Las Vegas

The 18 Most Essential Las Vegas Food Experiences

Go big or go home.

Photo by Lindsay Widdel for Eiffel Tower Restaurant
Photo by Lindsay Widdel for Eiffel Tower Restaurant
Photo by Lindsay Widdel for Eiffel Tower Restaurant

When it comes to dining, some people go to Las Vegas with one goal in mind: eat at a buffet. That’s the wrong way to go about it. Buffets serve a purpose-though that has certainly evolved in 2020 -but there’s so much more to experience when choosing restaurants in this town. The celebrity chefs on the Strip get most of the attention, often with good reason, but the growing neighborhood dining scene in Chinatown, Downtown, Summerlin, and other areas is adding welcome depth and diversity to the local options. Make sure to check out the hottest restaurants to visit in Las Vegas right now, but don’t overlook other more established dining experiences-the ones you need to cross off your bucket list to do Vegas right.

Photo by Eric Jamison for Wynn Las Vegas
Photo by Eric Jamison for Wynn Las Vegas
Photo by Eric Jamison for Wynn Las Vegas

Make the most of waterside dining at the Wynn

Wynn Las Vegas
Great food is even better with dramatic waterside scenery-a philosophy that’s on full display at the Wynn resort. The best example is Mizumi, one of the most romantic dining spots in Vegas with a colorful koi pond and 90-foot waterfall-visible through tall windows or from an outdoor deck. Executive Chef Min Kim joined the team early this year, elevating the menu even higher with an especially strong focus on fresh seafood and inventive recipes. Meanwhile, both SW Steakhouse and Lakeside (featuring fresh fish flown in from Hawaii) overlook the newly revamped Lake of Dreams-with yet another waterfall and surrounding hill of pine trees. Animatronic and projection performances happen every 20 minutes, ranging from cute to trippy. A more understated, but no less exceptional option is Costa di Mare, which presents a choice of live seafood near a small pond on the patio. 
How to order: Book a reservation online with Wynn Resorts.

Photo courtesy of Bazaar Meat
Photo courtesy of Bazaar Meat
Photo courtesy of Bazaar Meat

Feast on steak at Bazaar Meat

The Sahara
The steakhouse is a format well-represented in Las Vegas, but few are as adventurous as Bazaar Meat by José Andrés. Under Executive Chef Alex Pitts, the kitchen digs deep into a wide array of food, from raw seafood and caviar flights to wild boar sausage, Buffalo-style bison, a ten-pound suckling pig, and three choices of Spanish bone-in Ribeye. If you want things to get weird, start off with the foie gras cotton candy. Arrive hungry, pace yourself, and go easy on the sirloin tartare, which fills you up stat. The restaurant recently introduced an elevated takeaway menu with large format dinners and a la carte items for added convenience in the new era of social distancing. 
How to order: Book a reservation or order takeaway online. 

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

Discover unexpected variety in Chinatown

Chinatown 
Ever since Raku fired up its robata grill in 2008, the curtain has been pulled back on the hidden treasures of Chinatown in Las Vegas. Joyful House, Chengdu Taste, China Mama, and Shanghai Taste make it easy to explore a variety of Chinese regions, while Yui Edomae, Kabuto, Kame, and Kaiseki Yuzu provide masterful kaiseki/omakase Japanese dining experiences. But why stop at Asian cuisine? Visit Partage for modern French, EDO for Spanish tapas, and Mas Por Favor for a hidden speakeasy in the back of a taco joint. Sparrow + Wolf may be the Chinatown restaurant that’s hardest to define, mixing a wide array of global flavors with the smokiness of wood-fired meats and vegetables. It recently debuted what could be the best Sunday brunch in Las Vegas (proof is in the duck confit cinnamon roll). 
How to order: Check with each restaurant for booking policies. 

Photo courtesy of Restaurant Guy Savoy
Photo courtesy of Restaurant Guy Savoy
Photo courtesy of Restaurant Guy Savoy

Relish French fine dining at Restaurant Guy Savoy

Caesars Palace
French chef Guy Savoy has five restaurants, but only one of them is outside Paris. Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace provides a masterful interpretation of French dining in Las Vegas-a role even more crucial with the ongoing closures of Joël Robuchon, Le Cirque, and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire due to the current pandemic. Multi-course menus are the specialty with seafood, wagyu beef, foie gras, and truffles prepared in delicate, carefully arranged dishes-all presented with Navy SEAL-level tactical precision by a well-trained service team and the talent of Executive Chef Nicolas Costagliola. Add in a bread cart, cheese servings, and a ridiculous wine selection and you’ve set a new standard for bucket list restaurants in a town full of them. 
How to order: Book a reservation online. Contact directly by email or calling 702-731-7286 to reserve the intimate Krug Table near the kitchen, which pairs a special menu with Krug champagne. 

