Boulder City is a historic town located in the deserts of Southern Nevada and just 30 minutes drive away from Sin City—Las Vegas. Home to the famous Hoover Dam, Boulder City was built to provide accommodation for construction workers of the dam. This city is a classic blend of original 1930s architecture and modern stores and restaurants, where gambling is strictly prohibited to date.
Although Boulder City provides a calm getaway from the noisy Las Vegas, this city is full of adventure in its own way. Travelers can plan a day trip to this city or choose to spend a couple of nights and soak in the beautiful landscape. Remember the city gets as hot as Vegas, so travelers need to plan accordingly and pack an extra bottle of sunscreen and plenty of water when planning for this desert trip.
Best Time To Go
Alamo, Nevada – a historical small town 90 miles of Las Vegas
Boulder City gets warm, sometimes hot, because of its location in the Nevada desert. Although the summer remains extremely hot, it is the busiest season for tourism in the city, June – August witness tourists in bulk flocking in for a day trip or a weekend getaway, and lodging and activities are pricier during this season.
Spring is the second-best season to visit Boulder City, humidity and temperature together make this season feel warm, and less crowd makes March – May recommended time to visit this beautiful city.
Fall from September – November is low on tourism, followed by Winter which gets very cold.
What To Know When Visiting
Boulder City has been ranked as one of the best cities to retire, it is home to a thriving senior community owing to its breathtaking scenic beauty, sought-after amenities, laid-back lifestyle, and low crime rate. The town is dotted with trees and is a short drive from Las Vegas.
If Vegas offers the tourists a good time, Boulder City is sure to provide some thrilling out-of-door excitement with all the fun activities this town offers. With over 400 vintage structures well-preserved in all their glory, Boulder City feels like it has stuck in time.
The opulent 1933-built Boulder Dam Hotel is a masterpiece and the go-to favorite of Hollywood celebrities. It houses the wonderful Boulder City or Hoover Dam Museum which boasts interactive exhibits and artifacts from the time Hoover Dam was constructed.
Boulder City surely knows how to have fun, it has a small-town charm with some of the most popular activities, and the town has been hosting Nevada’s largest cinematic celebration for nearly two decades.
Travelers can enjoy the 4-day Dam Short Film Festival showcased at the historic 1933 built Boulder Theater, during the month of February. During the month of October, travelers can witness one of the largest juried outdoor art fests in the whole of southwest America, Art in the Park, which showcases fine art and traditional craft articles.
Although gambling is legally banned in this town, travelers can go crazy at the Boulder City BeerFest, which happens in March and boasts more than thirty brewery tents, and various food trucks.
Best Ways To Get Around
Taxi for getting around in Boulder City
The most convenient option for traveling to Boulder City is via Las Vegas’s international airport: Harry Reid International Airport. There are various tours and travelers that provide comfortable and convenient one-day sightseeing to Boulder City from Las Vegas.
Both these cities are well-connected via bus transport; the National Park Express provides a round-trip tour from Vegas to Boulder City for about $25 with various scheduled pick-up and drop-off times and convenient stops available every day throughout the route.
Another option is hiring a private cab or Uber from Vegas or renting a Lyft and traveling to Boulder City. Travelers can also fly directly to the Boulder City Municipal Airport if they are planning an exclusive visit to this town.
Where To Stay In Boulder City
Hotel, Boulder City
Hotels in Boulder City can be found next to the outdoor adventure, downtown, near historic monuments, and some near Las Vegas.
Few of the hotels here date back to the 1930s and have been preserved elegantly over time. Based on the requirement, travelers can plan their stay and get the most out of the city.
Boulder Dam Hotel and Museum
- Location: Arizona Street, Boulder City, a short drive from Hoover Dam
- Amenities: 3-star property, this is the jewel of Boulder City, a 1930s masterpiece, providing on-site dining and a museum, a 24-hour reception, free Wi-Fi, AC, TV.
- Price: $$-$$$
Best Western Hoover Dam Hotel
- Location: 704 Nevada Way, Boulder City, driving distance from Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Las Vegas Airport
- Amenities: A 3-star property, Indoor pool, free Wi-Fi, spa bath in suites, TV, fitness center, poolside hot tub, free parking, Bar.
- Price: $$-$$$
El Rancho Motel
- Location: Nevada Hwy, Boulder City, 39 km from CityCenter Las Vegas
- Amenities: Outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi, free private parking, TV, AC,
- Price: $-$$
Hoover Dam Lodge
- Location: Boulder City, Near Lake Mead and Hoover Dam
- Amenities: A 4-star property, Wi-Fi, TV, seasonal outdoor pool, restaurant, maid service, 24-hour reception,
- Price: $$-$$$
Oasis Boutique Motel
- Location: Nevada Way , Boulder City, 15 minutes drive away from Hoover Dam
- Amenities: A 3-star property, Free Wi-Fi, restaurant, TV, Cycling, hiking and golfing opportunities close by.
