18b The Las Vegas Arts District

While most people know Las Vegas as a source of nightlife entertainment, little do they know that the city is also rich in the arts. If you are getting tired of the noise from The Strip, go to the Las Vegas Arts District or 18b for a different Las Vegas experience!

18b Las Vegas Arts District
18b or The Las Vegas Arts District is the home of many creative businesses in Nevada. Image courtesy of the Las Vegas Arts District’s website.

THE HEART OF ART AND CULTURE IN SOUTHERN NEVADA

The Las Vegas Arts District is approximately an 18-block neighborhood located at the southern Downtown of Las Vegas. It comprises of creative art galleries, bars, museums, restaurants, art studios, salons, boutiques, and many other businesses! It is also where the famous First Friday Las Vegas is held.

If you are ever around the area, below are some of the popular spots to visit:

ReBAR

ReBAR best bars in vegas
ReBAR is located at 1225 S Main St, Las Vegas, NV 89104. Image courtesy of ReBAR’s website.

ReBAR is the vision of TV producer Derek Stonebarger. It is a combination of a bar and an antique shop, hence the only bar in Las Vegas where everything is for sale! From the ReBAR signage hung at the store to the glass you’re drinking from, everything in the bar is yours for a price!

The Arts Factory

The Arts Factory Las Vegas Arts District
The Arts Factory is located at 107 E. Charleston Las Vegas NV 89101. Image courtesy of Downtown Las Vegas Arts District’s website.

The Arts Factory features the largest city mural in Las Vegas! It houses around 20 businesses that are involved in various forms of art such as photography, graphic design, and fine art. It comprises of galleries, boutiques, art studios, and many more! For artists, the Arts Factory offers an opportunity to collaborate and network with other artists as well.

The Art Square

The Art Square Las Vegas Arts District
The Art Square is located at 1025 S 1st St, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101. Image courtesy of Downtown Las Vegas Arts District’s website.

Similar to The Arts Factory, The Art Square also features several art-related businesses. Some of the businesses it houses are the Cockroach Theater, the Artifice Bar, a salon, and even a wedding chapel!

Atomic Style Lounge

Atomic Style Lounge unique salons in Las Vegas
Atomic Lounge Style is located at 1237 S. Main Las Vegas NV 89104. Image courtesy of Atomic Lounge Style’s Facebook page.

Atomic Style Lounge is a salon that can give you both a look from the past and the present. It provides styling, makeup, party, and wedding services!

The salon has a collectibles store that features items from the 50s and the 60s. It also sells current items with a touch of retro.

For special events, some bands play on the stage at the front of the store to give a sweet musical treat!

LV Healing Garden 

Las Vegas Healing Garden Las Vegas Arts District
Las Vegas Healing Garden is located at 1015 S. Casino Center Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Image courtesy of Las Vegas Healing Garden’s Facebook page.

The Las Vegas Healing Garden was built as a tribute to the victims of the tragic October 1st incident, wherein a gunman took and injured many lives. It features a remembrance wall, trees,  and flowers, as the community behind it aims to “create something beautiful out of something horrific.”

SEE ANOTHER SIDE OF LAS VEGAS

Explore a side of Las Vegas that is unlikely the Las Vegas many knows. Go to Las Vegas Arts District today!

Akhob: A Jaw-Dropping Work of Art Hidden Inside a Louis Vuitton Store

Did you know that there is an art installation on the fourth floor of Louis Vuitton’s Maison City Center store? In 2013, the luxury brand commissioned an art installation of renowned contemporary artist James Turrell. It is called Akhob, which is an Egyptian term for “pure water”. It is one of the three works of Turrell in Las Vegas. Another is located in the same store and the other is at MGM Resorts International executive.

james turrell light artist
The works of contemporary artist James Turrell is more about your view of it more than his. Photo courtesy of James Turrell’s website.

At first, Akhob was exclusive to VIP shoppers. Perhaps, the initial intent of the luxury brand was to make the shopping experience of their patrons extra special. Years passed, Akhob became open to the public for free! Nonetheless, just like the majority of the important things that people want in life, experiencing Akhob requires effort and patience. For one, it requires that you schedule an appointment to see it in advance.

Later on, I will further discuss the things you need to take note of in order to see Akhob. For now, let me tell you more about the experience of it.

Here’s how it goes…

  • Once you’re in the store, just inform any of the staff that you are there to see the art installation.
  • The staff would escort you to the fourth floor via an elevator.
  • The floor is beaming in white. You will be asked to put on shoe covers to keep the floor that way.
  • The staff will then give you a heads-up on the flow of the experience.
  • The art installation operates in a 24-minute cycle (other reference sites claim that it operates in a 25-minute cycle).

