LAS VEGAS HOTELS: California review

When the question of which of the Las Vegas Hotels has the best neon arises, The California, or The Cal as it is more commonly known, is top of many people’s list.

It is not all about the Neon at The Cal, though. It is also one of the best places to stay when you are in Downtown Las Vegas.

The California has a loose Hawaiian theme and has close ties to its neighbouring sister property Main Street Station.

The California overview

Location: Downtown

Opened: January 1975

Last renovated: 2017

Number of rooms: 781

Gaming space: 85,000 sq. ft

Operator: Boyd Gaming

Permanent shows: None

Nearby attractions: Fremont Street Experience

Price guide: $$


The California is one of the hotels located slightly away from the Fremont Street Experience, but that is not a bad thing by any means.

It is right next to Main Street Station and just a minute’s walk away from Plaza and Circa and the west entrance of the Fremont Street experience.

The Cal is also very close to the Mob Museum and the Downtown Grand, so it is far from isolated.

Getting around

The California is on East Ogden Avenue which runs parallel to the Fremont Street Experience just one street over.

Main Street Station is directly connected to The Cal via an internal pedestrian bridge and guests are invited to enjoy both properties.

You will need some kind of transport to get to the Las Vegas Strip, though. Thankfully, the trusty Deuce Bus will get you there, as will a short taxi ride.

California Rooms and Amenities

California room Las Vegas Hotels

The entry level rooms at The California are on the small side at just 284 sq. ft but there are upgrade options available.

‘Premium’ rooms will get you up to 364 sq. ft, and the Parlour Suite is a spacious 450 sq ft. That, though, it should be stressed, is on the small side for a suite in Las Vegas.

Masses of space is not everything, though, and The Cal rooms are finished and furnished to a very high standard.

The California has a few more amenities than most rival Downtown properties too. There is a rooftop pool and access to a fitness centre. There is also a sizable casino, and you can learn more about that in our separate guide.

Food and Drink

The Cal has a splattering of good food options. There is fine dining at the Redwood Steakhouse and more casual options in the California Noodle House and Market Street Café.

One of the best things about staying at the Cal, though, is getting such easy access to Main Street Station, and that comes with the exceptional Triple 7 Restaurant and Microbrewery, so guests are not going to be short on quality places to eat.

You won’t find it hard to get a drink at The California either. The Cal Sports Lounge is open 24/7, while the marvellously-named Holo Holo Happy Bar should put a smile on your face.

Shows and Attractions

The California, like most hotels Downtown does not have the capacity to host shows in residence, but like the others it doesn’t really need them either.

The Fremont Street Experience is arguably the best attraction in all of Las Vegas, and it is just a two-minute walk away.

Meanwhile, a two-minute walk in the other direction will get you to the Mob Museum and its speakeasy bar. You’ll need to know the secret location of the door and the password, of course, but a visit to their Instagram page should help you out there.

California Pool

California pool Las Vegas hotels

Not all downtown properties have a swimming pool, but the California is one of the ones that does.

It is located on the roof and it’s a nice area. It is, you’d have to say, on the small side. However, if a pool is important to you then, Circa aside, Downtown isn’t the best place for you to stay.

The pool is also available to guests staying at Main Street Station, so be warned it can get busy quickly at peak times.


The California is a great Downtown property even if it isn’t the most glamourous name in town.

Pros: Good quality rooms despite being on the smaller side, great location and some of the very best neon you will see anywhere in Las Vegas.

Cons: The rooms, despite being a good standard, are some of the smallest of all the Las Vegas hotels.

Michael Graham
Michael Graham
Michael Graham is a journalist with more than a decade of industry experience. He has a love for all things Las Vegas.

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