- Price: $$-$$$
Railroad Pass Hotel Casino
- Location: Railroad Pass Road, Boulder City, 15 minutes drive away from Hoover Dam
- Amenities: A 3-star property, Seasonal outdoor swimming pool, restaurant and casino, Wi-Fi, AC, 24-hour reception,
- Price: $-$$
Location: Nevada Hwy, Boulder City,
Amenities: 2-star property, Wi-Fi, Private Parking, 24-hour front desk, seating area, TV, the property is a non-smoking zone.
Price: $$ – $$$
- Location: Ville Drive, Boulder City
- Amenities: A 2-star property, outdoor pool and hot tub, balconies and cable TV with HBO, seating area, Wi-Fi, coffee maker, hairdryer.
- Price: $$
Where To Eat
Restaurant, Boulder City
Boulder City offers a wide range of restaurants serving a variety of food items. Travelers can find many authentic dishes served by family-owned restaurants in this little-big city.
Famous for Ice creams and frozen yogurt, this authentic shop serves retro candy, old-fashion malts to caramel apples. Travelers love the shakes, candies, and ice creams of this shop, along with sweet items for gifting.
Jack’s place is a sports bar, they serve delicious burgers, wings, and beer, and offer live music, karaoke, and a great ambiance for watching favorite games. Do check out their daily special before putting the order. Great place for lunch and dinner.
Located within Hoover Dam Lodge, this is a nice restaurant for casual dining. They have a great menu selection, friendly service, and offer daily specials for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Milo’s Cellar is known for its Wine variety and delicious appetizers. They offer dishes from refreshing salads to special soup and a delicious selection of sandwiches and wraps. Travelers can relax at this restaurant after an adventurous day at Hoover Dam and outdoor activities, with some Wine, Beers, or specialty drinks.
As the name suggest, this is the go-to place for pizza lovers in the Boulder City. Tony’s Pizza is a family-owned pizza joint which offers a wide selection of delicious Italian food.
Chilly Jillyz has a bakery and a Patio serving the most delicious brunch in the town on weekends. The Bakery offers breakfast options like sandwiches, salad, burgers, smoothies, shakes, custard, and more.
The Patio at Chilly Jilyz opens for brunch, dinner, and live music. Brunch is served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and Dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.
One of the most beloved restaurants in the city, it is a family-owned, family-run restaurant known for its breakfast and lunch among locals and tourists.
The restaurant serves some of the best meals and beverages in town. Do try their heritage bloody Mary mix drink when visiting this restaurant.
A true Beer Garden and the only one in Southern Nevada, this pub is almost a museum, located near Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. The interiors feel historic and the beer garden has a cool vibe, with live music.
They brew everything from European pilsners to hoppy pale ales to rich, creamy stouts.
Dam Roast House & Browder Bookstore serves locally sourced coffee which is a delight, travelers can grab a book too from an array of choices available here.
The homemade bakery items are worth trying, and healthy smoothies along with Swedish specialty breakfast will surely make the day. The restaurant caters to various preferences and offers a variety of Gluten-Free, Vegan, Organic, Vegetarian & Dairy Free options.
Beer Zombies is another local favorite for world-class beer. The facility boasts a large indoor seating area and bar along with a beautiful outdoor oasis. The pub serves a wide variety of craft beers from around the globe.
Momo Sushi provides the best rolls and fresh sushi in town, it’s a small restaurant with friendly staff, and spot-on service. The dishes served are well priced, delicious and fresh, with a wide variety of selections.
Owned and managed by the family since 1992, This is again local’s favorite, the customer vouch for the tasty food, and amazing service. Pollo Sarandeado is the best dish out here which is strips of chicken breast sautéed in our spicy cream sauce, served with corn or flour tortillas. Other famous food options include a gigantic monster burrito!
Top Things To Do In Boulder City
Sapphire blue Lake Mead in the barren desert
Boulder City is a great weekend getaway and tourists usually plan a day trip from Las Vegas, but the city has a lot to offer which certainly can’t be covered in a day trip.
Take Tour of the Historic Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is the most famous landmark in Boulder City, it’s an engineering marvel and the biggest dam of its time. The town was literally created to accommodate the construction workers of the Dam in 1931.
The dam is built on the Colorado River, and the intercept area forms Lake Mead. The dam is humongous. Travelers get to travel through underground tunnels while they learn about how the whole thing was built and operated.
Travelers should visit the Visitor Center and see the exhibits, and snap memorable photos in the outdoor viewing deck.
Enjoy The Blue Water at Lake Mead
Lake Mead is an artificially created water body over a vast desert land. Unlike any natural beach, Lake Mead’s coast is rocky and rough therefore not ideal for swimming or sunbathing. However, the lake is home to various water sports like boating, JetSkis, Kayaking, Paddle-boarding, and more.
Lake Mead Cruises offers a tour of the lake on Desert Princess which opens up an enormous gallery of the landscape for the travelers to capture, this three-level vintage boat also offers booze and food for the travelers onboard.
Drive Down the Railway Tracks with Rail Explorers
Rail Explorers offers railbikes, pedal-powered vehicles meant to be driven on the railway track, between the Nevada State Railroad Museum and Railroad Pass casino.
