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Boulder City remains charming, adventurous with its history proudly on display

Posted at 8:57 AM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-14 22:14:02-04

BOULDER CITY (KTNV)  — Boulder City is less than 30 miles from Las Vegas, but the charming town feels like a world away.

The small town, big adventure city, is home to a lot of Nevada history, several unique shops, experiences and eateries.

"People get to see the authentic history embodied into one destination," said Roger Shoaff, of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.

Shoaff says that the city that built Hoover Dam has simply been true to its roots.

"It's one of the few places that is linked to a singular event. And even after the construction of the dam was finished, the workers and their families stayed and created businesses, churches and schools," Shoaff said.

Boulder City was established in 1931 to house builders of the Hoover Dam, with several of those vintage structures currently standing, including the Colonial-styled Boulder Dam Hotel located in the heart of downtown.

The historic building works as a hotel with a restaurant and is home to the Boulder City, Hoover Dam Museum.

"At the museum, you'll find the history of the men and women who helped build Hoover Dam. Boulder City did not exist before the dam, and we share the story of those workers," Shoaff said.

The museum features interactive exhibits and authentic artifacts that illustrate the building of the then Boulder Dam.

"We have oral history of people who lived here while working on the dam, guests can feel the desert heat, operate a crane that pours concrete and get city stamps - something the city required in the past," Shoaff said.

And just before the museum, you'll see the Boulder City Art Guild Gallery.

The gallery shares only local works of art from Nevadans, where visitors can find a little bit of everything.

"People displaying art are members of the Boulder City Art Guild. Guests can view and purchase anything from postcards to glassware. You name it; we have it. We have every kind of art on display."

Regina Marvin leads the Boulder City Art Guild and says she has called the city home for about a decade and loves the community feel.

"We toured the city when visiting Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam. It is about the same size as the previous town we lived in. It is very low-key, and you almost don't even have to lock your doors," Marvin said.

Outside the Boulder Dam hotel, you'll spot more antique stores along Nevada Way -- the main drive through the historic old town -- along with an array of cute cafes, restaurants and even a brewery.

Perhaps one of the more recognizable eateries in the area is the Coffee Cup Cafe.

The walls are lined with surfboards and photos inside the restaurant that features breakfast and lunch items.

Guy Fieri even included the cafe in his earlier days on his famous Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives TV show on the Food Network.

Just about a block away, you'll find the Boulder Dam Brewing Co. It's a brewpub with an American cafe menu, an outdoor space and, of course, a list of hometown brews.

The outskirts of town continue its historical roots with the Veterans Memorial Park and the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

Guests can ride historic trains along old-school rail routes.

And a trip to Boulder City wouldn't be complete without a drive to the Lake Mead National Recreation Center and Hoover Dam.

The two are just about a 15-minute drive on U.S. 93 and while on the way, make sure to stop at Hemenway Park to enjoy a view of Nevada's desert bighorn sheep.

Boulder City has something for everyone and is a visit all Nevadans should make.