Oh, you may not take photos during the entire experience, by the way. Why? Well, the way to appreciate the art installation is through experience. And taking photos would keep not only you but also others with you from obtaining a full experience of it.

So, what happens during the experience of Akhob?

In a Garage article entitled “What Happens in This James Turrell Installation Stays in This James Turrell Installation”, author Sarah Valdez stated that the experience goes like this:

  • The visitors will take a few seconds inside a dim antechamber. This allows their eyes to adjust to the new lighting condition.
  • The visitors will then climb a staircase.
  • The staircase leads to a semicircular door which creates a view of another semicircular door.
  • The experience creates a sense of submersion, hence the meaning of Akhob.
akhob ganzfeld effect
Akhob is Turrell’s biggest Ganzfeld work. Photo courtesy of James Turrell’s website.

Akhob is categorized as a Ganzfeld, which is a German term for perceptual deprivation. By far, Akhob is the largest Ganzfeld work of Turrell.

Ecstatic to see Akhob?

The reservation to see Akhob is booked for about two months. Additionally, only six people can view Akhob at a time. These conditions just imply that you must reserve ahead of time. Want to book your reservation now? Just call (702) 730 3150. The store is open from Thursday all the way through Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Hammargren House of Nevada History

The house of Lonnie Hammargren, a former two-term Lieutenant Governor of Nevada and a retired neurosurgeon, is a remarkable tourist attraction in Las Vegas. It is impossible for someone who lives or pays a visit to Las Vegas to miss the Hammargren House of Nevada History.

Home to Three Houses

Hammargren’s abode is a sprawling estate. It measures to 12,000-square-feet and it is home to three houses. Every room in each of the house is themed. It is also beaming with artifacts from around the world. Eventually, Hammargren’s abode became known as a museum that showcases the history of Las Vegas.

Hammargren bought the first home, which he refers to as Castillo del Son (Castle of the Sun), in 1972. He outfitted it for two reasons: to look like the Palace of the Governor found in the Mayan Ruins and to function as a planetarium and observatory. Hammargren used to host a huge feast for Nevada Day, making the first home open for a tour for years.

One of the things you’ll see in Lonnie Hammargren’s Museum Home. Photo courtesy of Yelp’s review of Lonnie Hammargren’s Museum Home.

Besides being known as a NASA flight surgeon, a bronze star-winning Vietnam flight surgeon, and an earner of five academic degrees, Lonnie Hammergren is also known now for his odd collections. CNNMoney described Paradise Castle as the “only place in the world where you can find an Apollo space capsule, a dinosaur skeleton, Liberace’s staircase, the Batmobile, and a full-size Venetian gondola.”

He moved into the first home at 4218 Ridgecrest Drive, close East Flamingo and Sandhill streets in 1971 and later extended his accumulation into the neighboring property. TV’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous has featured his home.

Hammargren’s House, A Hidden Gem

The home goes by at least three names — the Castillo del Sol, the Hammargren Home of Nevada History, and the Paradise Castle. Dr. Hammargren considers his stead its very own country and gives guests false gold coins with his face on them.

One of the reasons why the Hammargren home has remained such a hidden gem is because it’s difficult to describe what it is. Hammargren’s property is predominantly occupied by items from old Vegas casinos, an interior dome of a hotel wedding chapel, an Egyptian tomb (where he plans to be buried in someday) and Evel Knievel’s motorcycle. There’s also a spirit house from New Guinea and replicas of famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal; an Apollo space capsule, a replica of the atomic bomb, life-size T-Rex, and movie props.

You’ll see a roller-coaster car from the Stratosphere in The Hammargren House. Photo courtesy of Yelp’s review of Lonnie Hammargren’s Museum Home.

The Collection

Signs from Vegas’ mobster heyday, casino-related artifacts like Popeye and Olive Oyl from the MGM Grand theme park, a roller-coaster car from the Stratosphere, and the Showboat’s paddlewheel are what comprise Hammergren’s collection.

In an episode of A&E’s Hoarders on December 18, 2016, Hammargren admitted that he and his wife, Sandy, were mired in $750,000 in debt and unable to pay the mortgage on their principal home, Castillo del Sol, where most of his accumulation stayed.

You’ll see signs and casino-related things in The Hammargren House. Photo courtesy of Yelp’s review of Lonnie Hammargren’s Museum Home.

