Las Vegas

Things to Do in Las Vegas This Weekend

AREA15. Now with more food.

Photo courtesy of Oddwood/AREA 15
Photo courtesy of Oddwood/AREA 15
Photo courtesy of Oddwood/AREA 15

Did you enjoy playing in the snow this week? Or posting photos of Blizzard 2021 to your Instagram feed? Now that all 1.2 inches of snowfall are behind us, it’s time to move forward with even more winter fun in the middle of the desert. This weekend will be a little warmer in Las Vegas, but it’s busy with lots of stuff to do (and if you still want to go sledding, Mt. Charleston is just a short drive away.) So bring a mask, practice social distancing, and check out all the cool stuff happening around town over the next few days.

Get your fill of new eats at AREA15

Ongoing beginning Thursday, January 28
Off the Strip
Four-time James Beard Award-winning chef Todd English officially debuts The Beast at AREA15. The food hall, which previously was operating as an outdoor pop-up, is now a permanent 6,500-square-foot communal dining area where you can wolf down BBQ short rib sliders, tuna tartare wonton tacos, and other bites. The Beast is also supplying new munchies to Oddwood (one of the coolest bars in Vegas right now).
Cost: Prices vary
 

See a dinner and show (like the old days)

Thursday, January 28-Sunday, January 31
Off the Strip
While entertainment remains in short supply in Las Vegas during the pandemic, The Vegas Room continues to provide a classic dinner-and-show experience while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Singer Serena Henry, who’s shared the stage with the likes of Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight, debuts with performances Thursday–Saturday at 8 pm on the heels of dinner at 6:30 pm. Skye Dee Miles performs Sunday with a five-course Southern-style brunch at 1 pm. 
Cost: Dinner tickets are $85, brunch is $65.
 

Drink beer and toast to seven years of Banger Brewing

Friday, January 29-Saturday, January 30
Downtown
One of our favorite breweries in Las Vegas is celebrating a big milestone. Banger Brewing on Fremont Street is throwing a two-day 7th Anniversary party with $4 house beers from open to close. You’ll also be among the first to try Lost in Yesterday, a new double hazy IPA, which can also be ordered online in cans to go. Make a reservation (limited to 90 minutes and four people) by calling 702-456-2739.  
Cost: Free admission

Grab a drink at the new Commonwealth Cocktail Club

Friday, January 29-Saturday, January 30
Downtown
Commonwealth is tweaking its format for 2021. The Laundry Room, which had taken over the entire venue for much of last year, is now returning to its original, intimate space as a secluded speakeasy. Yet much of that charm and bartending expertise is continuing in the main room with Commonwealth Cocktail Club on Friday and Saturday nights 7 pm–2 am. Expect new libations on the menu, including a rum-fueled punch bowl, and live music from DJs and piano players. Seated reservations are required with limited capacity to ensure social distancing. 
Cost: Cocktails begin at $14, punch bowls begin at $35   
 

Order Coney Island hot dogs for your Big Game viewing party

Saturday, January 30
Your house
It’s never too soon to start thinking about the Big Game (you know which one we’re talking about). Order a Tailgate Kit from American Coney Island by January 30 and it will ship by February 1, arriving in plenty of time to see the Chiefs square off against the Bucs in Tampa. The package includes 12 hot dogs and 12 buns with chili, mustard, and onions. Otherwise, the only other way to get these dogs in Vegas is at American Coney Island at The D casino on Fremont Street.  
Cost: $69
 

Feast from food trucks at the Pinball Hall of Fame

Saturday, January 30
Off the Strip
Before moving to a new location on the Strip later this year, the Pinball Hall of Fame (a museum of playable machines from decades past) continues to remain busy at its original location on Tropicana. Stop by between 2 pm and 8 pm when a couple food trucks will be serving food in the parking lot: Japanese street cuisine from Matsuri and BBQ from Meats and Treats. Dig through your pockets for a few quarters to play pinball in between bites. 
Cost: Free admission + cost of food.

Get in a romantic mood with Lights of Love

Saturday, January 30–Sunday, February 14
Henderson
The three-acre botanical Cactus Garden at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory transforms into Lights of Love with about a half-million lights in romantic, colorful designs. Admission is usually free, but this year, reservations are required with a $5 donation to Three Square food bank to ensure social distancing. While there, book a chocolate tasting (with optional wine pairings) to sample some of Ethel M’s best treats.
Cost: $5 donation is good for groups of up to six people, tastings begin at $65.  
 

Grab brunch to go from Yardbird

Sunday, January 31
The Venetian
Take home some of the best fried chicken in Vegas for your own personal tailgate-style Sunday brunch. Yardbird is putting together four different takeaway packages for six people, allowing you to wolf down calories and build up anticipation for the Big Game the following weekend. The Fried Chicken Family Pack sticks to chicken with mac n’ cheese, the Big Boy Brunch Bash focuses on breakfast favorites, and the Backyard BBQ Bonanza is a classic BBQ spread. Of course, all packages come with buttermilk biscuits. Place your order in advance and pickup from Yardbird between 9 am and noon. 
Cost: Packages begin at $102.  
  

Pair a vegan BBQ with beer at Hop Nuts

Sunday, January 31
Downtown Arts District
Could there be a better way to wrap up Veganuary? Southern Fried Vegan is hosting a “Vegan BBQ” with a variety of meal options (including gluten-free) at Hop Nuts Brewing. And yes, in case you were wondering, beer is vegan. Tickets are being sold in one-hour increments between 2pm and 5pm. If you want to see what plant-based versions of fried chicken, burgers, and jambalaya are like, now’s your chance. 
Cost: Individual dishes begin at $8, meals begin at $20Sign up here for our daily Vegas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

FYI: We’ve also got you covered with comprehensive guides to NYC, LA, SFMiami, DC, Austin, Boston, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Diego — just in case you’re ever out of town.

Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than five years. In addition, his work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Leafly, Supercall, Modern Luxury, and Luxury Estates International’s seasonal publication. 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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