Vegas: Let the Fun Begin

What's Hot, Tried and True in Vegas Now

When friends and family come to Las Vegas, they inevitably want to know what to do. No need to fret, we’ve got the lowdown on what’s hot now and what’s tried and true. From comedians to production shows, the best bars and restaurants on the scene to the attractions you must have on your list, we take a look at some of the top experiences and what makes them so special. They'll regard you as a rock star for offering up only the best recommendations, and we're happy to oblige.

SHOWS

Carrot Top One of the longest-standing names in modern comedy, Carrot Top is still constantly updating his resident show, Let the Fun Begin, that’s been presented at the Luxor since 2005. More than 25 years ago, Scott Thompson debuted on “Star Search” and he’s been a showbiz comedy staple ever since. Dubbed “the wackiest red-headed comedian since Lucy,” he can now be found digging through trunks of props each night, riffing on close to 200 items with his unique observations on pop culture, news headlines and more. W-M 8 pm. Tickets start at $40. Luxor, 702.262.4400.

Australia’s Human Nature Sings Motown & More These four blokes from Down Under belt out the Motown hits in a show that transports listeners back to the golden age of jukeboxes and soul. Their repertoire includes all-time greats like “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Uptight” and “Runaround Sue,” all backed by a live band. The Australian boy band originally got together in 1989 and went on the tour with Celine Dion from 1995-1997. By May 2009, they had grabbed hold of the Las Vegas Strip with a residency backed by Smokey Robinson. You can’t help but stand up, dance and sing along with this charming quartet. Tu-Sa, 7 pm. Tickets start at $55. Venetian Showroom at the Venetian, 702.414.9000.

Cirque du Soleil is the gold standard in this town, with shows ranging from tributes to The Beatles and Michael Jackson to an exploration of a baby’s wanderings and a seductive frolic that mimics a burlesque show. But the nearly 15-year-old KÁ at the MGM Grand features a narrative that’s easy to follow and the typically mind-blowing acrobatics and maneuvers that have become Cirque’s calling card. The story follows a twin brother and sister separated by a battle and their journey to reunite with one another. Along the way, they encounter Wushu martial arts fights, aerial stunts, a wheel of death and Chinese opera as only Cirque can perform. Even the stage is actually two giant mobile platforms that almost become characters themselves as they rotate and shift. Do not miss this Vegas institution. Sa-W, 7 & 9:30 pm. Tickets start at $69. MGM Grand, 702.531.3826.

Dining

Best Friend Roy Choi’s high-energy Korean barbecue joint at the Park MGM has quickly become a fine dining staple in the area. The facade of a liquor store at the front is the setting for quick bites and counter service. Patrons walk through a pink plastic freezer door to find a rainbow-bright room with plants hanging from the ceiling and a mural created by L.A. artist Phung Huynh. Choi stuffs the menu with his greatest hits, highlighted by slippery shrimp, Kogi short rib tacos, shaking beef saltado, A-Frame OG ribs with hoisin-chili, Commissary carrots, and more from his original restaurants in LA’s Chinatown neighborhood. Open daily, 5 pm to midnight. Park MGM, 888.ROY.CHOI [769.2464].

Lago Whether dining for lunch, dinner or the weekend brunch, chef Julian Serrano’s third Las Vegas restaurant doles out small plates with a view of those spectacular fountains at the Bellagio. Found just off the casino floor with a hard-to-miss mural depicting the streets of Milan, Lago’s elegant setting decorated in Milan’s 20th century Italian Futurism style opened in 2015, visually inspired by the geometric patterns of fashion designer Emilio Pucci. Small bites of slow-cooked short ribs and clams in a spicy white wine sauce join a can’t-miss three-course brunch on Sundays. Open M-Th, 11:30 am-11 pm; F-Sa, 11:30 am-midnight; Su, 10:30 am-11 pm. Bellagio, 702.693.8865. 

Michael’s Gourmet Room Back in the late ’50s and early ’60s, gourmet rooms brought a touch of elegance to the dining scene in Las Vegas. The last of its kind in the area moved to South Point in 2007 after a 25-year stay at the former Barbary Coast casino, which is now home to The Cromwell. Tuxedoed waitstaff attend to every detail in this 50-seat dining room decked out in red velvet, sporting a varied roster of Continental dishes, many prepared tableside. Chateaubriand and a rack of lamb for two are the specialties of the house, along with veal piccata, tournedos of beef and a Sicilian-style chicken breast. Do save room for cherries jubilee or bananas Foster. Open daily 5:30-10 pm. South Point, 702.796.7111.

NIGHTLIFE

The Dorsey Every city needs a classic cocktail lounge, and The Dorsey at The Venetian delivers. This chic space overlooks the Venetian’s gaming floor for excellent people watching, while the drinks are served in a posh, cozy setting that reminds of an elegant study. Sam Ross of Attaboy and Milk & Honey fame in New York City crafted the cocktail menu that features wines and punches meant to share, as well as cocktail standards. The must-try Penicillin features scotch, lemon, ginger, honey and an Islay float for a delicious conversation starter. Stop by later on in the night for DJs spinning a collection of classics and new pop hits. Open nightly, 3 pm-4 am. The Venetian, 702.414.1945.

Herbs & Rye Classic American and Italian fare combine with a roster of pre-Prohibition-era cocktails in this off-Strip cocktail lounge that’s a must-visit for connoisseurs. Try the Blood & Sand or a Sazerac, each with a lengthy description in the impressive menu that guides patrons through the history of cocktails. The equally impressive food menu includes a succulent steak lineup. Open M-Sa, 5 pm-3 am. 3713 W. Sahara Ave., 702.982.8036.

Ghost Donkey A hidden speakeasy tucked inside a food hall checks virtually every box for a unique night out. Find the secret entrance to Ghost Donkey inside Block 16 Urban Food Hall for a night of mezcals and tequilas, served in margaritas or as flights for the experimental patron. The black truffle nachos are truly amazing. Open Su-Th, 4 pm-midnight; F-Sa, 4 pm-2 am. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 702.698.7000.

ATTRACTIONS

SkyJump at The STRAT It takes about eight seconds to fall from the 108th floor of The STRAT while tethered to a cord. The scariest part is choosing to actually step off. Day or night, SkyJump offers a controlled free fall at 40 mph with a soft landing. $119.99 per jump. 2000 Las Vegas Blvd., 702.380.7777.

Dig This Play construction worker for a day on a bulldozer or learn some “bucket basketball” in an excavator at Dig This, the heavy equipment specialist off the Strip. Move tons of dirt with a skid steer track loader or take out your aggression on a car using a 30,000-pound Caterpillar excavator. There are experiences for all ages, from eight years of age on up. Starts at $169. 800 W. Roban Ave., 702.222.4344.

Twilight Zone by Monster Mini Golf at Bally’s Mini golf gets a “Twilight Zone” twist at this glow-in-the-dark course. The entire family can enjoy the arcade or the bowling lanes; those looking to marry can tie the knot at the Syfy Wedding Chapel. Starts at $11.95 for 18 holes of golf. Bally’s, 702.333.2121.

Susan Stapleton
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