprise an area affectionately known as “Antique Alley,” and described by some as the best kept secret in Las Vegas. Antique Alley is a stretch on the Las Vegas Main Street, beginning roughly at the Oakley Boulevard intersection (near the Stratosphere resort) and stretching to Charleston Boulevard. For those not familiar with the Vegas layout, we’ll note that this area spans several city blocks, where numerous vintage and antique stores can be found.
So what kinds of art and objects will you find visiting Antique Alley? Naturally, this is a difficult question to answer in a comprehensive manner. There are a lot of venues, and their collections are typically somewhat fluid. To give you some idea though, we’ll touch on a few particularly interesting selections….
Retro Vegas provides an eclectic mix of vintage paintings, ceramics, glassware, lighting fixtures, furniture, and decorative accessories. The store curators’ taste in paintings and metallic floral bouquets is particularly intriguing.
Antique Alley Mall is simply a maze of vintage art and goods. It’s a sprawling collection fo everything from furniture, to vinyl records, to stunning old photos of celebrities who passed through town — as well as the inevitable spattering of poker memorabilia. This venue boasts of having something for everyone, and this is a rare instance in which the claim feels accurate.
Vintage Vegas somewhat resembles the Antique Alley Mall in its diversity of offerings. In this case though, the focus is a little bit more on trinkets than art. With objects like old padlocks, out-of-commission drink containers, show props, and pocket knives, it almost looks like some sort of long-abandoned magician’s shop.
Main Street Peddlers Antique Mall is another shop with a sort of varied, undefined collection. There are cases of trinkets and jewelry, shelves full of figurines, racks of vintage photos, poker and casino trinkets, and paintings and black-and-white photos lining the walls.
Altogether, these stores make for a fairly dizzying collection of antique art and vintage goods. What you value in Antique Alley will ultimately depend on what sort of art you’re interested in, how old you like your vintage items, and of course your personal taste. But overall, this is underrated, overlooked retro goods hub that should be appreciated by anyone with an interest in old or nostalgic products. And it makes a visit to Las Vegas that much more interesting.