Las Vegas offers much in the way of sensory overload. And, of course, for most people the first thing that comes to mind is the flashing lights of the Strip. Out beyond the city limits, the Mohave Desert stretches endlessly into the horizon. But Las Vegas is much more than the casinos and tourist-filled restaurants, so our list of the most Instagrammable places in Las Vegas focuses primarily on spots that fly under the radar, as well as places where you can do some really great photography.
1. Go see all the eclectic beauty that’s brewing at Emergency Arts
Emergency Arts is one of the most exciting things going on in Downtown Vegas right now. If you’re not from around these parts, understand that Downtown is where classic, vintage Vegas meets up-and-coming art and renewal. And that’s where Emergency Arts come in: it’s a creative collective housed in the first medical complex ever built in Downtown. What happens when you stuff a diverse group of creatives into one space and allow them to do their thing? That space becomes a dynamic, off-beat wonderland of art and innovation. Inside those walls, you never quite know what you’re going to find, but we can guarantee you it’s going to be worth Instagramming.
2. Take your production value up a notch at SON Studios
The folks at SON Studios are responsible for countless magazine cover shoots, celebrity photos, high-profile music videos, and much more. It’s the premiere boutique studio in town. If you’re serious about producing some slick photo or video content for your Instagram feed, you can take it to the next level here. They’ve got everything you’ll need, which goes beyond the raw space to work in—let them know your equipment and lighting needs, and they can help you out. Their hourly rental feels are also competitively priced considering the quality of the amenities.
3. Relive Vegas’s golden years at Atomic Liquors
More vintage Vegas charm? Sign us up. Atomic Liquors, Vegas’s oldest freestanding bar, opened in 1945 on Fremont Street. It was originally a café, but in 1952 the owners switched it up, catering to the neighborhood’s liquor needs. Back then, people sipped drinks on the roof and watched the mushroom clouds from nuclear testing—hence the name—and as the city grew around it, Atomic Liquors became a Downtown institution. It’s been featured in an episode of the original The Twilight Zone, as well as the films Casino and The Hangover. Las Vegas personalities like the Rat Pack and Barbara Streisand have graced its barstools. If you love vintage signage, you’ll love the exterior. And inside, the soul remains the same, allowing for classic, retro photos from the Las Vegas of decades past.
4. Recreate the Abbey Road crossing at El Cortez Hotel
The El Cortez is one of the last great icons of classic Vegas, situated Downtown. It has remained family owned since 1941, and though it’s been renovated over the years to keep it in good shape, its historic façade has remained, making it a favorite for those wanting to capture some nostalgia for the Vegas of a bygone era. To put it into context, the El Cortez is the only Las Vegas casino still standing that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Out front there’s also a recreation of the famous Abbey Road crossing—albeit a more colorful one—that’s pretty much made for Instagram gold.
5. Book the studio at Creative Space LV and do some serious pro photography
Creative Space LV bills itself as a studio with more populist intentions than most—for artists, by artists. And they do make real efforts to make their services and studio accessible to local creative who need to get more done on less of a budget, which we applaud them for. What makes Creative Space LV one of the most Instagrammable places in Las Vegas is what makes any truly good photo studio a great place to make photography: spacious raw spaces, endless backdrop options, and all the equipment you need to get the job done. Not to mention a knowledgeable staff to help you make it happen.
6. Commune with your darker and more mysterious side at the boutique Artisan Hotel
Take one look at The Artisan’s offbeat goth-inspired décor and you’ll know you’ve stepped into someplace different than you’re used to. It’s moody. It’s swanky. The Instagram options are endless. Pull up a red velvet seat by candlelight with a few of your closest friends, raise a glass, and snap a picture. Take a few more amidst the baroque interior design features, and don’t miss the ceiling covered in framed paintings. If you’d like to add some sunnier poolside hangout shots to the mix, the Artisan has you covered there, too.
7. Make everyone on Instagram jealous at the luxurious Nobu Hotel
We’re cheating a little. The Japanese-inspired Nobu Hotel is located inside Ceasar’s Palace, so it’s on the Strip and inside a casino, but it’s still a boutique hotel offering a unique experience. Check out the restaurant’s stunning dark mahogany and chocolate tones, and don’t overlook the light fixtures meant to evoke clouds. In fact, much of the Nobu’s design philosophy is about trying to emulate outdoor spaces within a hotel (that’s within another, bigger hotel.) It wants to shake up your sense of place, to make you forget exactly where you are—which in turn allows you to settle into its world. That’s why when the Nobu features an indoor zen garden, it’s beautiful instead of hokey; it’s all done thoughtfully, cleverly.
8. Stay up all night and catalogue every moment at Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is a swanky cocktail bar steeped in pre-Prohibition era architectural inspiration. One of the most intriguing things about Commonwealth is that it houses a secret speakeasy, and it’s one that doesn’t just pay lip service to the tradition. The Laundry Room is very stylish, from the doors on the ceiling to the framed photos of yesteryear’s starlets like Rita Hayworth. But the Laundry Room also has rules, and chief among them is that no photography is allowed. That’s right: one of the most Instagrammable places in Las Vegas is a place where Instagram isn’t allowed. It’s not fair, right? It’s the forbidden fruit of Instagrammable places. You should still score at least one drink from The Laundry Room’s menu, which is separate from Commonwealth’s. Instagram all you want around Commonwealth, and look for the red light above the unassuming door to The Laundry Room—that means there’s an open spot at the bar, waiting for you.
Las Vegas is a busy, busy town, and people come from all over the world to let loose. That means there’s a lot going on that’s ripe for photographing. Nevermind “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”—we’re in the age of sharing. So live big, and take the kind of pictures that will make you smile (or blush) years down the line. You’ll be glad you did. And, as always, make sure to tag us with #MadeinPeerspace when you do.