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

Indulge in Thai cuisine at Lotus of Siam

Off the Strip
Lotus of Siam is more than just Penn Jillette’s favorite restaurant. Its success proved to the rest of the world that you didn’t have to visit a hotel lobby to find a great restaurant in Las Vegas. The recipes of Chef Saipin Chutima, passed down through generations of family history, represent the diversity of Thai cuisine with a heavy emphasis on the Northern region, where spicy flavors and coconut milk sauces carry a Burmese influence. The authenticity is felt in dishes like the Nam Kao Tod (pork fried rice that manages to be both chewy and crispy at the same time) and Som Thum (a bright papaya salad with apples and peanuts). The wine list leans towards whites to balance the intense flavors of the food. This is the one restaurant that every other chef in Vegas makes a point to visit on their downtime-and some tourists plan their vacation around. The original Lotus of Siam is tucked inside a worn-out shopping center on Sahara, but plans are in the works to re-open a second location on Flamingo that’s recovering from roof damage.    
How to order: Book a reservation online (knowing that the wait could be long if you show up without one).

Photo by Ryan Hafey for La Strega
Photo by Ryan Hafey for La Strega
Photo by Ryan Hafey for La Strega

Experience a new wave of fresh, Italian dining

Multiple locations
A new wave of Italian restaurants are pulling back on heavy sauces while putting vibrant, fresh flavors front and center. The movement is led by Esther’s Kitchen in the Downtown Arts District, where Chef James Trees puts together seasonal menus of house-made pastas, addictive fresh bread, and pizzas that compete among the very best in Las Vegas. At La Strega in Summerlin, Chef Gina Marinelli takes guests through a journey of varied Italian regions while earning national recognition along the way. While Vetri Cucina remains inactive with the temporary closing of the Palms, Marc Vetri has restructured his format, opening Osteria Fiorella at the Red Rock Resort with a similar but simpler menu that still takes advantage of crisp, easy flavor profiles. Meanwhile, the influence of consulting chef Marc Marrone has helped make Locale the go-to dining destination in the Mountain’s Edge/Southern Highlands area southwest of the Strip.
How to order: Contact each restaurant individually for reservations and to-go information.

Photo courtesy of Delmonico Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of Delmonico Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of Delmonico Steakhouse

Wash down steaks with whiskey at Delmonico Steakhouse

Venetian
Everything begins with a drink at Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse. The whiskey list is legendary with more than 700 spirits from at least eight different countries, including exclusives like a new W.L. Weller Antique 107 Single Barrel Select wheated bourbon. It goes great with the steakhouse’s prime cuts-sourced from Creekstone Farms, dry-aged in-house and often given a Creole twist, especially the juicy bone-in Ribeye. The best experience is at the chef’s table, which offers a rare look at the kitchen team in action. The cookery is now led by Chef de Cuisine Daniel Tederous after Ronnie Rainwater (chef from the beginning, more than 20 years ago) was promoted to director of culinary operations, overseeing both Delmonico Steakhouse and Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand.   
How to order: Book a reservation online or call 702-414-3737 to ask about availability on the Chef’s Table. 

Photo courtesy of Bardot Brasserie
Photo courtesy of Bardot Brasserie
Photo courtesy of Bardot Brasserie

Try a new kind of French at Bardot Brasserie

Aria
French restaurants can often feel sterile and stuffy. Not this one. Michael Mina’s Bardot Brasserie has a bright, modern setting with dark wood, brass, and-just to make sure it doesn’t take itself too seriously-a “shop window” facing the kitchen. The restaurant does a fantastic job staying true to expected staples like escargot and steak frites but also knows how to modify blah ordinary dishes and make them amazing. A great example is the Caesar salad, served on endive with red king crab and crispy capers or even the avocado toast, topped with shrimp and jalapeno on fresh buttered bread. Of course you can always go bigger with the decadent Beef Wellington carved for two. Just want to dip your toes in? The happy hour (Wednesday-Saturday 5-7pm and Sunday 5-10pm) is one of the best and liveliest on the Strip.  
How to order: Book a reservation or just show up in the bar area for happy hour.

