1. Help drop the puck on Las Vegas’ next-level sports life. Hockey lifer or not, fan of the name Golden Knights or not, getting in on the ground floor of a sports franchise brings a real sense of ownership—exponentially so when it’s your city’s first major league team ever. Grab a warm jacket and get yourself rinkside.
2. Watch Resorts World go up. A spokesman for the Genting Group’s $4 billion megaresort recently told the Las Vegas Sun “mobilization” of Phase 1 construction should start in the first quarter—that means those shiny red and gold towers are finally on the way. This is where the North Strip really gets interesting.
3. Eat Chicago pizza on the Strip. The Stripside hodgepodge known as the Grand Bazaar Shops outside Bally’s now houses the first western location of Giordano’s, one of the original purveyors of Chicago-style deep dish. One bite and you’ll understand.
4. Smoke legal weed. On January 1, everyone 21 and older can legally possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower, or an eighth of extract. However, you’ll still need a doctor’s note to buy from local dispensaries, at least for now. Paradox!
5. Catch a show at Park Theater. Missed Stevie Nicks and the Pretenders on opening night? Fret not. The calendar for Las Vegas’ shiniest new music room begins filling up in 2017, with residencies from Bruno Mars, Ricky Martin and Cher, plus unique one-offs like an April performance by celebrated film-music composer Hans Zimmer.
6. Food-crawl the Linq Promenade. It already had standouts with Brooklyn Bowl fried chicken and Flour & Barley pizza. Now add in Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips, Urban Turban Indian grub, Amorino gelato, In-N-Out Burger, barbecue at Virgil’s and sushi burritos at Jaburritos. Up next: legendary LA pastrami at Canter’s.
7. See Tilting the Basin. The Nevada Museum of Art show—scheduled to hit Las Vegas sometime this spring—features the works of dozens of Nevada artists, including JW Caldwell, Katie Lewis and JK Russ.
8. Make Vesta Coffee Roasters your new office away from the office. And don’t forget to find some me time while you’re there—sip on a macadamia nut-and-almond-milk latte while crushing whatever work throws at you.
9. Begin using the Monorail for resort-hopping. Nearly every hotel on the Strip is about to begin charging for parking, and the monorail only costs a buck a trip if you flash a local ID.
10. Eat fried chicken at Chik-fil-A in Las Vegas, only to realize it’s not as good as eating fried chicken at Momofuku in Las Vegas. And you can’t get caviar or ramen at Chik-fil-A.
11. Witness the Monte Carlo’s transformation. Of all the current era’s casino makeovers, who would have guessed the Monte Carlo could become a center of Vegas cool? With the NoMad hotel and restaurant and the shiny new theater as the centerpiece of Park MGM, it’s actually happening.
12. Attend Neon Reverb, Las Vegas’ coolest homegrown music festival, when it returns to Downtown this March. And get a first look at the indie bands that’ll be headlining other local festivals in two years.
13. Compete in a fitness race. There are plenty to check out, including real-life Stairmaster challenge Scale the Strat on February 26, benefitting the American Lung Association; the rugged Spartan Race March 18-19; and the hardcore obstacle-course Tough Mudder October 28-29.
14. Cruise using RTC’s new Bike Share program. Whether you purchase a membership or hop on for a single ride, you’re guaranteed to discover something new—maybe a delicious restaurant or art gallery.
15. Make a point of supporting Downtown’s ambitious theater companies. Cockroach, Majestic Repertory, A Public Fit and others need packed houses, especially as Fremont/Arts District revitalization continues and commercial rents inevitably go up.