It has been difficult for me to write about Las Vegas recently. I promised some more posts about the COVID reopenings and I hope to make progress on that soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of my Las Vegas favorites (and places I hope we will be able to visit again soon) in an effort to get the writing flowing again.
Upscale: Bavette’s Steakhouse at Park MGM. When you step inside, you forget that the casino is right outside the door. The food, drinks and service are great (like many of the upscale restaurants), but what makes Bavette’s my favorite is the hidden back bar / back room. It is quieter and makes you feel like you are in a secret, special place.
Catch at Aria and Fleur at Mandalay Bay are both close seconds. The theming at Catch is over the top. Check out the entryway even if you don’t want to go all the way in for some great seafood. I’m big fan of Hubert Keller, so Fleur is a regular stop for me when I’m at that end of the Strip.
The Neon Museum is closed right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they did a great Facebook Live guided tour video of their Lost Vegas exhibit so you can still experience it virtually. You can watch it here.
While there are many reasons to visit Las Vegas these days, there was an era when Atomic Tourism was a big draw. There would be watch parties from Fremont Street (this was long before the FSE canopy went up) to view the tests and mushroom clouds. There was even a Miss Atomic Bomb.
The Atomic Testing Museum lets you experience the nostalgia as well as the reality of that era. They have displays following a detailed timeline of nuclear testing progress and treaties as well as toys and atomic themed marketing. While much of the museum and many of the exhibits focus on the Nevada Test Site and the Las Vegas area, there is also coverage of underwater testing in the Pacific. They even have a special section at the end of the tour, detailing the impact of testing on the tribes and tribal lands.
You can experience a simulated atomic bomb test is their Ground Zero Theater. It is a full sensory experience where you can feel the earth shake just like it would have if you were in a bunker during a test.
The Atomic Testing Museum is located a mile and a half from the Strip at 755 E. Flamingo Rd. If you are using Lyft or Uber, I highly recommend typing in the actual address. Lyft had an incomplete address for the museum and ended up taking us miles past it before we realized the problem.
The Atomic Testing Museum is associated with The Smithsonian Institution, but there is an admission fee. General Admission is $22 for adults. Student, senior, military and Nevada resident discounts are available. Children 6 and under are free. You may be able to get a discount if you buy your tickets at the ticket counter and let them know you took public transportation (bus, cab, Lyft).
NOTE: Performances are now at 9pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It is a little known fact that Zamora the Torture King has a resident show in Las Vegas. If you are not familiar with Zamora (Tim Cridland), he is a pain-proof performer and a sideshow icon. He toured with the Jim Rose Circus in the 90’s and has been featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and Stan Lee’s Superhumans.
The Neon Museum’s popularity is rising and they are expanding their hours and offerings to accommodate the increased demand. The biggest change is the addition of self-guided, general admission tours. The general admission tours allow you to see the collection at your own pace, without a guide. The museum does post guides/docents in the yard in case you have questions during your self-guided tour. The self guided tours are available 9am-4pm for $19. Tickets have a timed entry, but you can enter any time after your ticket time and stay as late as 5pm.
They have also added a new sound, lights and projections show called Brilliant.