Photo by Anthony Mair for The STRAT
Photo by Anthony Mair for The STRAT
Photo by Anthony Mair for The STRAT

Scale to the Top of the World at the Stratosphere

The Strat
Whether you’re eating or not, taking the elevator up to the viewing deck of the 1,149-foot Stratosphere tower should be on any kind of Vegas bucket list. Fortunately, the food at the Top of the World restaurant (just below on the 107th floor) more than delivers. Under the guidance of Golden Gaming Corporate Executive Chef Bradley Manchester, the menu favors approachable dishes made with exceptional ingredients like the lobster, shrimp, and crab linguini or the Australian Tajima Wagyu ribeye. Every bite is enjoyed in a slow-rotating dining room that offers a 360-degree view of the Las Vegas Valley by the time your meal wraps up. Hopping on board the viewing deck thrill rides is an activity best saved for before dinner-not after.   
How to order: Book a reservation (and buy thrill ride tickets) online.

Photo courtesy of Ferraro's
Photo courtesy of Ferraro’s
Photo courtesy of Ferraro’s

Ferraro’s

Off the Strip
Just east of the Strip, Ferraro’s uniquely balances the line between traditional Italian favorites and inventive contemporary dishes (not to mention the best meatballs in Las Vegas). At the heart of the menu is a deep, diverse wine list loaded with selections from Italy and California. The family-owned business has been a Vegas staple since 1985 and has a popular social hour and late-night menu. (The latter introduced to accommodate the night owls across the street at the Hard Rock resort, which is being renovated into a new Virgin Hotels property in 2021.) Ferraro’s also expanded into the Pizza Forte brand, which serves food at the T-Mobile Arena and Las Vegas Ballpark.  
How to order: Book a reservation online or explore the options in a new takeaway menu.

Photo by Anthony Mair for Cut by Wolfgang Puck
Photo by Anthony Mair for Cut by Wolfgang Puck
Photo by Anthony Mair for Cut by Wolfgang Puck

Take a slice out of dinner at Cut

Venetian
It’s hard to find a more complete steakhouse in Las Vegas than Cut. The Wolfgang Puck concept is given its own unique Vegas identity under the direction of Executive Chef Matt Hurley. Most of the steaks are cooked over white oak and mesquite, ranging from corn-fed Midwest cuts to ultra-marbleized Japanese snow beef or even a smoked brisket. (Some of the beef fat is infused into an Old Fashioned, making for an unusually flavorful whiskey cocktail.) Round out the meal with carefully sourced shellfish, sweetbreads, and pork belly. The entire restaurant has been remodeled in recent years, making the dining room feel both new and comfortably worn-in. Live music is in the lounge on Thursdays 4-7pm with a special menu of small bites and cocktails.  
How to order: Book a reservation online. 

Photo by Beverly Poppe for é by José Andrés
Photo by Beverly Poppe for é by José Andrés
Photo by Beverly Poppe for é by José Andrés

Enjoy the intimacy of é by José Andrés

The Cosmopolitan
The most intimate fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas is becoming even more exclusive. After sitting out much of the pandemic, é by José Andrés is back open, downsizing from nine to six seats to maximize social distancing. Guests sit at a single countertop, guided through a culinary experience of more than 20 small bites in less than two hours. Ingenuity is the theme with many of the dishes based on gastronomic experimentation. The cotton candy empanadas with foie gras have been especially fun in the past, but anything is fair game. With only two seatings a night at 5:30 or 8:30, reservations can be hard to book but worth the advance planning to score what is literally a golden ticket to enter. Add a wine or cocktail pairing and enjoy one of the most intriguing and unique dinners in Las Vegas.  
How to book: Reservations are available online (although you may need to sign up on a waitlist). 

Photo courtesy of Spago Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of Spago Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of Spago Las Vegas

Dine by the Fountains at Bellagio

Bellagio
The dinner-and-a-show concept takes on new meaning at the Bellagio, where five restaurants have comfortable outdoor patios with up-close views of the resort’s iconic fountain displays. Feast on French at Julian Serrano’s Picasso (named after the impressive art collection in the dining room) or steaks at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime. Another Serrano restaurant, Lago, offers an Italian spin on an innovative tapas menu while Yellowtail serves exquisite sashimi and other Japanese dishes, courtesy of Akira Back. Wolfgang Puck’s Spago arrived at the Bellagio after helping establish the celebrity chef movement in its previous spot inside the Forum Shops. It continues to serve familiar favorites like the smoked salmon pizza and big eye tuna tartare cones, but now in a much more engaging environment. 
How to order: Book an online reservation with the Bellagio. 

