Technically speaking, it’s the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. But everyone calls this downtown attraction, just north of the Fremont Street Experience, the Mob Museum. It opened on February 14, 2012, the 83rd anniversary of the Valentine’s Day Massacre, when Irish and Italian mobsters faced off in a bloody slaughter in Chicago.
Inside a rehabbed federal courthouse and US post office, the Mob Museum is much more of a legit historical experience than you might expect. During the 1950s, the building was one of the spots where the Kefauver Committee hearings on organized crime were held, much to the amusement of Vegas’s criminal underworld at the time.
Highlights of these curated collections include time-warped guns, black-and-white photographs, and the personal belongings of some of the most (in)famous American gangsters of all time, such as Al Capone, Sam Giancana, and Tony Spilotro. The museum also tells history from the point of view of law enforcement, which makes it unique. Don’t miss all of the memorabilia and extra exhibits on the second and third floors.
When you’ve finished viewing everything, you’ll probably need a drink. For martinis and molls, the Mob Bar is a short walk away inside the Downtown Grand casino hotel. Also check the museum website for special after-hours events like true-crime author readings or wiseguy talks.
Tips: Buy museum admission tickets online in advance for discounts. Combination tickets are available if you’re also planning on visiting the Neon Museum. Parking in the museum’s official lot costs $5, but there is free parking available at some downtown casinos (just remember to validate your parking ticket at the cashier’s cage inside the casino).