THE GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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The West Side of Las Vegas technically isn’t a suburb (it’s actually part of Las Vegas proper), but it sure feels like one. Big-box stores and fast-food chains abound. Housing developments sit on just about every major corner. Sure, resorts such as the Palms and the Rio do double-duty as locals' joints and major tourist draws with vibes just as swanky as Strip properties. But for the most part,
malls and tract houses in this stretch give way to a small number of locals’ casinos here such as the long-standing Gold Coast.
There are hidden gems in this area, and most of them exist in the industrial section a stone’s throw (west) from the Strip. Number one on the list: Machine Guns Vegas, a decidedly upscale shooting range. Kuma Snow Cream, a frozen yogurt–like treat from chef Jet Tila, opened in 2013 and has garnered a cult following since then.
The West Side also has a small but thriving Chinatown. This three-block area has everything from ramen to vegan donuts to world-class Thai food. In particular, restaurants in a stretch of strip malls along Spring Mountain Road are known for their unpretentious and authentic experience. Not surprisingly, this is where many Strip chefs come to eat when they’re not on the clock.