The emergence of the offbeat 18b Arts District (so called because it comprises 18 blocks bounded by South 7th, Main, Bonneville, and Charleston streets on downtown's southeastern corner) continues to generate excitement in the city's arts community and, increasingly, among visitors. With a number of funky, independent art galleries in its confines, the area, officially named in 1998, is a growing, thriving cultural hub—think of it as the Anti-Strip. In addition to the
galleries—some of which contain impressive collections of locally known and world-famous artists—you'll find interesting eateries and dive bars to serve the alternative artists, musicians, and writers who have gravitated to the neighborhood. Each month the district hosts a "First Friday" gallery walk from 6 to 10 pm with gallery openings, street performers, and entertainment. It's an excellent time to come check out the still-nascent but steadily improving scene for yourself.
Arts Factory. An intriguing concentration of antiques shops and galleries is found on East Charleston Boulevard and Casino Center Drive, anchored by the Arts Factory. This former warehouse houses studios and galleries for art of all types, including painting, photography, and sculpture. There's also a bistro on-site. The Arts Factory comes alive on "First Friday" with gallery openings, exhibits, receptions, and special events. "Preview Thursday," the day before First Friday, offers the same artwork with fewer crowds. Guided tours available upon request (and with reservation). 107 E. Charleston Blvd., 89104. 702/383–3133. www.theartsfactory.com. Free. Daily, 9–6; First Fridays, 6–10 pm.
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101, USA