1 That Harry Reid beat Sharron Angle
2 Legal sports betting
3 Las Vegas’ year in concerts Matador at 21. Neon Reverb times two. Jay-Z. Punk Rock Bowling. LCD Soundsystem. Extreme Thing. Deadmau5. AC/DC. Erykah Badu. Vampire Weekend. DJ Shadow. To name just a few. And we’ve still got Roger Waters’ Wall (November 26) and two nights of Leonard Cohen (December 10-11) to come.
4 The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art This for-profit gallery space on the Las Vegas Strip is the only place in town where the public can see museum-quality art and key players in art history. Without it, we’d have nothing.
5 Express lanes on I-15
6 The work of UNLV’s Student Veterans Organization No group at UNLV defies the stereotype of the apathetic student better than the Student Veterans Organization. Since forming in the fall of 2008, it has expanded to include approximately 100 students and erected Vegas’ first (and only) veterans memorial. Now, they’re focused on building scholarships to help students.
7 One-dollar late-night bowling at Gold Coast, South Point and Sam’s Town
8 Palms nightlife host Pasquale Romano Have you met Romano? No? He’s only one of the nicest and most helpful people we’ve come across in the club industry. No matter if you’re with a group of your BFFs or your Canadian friend’s second cousin, he’ll help you find a way to party in style without the hassle.
9 That Settebello pizzeria is two minutes from our office (140 S. Green Valley Pkwy., 222-3556.)
10 KNPR “The only thing I listen to in my car.” –Sarah Feldberg
11 Gibbons leaving office
12 The Artisan For being there when you need to escape the clanging and neon and sip a strong drink somewhere dark. (1501 W. Sahara Ave., 214-4000.)
13 The world’s best graveyard food specials Terrible’s chicken-fried steak and eggs ($4.99). Oxtail soup at California Hotel’s Marketplace Cafe ($5.99). Build-your-own omelet at the T-Bird Lounge ($6.50 + a quarter per extra ingredient). Just for starters.
14 Larry Ruvo For thinking big and following through.
15 That the Cosmopolitan is bringing a whole new crop of fabulous chefs to the Strip
16 Zia Record Exchange Sometimes it’s nice to touch music. Plus, they’ll give you cash for stuff you don’t want. Try trading in old CDs at Walmart. (4225 S. Eastern Ave., 735-4942; 4503 W. Sahara Ave., 233-4942.)
17 The fro-yo invasion
18 That so many UFC stars travel the world to fight but train right here
19 Jabbawockeez From MTV to the Strip, these white-masked men are a sure sign that Vegas resorts are recognizing the value of younger audiences and starting to ditch that ridiculous prejudice against all things hip-hop. They’re also some of the most down-to-earth celebrities we’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing for the Weekly’s cover. And that head spin? Incredible. (At the Monte Carlo, Sun. & Mon., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 9:30 p.m.)
20 Peepshow The only topless show on the Strip with something for all adults—blonde bombshell Holly Madison and other gorgeous women for the guys, shirtless hunks for the ladies and the gays, and powerhouses Josh Strickland and Cheaza for music fans. Not to mention fabulous costumes and dancing that everyone can get behind, as soon as they stop staring at all those bare boobs. (At Planet Hollywood, Thu.-Tue., 9 p.m.)
21 The Neon Museum A grass-roots organization with little funding has managed to build, with the community’s help and donations, a collection of signs that were on their way to the Dumpster. The cherished collection is the result of its rescue efforts and outreach and is a beacon for locals and tourists alike. (821 Las Vegas Blvd. N., 387-6366.)
22 That Harry Reid beat Sharron Angle
23 Valley Cheese & Wine (1770 W. Horizon Ridge Pkwy., 341-8191.)
24 Free lounge entertainment valleywide It may be the best Vegas perk subsidized by gamblers (though the competition is fierce). Standouts include the Lon Bronson All-Star Band at Green Valley Ranch, Yellow Brick Road at Suncoast and the Frankie Moreno Band at Golden Nugget.
25 Reporter J. Patrick Coolican’s return to the Las Vegas Sun
26 The gradual growth of Fremont East It might seem redundant to keep boasting about Downtown, but many still remember the day when there was no “scene,” no cluster of places to stroll into, meet friends and dodge enemies. Don’t Tell Mama, the Griffin, Beauty Bar, Downtown Cocktail Room and Emergency Arts equal one block of goodness.
27 David Itkin The out-of-town conductor has helped turn the talented and hardworking musicians of the Las Vegas Philharmonic into a top-notch orchestra.
