Las Vegas

What to Eat at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas

The Vegas airport has more than planes and slot machines.

Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport
Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport
Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport

Anyone who’s flown into Las Vegas knows that McCarran International is one of the most convenient airports in the world. Rather than being a city with an airport, Vegas almost feels like an airport with a city built around it. McCarran is right next to the Strip, making it easy and accessible to the hotels, restaurants, and attractions that everyone loves in Sin City. 

But as can be expected, things are a little quiet at the airport these days. The reduction in travel due to COVID-19 has prompted some dining options to temporarily close-including all of Concourse E and those affected by a large renovation project in Concourse C (Might as well get some work done during the downtime, right?).

So what does this mean for you when traveling in and out of Las Vegas? We’ve put together a guide to let you know about the best places to grab a bite in between flights. Keep in mind, eateries can close or (re)open at a moment’s notice so check in with the airport’s interactive map for the latest hours and operating information. By the way, if you’re wondering why there’s a Terminal 1 and 3, but no Terminal 2, that’s just the way things turned out (Roll with it).

Bagelmania
Bagelmania
Bagelmania

TERMINAL 1

CONCOURSE A

Siegel’s Bagelmania
Siegel’s Bagelmania may be a New York-style deli, but it’s a born-and-raised Las Vegas original. More than 30 years after opening east of the Strip, the family-owned business now has a second location at the airport, where you can get your fix for a lox-and-bagel and as many black-and-white cookies as you like. Sandwiches include a grilled Rueben with a choice of pastrami, corned beef, or turkey and the Yiddish Bird, which combines turkey and bacon with chive cream cheese and sprouts.     

Moe’s Southwest Grill
Yeah, it’s a chain, but worth noting because the airport has the only Moe’s in Las Vegas (we’re more of a Chipotle kind of town). Loyal fans of the brand might even be willing to endure a TSA security check to get their hands on burrito bowls made with relatively healthy ingredients, plus a new breakfast menu to explore.

The B Lounge
The “B” stands for Budweiser, which is pretty much what you get along with a few other drafts, a basic spirits selection, and some prepackaged food items. It’s really your only choice for booze and to catch a big game on TV in the A concourse. 

Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport
Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport
Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport

Terminal 1

CONCOURSE B

PGA Tour Grill
This airport staple is a familiar sight to frequent flyers. Is it fine dining? Not by any means. Is it a place where you can sit down and have a meal? Yes. It’s also the only “regular” restaurant in the B concourse. The omelettes and burgers will hold you over until your next flight boards, and the Impossible Burger is available for vegans. The pizzas are a mixed bag, so we recommend sticking with the grilled chicken pesto. You also have a larger-than-expected lineup of beer and wine, which come in six- or nine-ounce servings, so don’t expect a heavy pour. While a newer and nicer version of the PGA Tour Grill is temporarily closed in Terminal 3, this one is still around-and the best restaurant you’ll find near the B gates.

360 Gourmet Burrito
The closest you’ll come to Mexican street food at the airport, but that’s almost an insult to street food. If you’re desperate for something to put in your belly, you’ll probably be fine with one of five food court-quality burrito/burrito bowl combinations on the menu. Otherwise, if you have time before your flight, it’s worth the walk to Concourse A for Moe’s.

McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport

Terminal 1

A&B ROTUNDA

Shake Shack
Shake Shack is one of the newest dining spots at McCarran. The standalone fast food joint is positioned right between the A and B gates with an art deco design patterned after the burger chain’s original location in New York. Pretty much everything you’d expect is on the menu, including frozen custard shakes and ShackBurgers made with the company’s own distinct ground beef blend and served on buttery potato buns. Show up early and you’ll get a full lineup of breakfast sandwiches.   

Jimmy John’s
Another recent addition to the airport, this particular Jimmy John’s is on the small side, but easy to notice, thanks to the smell of fresh-baked bread making its way through the A and B concourses. Whether it’s the BLT or Turkey Tom, there’s something on the menu to do the trick. The only downside-no Little John sandwiches here, although the ultra-customer-friendly Freaky Fast Rewards system is in effect. Easily the best sandwich spot in the airport. Sorry Port of Subs. Sorry
Jersey Mike’s.  

