The Adventurist Guide to Downtown Las Vegas

Urban Romance

Written by Matthew O’Brien 

Let’s imagine, for the sake of this write-up, I was trying to impress somebody on Valentine’s Day. I would start at Studio 8 Ten, a gift store and art studio powered by adults with developmental disabilities, where I’d carefully select one of their handcrafted cards. (Bonus points for a secondary trip to Gaia Flowers or JinJu Chocolates.) I would start the evening at Chicago Joe’s, an intimate, 40-year-old Italian restaurant located in a renovated home on Fourth Street; the food is good, the ambience great. (Alternative dinner options include Hugo’s Cellar, Oscar’s, Carson Kitchen and the Perch.) Save room for dessert and cruise down the boulevard to Art of Flavors, where you can sample a variety of gourmet gelatos and sorbets before settling on your selection. (Luv-it Frozen Custard, of course, is across the street.) If the date’s going well, feed each other loving spoonfuls.

Leave the car at Art of Flavors and walk one block south to the Stratosphere. It will get the blood flowing and burn some calories, and the energy of the boulevard is palpable and contagious. (The romance of the inner city is hard to explain but easy to sense.) Take the elevator to the 107 SkyLounge, find a booth facing the Strip or downtown and order a nightcap. The valley, in my opinion, is most beautiful at night and this remains one of its best and most accessible views.

Do I have to spell everything out for you? This—nudge, nudge—is where you reach for his or her hand.