Las Vegas A to Z

Get an edge on your Vegas visit with Westways guide to what's new, exciting, and quirky in the city. Plus, download your free map to these spots.  

Las Vegas is richer than ever with dining and entertainment options. There’s enough here to keep you occupied 24-7, even if you’re not a gambler. 

A: Ax Throwing

Ax-throwing bars are popping up everywhere, including Las Vegas. Wannabe lumberjacks and jills can hurl axes—and knives and spears—at bull’s-eyes at Axe Monkeys. But unlike at most similar spots,  you won’t find alcohol here. “We like to keep it family-friendly,” says operations manager Cailey Bixman. One-hour sessions start at $25 for adults. 702-844-2439.

B: Bowling

Located at the Linq, Brooklyn Bowl exudes Vegas style with 30-plus neon-lit lanes, large leather sofas, a high-definition screen above the lanes, and a concert venue. Starts at $20 per lane, per half hour (up to eight people). 702-862-2695.

C: Chinatown

This neighborhood has grown exponentially in recent years, with popular Asian franchises and mom-and-pop shops dotting strip malls along Spring Mountain Road, less than 2 miles from the Strip. Notable food finds among the 150-plus restaurants include grilled meats at Raku (702-367-3511); pan-fried dumplings at Kkulmat Korean Kitchen (702-333-4845); oxtail fried rice at District One (702-413-6868); juicy pork buns at China Mama (702-873-1977); and brick-size brioche Honey Toast at Is Sweet Coffee and Dessert (702-527-5550).

D: Divas

The sweat. The tears. The unfettered dance moves. And that’s just from scoring tickets to the Vegas concert of your dreams. Some of the most sought-after residency shows this year (including the boys) are Aerosmith (Park MGM), Billy Idol (Palms Casino Resort; billyidol.net), Céline Dion (Caesars Palace), Gwen Stefani (Planet Hollywood), and Lady Gaga (Park MGM; vegas.ladygaga.com). Tickets, unless otherwise noted: vividseats.com.

E: End Zone

The palatial, translucent-domed future home of the Raiders, with 80-by-120-foot retractable doors that open to a defensive-lineman–sized view of the Strip, should be completed in time for the 2020 NFL season. In the meantime, fans can explore interactive, holographic models of the new stadium and a wealth of silver-and-black memorabilia at the Raiders Preview Center at the Town Square shopping center. Free. 

F: Food

Eataly (pictured above), which opened last December at Park MGM, presents a new concept: six spots where diners can shop for meats, house-made pastas, and seafood, and then have the chefs prepare the selected ingredients in an open kitchen. Eataly’s 40,000-square-foot home also has two restaurants, three bars, a café, a chef’s demo table, and a retail space with more than 5,000 imported Italian products. Of Eataly’s six U.S. locations, this is the only one open 24-7. 702-730-7617.

Matcha Café: Maiko arrived in Chinatown last year. Get an extra dose of antioxidants with a matcha green tea shaved ice topped with red beans, mocha, and matcha soft-serve. 702-247-1779.

After a brief hiatus, Spago reopened in a prime spot: right next to the Fountains of Bellagio. The showstoppers at Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant are the artful desserts. A favorite is the Spiked Lemon, a light chiffon cake filled with citrus mousse and topped with Japanese yuzu cream, microgreens, and gold leaves. 702-693-8181. 

Sweets Raku is a delightful Japanese French-style dessert bar tucked in a nondescript strip mall in Chinatown. Take a seat at the marble bar and watch pastry chefs assemble whimsical treats. If it’s available, order the Ichigo, a white chocolate shell filled with strawberry and condensed milk mousse, and strawberry sorbet. 702-290-7181.

BRUNCH

At Thomas Keller’s Bouchon at the Venetian, you almost want to fill up on the complimentary wheat stalk–shaped baguette (pain d’epi) served with strawberry jam. But then you’d miss out on the succulent roasted chicken and bacon-chive waffles, an elevated interpretation of a Southern favorite. 702-414-6200.

Since Bobby Flay opened Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace in 2004, a slew of celeb chefs have followed. Flay’s bold take on Southwest cuisine has demonstrated staying power, evidenced by his memorable scrambled-eggs chilaquiles: blue-corn tostadas layered with tomatillo sauce, white cheddar cheese, eggs, and crème fraîche. 877-346-4642.

BUFFETS

Feast Buffet at Palace Station emerged from a recent renovation as the only overnight buffet (midnight to 8 a.m.) in town. For $10.99, satisfy your 3 a.m. cravings of mac-and-cheese and chicken. 702-367-2411. 

On Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., BLT Steak at Bally’s offers an all-you-can-eat brunch with endless pours of Perrier-Jouët Champagne. Also unlimited are the lobster tails, filet mignon, and caviar, which explains the $110 price. 702-967-7258.

