The Mob Museum is on a unique mission. While Hollywood films have glamorized and serialized the role of the Mafia and its members, Las Vegas‘ Mob Museum aims to advance the public understanding of organized crime’s history and impact on American society.
Visiting the Las Vegas Mob Museum isn’t your traditional museum experience, however. The Mob Museum leans into hands-on activities like the incredibly entertaining Crime Lab where guests solve real-life crimes, and a Firearm Training Simulator that tests your instincts. The Underground distillery tours will walk you through the process that made Prohibition bootleggers both famous and infamous (as well as sampling a bit of Mob Museum Moonshine, Cinn-City Moonshine or The Underground Ale), before heading next door to taste handcrafted Prohibition-era cocktails at the Mob Museum Speakeasy.
Four floors of Mob history can seem overwhelming to take in, that’s why we spoke with Claire White, the Mob Museum’s Director of Education, to get the inside scoop on the best way to experience Las Vegas’ most interesting museum.
The #1 piece of advice for visiting the Las Vegas Mob Museum
When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to do is stand in a line. This is where White’s best piece of advice comes into play. “Definitely purchase your tickets online. It really expedites the process,” White says. “I would say for locals and tourists alike…save yourself that hassle.”
Over 400,000 visitors flock to the Mob Museum every year, so the museum in turn has spent a great deal of time to make sure that their website and accompanying smart phone app are chock-full of helpful resources and timesavers. The bright red “buy now” button can’t be missed, but you’ll also find helpful items such as parking maps, hours of operation, and interactive exhibit maps all designed to make your trip as easy as possible.
Admission fees and discount for the Las Vegas Mob Museum
- General Admission (all exhibits): $29.95. $16.95 for Nevada residents
- Deluxe Pass (all exhibits + one interactive experience): $44.95. $29.95 for Nevada residents
- Premier Pass (all exhibits + two interactive experiences): $48.95. $35.95 for Nevada residents
- Additional discounts for military service members, senior citizens, students, law enforcement personnel and more are available
- Happy Hour discount: A $10 Happy Hour discount awaits if you purchase your tickets online and visit after 5 PM from Sunday to Friday, or before 11 AM on a Saturday
How to get to the Mob Museum and where to park?
The Mob Museum is located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas adjacent to world famous Fremont Street. The historic building sits on Stewart Avenue and is a quick Uber or taxi ride from the towering resorts that line the Las Vegas Strip.
It should be noted that space for parking in the lot next to the Mob Museum is limited and fills up quickly on busy days. There is also an eight-dollar fee for four hours of parking (stay longer and you’ll be charged an additional eight dollars for another four hours). Locals will be quick to point out that ample parking can be found within a short walking distance of the museum at the nearby casinos including the El Cortez, The Grand, and Main Street Station.
If you plan on spending the day in the downtown area you may consider a ride on the free shuttle service called The Downtown Loop which transports you between most of the attractions that downtown has to offer, including the Mob Museum, the Arts District, and the Fremont Street Experience.
Address: 300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101, United States
The best times to visit the Mob Museum
The Mob Museum is open every day from 9 AM until 9 PM, but if your schedule is a bit more flexible you’ll be rewarded. “If people’s schedules are open we always recommend that they visit in the early evening hours,” White says. Not only are the crowds a bit more manageable, but a $10 Happy Hour discount awaits if you purchase your tickets online and visit after 5 PM from Sunday to Friday, or before 11 AM on a Saturday.
“If you are only able to come on a Saturday we recommend before 11 AM,” White notes. Again, you’ll beat the crowds and you’ll get the Saturday morning “happy hour” discount, but this will oftentimes allow you to take your time exploring the museum before the late-risers descend on the popular stop.
Where to start your las Vegas Mob Museum visit
While you are certainly free to walk about the Mob Museum at your leisure, the museum is laid out as a chronological experience. So, in order to get the complete story of organized crime, the helpful Mob Museum educators and staff urge you to take the building’s elevators to the third floor where you’ll dive into the origins of the Mob in America and how they grew from low-level gangs to highly organized syndicates.
How long should you budget to visit the Las Vegas Mob Museum
“A lot of people are often surprised to know that we do have four full floors of exhibits, so if people want to do everything, or as close to everything as they can, we do generally suggest that they allot about two and a half hours,” White explains.
You can do the general walking tour in less time but with so many additional experiences, including the must-do Distillery Tour and Crime Lab, you’ll want to have enough time to see it all.
Special tours and games at the Mob Museum
Self-guided audio tours are available in English and Spanish for eight dollars. Audio tours allow you to decide how long you want to stay at the Mob museum by offering two possible tours: A short and a long one. The short version of the tour gives busy visitors the highlights in 40 minutes. The longer tour will dive deeper into stories such as Al Capone’s prison band or former Mob defense attorney and Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman’s most notorious clients and famous cases. This version will last 75 minutes.
Groups of 10 or more can book a guided tour for an additional $10 per person. These tours last around 90 minutes and every guide brings their own personal interpretations and flair to the experience. Guided tours must be booked in advance.
The Distillery Tour is an experience that can only be added to your visit if you purchase a Deluxe or Premier Pass. A Mob Museum educator will take you to the museum basement which is dubbed The Underground where you’ll learn even more about Prohibition and the drinking culture that existed both before the liquor-free era and before the 1920s. You’ll be able to get up-close to the working still and sample moonshine that is distilled within the Mob Museum.