Amazing Reviews

There are several reviews from Facebook, Trip Advisor, and Yelp. See what some people had to say about the Hammargren’s Home of Nevada History:

– Cheryl Adamson (Facebook)

“Dr. Hammargren has opened his personal house up to the public for tours once a year on Nevada Day for many years, for a small charitable donation. Last year, there was talk about it being the final year that he was opening it up for tours, but I am not sure if that is true or not — he is about 80 years old, and it is a huge intrusion into his personal residence, but he is the one who sent decades collecting all of the memorabilia and he loves to share it. It is an amazing place to visit. I’ve been there several times, and if it is open again this year, I’ll probably go again.”

– Mike45LC (TripAdvisor)

“We decided to check this place out with friends. Lonnie was walking around and saying hi to people. I recommend a quick visit when it is open once a year. This is a unique experience.”

– Greg K. (Yelp)

Dr. Hammargren still opens his home to the public on Nevada Day weekends (the last weekend of October) to show off his collection, but take note that his collection is now housed at 4300 Ridgecrest Drive. For a private tour, contact him at (702) 596-6669. According to reviews, entrance fee to the Hammargren Home of Nevada History ranges between $15 to $25 per person.

The Neon Boneyard

Most of the time, even the mention of going to a Boneyard scares people away. No one would probably want to accept an invitation to such place. But this particular boneyard in Las Vegas, The Neon Boneyard, may be the one that changes their mind.

The Neon Backyard’s Facade

It started out merely as an attempt to refurbish old neon signs in 1996 then it turned out to be one of the most iconic tourist attractions that Las Vegas now has to offer. The Neon Boneyard showcases a collection of neon signs from various places all around the city. It highlights the culture and identity of the city and its people.

When the year 2005 came, the La Concha Hotel became its official museum visitor center and since then, the museum just kept on growing. It is divided into three different kinds of exhibits: the North Gallery (featuring Brilliant!), the Main Boneyard and the Boneyard Park, a long walk yet a wondrous sight awaits all its guests.

The City’s Most Iconic Art Form in Las Vegas

As it grows, more and more people become a part of the establishment. Different signs and ephemera are collected throughout the city. Each sign is refurbished and creatively placed in the museum. Different artists are given the opportunity as well to let loose their creative talents. They create pieces that will be hosted in special exhibits.

The amazing signs at the Neon Backyard

Ideally, the museum attempts to keep in touch with the trends of today while still incorporating their pieces from 1996 to the present. It is their beautiful way to bring back the old, fix the broken and remind everyone that the past is not always a sight for sore eyes.

Guests and tourists are given the opportunity to choose how they want to go around the museum. You can go with a guide, by yourself or on a limited-access only. Reviews from past visitors highly encourage night visits. After all, it is in the dark that we can appreciate more the light. Given that fact, the darkness of the night sky indeed gives the exhibits the spotlight during tours and visits.

Not Just a Museum

The museum also offers areas within that can be used for parties, weddings, photo shoots, educational trips, and other events.

It caters all sorts of different events that will not only give each bright lights but also great photos to remember.

Some may say that it is just a collection of old things – vintage at the very least, but old nevertheless. What they fail to realize is that each sign exhibits the image of the city. Telling a story about when and where it was from, who created it, who inspired it and what it contributed to the city. Each has a historical artifact that will leave tourists and locals alike in awe.

Taking pictures of unique pieces of art at the Neon Backyard is a photographer’s sanctuary

Walk Towards Memory Lane

Ultimately, may the experience be a walk towards memory lane or a stroll through new sights. It might be hard to stay true to: “what happens here, stays here”, because a visit in the Neon Boneyard will surely be a story to tell and share with everyone.

Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains

People usually settle in The Strip because it has a lot to offer from food to activities. There’s always something for everyone. Walking around the area is already amazing. It’s free anyway. That’s how full of life the city is. But there’s this place called Seven Magic Mountains that’s just 20 minutes away from The Strip. It is a unique side trip from your usual Vegas itinerary. The Nevada Museum of Art and Art Production Fund produced Seven Magic Mountains.

Human Presence in the Desert

Seven Magic Mountains is home to seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders that measure thirty feet high. This is Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s creative expression of human presence in the desert. It was initially planned to be on exhibit for two years since it opened on May 11, 2016, but the artist has expressed a strong desire for it to be viewed longer at the site.

One will be fascinated upon seeing the towers. You’ll wonder how the rocks were stacked. It’s a combination of art and science. Choose the seven towers as your backdrop or the individual towers itself. It’s something really unique because you won’t see this kind of art anywhere.

Three Year Extension

The installation was supposed to remain on view until the end of 2018 but due its success, it can be seen for another three years through end of 2021. It was extended last 2018. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a three-year permit extension for Rondinone’s artwork. The Swiss artist also expressed her artwork to be in the current location.

Catch a glimpse of form and color. Don’t miss the vibrant colors. Head to Seven Magic Mountains before you start your Vegas itinerary!