Other Options in Concourse A/B: Burger King, Cinnabon, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Fresh Attractions, Freshens Frozen Smoothie Company, Jamba Juice, Mrs. Fields, Port of Subs, PretzelMaker, Red Star Lounge, Starbucks, Stella Artois Bar, TCBY, and Vienna Beef.

Temporarily Closed in Concourse A/B: Great Steak & Potato Company, Sprinkles Cupcakes 

Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Terminal 1

CONCOURSE C 

Ethel M Chocolates
Finally, something local at the airport to sink your teeth into. Ethel M Chocolates are made in Henderson with quality ingredients, nothing artificial, and a clean taste that’s a welcome alternative to all those other candy bars at the newsstand. This is basically a gift shop. Mix and match your own individual pieces from a display window or grab a pre-packaged variety box. Ethel M can also be found in Concourses D while another remains closed by the E gates.  

Sprinkles
Sprinkles closed its Strip location a few years ago, but you can still wolf down their cupcakes at the airport. The California chain has vending machines-known affectionately as “cupcake ATMs”-by the C and D gates (others in the A and E concourses are temporarily out of action). They operate 24 hours, offering a much-needed sugar buzz for redeye travelers when most restaurants close overnight. Despite the format, the cupcakes are fresh and just as good as what you’d find in a regular Sprinkles store. Go with the Red Velvet. It’s the best five bucks you’ll spend at McCarran. 

Other Options in Concourse C: Burger King, Crafted Bar, Jamba Juice  

Temporarily Closed: Auntie Anne’s, Barney’s Lounge, Brookwood Farms BBQ, Corcoran’s Irish Pub, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Fresh Attractions, Fresh Market On The Go, Great American Bagel & Bakery, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Jose Cuervo Taquileria, LAS MKT, Lucky Streak Lounge, Nathan’s Famous, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Popeyes Louisiana Chicken, Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill, Starbucks, Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen, and Wendy’s

Rachel's Kitchen
Rachel’s Kitchen
Rachel’s Kitchen

Terminal 1/Terminal 3

CONCOURSE D

Jamba Juice
Are the D gates part of Terminal 1 or Terminal 3? It kinda depends on where you check in. Here’s what’s important: the food is a significant step-up from older parts of the airport. We’re singling out Jamba Juice-even though it’s a familiar chain-since it’s the first thing you’ll notice after taking the long escalator up to the D concourse from the tram. The shakes and bowls always taste good, the fruit is always fresh, and the staff knows how to keep the line moving along. A welcome sight before an early morning flight. Jamba Juice is also in Concourse C and just past the A/B checkpoint. 

Rachel’s Kitchen
We have a soft spot for Rachel’s Kitchen, a local Las Vegas chain where everything is based on fresh, vibrant ingredients. The airport location is basically a grab-and-go version of the concept. As far as pre-made sandwiches and salads go, these are by far the best in the airport. You can also order up smoothies and juices made fresh on the spot. Watermelon juice all by itself is pretty awesome-and a good way to hydrate after a long flight.   

Ruby’s Dinette
A sit-down restaurant with a modest 1950s diner theme, rounded out with a jukebox and thick milkshakes that require a spoon to finish off. Pay at the counter and hang around until the food is brought to your table. Fair warning: it can take a few minutes. Burgers are made fresh on the grill and the cooked-to-order fries are a nice change of pace from the fast food alternatives. A separate bar area is adults-only, allowing you to sip on that airport-quality Old Fashioned without children screaming in your face.  

Wolfgang Puck Express
The closest you’ll come in the airport to experiencing Vegas’ fondness for celebrity chef culture, even if it’s pretty much in name only. This place isn’t Spago, but probably the only McCarran restaurant with butternut squash soup, kale and quinoa salad, or gluten-free fennel sausage pizza. The Wolfgang Puck brand of wines are also better than what you’ll find at the average airport bar. Whether sitting down in the dining room or grabbing food to go, this is definitely near the top of the list. 

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza is a regional chain with a strong presence in both Nevada and California. As the name implies, pizzas are the big draw here, along with kobe burgers that don’t quite taste “kobe,” salads, and wraps. Definitely on the higher end of choices at the airport but between Sammy’s and Wolfgang Puck, there’s almost too many options for pizza by the D gates (especially when the sorely missed Metro Pizza reopens).