Photo courtesy of Oscar's Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of Oscar’s Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of Oscar’s Steakhouse

Take a trip back in time at an old-school steakhouse

Multiple locations
It seems like there’s always a fancy new steakhouse to check out in Las Vegas, but some have been around so long, they’re historic destinations in their own right. The Golden Steer, open west of the Strip since 1958, is an iconic spot where you can request the same booth reserved for Frank Sinatra back in the day. Hugo’s Cellar, tucked away in the basement of the Four Queens resort, is a Fremont Street staple famous for handing out roses to female guests. Oscar’s Steakhouse is a newer arrival, but still carries plenty of old-Vegas swagger. Named after former mayor and mob lawyer Oscar Goodman (rarely seen without a martini in hand, even at ribbon cuttings), the restaurant has a distinctive circular dining room (seen in movies like Casino) and regular menu updates by Chef Benjamin Jenkins. Goodman is full of great stories, whether holding court in the bar or hosting his mob dinner series (which is currently on hold). 
How to order: Book an online reservation at Golden Steer, Hugo’s Cellar, or Oscar’s

John Mull's Road Kill Grill - John Mull's Meats
John Mull’s Road Kill Grill – John Mull’s Meats
John Mull’s Road Kill Grill – John Mull’s Meats

John Mull’s Road Kill Grill

Northwest
John Mull’s Meats and Road Kill Grill seems to pop up out of nowhere in the middle of a mostly residential neighborhood near North Las Vegas. The meat market and BBQ stand is known for long lines, especially on the weekends, but the family-owned business knows how to keep things moving along. The presentations are simple, enjoyed on an ever-expanding covered patio with picnic tables. But the payoff is some of the best BBQ in Nevada. All the bases are covered-pulled pork, chicken, ribs, burnt ends (plus tri-top on Tuesdays and Thursdays)-but the hot links are legendary-cured for 16 hours and smoked for six. The place began as a slaughterhouse back in the ’50s and will still process game for hunters. 
How to order: No reservations, but you can order food in advance, arrange catering, or make meat/retail purchases online. 

Photo courtesy of Marche Bacchus
Photo courtesy of Marche Bacchus
Photo courtesy of Marche Bacchus

Escape to Desert Shores with Marche Bacchus

Desert Shores
Marche Bacchus was doing just fine until a car crashed into the front of the restaurant in early 2018. The good news is nobody got hurt. More good news-it was the perfect excuse to not only completely remodel the entrance, but add a big new bar with a killer Scotch and cocktail program. It complements the wine collection of nearly a thousand labels, which can be bought to go, or brought to the table for just $10 more. We like the second option better, since it gives you a chance to try the eggplant terrine, pan-roasted duck breast, rack of lamb, and other French-focused menu items. Throw in the waterside scenery of Lake Jacqueline and an expansive outdoor terrace and you’ve got a one-stop-shop for the perfect date night dinner.   

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

Mix steaks and cocktails with Herbs & Rye and Cleaver 

Off The Strip
Nectaly Mendoza’s Herbs & Rye earns so much praise as a craft cocktail bar, it’s almost easy to forget it’s also a restaurant-one that serves house-made pasta and perfectly charred steaks. (The latter half-off during a legendary happy hour that generously runs 5-8pm and 12-3am.) It’s a moody, dimly lit locals hangout and industry clubhouse, but reservations are tighter than ever with social-distancing guidelines in place. Fortunately, sister steakhouse Cleaver has much more room, but with a similar cocktail list and happy hour. There are flashier restaurants in town, but few have as much local charm. And admit it, you could use a stiff drink right now.  
How to order: Book a reservation online with Herbs & Rye or Cleaver.

Eiffel Tower Restaurant
Eiffel Tower Restaurant
Eiffel Tower Restaurant

Elevate your experience at Eiffel Tower Restaurant

Paris Las Vegas
The Eiffel Tower Restaurant could easily coast on the dining room alone. Perched 110 feel high within the Eiffel Tower replica, it’s surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Strip. The restaurant is known for hosting countless proposals and a popular spot for micro-weddings in the age of COVID. A corner table with a clear view of the Bellagio fountains is often described as one of the most romantic in Vegas-and how can you argue? However, the food by Chef J. Joho is what puts the restaurant over the top as a memorable experience with steaks, seafood, foie gras, and escargot front and center. The weekend brunch is especially fun. Try the lobster eggs benedict. 
How to order: Book a reservation online.Sign 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 in Thrillist for more than seven years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He’s going to check all these restaurants off his bucket list at least five more times. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.

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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