The Arts District- Las Vegas’ best urban neighborhood

I consider the Arts district to be between roughly Wyoming and Gass Street and the railroad tracks and Las Vegas Blvd.

This funky district has become a Vegas “counter cultural” enclave known for its distinct “non-Vegas” vibe striving to be an authentic arts and entertainment district where people have a heart, and locals striving for some semblance of authenticity flock. The Arts Districts has been in active development for several decades taking advantage of the decent urban form and walkability along Main St. To their credit the City has made a point of investing in the neighborhood’s public transit, and streetscaping, opened up zoning to allow for dense mixed-use apartments, and allowing murals and art installations to thrive. The district is also know for its watering holes, breweries, cafes, theaters, live music, and tons of antiques and vintage shops. But when compared to urban districts outside of Las Vegas, from an urban perspective, there are still many “urban needs”. That starts with a lack of density and population. There are also plenty of dead space and parking lots screaming for in-fill development, a lack of park amenities and trees, missing retail amenities (i.e. supermarket, post office, and churches). The Arts district could also use several walkable schools as well.

Click here to view my Arts District Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Great access to both Dwtn and the Strip and also high quality public transit.
* Good bike infrastructure with several dedicated bike lanes and bike stations.
* Great racial diversity and good economic diversity (although a high poverty rate remains.
* Pretty good array of rental options at moderate rents. 1-beds rent anywhere from 700K-2.5K, 2 & 3 beds options are pretty limited and generally lease for around 3K.
* Generally good sidewalks and ADA curbs.
* Great cultural amenities hear including lots of restaurants, bars, & cafes, lots of breweries, plenty of art galleries, lots of outdoor murals & sculptures, a couple museums, several local theaters, a boutique movie theater, a magic show venue, several night clubs & live music venues.
* Decent retail amenities including a drug store, plenty of boutiques, antiques & thrift stores, home goods & stores, several dessert stores, and a couple gyms.
* Generally a safe district but can get seedy at night and lots of deep spaces/underutilized spaces.
* Some nice branding around the Arts District and esp. a sense of place along Main St. But also plenty of dead and underutilized spaces. Lots of efforts have been made to improve the streetscape along Main St and other parts of the Arts District.
* Overall a very mixed-use district coming retail, warehouses, industrial, cultural amenities, art galleries, and some housing.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Very low Density for am urban district
* Few families with children in the Arts District.
* No schools within the Arts District boundaries, but a couple good walkable options in adjacent districts.
* Limited for sale product. Some condos for sale with 1-beds selling anywhere btwn 250K-500K, 2-beds 350-600K, but really not 3-bed product.
* The only park within the Arts District is the small Healing Parkette. A couple other small parks within walking distance to the neighborhood,
* Tree canopy is pretty limited to the main roads.
* Missing some important retail amenities (i.e. supermarket, banks, a local post office, only a couple churches.
* Not much historic architecture here, although some interesting mid-century architecture.
* More and more quality urban in-fill is being built but still tons of auto centric uses and ugly 1-story warehouses.
* Pretty good urban form along Main Street. Ok orientation along Las Vegas Blvd, Casino Center Blvd & Charles Blvd. Plenty of dead spaces, surface parking lots, and industrial areas however.

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