Burke in the Box 
This quick-casual concept by David Burke doesn’t feel like it has anything to do with a celebrity chef. It’s rather routine, especially now that the dining room is temporarily closed while the bar remains open. Still-the breakfast platter exceeds expectations. Only get a sandwich if it comes with a pretzel bun. The adjacent “On the Fly” to-go counter has little in common with the regular restaurant menu, but I guess you gotta buy bottled water somewhere.  

The Club LAS
We’re hesitant to mention airport lounges due to their exclusive nature, but happy to make an exception for The Club at LAS, which has upgraded its menu in a big way. Highlights include scrambled egg frittatas and vanilla-infused french toast for breakfast and mango bruschetta and coconut curry chicken for lunch and dinner. The lounge, which has comfy furniture and workstations is open to anyone with a flat-rate pass of $45 (with a discount for AAA members). A reasonable deal considering it includes unlimited beer, wine, and spirits in addition to all that food. A second version of The Club LAS is temporarily closed by the E gates in Terminal 3. 

Other Options in Concourse D: Auntie Anne’s, Burger King, California Pizza Kitchen, Great American Bagel & Bakery, Mrs. Fields, Port of Subs, Quiznos, Red Mango, Stella Artois Bar, and TCBY

Temporarily Closed: Baja Fresh Express, Cinnabon, Chili’s, Estrella Jalisco Bar, Fresh Attractions, Metro Pizza, and Starbucks    

Terminal 3

CONCOURSE E 

All Restaurants are Temporarily Closed in Concourse E: Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Ciao Gourmet Market, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, La Tapenade Mediterranean Grill, Las Vegas Chophouse & Brewery, The Local (bar), Pei Wei Asian Diner, PGA Tour Grill, Starbucks, and Village PubSign up here for our daily Vegas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas for Thrillist for five years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Leafly, Supercall, Modern Luxury, and Luxury Estates International’s seasonal publication. He just eats pretzels on the plane. Follow him on Twitter.

Las Vegas

Actually Cool Things to Do in Reno Right Now

Thrift shops, street art, bakeries, and beer are just a few things Reno does very well.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.‚Äčcom
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.‚Äčcom
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.‚Äčcom

Reno’s charm lies in its pretense-free attitude. The “Biggest Little City in the World” has¬†a relaxed, Old West vibe that persists even as a bevy of tech giants like Tesla and Google have set up shop there in recent years, expanding the local economy and population.¬†Artists, chefs, brewers, and entrepreneurs have all benefited from the boom, sprouting a food and booze renaissance fueled by a collective creative spirit. Add to that the surrounding natural beauty-including imposing Mt. Rose and nearby¬†Lake Tahoe-and you’ve got yourself a required stop on any trip through Northern Nevada. Here are the best things to while you’re in town.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Tour the city’s magnificent street art

Multiple locations
There are dozens of street murals in the¬†Reno¬†area, showcasing the city’s lively art scene and creative spirit. Much of it is curated by Art Spot Reno, a local nonprofit that leads a downtown gallery tour,¬†Art Walk Reno, on the first Thursday of every month. You can also follow their free interactive map for a self-guided tour of these colorful, captivating street pieces.

The renowned¬†Nevada Museum of Art¬†(more on that later) features sculptures once featured in Burning Man’s Black Rock City. But you’ll find evidence of Burning Man’s eccentric influence all over town, with public art installations like the iconic 50-foot Space Whale in City Plaza, and the imposing Desert Guard warrior who looms 49 feet above the city’s new billion-dollar downtown development, Neon Line.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Go rock climbing above the Reno Arch

Downtown
Basecamp at the Whitney Peak Hotel has the world’s tallest artificial rock-climbing wall-and the Guinness Book of World Records is more than happy to back up that claim. The wall stretches 164 feet high and affords a one-of-a-kind view of the famous Reno Arch below. Open until 9 or 10pm, the experience is especially cool after dark, when your climb is¬†illuminated by the glow of the Arch and nearby casino marquees. The wall is suitable for beginners, and experienced climbers can also check out the 15-meter certified speed wall and indoor harness-free bouldering on large artificial rocks.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

What’s your winter style? Checking double black diamonds off your list or sipping a double espresso? Either way, Reno Tahoe has what you’re looking for-lake views and city vibes within 30 minutes of each other. Spend the day on the slopes, exploring a winter wonderland, then kick back in the Biggest Little City in the World, filled with top-tier restaurants, luxurious resorts and plenty of craft breweries and coffee shops. Start planning your next getaway at VisitRenoTahoe.com.