The journey also includes a 20 minutes break at rail-side picnic area, travelers are advised to carry their snacks and drinks. This is an approximately 2-hour tour and includes a ticket to a Rail Museum which features historic trains.
The pedal vehicle requires minimal effort to operate enabling tourists to soak in the beautiful landscape and surroundings, especially during the sunset and twilight hours.
Get The Adrenaline Going With a Spooky Ghost Tour
Stories say nearly 100 people (and a few dogs) died during the construction of the Hoover Dam, and decades of stories have been circling around these ghost stories and sightseeing. Boulder City has created a whole tourist-guided tour around these stories.
The Haunted Boulder City Ghost & UFO Tour is a one-hour guided walking tour of downtown after it gets dark.
A local will share some unheard stories and legends along with a few true tales of ghosts, UFOs, and Nevada’s role as the home of AREA 51 that might give visitors goosebumps.
Experience Water Sports and Ride in the Colorado River
Colorado River is a scenic beauty, located further south of the Hoover Dam. A lot of tour companies offer half-day and full-day kayaking expeditions, along the way tourists can experience some of the best natural landscapes like Black Canyon cliffs, Emerald Cave, Gold Strike Hot Springs, Willow Beach, and others.
Book a sunset or a twilight tour to enjoy the cold temperature of the river.
Hoover Dam Rafting Tour will take you closer to the Dam from the river, they have special security clearance for that. Their rafts are comfortable and spacious, and safe.
Take a Hike Along Historic Railroad
The two-mile walking/hiking trail of the Historic Railroad Hiking is a path that trains once took to carry supplies to the Hoover Dam. The hike is easy to medium, mostly flat, and passes through five tunnels providing a breathtaking view of Lake Mead and surrounding areas.
Take plenty of water and sunscreen when hiking during summer, and try to visit during the early morning or evening hours. The Trail starts near the Lake Mead Recreational Area.
Spend Some Time with Sheep at Hemenway Park
Hemenway Park, best known for spotting bighorn sheep from nearby foothill dwellings, also hosts tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, and shaded area for enjoying time with family and friends.
An open view of Lake Mead from this park is the cherry on the cake. Relax, hang out, take a lot of pictures and get to see Nevada state’s unique animals.
Learn About the Historic City at Boulder City Museums
A heaven for train enthusiasts, Nevada State Railroad Museum offers a 40 minutes train ride on weekend (during selected times of the year) and unveils the vintage equipment, cars, and locomotives used during the construction of the Hoover Dam.
Learn more about the culture of the time when Hoover Dam was being constructed, and see the exhibits highlighting the massive undertaking of the project, at the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum on the first floor of the Boulder Dam Hotel.
Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum is a nice visit to explore something not related to Boulder City, this museum features artifacts and the work of Tom Devlin, the famous Hollywood makeup and effects artist.
Explore the Downtown at Boulder City
The historic town is a delight to explore and feels like a street out of some retro movie. The downtown district is filled with scenic parks, murals, and various sculptures showing the history of the town.
Travelers can notice the authentic shops and restaurants that are owned and operated by families, don’t expect a lot of national chains in the town.
If Aliens and Area 51 appeals to travelers, they should hit The Flying Saucer and grab some collectibles. Boulder City Co. Store also sells Boulder city branded merchandise.
Travelers intrigued by science should check out the Fisher Space Pen manufacturing plant, and yes, they manufacture and sell the same pen that NASA used to write upside down in space.
How To Spend A Perfect Day In Boulder City
Hoover Dam and penstock towers in Colorado river
Travelers usually plan a day trip to Boulder City from Las Vegas, there are various bus options that provide comfortable travel and sightseeing option to this historic city.
However, travelers can really get to experience some amazing outdoor adventure and scenic beauty if they spend a few days in the city. Travelers can start exploring by taking a hike to the historic railroad and witnessing some of the best landscapes in Boulder City.
After the hike, travelers can take a ride in Lake Mead, and witness this artificial lake with a unique aesthetic. The afternoon can be kept for exploring the famous Hoover Dam and taking a few water sports along the Colorado River.
Evenings can be used to explore the downtown and walk in Hemenway park. If time permits do drive down the Railway tracks with Rail Explorers. A traveler planning to stay in Boulder City can choose the historic Boulder Dam Hotel located in the heart of Boulder City Downtown for convenient access to multiple attractions.
Q: What is Boulder City famous for?
Boulder City is famous for the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead (and its secrets), this Dam is an engineering marvel and was the biggest dam of its time. Boulder City came into being when construction workers started setting in the area and calling it home.
Q: What is the best way to reach Boulder City?
Boulder City has an airport, but the best way to reach this town is via Las Vegas, which offers various options both luxury and cheap to reach the city. Travelers can also take a day tour from Las Vegas.
Q: Why is there no gambling in Boulder City?
Boulder City has never permitted gambling, due to its residents’ preferences. Despite developers wanting to add casinos there, so far, it hasn’t happened. Fortunately for those who enjoy gambling, Las Vegas isn’t too far away.