A.Y.C.E. Buffet at Palms has a whole section dedicated to vegetarian and vegan dishes, including rainbow chard hash and black bean Bolognese. You can feel good about indulging in vegan desserts and sugar-free treats. Starting at $17.99 for dinner; 866-942-7770.

COCKTAILS

A Little Birdie from Juniper Cocktail Lounge at Park MGM: Spismith Gin, strawberry, Dolin Dry Vermouth, lemon. 702-730-7777.

We’re All Mad Here from The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan: Empress Indigo Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, Soho Lychee, lemon juice, apple rosewater, and chardonnay cardamom ginger syrup. 877-893-2003.

WHERE TO EAT IF YOU WIN AT THE...

$10 table: A couple of winning blackjack hands will more than cover a decadent meal at Siegel’s 1941 at the El Cortez on Fremont Street. For $10.95, you can get a 12-ounce prime rib, served with potatoes and steamed vegetables, 24 hours a day. 702-385-5200.

$25 table: Rendezvous at Mon Ami Gabi, a French bistro at Paris Las Vegas. Ask for a table outdoors in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and take in views of the Fountains of Bellagio. Indulge your inner Francophile with gooey French onion soup ($11.95), hearty steak frites ($28.95), and a glass of wine. 702-944-4224.

$100 table: Joël Robuchon’s legacy lives at Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand. The 14- to 18-course tasting menu starts at $445 and honors the late chef's famous dishes—such as mashed potatoes and truffled langoustine ravioli. Dinner includes bread and dessert carts.

702-891-7925.

G: Gaming 

Colorful lights, a cocktail at your side, the anticipation of a win. Nope, we're not talking about slots; we're talking about HyperX Esports Arena. Esports (professional video game tournaments) is a billion-dollar industry. Located at Luxor, the new arena dedicated to the industry allows players to livestream games to their followers. Sample game-themed cocktails such as Level Two and check out the vintage games (think Pac-Man). Gaming passes start at $10 per hour. 702-723-2355.

H: Hangover

Toast the 10th anniversary of The Hangover movie with a visit to Madame Tussauds wax museum at the Venetian, where The Hangover Bar re-creates the film’s Caesars Palace rooftop scene, complete with an LED backdrop of the Vegas skyline. The bar serves drinks inspired by the bachelor-party film, such as the What Happened Last Night. Museum tickets (includes entry to the Hangover Bar) start at $18.99. 702-862-7800.

I: Ice Skating 

Capture the magic of the Vegas Golden Knights and watch the team practice for free or skate at the practice rink. City National Arena offers open-skate sessions and rentals to anyone eager to hit the ice. Adults, $12 for one hour; kids, $10. 702-902-4904.

J: Jokes 

Comedian and late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel takes his talents back to his hometown when he opens Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at the Linq this year. The 300-seat club will feature established comics and newcomers. 800-634-6441.

Adventuredome in Las Vegas
K: Kids

Vegas is not all vice. Adventuredome, a family-fun zone at Circus Circus, with more than 25 rides and attractions, has a new after-dark weekend offering: Neon Disco Roller Skating. Become part of the glow with neon face paint as you skate to music by groups like the Bee Gees. Junior All-Day Ride Pass (under 48 inches tall), $19.95. 702-794-3939. 

 

L: Luxury

The AAA Five Diamond Wynn Las Vegas recently added the Wynn Plaza Shops, an upscale, two-story mall where you can splurge on items you’ll keep forever (or at least until next season).

Bottega Veneta: Italian leather fashioned into jackets, handbags, and more.

Diptyque: Parisian perfumes for your body or your home.

Louis Vuitton Men’s: The designer’s first U.S. store dedicated to menswear and men’s accessories. 

M: Museums

These must-visit museums showcase stories that highlight this city’s singular history.

The Mob Museum (pictured above) examines the history of organized crime from the perspective of gangsters, G-men, and, now, the genteel merrymakers caught in the middle. The Underground, a new speakeasy and distillery in the museum’s basement, replicates a Prohibition-era lounge. Museum, $26.95; The Underground admission is free after 5 p.m. 702-229-2734.

Brilliant!, which opened in 2018 at the Neon Museum, is a 40-minute sound and light show that uses projection mapping technology to breathe storytelling life into dozens of vintage marquees. General admission tickets, $22–$42. 702-387-6366.

When nuclear testing was conducted in the desert in the 1950s and ’60s, visitors flocked to Las Vegas to view the mushroom clouds that billowed in the distance. Explore “atomic tourism” at the Smithsonian-affiliated National Atomic Testing Museum, which merges Cold War history, nuclear science, and pop culture. Adults, $22. 702-794-5151.

