Running through the Fremont Street Experience is a tough call.

Running Downtown Las Vegas

Running in Downtown Vegas is complicated to say the least. Before we get into running in Downtown Las Vegas, let’s be clear: we’re talking about the area north of Sahara Ave, east of the I-15, centered on Fremont Street. If your hotel has a Las Vegas Blvd address, please see our article on running the Las Vegas Strip.

But if you absolutely must run outside in Downtown, or you’re a local living at the Ogden or other high rises in the area, running in Old Las Vegas can be a unique experience.

Running Downtown Las Vegas Overview

Downtown Las Vegas has a few separate areas, including the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall, or FSE, East Fremont, and the Arts District. 

Fremont Street – both the FSE and Fremont East – is “Old Las Vegas,” with the Plaza Hotel, the Golden Nugget, and the El Cortez your main hotels. This portion of downtown has the cool old neon signs that make Vegas one of the great running destinations, and offers free live music at night. The FSE is car-free and covered by a massive video canopy. The old casinos make this an iconic run.

The geographic area here is small, and the streets are standard anywhere else, which makes them feel small in Vegas. Some of the streets downtown are one-way, which can be helpful in route planning, and there are plenty of bike lanes. While there are plenty of pedestrian crossings, they’re not pedestrian bridges. You’ll have to wait at the light or look twice at the stop sign like the rest of traffic.

Due to the close nature of the streets and traffic here, I do NOT recommend running in the bike lanes.

You’d think that with pedestrian-only zones, bike lanes, and such, that this would be a run-able downtown. It is, to a point, but do be careful, especially when you get out of the tourist areas. North of Fremont Street and east of Maryland Parkway, you get away from the tourist portion into commercial and residential areas. The area is lower income. Even just off Fremont St., you’ll probably encounter unhoused people, trash, empty lots and dilapidated buildings. Road closures can make a standard running route feel awkward. 

Running on Fremont Street

Similar to running the Strip, you’ll have to run the FSE in the early mornings. Unlike running the Strip, the crowds don’t start til a little later, and they’re thinner during the day. However, you may have to contend with a high level of street performers and panhandlers, even early in the day. You’ll want to finish any runs in the FSE before noon.

Because the FSE is pedestrians only, it’s much safer to run. And the canopy minimizes sun exposure, which is always a bonus. The FSE is short, less than a mile, and you’ll be sick of the casinos and noise before you know it.

That leads us to Fremont East. This is the section of Fremont Street east of Las Vegas Blvd – beyond the big pint glass and the Heart Attack Grill. Officially, the Fremont East designation covers 6 blocks, a smidge under a mile. This hipper section of town is open air and open to cars, so keep your awareness up. While there are no performers, you’ll still want to get your run in early. This portion of the road is very popular with tourists in the evening, folks heading to Container Park and the restaurants outside the classic casinos. To avoid pedestrian interruptions, finish up before noon here as well. Note that there are no bike lanes on Fremont Street itself, so you have to stick to sidewalks. Do NOT run on the street on Fremont East.

Personally, I wouldn’t even try to run Fremont. Enjoy it as a tourist in the evening.

If you want to get a few miles in outside from your hotel, I’d look at heading down to the Arts District.

The Arts District

The Arts District is a neat area full of fun and funky shops, studios, bars, and restaurants. It’s also home to the Burlesque Hall of Fame and First Friday, a monthly evening event that closes parts of the area to vehicular traffic for artists to present their works.

The center of the area is The Arts Factory, a former warehouse that now brims with art. Main Street is home to a series of antique stores and other niche retail. It’s definitely worth a wander.

The Arts District is bisected by Charleston Boulevard. Buildings south of Charleston are a combination 1950s homes and commercial redevelopment. I’d like to say that these are typical Las Vegas homes, but they’re not. Most residents live far to the south or west and have McMansions instead of vintage bungalows. Get off the beaten track to explore some of the unique shops and restaurants in the area after your run.

The Route: Downtown Vegas to The Arts District

The good thing about this run is that you can do it at any time during the day. You probably could do it at night, but foot traffic on Main definitely increases in the evenings.

Start at Neonopolis and run on south on 4th Street. 4th Street is one-way northbound, so you’re facing traffic. It’s not super busy, so you can relax a little and enjoy your run. You’ll pass by the historic 5th Street School, which has some nice architecture, and a mix of businesses.

At Hoover Ave, turn right to head west to Main Street. Take Main Street south past Charleston to enter the Arts District. Main Street is two-way, so keep your awareness sharp.

Take Main Street down to about Wyoming, making Able Baker Brewing your destination. Your mid-run beer is optional.

You can turn right on Wyoming and head north on Commerce to return to Fremont, or you can go straight back up Main Street. The loop will be about 3 miles.

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