Boulder City is a planned city created for the workers and families of those who built the Hoover Dam. Located a short drive from the dam, it’s worth visiting the city to understand more about the daily lives of the people who came “to make the desert bloom”.
Over 400 historic structures still stand in the city, and it remains one of two Nevada cities that don’t allow gambling. Much of the original street plan is still intact.
The small downtown along Nevada Way has antique shops, restaurants, a candy shop, and more.
Boulder Dam Hotel
On Arizona Street, you’ll find some of the more important historic buildings. The Boulder Dam Hotel is probably the most important. It was built in 1933 to accommodate officials and tourists to the Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) construction site. Several celebrities stayed there when they went to see the dam being built, including Boris Karloff and Shirley Temple.
On the ground floor of the hotel is the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum. It features interactive exhibits, oral histories, original photographs, and artifacts from the construction of the dam. While the visitor center at the dam focuses on the construction and engineering, this museum focuses more on the people who built it and how their families coped with life in the desert. Admission is US$2.
On the next block is the historic Boulder Theatre. It was built in 1933 by Fox Theatres to show movies. Because it was the only air conditioned place in town, it was a popular place for workers to take a break from the desert heat. Throughout the years, bands played, plays were performed, and dignitaries gave speeches there.
Milo’s Cellar and Wine Bar
If you’re looking for a good meal, try Milo’s Cellar and Wine Bar. They bill themselves as “a culinary combination of a Bistro in Paris, a Taverna in Santorini and a Roadside Pub in New Zealand”. There’s a good menu with burgers, sandwiches, soups, and salads. For our group of five, the bill came out to under US$100 including tax and tip. It was a nice break from the expensive meals in Las Vegas. Milo’s is located on Nevada Way.