Notable Las Vegans share their version of the perfect day in the city
My best day ever is a meandering, wanderlusty day, Vegas-style. At Mount Charleston, I take the Mary Jane Falls trailhead. The air is fragrant. I stick my nose to the bark of the nearest ponderosa pine and smell vanilla. To passing hikers, I explain I’m not a tree-hugger, but oh. I so am, I can’t even. An entire forest of vanilla pines! You bet I sniff and hug all the way up. The trail ends at two waterfalls splashing icy water down the rockface dotted with caves. Rumor has it they host spirits older than manmade stories. I claim a cave and sit cross-legged. A few hours later, at Makers & Finders (makerslv.com), I taste an avocado relleno, a warm arepa, and a coconut turmeric latte. Across the street, at Buffalo Exchange (buffaloexchange.com), a smiling woman gifts me credit. A Ramones T-shirt and a pair of harem pants cost me ten bucks. At the Majestic Repertory Theatre (majesticrepertory.com), I catch a production of White Rabbit Red Rabbit. No stage. I sit in the actors’ lap. In their living room, their conflict, their resolution, their bows. Once home, I grab the kids and we’re off to the Pinball Hall of Fame (pinballmuseum.org). Pockets laden with quarters, ’cause let no one say mom isn’t ready to destroy Tetris this time. We roam among the games. Take turns, lights flash, balls roll, much ’80s music, Tetris remains undefeated. Two hours later, our pockets weep, but we are happy.
Artist and photographer
The best Las Vegas day ever would start off with refreshing summer rain — something about hearing rain hit the pavement just makes me euphoric. I’d drive down to my new favorite coffee shop, Pour Coffeehouse (pourlv.com), and pick up a drip coffee and a Breakfast Bombness (a whole wheat muffin sandwich with egg, cream cheese, avocado, tomato, bacon, and spinach). Then, I’d head over to the Clark County Wetlands Park for a scenic walk; a friend introduced me to the bird preserve, home to 212 species of birds, 70 species of mammals and reptiles. After working up an appetite, I’d look forward to getting my hands on Goodwich’s roasted street corn sandwich with chili-lime mayo, salty cheese, and grilled zucchini, with a side of housemade jalapeño potato chips (thegoodwich.com). (The item is seasonal, but in this perfect scenario, it’d be served year-round.) Walking around the newly-minted Barrick Museum of Art (unlv.edu) would be a thought-provoking follow up; interim director Alisha Kerlin has crafted a roster of art, events and speakers that’s the best I’ve seen in years. Since one coffee is never enough, PublicUs (publicuslv.com) is the next stop, so I can pick up a shaken almond latte before driving over to decompress at the McCarran International Airport Aircraft Viewing Area. I find it relaxing to watch massive metal objects take off and land while listening to my favorite recent album, El Frente Caribe by Alex Ferreira, a romantic album with bright instruments and beats. The closer: Making jackfruit carnitas tacos for dinner with ingredients from International Marketplace (702-889-2888), which offers a vast selection of Asian and European groceries, novelties and kitchenware. I’d end the night snuggling up with my favorite cat (don’t tell the others), Quico, as he joins me in watching Paris Is Burning for the millionth time.