N: Nightclubs 

Music lovers congregate at On the Record at Park MGM. Hidden behind a two-story record store, this 11,000-square-foot club includes three karaoke rooms and a lounge where mixologists create custom cocktails inspired by the album playing at the moment. 702-730-6773.

O: Offbeat

It takes a lot to be considered offbeat in Vegas. For a fee of $169 and up, visitors at Dig This can operate bulldozers, excavators, and other heavy equipment. 702-222-4344. 

Las Vegas pool
P: Pools

 

Beat the desert heat at these two cool pools:

Sage and millennial pink cabanas and daybeds grace the grounds at Park MGM Pool (pictured above). Sip on frosé (frozen rosé) and soak up the sun poolside or in a Baja ledge chair, a lounger that’s placed on the wet deck. Lounge, daybed, and cabana rentals, $15–$150. 702-730-7777.

Brave the Strip’s first wave rider ($25 for 30 minutes) at The Scene Pool Deck at Planet Hollywood. The hotel has two pool decks, DJs, and more than 30 cabanas available to rent. 866-919-7472.

 

Q: Quiet

The rich interior of Bauman Rare Books (Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian-Palazzo) may render you speechless: gleaming floor-to-ceiling mahogany bookcases housing thousands of leather-bound first editions for sale. But don’t let first impressions—or prices ($147,000 for a first edition of the Lewis and Clark Expedition)—intimidate. The staff will happily chat books with guests, and just as happily accommodate those seeking quietude in a tufted chair or sofa. 702-948-1617.

R: Robots

Forgot your toothbrush? At Vdara, innovative hoteliers turn a minor inconvenience into a fun endeavor when they dispatch Fetch or Jett, interactive robot butlers, to deliver shaving and dental kits, water, coffee, and even food from the hotel’s Market Café. 866-745-7111.

S: Spa

Candles? Soft music? So passé. Nobu Hotel’s Qua Baths and Spa at Caesars Palace uses virtual reality (VR) to help spa guests relax. During the Nobu Go facial, you’ll use a VR headset for a 10-minute meditative journey through nature. $555 for a 100-minute session. 866-782-0655.

T: Thrills

SkyJump Las Vegas atop the Stratosphere Tower holds the Guinness World Record as the highest commercial decelerator descent facility. In plain English, it’s where you can take a terrifying leap off an 829-foot-high ledge. Doing the SkyJump at night promises a spectacular sight—if you can keep your eyes open while hurtling toward the Strip at speeds topping 40 mph. $119.99 per jump. 800-998-6937.

U: Uncorked 

Bin 702, located in two repurposed shipping containers in Downtown Container Park, has seven wines on tap that pair well with the bar’s beautifully plated charcuterie and cheese boards. Happy hour specials offered 3–6 p.m. daily. 702-826-2702.

V: Virtual Reality

Vegas itself defies reality. Take that feeling to the next level with the city’s newest virtual reality (VR) experience, Virtual Room, a problem-solving, team-based experience at the Venetian’s Madame Tussauds. Wearing VR goggles, players 12 and older are transported to prehistoric times, ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, or the moon on a mission to save the world. Tickets, $15 for each 15-minute experience (available on a walk-up basis). 

W: Wedding

Is an Elvis-themed wedding not your style? Try the chapel at the Taco Bell Las Vegas Cantina. The $600 package includes a 12-pack of tacos to celebrate in the private reception area and a “something borrowed” for the bride: a one-of-a-kind bouquet made from sauce packets. tacobellwedding.com. 

X: Exotic Cars

With a price tag of $200,000, a Lamborghini Gallardo is out of reach for most regular folk, but at Exotics Racing you can drive this dreamy Italian sports car and discover how it feels to go from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds ($295 for five laps around a track). If a Lamborghini isn’t your style, Exotics has more than 50 other luxury cars to choose from. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with your sexy four-wheeled companion. 702-802-5690.

Y: Yoga

Begin your morning with a one-hour yoga session in Mirage’s dolphin underwater viewing area. The $50 fee includes use of a yoga mat and towel and a refreshing smoothie to sip after class. Reservations required. 702-791-7156.

Z: Zip Line

The Strip’s only zip-line attraction, Fly Linq boasts nearly quarter-mile-long rides over the Linq Promenade from a 12-story tower at speeds of up to 35 mph. Rides start at $35. 702-777-2782.

Contributors: Elisabeth Abrahamson, Allison Belda, Jim Benning, Ashley Burnett, Rachel Ng, Vani Stavro, Lorna Corpus Sullivan, Brad Wright, Leslie Mieko Yap, and Paul Zieke.

Photos from top to bottom: A view of The Strip | Lucky Photographer / Alamy Stock Photo;  the Salumeria at Eataly | MGM Resorts International; AdventureDome | MGM Resorts International; the Mob Museum | Mob Museum; and the Park MGM Pool | MGM Resorts International

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