Dream days in the lives of Vegas writers

From trail running to pub crawling to coaster riding, take a trip through three perfect days

Ride the Desperado! Just one tiny piece of a perfect Vegas day.
Photo: Leila Navidi

What do Weekly staffers do when they're not writing about state mottos and correcting stray commas? Turns out they live pretty eventful lives. We asked three editors to spill on how they'd spend an ideal day in Las Vegas, and the answers covered everything from epic breakfasts to hot-spring dunks to jukebox domination. Follow their itineraries below, or pick and choose from their recommendations to create your own perfect day.

    • Sarah Feldberg, Editor

      In the soft light post-dawn, I think about turning off my alarm, but then I would miss it: an early-morning run on McCullough Hills Trail. The hard-packed dirt snakes for miles through the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, from the corner of Mission Drive and Horizon Parkway all the way to Anthem. Within a mile of the trailhead, the stucco homes disappear and it’s all desert scrub and hamstring-punishing switchbacks. The perfect way to start a day.

      Followed by breakfast, of course. In the white-tablecloth elegance of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon at the Venetian, even eggs feel like an occasion. I could make up my calorie deficit with flaky pastries, but the chicken with bacon and chive waffles taste like nine hard miles.

      Bouchon's chicken and waffles

      Between meals there’s browsing to do. Not shopping, per se, but an ogling tour of Strip boutiques from A-list designers that turn long resort hallways into fashion fantasy-land. Next, it’s off to International Marketplace (5000 S. Decatur Blvd.), a Smith’s-sized bazaar filled with colorful tins of foods from countries I can’t quite place on a map. It’s Instagram candy, the makings of a truly adventurous dinner party.

      Ready for lunch, I head north and rock-paper-scissors between Bagel Cafe’s (301 N. Buffalo Drive) nova platters and Parma’s (7591 W. Washington Ave. #110) meatball sub. Doused in sauce and melted cheese, it’s a sandwich I can’t wait to eat again, and one that desperately needs to be walked off.

      Red Rock calls with dozens of trails from strenuous to casual stroll. Today I’m after the latter, so I park at the First Creek trailhead, where wild burros and scuffy dirt lead to a cool plunge pool sheltered by leafy trees. It’s a deep-breath kind of place, a welcome pause in a busy afternoon.

      Then it’s windows down, music up, and I’m back Downtown before sunset, sipping a glass of punch on the low couches at Velveteen Rabbit (1218 S. Main St.). Another sip, another story, and before I know it, it’s tomorrow.

    • Ken Miller, Associate Editor

      Call it a mini pub-crawl. With food. My perfect day starts at Crown & Anchor (1350 E. Tropicana Ave.) with a good friend who happens to be really into football (say “soccer” and he’ll foam at the mouth). We park ourselves in the dining area, where several televisions offer the match of the day. The formula is simple: Guinness stout with whatever British appetizer we’re in the mood for. Do chicken fingers count?

      One or two—or three—pints in by early afternoon and we’re ready for Phase 2: Walking the short distance to the Freakin’ Frog (4700 S. Maryland Parkway) to discover new brews. Owner Adam Carmer has only a handful of taps, but he keeps cycling through a variety of stouts, IPAs, Belgian ales, lagers, ciders, lambics … the selection never disappoints. And of course, there’s always “the book,” a reference guide to the hundreds of beers Adam keeps in a massive walk-in. While we’re drinking, it’s time for the main course: the taste bud-destroying Lucifer burger, so hot it demands more than one beer.

      Freakin' Frog

      Full? Sure, but this afternoon is all about getting the maximum use out of the neighborhood, so we’re not done yet. Depending on stamina and appetite, we’ll either head across the street to Smashburger (4725 S. Maryland Parkway) to split a Sin City Burger, complete with fried egg on top, or stroll back to Crown & Anchor and order some Scotch eggs for the road. Our final destination is the Starbucks (4780 S. Maryland Parkway) smack-dab between C&A and the Frog for some much-needed caffeine while we rest our legs, sober up and recover from our food coma.

    • Mike Prevatt, Nightlife Editor

      Not one for relaxation or pacing, I like to shoehorn as many activities as possible into my Las Vegas funday.

      I wake up every day starving, so first stop is Harrie’s Bagelmania (855 E. Twain Ave.), my go-to tea stop and carb-loading station. Once fat and fueled, I motor over to Boulder City for a quick morning hike and hot-spring dunk at Goldstrike, scored by a playlist of recent club discoveries.

      Calories burned, I now have an excuse to visit the nearby Dillinger (1224 Arizona St.) for a burger (always with an upgrade of sweet potato fries) and beer (always Xingu, the Brazilian black brew unavailable at my usual bars). Since I’m so far south, why not get in some quality Howard Stern time and drive to Primm, where a quick adrenaline shot from the 209-foot-tall Desperado awaits?

      Yonaka’s shioyaki saba: grilled mackerel with cucumber, lemon and parsley.

      Back in the Valley, I reach for my now-dry swim shorts and a library book for some poolside nirvana at Golden Nugget. When hunger beckons, I head over to Spring Valley to dine at Yonaka (4983 W. Flamingo Road), my favorite Japanese eatery, followed by a triple-scoop of nostalgia at Thrifty Ice Cream (3655 S. Durango Drive #19).

      Having already consulted with the Fandango app, I hop to Regal Village Square 18 (9400 W. Sahara Ave.) to catch a current wish-list flick with a pal, followed by post-movie discussion over a Delirium or Stella and neighbor run-ins at Artifice (1025 S. 1st St. #100). I eventually crave more ribald revelry, so I join some gay pals for the beer bust at Fun Hog Ranch (495 E. Twain Ave.) or the Garage (1487 E. Flamingo Road), where my accelerated jukebox selections (LCD Soundsystem, New Order, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) end the diva-pop hit parade.

      The ale eventually brings on the yawns. I drive toward my Downtown domicile, late-night jazz on the radio, with a quick stop at Tacos El Gordo (3049 S. Las Vegas Blvd.). I may thwart a hangover, but if not, I regret nothing—except not having crammed in more.

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    Photo of Sarah Feldberg

    Sarah Feldberg

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    Ken Miller is the editor of Las Vegas Magazine, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant ...

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