Writers aren't supposed to describe small towns as quaint or charming, but Boulder City can't help but be both. It's got antique shops, sidewalk cafes, a surplus of shady parks, public art, and history to spare. The city was created to house the workers who built Boulder Dam (today we know it as Hoover Dam), and it's a rarity in Nevada: a town without gambling. Boulder City has been slot-machine-free from its inception to today. You will not find anyone handing out fake Mardi Gras beads (or pamphlets for adults-only services) nor see any exploding volcanoes in Boulder City. It's only 30 regular miles from Las Vegas, but in a different dimension, atmosphere-wise. Boulder City's Historic District is terrifically strollable, and a great place to stop for lunch and a walk. The Historic District's buildings date from the 1930s, proving that not every old building in Southern Nevada has been imploded.
I spent the afternoon wandering around the Historic District in Boulder City several weeks ago. The sidewalk cafes looked so inviting--perfect places for a glass of wine, something yummy, and some people watching. Walk around the Historic District and you'll see an assortment of sidewalk statues: baby elephants, motorcycles, children, and a woman permanently waiting to cross the street. The side streets have a decent smattering of cafes and shops, and it's not hard to envision the area completely full of stores and eateries one day (which I sincerely hope it is). One must-see in downtown Boulder City: The Boulder Dam Hotel. It's home to the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum, which is an absolute steal for a $2 admission.
All photos by Terrisa Meeks
Read more about Boulder City on NileGuide.