The West Side of Las Vegas is a fascinating mix of urban city and 1970s-era suburbia colliding in the same place; an overspill of the tourist corridor blending into neighborhoods full of the grand ranch houses that carved out the area in the 1970s.
Housing developments lie behind just about every strip mall. Resorts such as the Palms and the Rio do double duty as locals' joints and major tourist draws with vibes just as swanky as their on-Strip counterparts. But for the most part, the locals in these neighborhoods gravitate to the more modest locals’ casinos, including the Gold Coast, Orleans, Palace Station, and way to the north, Santa Fe Station.
The (deliberately) grungy industrial section that falls in the shadows of Interstate 15, a stone’s throw (west) from the Strip, has become home base for the booming topless club industry, and filled in with visitor-oriented attractions such as Machine Guns Vegas, a decidedly upscale shooting range, or Pole Position Raceway Las Vegas, an indoor go-kart facility. This former no-man's land even hosts two of the city's most heralded arrivals: Allegiant Stadium, home of the transplanted NFL team Las Vegas Raiders, and Area 15, an indoor amusement park with a Burning Man vibe.
The West Side also has an ever-expanding Chinatown. This area, which started with one strip mall and street signs optimistically proclaiming a Chinatown, now sprawls a couple of miles in different directions, and offers everything from ramen to vegan doughnuts to world-class Thai food. The ground-up construction of a new center, Shanghai Plaza, was a 2019 testimony to investment in the area. It brought several new restaurants, including the revolving sushi bar Kura. Restaurants in the primary stretch of strip malls along Spring Mountain Road are known for their unpretentious and authentic dining scene. Not surprisingly, this is where many Strip chefs come to eat when they’re not on the clock, and some stellar non-Asian restaurants have sprung up here as well. New apartments and condominiums popping up in the area fuel talk that Chinatown could be the next "downtown" in terms of gentrification and hipster appeal.