Listen

News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV
'Jazz'

member station

Desert Companion

Come together!

Bests we can all agree on

Tourists / locals

Strip-gawkers and jaded locals, delight awaits you at Seven Magic Mountains (sevenmagicmountains.org), the jumblystacked rock-art Skittles totems 10 miles south of town. At once smart spectacle and ludic commentary, it’ll engage both art lovers and follow-hungry selfie addicts. At the Pinball Hall of Fame (pinballmuseum.org), Vegas-bound pinheads will drool at the prospect of playing the latest movie-franchise machines from Stern or a lovingly restored classic from the ’60s; locals will find satisfaction in knowing that every quarter they drop goes to support the work of the Salvation Army. On the Strip, the Bellagio Conservatory (bellagio.com) — even when thronged with dead-eyed Instagrammers — is still an oasis of repose and sanity, worth the pedestrian slog for visitors, worth the drive for locals. Finally, the Fremont Street Experience (vegasexperience.com) is the perfect antidote for taking yourself too seriously. Come on, chug a street-bar daiquiri served by a go-go dancer, throw some devil horns at the ’80s cover band that used to be an actual band from the ’80s, and howl, howl at the burgeoning frenzy of the canopy. AK

Support comes from

 

Liberals / conservatives

Nevada Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Co-chair Karen Boeger says, “We’re a little different take on the hook-and-bullet crowd, because of our focus on habitat.” In other words, because these folks like to hunt and fish, they’re committed to protecting the public lands where wild animals roam. (backcountryhunters.org/nevada_bha). Liberals will love Penn & Teller at the Rio (pennandteller.com) because their show, genuinely entertaining even without the topical barbs and riffs, is really about critical thinking in a hype-inflated, post-truth world; conservatives might appreciate how Penn Jillette frequently drops provocative, just-went-there, libertarian-flavored bon mots. But to experience political coexistence scaled up to the largest canvas Vegas provides, one need only consider the Strip, where ideologues of every species daily walk, gape and obstruct traffic together, as one. The lefties can exult amid the free-flowing, multicultural vitality of the crowd, while the righties, nodding at the resorts, can applaud the economic clout created by an empowered business class and a small, responsive government. Also, there are dancing waters, and who doesn’t love that? SD AK HK

 

Omnivores / specivores

You’re a vegan; your BFF loves nothing more than a good burger. Or, you’re Italian and your wife’s gluten-intolerant. Where’s the common dining ground? All over town, actually. Hussong’s Cantina is leading the crowded vegan-friendly Mexican restaurant field with a complete menu of plant-based items, including a rich chocolate cake with ancho peanut butter frosting (Boca Park and Mandalay Place, hussongslasvegas.com). At Lazeez Indian Mediterranean Grill, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diners will have almost as many choices as their meat-eating friends — and it’s all halal, too (8560 W. Desert Inn Rd., lazeezgrillorg). If there’s a raw-foodie in your party, hit any of Greens & Proteins’ five locations for a both (cooked) BBQ chicken pizza and a raw pizza with cashew cheese and vegetables on a crisp flax seed crust (greensandproteins.com). The Pizza Kitchen dispenses with the separate specialty menu, instead inviting guests to build their own pies choosing from crust, sauce and topping lists that include gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. And don’t worry, unapologetic carnivores; they have chicken wings (5270 S. Fort Apache Road, thepizzakitchenlv.com). HK

 

Highbrow / lowbrow

Whatever level you set your brow, you’ll find something at Alternate Reality Comics (alternaterealitycomics.net). Nerd out on the spandex and superhero universe of your choice, or snag a graphic novel that’s as intellectually satisfying as a novel-novel. Ask Ralph for a recommendation. High or low, you gotta eat, which brings us to Downtown’s The Goodwich (thegoodwich.com). If the humble sandwich is intrinsically lowbrow, these guys take it high concept with who’d-a-thunk ingredient combos sure to flatter your (highbrow) yen for refinement, as well as your (lowbrow) desire for mouth-blasting flava. As no place embodies the vital, fluid interplay between high and low quite like Vegas, and no place embodies Vegas quite like the Neon Museum (neonmuseum.org), it stands to reason that all brows can frolic here. Meditate on the cultural significance of changing sign designs, or just groove on the retro zest — you score either way. Speaking of zest: Zumanity! Cirque du Soleil’s long-running sexy Strip (and strip!) show (cirquedusoleil.com/zumanity) at New York-New York is enjoyable as spectacle naughtytainment — as “an erotic thrill ride” for those happy to be satisfied on those terms — or it can be savored for its high-end artisty, the way Cirque employs its dreamlike narrative aesthetics and amazeballs physicality to explore human sensuality. SD

If you’ve enjoyed this read, wait until you get your hands on a bunch of these reads from contemporary voices mining the good stuff from Las Vegas — all laid out in a gorgeous design experience. Subscribe. It comes to your house. For real!

More Stories