]In an attempt to revitalize Downtown Las Vegas into an urban counterpart to the Strip, it wasn’t enough to add loft apartments, trendy restaurants and mixology bars. The area needed a playground; a communal space for locals and visitors to gather, and Downtown Container Park has filled that role. You’re greeted by the 40-foot Praying Mantis, straight from Burning Man, which breathes fire at night. No matter how many times I’ve passed it, I’m always startled when it happens. The retail side of the venture is housed in an assortment of stacked shipping containers and pre-fabricated cubes that contain independent fashion and art boutiques, jewelers, confectioners, bars, and restaurants. The 20,000-square-foot structure features a courtyard in the middle with a treehouse, complete with a 33-foot slide. Kids are welcome during the day, but after 9pm the whole complex is 21 and over. Live entertainment and outdoor movie nights (when it’s not blazing hot) make this a nice neighborhood oasis for getting away from the real Vegas. The center is open Sunday through Thursday from 11am to 11pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 1am, although store hours vary.
- Grace Bascos