Las Vegas pic via Shutterstock

Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

BY Fifty Grande Editors | October 14, 2020

Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Las Vegas? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Vegas?”

 

There are two versions of Vegas. First, you’ve got the Sin City moniker, the champagne-waterfall, craps-table-until-sunrise, buffet-full-of-lobster, crazy-bachelor-weekend Vegas — the stuff of Hollywood lore straight out of The Hangover. But that’s just the Strip. Then, there’s what you might call “real” Vegas, full of creative eateries, oddball museums and some of the best street art you’ll find anywhere. But this isn’t a “bad vs. good” soapbox moment. Because both Vegases are worthwhile. And you’ll want to see both, as long as you’re sober enough to take them on. So, grab your sunglasses and Advil. These are the best things to do in Las Vegas right now.

 

Dine in the land of celebrity chefs

Las Vegas is to celebrity chefs what Los Angeles is to movie stars. All of them are here. Now’s your chance to try dishes from the minds of Top Chef stars, James Beard Award collectors and cookbook masters. 

Bazaar Meat
#1
Bazaar Meat

Bazaar Meat

2535 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Carnivores, you’re up. This is José Andrés’ innovative steakhouse that features several Wagyu options and a “Meat Bar” where you can choose your type and cut of meat.

L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon
#2
L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon

L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon

3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Gault Millau named Joël Robuchon the “chef of the century” in 1989. L’Atelier serves up his classic French dishes at a long bar, and it’s more budget-friendly than his other Vegas ventures. If you want his tippy-top fine-dining experience (and you’re willing to pay for it) try to get a reservation at his self-named, three-Michelin-star restaurant in the MGM Grand.

Bardot Brasserie
#3
Bardot Brasserie

Bardot Brasserie

3730 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Michael Mina’s cafe inside the ARIA Resort & Casino looks like it was pulled straight off a 1920s Paris street. And it delivers on upscale French fare and fresh cocktail twists.

Morimoto Las Vegas
#4
Morimoto Las Vegas

Morimoto Las Vegas

3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, USA

You may know him as a mainstay on Iron Chef, but Masaharu Morimoto is a brilliant restaurateur too. His Las Vegas spot has modern Japanese fare with a gorgeous presentation. 

Momofuku
#5
Momofuku

Momofuku

Momofuku Las Vegas, Boulevard Tower, 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Before he was creating Ugly Delicious for Netflix, David Chang was garnering national awards for his Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC. Here, you can try his creative Asian dishes inside The Cosmopolitan. 

But don’t miss these less-starstruck but equally buzzworthy eateries

Just because they don’t have a celeb at the helm doesn’t mean you should ignore other Vegas eateries. There are so many (I repeat: so many) amazing restaurants here that you really can’t go wrong, unless you opt for fast food three meals a day. 

Flock & Fowl
#6
Flock & Fowl

Flock & Fowl

150 Las Vegas Blvd N #100, Las Vegas, NV

If you couldn’t guess by the name, they serve chicken, really good chicken. With an Asian twist. You have to try the Hainanese chicken rice. 

Hobak Korean BBQ
#7
Hobak Korean BBQ

Hobak Korean BBQ

5808 Spring Mountain Rd #101, Las Vegas, NV

The Hobak family drew inspiration for their restaurant from ’80s, old-style Korean street food. Their charcoal and gas cooking experiences are perfect for groups.

La Strega
#8
La Strega

La Strega

3555 S Town Center Dr Ste 105, Las Vegas, NV

La Strega’s constantly changing menu covers every region in Italy, offering a wide variety of Italian dishes and flavors.

Sparrow + Wolf
#9
Sparrow + Wolf

Sparrow + Wolf

4480 Spring Mountain Rd #100, Las Vegas, NV

The place to go if you want to try a dish you’ve never had. This new American eatery is constantly testing out new culinary combinations.

Hit the Strip (but don’t spend all your time there)

This is what you think of when you hear “Las Vegas.” It’s what you might call the classic Vegas experience, the site of high-roller jackpots and legendary bachelorette parties. Where you’ll find all the slots you could want, classic Vegas shows (Penn & Teller or Blue Man Group) and plenty of high-profile restaurants. You definitely want to experience The Strip during your visit, just don’t set up shop there for an entire week. 

Las Vegas strip. Pic via Shutterstock.
#10
Las Vegas strip. Pic via Shutterstock.

The Strip

The Strip, NV, USA

Where to walk around

Don’t get so enamored with the ritz and glitz of the Strip that you neglect Las Vegas’ cool neighborhoods, because it has a few. 

Fremont East in Downtown
#11
Fremont East in Downtown

Fremont East in Downtown

Fremont East District Sign, Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV, USA

FYI, the Strip isn’t downtown. But downtown Vegas is just as worthy of your attention, and Fremont East is its heartbeat. Parts of the neon-clad Fremont Street are super touristy, but Fremont East is more like a hip residential neighborhood, lined with cool bars and eateries. 