Owner, 11th Street Records
I think perfect days just have to sort of happen, where at the end of the day you say to yourself, “That one’s in the bank.” You’ve got something that no one can take away. So: When we were having those crazy-nice-but-slightly-alarming-because-climate-change days early in December, one Sunday my wife was up ridiculously early. That is not unusual. What was unusual is that on this day I happened to be, also. We walked our dog, Big Steve, in Firefighters Memorial Park (6401 W. Oakey Blvd.) just before dawn. Incredible sunrise. Went home, went back to bed for a while. I said, “You wanna get breakfast?” She did. So we rolled up to the Bagel Cafe (thebagelcafelv.com). Corned beef hash and eggs. Sesame bagel, toasted, butter, no cream cheese. I forget what she had. Something just healthy enough to be mildly annoying in contrast, probably. Afterward, to the Self Realization Fellowship chapel (srflasvegas.org) on Charleston, the Paramahansa Yogananda org, for the 10 a.m. meditation. Like church, but nobody says a word for an hour and you leave feeling better. Then, up to Roma Deli on West Sahara (romadelilv.com) to grab some necessities. Called our sons to see if they were coming for Sunday dinner, no answer. We put on the sauce and meatballs when we got home, like one does on a Sunday. “They’re probably not coming,” she says. “Hey, you feel like a hike? Gorgeous day.” I did. Turned off the pot of sauce, rolled up to Mount Charleston, did the Fletcher Trail. By the time we came down we were starving; we’d skipped lunch. “What was that old place we went to after that funeral that time?” “Bob Taylor’s Ranch House?” “Dude.” We had steaks and twice-baked potatoes in a room filled with several varieties of white people. Some wore cowboy hats at the table! We headed home, fell into bed, crashed. Fresh air, hiking, and twice-baked potatoes will knock you out. When we woke up, it was dark, but we could smell the sauce cooking, which freaked me out. Went downstairs, the boys had showed up and turned the sauce back on. We were in no way hungry, but we made the pasta for them and watched them eat it while we talked and laughed, and enjoyed our recently emptied nest being full again for a little while. Perfect day, in the bank.
President and CEO, HELP of Southern Nevada
My best day ever would start with breakfast at BabyStacks on Buffalo and Flamingo (babystackscafe), where my go-to order is the Loco Moco and a side of red velvet pancakes. We’re lucky enough to have many of the best spas in the world located right here in our town, but my favorites are Canyon Ranch SpaClub in the Venetian (canyonranch.com) and Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace (caesars.com). To decompress after a long week, I’d enjoy some pampering at Canyon Ranch, definitely getting a massage. One of the things I love about living in Las Vegas is that not only do we have great shopping, restaurants and entertainment, but we’re also so close to places like Red Rock, Spring Mountain Ranch, Mount Charleston, Valley of Fire and Lake Mead. A perfect day wouldn’t be complete without retail therapy, so I’d head to Downtown Summerlin to shop and grab a salad from Lazy Dog (lazydogrestaurants.com), before hiking Calico Tanks trail at Red Rock — during any month that is not May through September! The end to my perfect day in Las Vegas would include a Vegas Golden Knights game — and celebrating the win by listening to live music and having a cocktail at the Beerhaus at The Park (theparkvegas.com).
Magician, “Magic Reinvented Nightly,” LINQ hotel-casino
After three years in this amazing community, I’m still learning new and exciting things to do in my free time. I do occasionally enjoy a good hike in the morning before the sun gets really hot. Red Rock National Conservation Area is a fantastic way to get a bit of exercise with a breathtaking backdrop of desert and mountains. To avoid getting overheated, I love Ice Box Canyon trail. It’s narrow and doesn’t get much sunlight, so it’s significantly cooler than the rest of the open desert.
After that, it’s important to fuel up with some food. Being from Providence, Rhode Island, I pride myself on being an authority on great-tasting food. I can tell you there is nothing like an East Coast bagel, but The Bagel Café on Buffalo Drive certainly has the formula figured out. In addition to that, they offer a slew of breakfast and lunch options that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters — if it’s your first time there, try their homemade soup of the day, or a breakfast sandwich.
Later on in the day, it’s game time! The Pinball Hall of Fame (pinballmuseum.org) is such a one-of-a-kind place that has a myriad of old school and modern-day pinball machines, with some classic arcade style games as well. My personal favorite is the “Lord of the Rings” pinball machine. Ironically, I have never seen the movies, but the game is challenging and fun. Dinnertime means I’m heading to Downtown Summerlin, but there are too many great options to select just one. From the casual dining of The Lazy Dog, to the trendy Grape Street (grapestreetdowntownsummerlin.com), to the quirky Makers & Finders coffee bar (makerslv.com), you simply cannot go wrong.