A LAS VEGAS LIST FROM A LAS VEGAS NATIVE

Born and raised there but absconded to elsewhere. I almost never go out when I'm back home visiting the family but these are the things I like. I'm sure I'll add to this over time as I remember/discover new things & suggestions welcome. Hope you have/had fun @bjnovak!
  1. FOOD:
  2. Lotus of Siam
    Named the best Thai food in North America by Jonathan Gold of Gourmet magazine
  3. Chicago Joe's
    Super old-school, teeny little Italian restaurant (it's in a cottage!) downtown
  4. O-Face Donuts [UPDATE: NOW CLOSED 😕]
    Downtown, crazy flavors, vegan options, delish.
  5. B + B
    Stands for Bar + Bistro. A good downtown standby with options for lots of inconvenient dietary requirements.
  6. Veggie House
    Chinatown mainstay: deliciously weird fake meats aplenty for the vegetarians and vegans, and the omnivores who get dragged there and end up loving it
  7. Il Mulino
    Las Vegas outpost of the New York institution
  8. Dona Maria's
    Tamales!
  9. DAYTIME:
  10. Imperial Health Spa
    Korean Spa with those vigorous exfoliating treatments etc. but you can also just pay to go in and lounge. Steam rooms, jacuzzis, salt brick saunas, an ice room. It used to be open 24 hours but I think that's changed now.
  11. Neon Boneyard
    All the old neon signs from casinos that went out of business or got imploded. Only on view with a guided tour and history lesson.
  12. Spring Mountain Ranch
    Summertime only and it's real local: they do a season of outdoor theatre up there. You bring a picnic dinner, camp out on the big grassy plain in front of the stage, and then when it gets dark the show starts. Good for beating the heat as it's up in the mountains a bit and cooler.
  13. Vintage shopping
    There are genuine old-school Vegas treasures out there. Thrift stores are good too, particularly Assistance League as they get in really posh donations sometimes. (Biased though as my mom helps run that one.)
  14. Springs Preserve
    A little 100-acre oasis tucked away in the middle of town and not far from the Strip, if you need a bit of nature. Walking trails, educational events.
  15. Red Rock Canyon
    If you really want to get out of town for a nature break Red Rock Canyon is not far and absolutely stunning. Good hikes that give you an amazing view over the city.
  16. Blue Sky Yoga
    In the same building downtown as B + B above, if you REALLLY need a pause from Vegas. Wonderful teachers and a cute art-filled space.
  17. NIGHTTIME:
  18. Dino's
    Classic old Vegas dive bar/karaoke. THE BEST.
  19. Frankie's Tiki Room
    The kitschiest, which, in Vegas, is saying something. Bonkers cocktails, die-hard locals.
  20. The Cosmopolitan
    I like everything here. Good restaurants, good cocktails, a secret pizza place, the sports book's live bands have been artists like Marina and the Diamonds and KT Tunstall, there are "dive-in" movies shown at the pool in the summer and the concerts there are always the best.
  21. Bar-hopping downtown: The Griffin, Don't Tell Mama, Beauty Bar, Velveteen Rabbit, Insert Coins.
    Downtown is a weird mix of dirty old dangerous Vegas and artsy hipster Vegas. I love it. Insert Coins is a video barcade. Mic drop. [UPDATE: Insert Coins is now closed, but there are other barcades around town.]
  22. First Fridays
    Downtown gets taken over on the first Friday of every month with special events, art fairs, food trucks, etc.
  23. Absinthe
    (The show, not the drink.) (I haven't actually seen this show but I know the people behind it and they always do good work.)
  24. Fountains at the Bellagio
    I KNOW IT'S TOURIST CHEESY but if one happens to be on the Strip while they're doing their thing one cannot but stop and watch.
  25. ADDITIONS TO THE LIST, Feb 2016
  26. The Double Down saloon
    Serious dive bar. Their website is pure 1997: doubledownsaloon.com
  27. Fat Choy Restaurant
    Located in the off-Strip Eureka casino, it's a little hidden gem calling itself "Classic American diner meets Asian comfort foods."
  28. VegeNation
    New all-vegan restaurant downtown serving global street food. It's always packed with herbivores and omnivores alike. Everything I've had there so far is crazy delicious.