28 Zebra-stripe chocolate popcorn from Popcornopolis (Available at the Excalibur Food Court)
29 Tao’s flip-flop handouts Hey, barefoot girls carrying high heels: No more excuses. They’re giving you free comfy footware on the way out.
30 Vegas Uncork’d A delicious annual experiment during which we see how many Michelin-starred chefs we can fit around one pool deck. Answer: Lots.
31 Burlesque! Vegas was meant for burlesque, and we have plenty of it: Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, Babes in Sin’s Miss All Tease No Sleaze competition, Viva Las Vegas’ showcase, monthly Dr. Sketchy’s art workshops, shows like Burlesque: The Show at Westin Casuarina, amped-up Strip-versions like Crazy Horse. We love ’em all.
32 Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort Real snow close enough to enjoy and still get home for dinner.
33 Baccarat Few Americans play it, and yet the game has been Vegas’ savior during the Great Recession. One can only imagine the hurt we’d all feel if it weren’t for the mostly Asian “whales” who wager tens of thousands of dollars a hand in the Strip’s high-limit parlors. The only thing padding our crash has been the game’s steady rise. In 2004, baccarat accounted for 9 percent of Strip gambling revenue. Last year that figure was 17 percent, and analysts expect it to go up and up.
34 Sunset Park’s new bike trails
35 Commercial Center Yes, Serge’s Wigs has moved out after spending 40 years serving those needing hair accessorizing, but John Fish Jewelers, Cue Club, Lotus of Siam, Tiffany Cleaners and, yes, the Green Door give this massive strip mall that dates to 1960 a decidedly unique character. Example: Dan and Judy Del Rossi at Tiffany Cleaners perform the dry-cleaning on the stage costumes for Donny & Marie.
36 Lon Kruger Las Vegas hit the jackpot in 2004 when UNLV tapped a veteran of the NBA, the Big Ten and the SEC to lead its men’s basketball team. Since then, the Rebels have gone 140-62 and made three trips to the Big Dance. Best of all, Kruger has revived the program while cutting no corners and generously supporting a number of local charities.
37 Francesca’s Collections Because cute clothes at reasonable prices are always in style. (At the District at Green Valley Ranch, 435-3288; at Town Square, 263-4485.)
38 Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest An annual event that proves you can still gather the family for the holidays and have a blast. (6300 W. Oakey Blvd., 259-3700.)
39 Dallas Perry, McMullan’s Trivia Master Every Wednesday night, McMullan’s hosts Pub Quiz: seven rounds, 70 questions, one tiebreaker bonus. Week after week, the Trivia Master oversees all. When asking questions, his voice is strong, his diction crisp. And he always repeats himself. When judging answer disputes he’s open-minded, but when enforcing rules (no cell phones!) he’s unwavering. He’s the Trivia Master, and he’s good at what he does. (4650 W. Tropicana Ave., 247-7000.)
40 Civic baseball fields
41 Anna Nateece Liberace’s costume designer, whose loyalty to the man and his legacy remains unshakable.
42 Did we mention Harry Reid beat Sharron Angle?
43 That the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip is booking cool shows
45 El Cortez blackjack Face a tiny house edge for as little as three bucks a hand. Games with similar rules on the Strip require you to play green chips—on a slow day.
46 Boot Camp Las Vegas Gut-busting, ass-hardening, ab-rippling workout classes at parks all over the Valley. Because not all of us were born looking like part-time models.
47 That the Smith Center has already booked one of Broadway’s highest-selling, award-winningest productions, Wicked
48 The Hoover Dam bypass
49 Bishop Gorman vs. Palo Verde football The most anticipated game of the high school football season is still to come as 11-2 Bishop Gorman takes on undefeated rival Palo Verde in the Sunset championship November 27. Expect a standing-room-only crowd, energized fans and some damn good football.
50 456-RIDE Don’t make us whip out the keychain breathalyzer. We can’t remind people enough about Designated Drivers and the folks who drive you and your car home after a long night of partying. Put the number in your phone. Now.
51 That on almost any given night, there’s a quality local band playing somewhere
52 Strip malls Folks love to hate on ’em, but they’re easy in/easy out and home to many of Las Vegas’ worthwhile restaurants, shops and bars. Not that we wouldn’t like to see fewer empty storefronts ...
53 That Jubilee! is still on the Strip It’s comforting to know there’s always a place for sequins in this town. (At Bally’s, Sat.-Thu., 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.)