18b Arts District
#12
18b Arts District

18b Arts District

18b The Las Vegas Arts District, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Subtract the lights and sky-high hotels and add eclectic storefronts, cool bars, art galleries and collectives. While you’re there, stop at Doña María Tamales Restaurant and Vesta Coffee Roasters. 

Ascend the nation’s tallest freestanding observation tower

Head to the Strat Hotel, which has a “skypod” with the best view you’ll find in the entire city.

The Strat Skypod. Pic via Shutterstock.
#13
The Strat Skypod. Pic via Shutterstock.

The Strat Skypod

SkyPod at The STRAT, South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Facing your fear of heights, stick with the inside observation deck. Daredevils, head to the outdoor observation decks, which features thrill rides that hoist you over the tower’s edge.

Cool off-Strip bars

Movies exaggerate a lot of things, but not how much drinking there is to do in Vegas. And it’s not confined to The Strip. Try these watering holes throughout the city.

Atomic Liquors. Pic via Shutterstock.
#14
Atomic Liquors. Pic via Shutterstock.

Atomic Liquors

917 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV, USA

The oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas is also one of its coolest. This place has seen famous actors, members of the Rat Pack and midcentury gangsters. Maybe because their cocktail list is top-notch.

Frankie’s Tiki Room. Pic via Shutterstock.
#15
Frankie’s Tiki Room. Pic via Shutterstock.

Frankie’s Tiki Room

1712 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, USA

It’s totally kitsch and flat-out fun. They go all out on the island decor — we’re talking bamboo, lowbrow art and a menu full of creative rum drinks. 

Oak & Ivy
#16
Oak & Ivy

Oak & Ivy

707 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Whiskey is the name of the game at this Container Park bar. They specialize in barrel-aged cocktails and mules. 

Velveteen Rabbit
#17
Velveteen Rabbit

Velveteen Rabbit

1218 S Main St, Las Vegas, NV, USA

A whimsical local favorite that blends a cozy atmosphere, Victorian style and inventive cocktail menu into a charming experience.

Weird museums

Vegas isn’t known for its museums, but there are a couple worth wandering.

Bodies: The Exhibition
#18
Bodies: The Exhibition

Bodies: The Exhibition

3900 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, USA

These are real human bodies, preserved so that you can observe their intricate musculature, skeletons, nerves, blood vessels, etc. Unless you’re a coroner, you won’t see this anywhere else. 

The Neon Museum. Pic via Shutterstock.
#19
The Neon Museum. Pic via Shutterstock

The Neon Museum

770 Las Vegas Blvd N, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Vegas is no stranger to neon. Also called the “Neon Boneyard,” this is a collection of retired signs, each with insight into the city’s history. 

Hike Red Rock Canyon

After eating and drinking to your heart’s content, hike here to get a good sweat going. You’ll find some spectacular views of desert bluffs and rock formations. The Calico Hills and Calico Tank trails are popular and prominently feature the titular red rocks. But don’t miss the Ice Box Canyon trail, especially in the spring when it’s blanketed in wildflowers.

Red Rock Canyon State Park. Pic via Shutterstock.
#20
Red Rock Canyon State Park. Pic via Shutterstock.

Red Rock Canyon State Park

1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV

Must-see street art

Neon signs and casino lights might be Sin City’s boldest roadside features, but its street art is significantly more provocative. Downtown Las Vegas is home to some of the nation’s most inventive murals and graffiti. Artists like Jerry Misko, King Ruck, and Recycled Propaganda set the bar high, and international artists come from everywhere to push it higher. It’s why we named Las Vegas one of the cities worth visiting for the street art alone. Downtown houses the most acclaimed works, but you can find some gems on the fringes if you know where to look. 

Tristan Eaton’s Fear No Fate
#21
Tristan Eaton’s Fear No Fate

Tristan Eaton’s Fear No Fate

El Cortez Parking Garage, East Ogden Avenue, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Felipe Pantone’s 3-D mural
#22
Felipe Pantone’s 3-D mural

Felipe Pantone’s 3-D mural

S 7th St, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Aware’s The Wheel of Misfortune
#23
Aware’s The Wheel of Misfortune

Aware’s The Wheel of Misfortune

Laker Plaza, East Lake Mead Parkway, Henderson, NV, USA

Live-music venues that aren’t gigantic

If you want a more intimate show that doesn’t cost a fortune, hit one of these venues. 

Double Down Saloon
#24
Double Down Saloon

Double Down Saloon

4640 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Double Down’s website calls it “the anti-Vegas” and “a clubhouse for the lunatic fringe.” They’ve got murals all over the walls, free rock shows several nights a week and a vodka concoction called “Ass Juice.”

Artifice
#25
Artifice

Artifice

1025 S 1st St #100, Las Vegas, NV

An artsy and eclectic venue featuring three different rooms to lounge and listen to local bands and DJs. 

Bunkhouse Saloon
#26
Bunkhouse Saloon

Bunkhouse Saloon

124 S 11th St, Las Vegas, NV, USA

A Western-themed bar in Downtown Las Vegas that hosts national and local acts.