For truly unique experiences, you’ll want to gather your group for a Mob Museum Scavenger Hunt or Mob Mystery Game. The Scavenger Hunt will have you comb three floors of the museum looking for answers to questions about the history between the Mob and the law enforcement officers tasked with taking them down. The Mob Mystery Game is a real-life game of Clue, but one in which your team is trying to prevent a crime from happening. It’s an exhilarating group game that will create a lasting memory for your team.
The Mob Museum Speakeasy
The Speakeasy receives a fair share of attention thanks to its alluring Roaring Twenties atmosphere and menu of Prohibition-era craft cocktails. Here guests will travel back in time when speakeasies operated in hard-to-find places to do their part to satisfy the nation’s thirst for then-forbidden spirits.
Visitors are welcomed into the living exhibit that features the rise of flappers, jazz, and the Mafia. Learn the secrets of Paul Mares’ trumpet and discover the great lengths that people went to in order to quench their need for booze. Clever visitors can find the hidden room within the Speakeasy — Can you?
The Speakeasy also serves up sharable bites and a daily happy hour from 5 PM to 7 PM, but be warned, only those aged 21 and up can take a sip of the ice-cold gin. Visitors younger than 21 can enter the room and view the artifacts but they can’t sit down, order food, or mingle near the bar area even if accompanied by parents or legal guardians.
If you want to visit The Speakeasy and not the museum itself, find the not-so-secret-any-longer entrance near the old wooden barrel on the back corner of the building that leads you down to a private green door. Knock on the door, say the password, and you’re in. As long as you’re 21 years of age or older that is.
Four must-see exhibits at the Las Vegas Mob Museum
1. The Open City exhibit
The Open City exhibit at the Mob Museum explores the transformation of Las Vegas from a remote railroad town into an international gambling destination. Las Vegas was known as an “open city” which meant the Mafia had an agreement that any syndicate could invest in the desert oasis without starting a turf war with another outfit. Mob-connected businessmen from all across the US began to set up gambling operations in Las Vegas. After all, why would you risk police harassment with illegal gambling halls when it was legal in Sin City?
2. The Underground
Most museums shy away from food and drink within their walls. The Mob Museum not only bucks this tradition, they openly encourage you to sit down, try some freshly distilled moonshine or beer, and learn about one of the most interesting eras in American history.
The Underground (on the basement level of the Mob Museum) consists of The Speakeasy, The Distillery, and a hidden VIP room within The Speakeasy. The Speakeasy is a popular throwback to the 1920s era of flapper girls, jazz, and cold gin. The Distillery is where guests learn about how the Mob filled the void created by Prohibition laws. Bootleggers, rumrunners, and lawmen all converged together to weave an incredible tapestry of American lore.
“I love our Distillery side because you can literally watch us make moonshine,” White confesses. “We make 100 percent corn, 100-proof moonshine, and on top of that there’s some old, historic stills, old liquor prescriptions, medicinal whisky bottles. I love that.”
You can also purchase a tour of The Distillery, as well as a moonshine tasting if you and your group are all 21+ years of age.
3. St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall
On February 14, 1929, seven members and associates of George “Bugs” Moran’s bootlegging gang were lined up against a wall and shot dead inside a commercial garage on the north side of Chicago.
Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit has always been the main suspects in the horrific shooting, but no one was ever prosecuted. The garage was demolished in 1967 but not before entrepreneur George Patey bought and recovered the bricks from that wall. Now, three hundred of those bricks have been put back together and are on display here – with bullet holes clearly marked.
4. The Historic Courtroom
When the building that is now the Mob Museum opened in 1933, it was the first US Courthouse and Post Office in the fledgling town of Las Vegas. It would later serve as host for a significant moment in Las Vegas and organized crime history.
“The primary federal courtroom has been restored to how it appeared in the early 1950s and that coincides with one of the most historically significant things that happened in our building which is the November 15, 1950, hearing of the Kefauver committee,” White explains.
This hearing was held by Tennessee Senator and Presidential hopeful Estes Kefauver in the second floor courtroom where several Mob affiliates were questioned about organized crime involvement in the casino industry. The Historic Courtroom now serves as a theater where guests are engrossed into high-tech video productions that tell the story of those hearings.
Two underrated experiences you should not pass at the Mob Museum
1. Global Networks Touch Wall
Get an up-close look at some of the most prominent organized crime groups in the world today at the Global Networks Touch Wall. This is a hands-on experience which allows guests to explore today’s criminal element through video, images, maps, and texts.
This experience is included with every ticket and provides a great look into real mob-related events that are happening around the globe today.
2. The Crime Lab
White is quick to call the Crime Lab the “hidden gem” of the Mob Museum. Access to the Crime Lab is an upgraded museum experience that allows visitors the chance to explore the work of crime scene investigators, DNA profilers, ballistics experts, and medical examiners. Museum educators provide information and assistance as guests engage in forensic activities. You and your group will need to upgrade from the General Admission ticket to either a Deluxe or Premier Pass to solve these mysteries, but the extra cost is more than worth it for the unique memories that you and your group will have. Note that only guests 11+ years of age or older are allowed to participate.
A warning for those with young children
While the Mob Museum is a great family experience, there are certain images and at least one area that may be too graphic for young children. That exhibit in particular, “The Mob’s Greatest Hits,” depicts images of Mafia killings. The exhibit also displays a gas chamber chair that was used to execute criminals in Nevada.
The area is clearly labeled as graphic and there is a passage to go around the exhibit for those who don’t wish to see it. There are some images of mob killings (such as “Bugsy” Siegel’s murder) that can be found thoughout the Mob Museum, but with a watchful eye you can intercept any small eyes if you wish.