El Cortez Hotel and Casino Turns 80 Years Old

Watch El Cortez's first-ever fireworks display

Follow our friend @dtlv for all the news and happenings in Downtown Las Vegas.

In 1941, El Cortez Hotel and Casino made its grand debut in Sin City. Opening on November 7, 1941, the El Cortez is the oldest continuously-operating hotel-casino in Las Vegas. The family-owned property celebrates 80 years this weekend with a series of special anniversary events.⁠

On Saturday, November 6, Mayor Goodman will kick-off the festivities with a speech, followed by a roaming mariachi band from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and the El Cortez’s first-ever fireworks display at 9 p.m.⁠

Guests can also enjoy complimentary champagne from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. There will also be up to $35,000 in cash drawings for slot and table game players throughout Saturday and Sunday. ⁠



Not only does the occasion commemorate the El Cortez’s storied history, it also marks a new chapter in its legacy, celebrating its recently completed $25 million renovations. Recent upgrades include a revamped casino floor with new ceilings and carpeting, 200 remodeled tower rooms and suites, an updated hotel lobby and a new high-limit room.

Fun Facts About the El Cortez

El Cortez Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas – LAS VEGAS / NEVADA – APRIL 23, 2017

On the El Cortez’s website, they highlight some of their most monumental moments on a timeline. Here are a few fun facts about this historic gem.

In 1941, John Kell Houssels teamed up with John Grayson from California, and Marion Hicks, a Los Angeles Architect and developer, to build the first major Downtown Las Vegas resort, the El Cortez Hotel-Casino. The property was designed with a Spanish Ranch theme and only had 59 rooms.

In 1953, the Supper Club was renamed The Pirate’s Den. “Pretty Pirates” painted by Denny Stephenson adorned the walls. The dinner theater was the only venue in Vegas at that time to have a female maitre’d, Pat Gallagher. But in 1957 new management said goodbye to the pirate theme.

In 1958, The Celebrity Lounge opened. From 5:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. live entertainment played non-stop. Jerry Dexter hosted “El Cortez Calling” on Keno 1460 live from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.

In 2009, El Cortez opened 64 El Cortez Cabana Suites in the former Ogden Hotel. This new addition boosted their room count to 364.

El Cortez’s sold pieces of their popular rose carpet in their gift shop during renovation. Vintage Vegas lovers quickly bought them out. The busy carpet certainly played tricks on tourists’ eyes and is featured in the iconic film, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

⁠Happy anniversary, El Cortez! Here’s to 80 more years!

The El Cortez is located at 600 East Fremont Street in the Fremont East Entertainment District.

Feature image courtesy of Vintage Las Vegas’ Instagram.


You might also be interested in...

26 Vegas Cyber Monday Deals You Won’t Want to Pass Up

Point-and-click for deep discounts on all things Las Vegas

Read More

10 Fun Facts About Bellagio’s ‘Holiday Time’ Display

You’ll never guess what they use for the tinsel

Read More

Brooks Koepka Hammers Bryson DeChambeau in “The Match”

“The Match” featuring rivals Brooks Koepka vs Bryson DeChambeau took place at Wynn Las Vegas

Read More

7 Truly Amazing Small Business Saturday Specials in Las Vegas

Deal Alert: Where to shop local for the best holiday bargains

Read More

Last of the Pumpkin Drinks and Where to Find Them

From shakes to creamers, here is where you can still get your pumpkin on in the Valley

Read More

What did you think?