Inclined Burgers + Brews
Inclined Burgers + Brews
Inclined Burgers + Brews

Detour to Incline Village

One of the largest towns on Lake Tahoe, Incline Village will set you up for a full day of eating, drinking, and exploring the lake’s beautiful northern shores. The village-named for the Great Incline Tramway, built by loggers in the 1870s-provides quick access to a ton of trails and activities at Lake Tahoe State Park, as well as Sand Harbor and Diamond Peak, where you can take in panoramic lake views from the slopes. From there you can hop on the Tahoe East Shore Trail or hike to Monkey Rock, grab a beer at Alibi Brewing, and get lunch at Inclined Burgers.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Sip and sample the craft brewery scene

Multiple Locations
Reno loves beer. And it’s got enough local producers to help put a boozy spin on the character of the city. Revision Brewing¬†in Sparks seems to be getting the most attention these days, with a heavy IPA selection and a whimsical attitude reflected in labels designed by local artists. Great Basin Brewing Company, with locations in South Reno and Sparks, is credited for putting the craft brew scene on the map here with its best-selling Great Basin Icky IPA.

The Depot, Nevada’s first combined brewery and distillery, is a historic three-story former train station. It’s within blocks of Pigeon Head (known for its German-style lagers and pilsners), Lead Dog (with a diverse lineup of recipes), and IMBń™B¬†Custom Brews (try the barrel-aged sours), which together make up the Brewery District.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Check out the Riverwalk District

Riverwalk District
The Truckee River runs through the heart of downtown, providing a welcome splash of nature in the heart of the city. The parks and walkways that surround it are known collectively as the Reno Riverwalk District-all close to plenty of great restaurants, including Campo and Wild River Grille, whose large patios overlook the water. Head to Liberty Food & Wine Exchange for shareable plates and fantastic cocktails-or even better, grab it to-go for a picnic on the grass at Wingfield Park and watch kayakers paddle by.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Explore Reno’s casino culture

Multiple locations
Gambling is legal in Nevada, but you won’t find any mega-casinos a la Vegas. Downtown you’ll find¬†THE ROW, home to¬†Circus Circus, Silver Legacy, and Eldorado, which are¬†connected by a nifty pedestrian overpass that allows you to carry booze between the casinos. THE ROW also rocks excellent martinis at Roxy’s, bottomless whiskey deals at Novi, and a unique atmosphere at¬†Rum Bullions Island Bar.

Further south, you’ll find Reno’s largest casino resort, the Peppermill, as well as Atlantis, which boasts an overachieving restaurant lineup. East of downtown, the Grand Sierra Resort¬†offers a great package overall: clean, modern, and fully renovated. Perks include a lakeside driving range, nightclub, and the Ultimate Rush slingshot that propels riders 180 feet in the air.

Liberty Food & Wine Exchange
Liberty Food & Wine Exchange
Liberty Food & Wine Exchange

Take a bite out of some of Reno’s best restaurants

Multiple locations
Much like the city itself, Reno’s dining scene has some serious momentum at the moment, featuring a combination of classic favorites-like Louie’s Basque,¬†Casale’s Halfway Club, and¬†LuLou’s-and inventive new concepts, like Churrasco Brazilian Steakhouse and¬†Von Bismarck. In Midtown,¬†S√ľp (which specializes in homemade soups) and Midtown Eats¬†draw loyal crowds. And Mark Estee, the most well-known chef in town, earned national acclaim and a James Beard nomination after founding Campo by the river. He later moved on to Liberty Food & Wine Exchange a block north in downtown Reno.

Photo courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Photo courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Photo courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Bike the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail

North Lake Tahoe and Reno
The Tahoe-Pyramid Trail follows the Truckee River from Tahoe City in California to Pyramid Lake, north of Reno. The trail is divided into five sections with ranging degrees of difficulty, but you can also tackle the scenic trails on foot. The whole concept was founded by Janet Phillips, a retired Reno-Sparks city official, who spent nearly two decades promoting and implementing the 114-mile trail.

Old World Coffee
Old World Coffee
Old World Coffee

Wake up to Reno’s¬†coffee shops and bakeries

Reno packs a hard caffeine punch with multiple high-quality local roasters and cafes throughout the city. Hub Coffee Roasters has a few different locations, but the one you want is located just off the Reno Riverwalk in a charmingly renovated old home from 1932. This location is also home to Hub Coffee’s Tea Bar, where they serve teas from around the world.

