Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A brief (local's) guide to what to do in Las Vegas

Recently I met a friend of a friend who's somewhat new to town.  He was asking about some cool things to do as a Vegas local, and I thought I'd share the info I sent to him.  Whether you're local or a regular visitor, you might find something of value here.  Much of it I've already written about, so there's a lot of links--some are mine, some are their own websites. 
  • For great beer with an onsite brewery, you can't beat Ellis Island on Koval Lane behind the Strip.  It's got a unique casino/dive bar flavor that attracts both locals and tourists.  You can eat, drink, gamble, and still have change from a $20 bill.  Check out this article I wrote about the place and my blog post of my meeting with the brew master.

  • If you like the blues, go to the Las Vegas Blues Society's website and get on their mailing list.  They sponsor open jams in gritty bars that are a lot of fun. 

  • Also, the Music on the Mountain series at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboarding Resort is a nice way to enjoy some music and beer without sweltering.  Bring a lawn chair and settle in. 

  • Michael Grimm and his band play in the Ovation Lounge at Green Valley Ranch every Saturday night.  Station Casinos is tightening their belt and so now it cost $5 to get in for what used to be a free show, but he's still worth it.

  • Although I'm way too Private Benjamin-y to ride a motorcycle, I do love the biker scene.  Nobody cares what you're wearing, how fat you are, and they're all having a bad hair day from the helmets--perfect.  Plus, I love classic rock.  If you ever want to take a little Sunday drive, there's always an afternoon band down in Goodsprings  at the historic Pioneer Saloon, about 25 miles down I-15 South.  In the summer, head out to the Mountain Springs Saloon in the mountains about halfway to Pahrump.  Both are fun weekend afternoon biker destinations.

  • I feel kind of guilty for admitting it, but I have yet to warm up to downtown Las Vegas.  There's not enough acid, heroin, or Oxycotin on earth to make me find the Fremont Street Experience entertaining.   I know all the tech-hipsters are into the downtown revitalization, but having lived in a gritty city with no place to park for the first 43 years of my life, I'd rather hang out elsewhere.  That said, The Griffin is a cool bar, and Hogs and Heifers is a lot of fun.

  • I'm not much for dining out (why ruin the buzz with food?), but for a special dinner, you can't beat the restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere.  Make your reservation for about an hour before sunset so you can enjoy the daytime and nighttime views.  If you just want to go up to the top without paying, don't get in line with the tourists; tell them you're having a drink at the bar on the top and you won't have to pay or stand in line to go up.  Also, RiRa, the Irish bar in Mandalay Place has the best fish and chips I've ever had in my life.

  • If you haven't been to The Peppermill yet, grab a friend and march your ass there immediately.
  • For an overnight getaway, I highly recommend the Desert Pearl Inn, just outside Zion National Park.  And if you head to Sedona, I recommend Sky Ranch Lodge.  On the way, be sure to stop and eat at The Oasis Lounge in Ask Forks, AZ.  It looks like a dump, but the food is amazing.  I've written a lot about Sedona on my blog; if you haven't been, you're in for a treat.

  • Here's a piece I wrote on the Grand Canyon West Rim.  It's closer than the South Rim, but not as spectacular.  Good if you're pressed for time.

  • For yoga:  Check out Sherry's Goldstein's Yoga Sanctuary.  It's right on Eastern in the same plaza as Einstein's Bagels.  I just started taking classes there--very impressed so far.

  • Finally, look into Fill-A-Seat. For a yearly fee (which you'll recoup in no time), Las Vegas locals can attend any of the shows they offer for free.  They have a ton of comedy, which, of course, I'm into.  It's a great deal.  Spring for the four-pass deal if you have a lot of friends come into town.
There you go--now get out there and enjoy!

What am I missing?  Anything you want to add?


John Hawkins said...

Great list, Linda. The only thing I would add to it is the Pinball Hall of Fame. I know your love of noise probably knocks this place right of the list. But, it really is one of the only places in the country where you can go and actually PLAY on pinball machines that date back to the 1930s.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Yes! Mike and I took the kids there a few months ago. It's a gem!

Anonymous said...

Sure, there are lots of things to add to this list, but in the words of some random guy posting his comments on a Las Vegas blog...

"You're dreaming if you think I'm gonna share the name of my favorite restaurant! The lines there are long enough already!"

Bar L. said...

good to know stuff