It took me a year-and-a-half to get there, but in May I finally got a look at the Downtown Container Park.
I don't have anything brilliant to say about it. I spent a couple of hours there, and I spent very little during my visit.
In a nutshell: It's a unique retail and restaurant concept that is well done, and will likely inspire imitations, if it's not already. (Is the Vegas version a replication of the concept?)
DCP is impressive. They took metal containers, the type that are used to ship goods around the world, and fashioned them into a three-level mall. There are plenty of stairways, and an elevator, to help you reach each level. There are a a variety of specialty retailers, as well as several restaurants. There's a playground in the middle of it, and a stage at the far end where they provide entertainment during the evening.
It's simple, it's unnecessary and it's worth a visit. I wouldn't say that you should add it to your Vegas bucket list, but it's worth seeing if you're downtown.
The shops aren't targeted for the tourist crowd. Sure, plenty of tourists will find their way to DCP, but it's not the place to go for Las Vegas ashtrays and T-shirts. The small shops squeezed into the stacked, adjoining metal containers feature a wide array of products, from socks to jewelry. There are products that would be easy to take home in your suitcase or carry-on bag, but there are things that would pose a challenge to squeeze into said bags when it's time to head to the airport. Keep that in mind.
My favorite shop was Kappa Toys. Sure, they're selling commercial products, stuff that can be found elsewhere, but they cram a lot into that store, offer plenty of things you won't find at your local Target store and seem to have something for everyone, from the youngsters to the young at heart.
There are a variety of restaurants, and one or two places that only serve beverages, if I recall correctly. I didn't sample any of the food, so I can't say what you should or shouldn't try, but I've read more than one review of DCP and it sounds like there are some good eats to be had.
I sense that in the summer you had better be careful about what you touch as you walk around. Metal in the desert, that has got to get hot.
And I wonder how well the shops on the third level do. It's a lot of fun exploring the shops and following the nifty walkways they've created to connect all the shops, but I imagine a lot of people don't end up seeing every shop, and the third level stores don't have the benefit of people walking by like the shops on the ground floor do.
However they work it out, there wasn't an empty space to be found in May, and I think the concept was designed to offer an affordable way for would-be Trumps to launch their global empire.
DCP is on Fremont Street, a block past El Cortez as you make your way east of the canopy.
It's worth a visit if you're downtown, especially before the evening shenanigans begin under the canopy.
I know I'll be back.