If you're looking to escape the bright lights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip, make a visit to Boulder City for some quiet, small-town vibes. Close enough for a day trip or stretch it out to a weekend to spend some time checking out the local shops, restaurants and culture. Be sure to check the online city calendar before you go, and you may get to check out an art, gardening or film festival while you're there.
Where to Eat
Coffee Cup Cafe
The Stevens family serves up classic breakfast and lunch dishes daily till 2 p.m. out of their "world-famous" cafe. Located on the main road through town, you can't miss their giant vintage sign pointing to the restaurant. The menu of egg dishes, burgers, and home-cooked entrees is made fresh to order, and the restaurant was featured on the first episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." In keeping with the town's old-school theme, the dining room has lots of fun pictures and props from the past to look at while you wait for your food to hit the table. Coffee Cup Cafe also bottles and sells their famous Bloody Mary mix to take home with you as well.
Little City Grille
This eye-catching red building houses a great restaurant to grab a meal after visiting the Hoover Dam. Dine inside at Little City Grille and enjoy the retro atmosphere and decor or sit on their outdoor patio if the weather is nice. Menu highlights include their Crispy Fried French Toast for breakfast, juicy 1/3 pound burgers and hand-cut fries for lunch and Chicken Fried Steak available all day. They also have a full bar and dedicated motorcycle parking.
Fox's Smokehouse BBQ
Are you craving a meaty meal? Follow your nose to Fox's, opened by a husband and wife competition barbecue team. Fox's Smokehouse BBQ serves up the usual mix of proteins and sides, in addition to their famous prime rib, rib eyes and massive "Flintstones Style" beef ribs. The restaurant is definitely a place to come hungry with a group and plan to share, their plates are large portions, and the restaurant motto is for customers to leave "fat and happy."
Mariscos El Soto Loco
This famous Mexican-style seafood truck is stationed outside the Bootleg Canyon Brewing Company, where their Baja-style fish tacos and fresh ceviches pair perfectly with your favorite beer. There is covered seating with misters and live music available, making it a great pet-friendly spot to hang with a group on a nice weather day. The Ceviche Tower order is what Mariscos El Soto Loco is famous for, with a sizeable sharable portion of seafood ceviche served with tostadas.
Beer, sports and live music—The Tap in a nutshell. This craft beer bar has an industrial vibe with an attached family-friendly restaurant and several TVs to watch the game. Despite the focus on beer, there is also a full bar and cocktail menu. The kitchen serves bar food classics like gourmet burgers and hotdogs, but try to swing by on a Tuesday when they exclusively have their taco menu.
Where to Drink
Is a wine bar more your style? Milo's Cellar is equal parts wine shop, wine bar, and wine-influenced bistro. The shop has high-top seating inside and out with a large selection of wines available by the bottle or glass. Master Sommelier Cameron Sisk is happy to help you pick a new favorite to try or stock up on while you visit. Stick to your beverage or browse their menu, which includes charcuterie plates paired with your wine or your choice of fresh salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes.
Bootleg Canyon Brew Co.
Home to the seafood restaurant listed above, Bootleg Canyon Brew Co. is a worthy stop in its own right: sidle up to the open-air bar or grab a seat on their covered patio and order from their massive beer menu. While their focus is on craft beers from the southwest, their fresh-made micheladas and bloody marys are also pretty popular choices.
There's not a bad seat in the house to grab a drink on a gameday, thanks to the eight giant HD screens scattered around Jack's Place. Here, the vibe is reminiscent of a surf shack, with a laid-back vibe and a seafood-focused menu, including Jack's famous fish and chips and crispy calamari tacos. If watching the game isn't your thing, snag a seat on the patio for some great people-watching.
What to Do
Boulder City Co. Store
Part gift shop, part coffee shop, super cute all around. This family-owned gift shop is well decorated with clothing and souvenir items to purchase, including t-shirts and children's items. Boulder City Co. Store has taken care to preserve the historic building and decorate it with an old-school industrial style, incorporating a vintage truck as both a part of the decor and functioning as a clothing display. Grab a coffee or tea in the adjacent cafe before or after you browse, or pick a pastry for a quick snack.
Hottest Dam Boutique
Gotta love a fun play on words for a business name! True to its name, Hottest Dam Boutique stocks fashionable and flattering outfits for women, whether going for a night out on the town or brunch with friends. Prices are affordable, and selection is extensive, alleviating locals of the need to go to the mall when looking for a new ensemble. The small but well-stocked shop also has fragrances, jewelry, shoes and accessories to complete your look from head to toe.
Iron Rose Houseplants & Vintage
The newest little shop to open in Boulder City, Iron Rose Houseplants & Vintage, has houseplants and home goods in a warm and cozy space. The mid-century modern decor takes you right back to the 60s, with wicker furniture and kitschy knick-knacks. You'll hear quiet music and the hum of humidifiers as you browse their plant selection and pottery. Staff members are friendly and knowledgeable to help you select the best plant for your green-thumb skills or lack thereof.
The most famous attraction in the area is obviously the historic Hoover Dam, without which Boulder City likely would not exist. You can either drive right up or take the scenic route on foot through the landmark Railroad Trail in the Lake Mead National Park to get to the Dam. Either way, you arrive, you can walk across the entire dam and explore on your own to learn about the history and purpose of the dam. If you plan in advance, you can schedule a tour of the power plant inside to get a look at the Dam's inner workings with an engineer.
Tom Devlin's Monster Museum
Tom Devlin's Monster Museum features the art and history of special makeup effects and monsters in movies, one of the more unique places in town. Owner Tom opened his museum to showcase his personal collection of movie monster memorabilia from his life-long passion for monsters, horror movies and Halloween. Visitors can opt for a self-guided or owner-guided tour of the museum, featuring a seasonal haunted house in the fall.
Hemenway Valley Park
Get outside and explore! This small neighborhood park is located between Boulder City and Hoover Dam and is known for the great view of Lake Mead and its resident population of Big Horn Sheep, the Nevada state animal. The sheep roam freely through the open grass area of Hemenway Valley Park, perfect for watching or taking photos from a distance. For this reason, pets and dogs are not permitted. The park also features a playground for kids as well as picnic tables and tennis courts.
Nevada State Railroad Museum
This outdoor museum is located on the actual train tracks used to transport materials to build the Hoover Dam. The railyard is free to access and has several retired trains on display to view and interact with, along with plaques for historical information on the role of railways for travel and construction. Nevada State Railroad Museum also offers train rides and a pedal-powered "Rail Explorers'' tour option. Whether you're a train enthusiast or not, it's a fun stop for all ages to explore and learn more.