Check out Old World Coffee Lab¬†near downtown for precision-roasted, small-batch, hand-brewed coffees. In Midtown,¬†Pangolin Caf√©¬†is a¬†beautiful caf√© and confectionary that specializes in Turkish teas and sweets, house-made toffees, and liege waffles. (They’ve also got an espresso bar for your Americanos and lattes.) And whatever you do, do not leave Reno without paying a visit to Perenn Bakery. This artisan bakery makes the most gorgeous breads, croissants, and other pastries and baked goods. The golden flake and airy crumb of their croissants is nothing short of art.

Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art
Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art
Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art

Spend a day at the Nevada Museum of Art

Riverwalk District
The Nevada Museum of Art over-delivers as one of the most rewarding experiences in Reno. As the only accredited art museum in Nevada, the institution brings world-class exhibits to town such as¬†Living Modern, a tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe. City of Dust, NMA’s¬†exhibit dedicated to the 30-year history of Burning Man, is now touring the country. The museum is also responsible for the colorful Seven Magic Mountains¬†installation outside Las Vegas, and even launched an art satellite (!) into space. And as if the two gallery levels, sculpture garden, and rooftop space with killer city views weren’t enough to fill an afternoon, the property is also home to chez louie, a French bistro by famed local chef Mark Estee.

M. Vinuesa/Shutterstock
M. Vinuesa/Shutterstock
M. Vinuesa/Shutterstock

Take a quick day trip out of town

Virginia City
Taking the half-hour drive from Reno to Virginia City is like traveling through a time portal. The former mining community of just 1,200 people provides a snapshot of the late 1800s with wooden sidewalks, saloons, shops, and museums preserved in Old West architecture. Hop on board a vintage locomotive and tour the mines that once made Nevada rich with gold and silver. Other popular historical day trips from Reno include a visit to Carson City and Fort Churchill State Historic Park.

The Emerson Bar
The Emerson Bar
The Emerson Bar

Dive deep into the biggest little cocktail scene

Midtown’s cup runneth over with quality cocktail bars.¬†Death & Taxes is a dark, dramatic speakeasy with a multi-page menu full of classics and their own specialties (many with some mention of “death,” “devil,” or “demon” in the name), as well as a premium “Baller List.”¬†The Emerson is the aesthetic opposite: a bright, bubbly cocktail bar that puts a mid-century modern twist on its creative cocktail program and hosts drag brunch, drag bingo, and open-mic comedy nights.

Rum Sugar Lime brings a bit of Caribbean flair to Midtown with island vibes and a rum-based menu. Chapel Tavern is a stylish-but-casual neighborhood bar that takes its cocktails VERY seriously, and none of them are over $12. Then there are specialty spots like Amari, a small but gorgeous space where amaro takes center stage, and Whisky Lounge, with an extensive selection of brown spirits from around the world.

The Lucky Star Gallery
The Lucky Star Gallery
The Lucky Star Gallery

Find treasures at Reno’s many thrift shops

Turns out, Reno is a bit of a vintage thrifter’s paradise. At¬†Junkee Clothing Exchange in Midtown, you’ll find everything from outlandish second hand costumes to kitschy antiques. Bad Apple Vntg is a quirky spot with a particular fondness for the ’80s and ’90s. For mid-century modern furniture, check out¬†The Nest; for Western and Americana vibes, try the¬†Lucky Star Gallery at the Vassar House. And while the Melting Pot World Emporium is not a vintage store, it is a must-visit when in Reno. It bills itself as “Reno’s coolest counter-culture store” and is stuffed full of clothing, costumes, accessories, d√©cor, instruments, flasks, pipes, tarot cards, and pretty much everything a person needs for Burning Man and beyond. Know your customer-this place was actually the Burning Man ticket outlet for 14 years.

Rob Kachelriess has been contributing to Thrillist for more than five years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Modern Luxury, Leafly, and Luxury Estates International‘s seasonal publication. He thinks Reno has a better airport than Las Vegas. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.

Nicole Rupersburg lives in Las Vegas where you can find bottomless mimosa brunches every day of the week, A-list musicians in residency every night of the week, and snow still on the mountains in the middle of August when it’s 115 degrees outside. Follow her on Twitter @ruperstarski.

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