Las Vegas is hectic and fast-paced. From the moment you check in to your Las Vegas hotel until the cab ride back to McCarran, it’s a blur of casino tables, bar stools, golf carts and dance floors. That’s why it’s nice to take a moment, sit on the banks of this rushing river of human excess that is the Strip, and admire its inhabitants as they float by. Visit one or more of these top spots for people-watching in Las Vegas and soak in the city before it passes you by.
The Park encompasses 6 acres of prime Las Vegas Boulevard real estate and affords South Strip guests excellent people-watching. The “immersive outdoor dining and entertainment district” nestled between New York-New York and Park MGM features numerous shaded seating areas where friends can meet, eat and take in the scenery. The public art installations, beer gardens and patio drinking games make this spot a must-visit for those early afternoon hours before a dinner reservation or show. Even if you don’t have Las Vegas show tickets or dinner reservations ahead of time, you can find it at The Park. Park MGM’s 5,200-seat theater bordering the public space hosts performers such as Bruno Mars and Cher. You’ll also find a smattering of delicious dining options such as Bruxie and Sake Rok.
Caesars Palace has long searched for a new identity for its timeless Cleopatra’s Barge, the floating lounge located just off the main casino floor. It’s more of a time machine than a lounge. Since its opening in 1970, it has become an iconic nightspot in a city known for iconic nightspots. However, longevity is far from promised in Vegas, and over the decades, the lounge has faced many plans for rebranding, remodeling and even demolition. But after a successful mini-residency by Late Show bandleader Paul Shaffer, Caesars execs have decided to bring the lounge’s programming full circle. Cocktail Cabaret, the latest entertainment offering to call Cleopatra’s Barge home, is a 5 p.m. show (Wednesday through Saturday) that harkens back to the Vegas of old thanks to standout performances from some of Sin City’s top musicians and vocalists. Not only is Cocktail Cabaret a good excuse to people watch, it’s also a good excuse to push back those dinner plans and enjoy a bottle of Champagne.
There are plenty of characters hanging about the northern end of the Strip, and many of them wind up at Dino’s before night’s end. The beloved dive bar has been family-owned and -operated since 1962 and is one of Vegas’ favorite karaoke joints. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m., host and local legend Danny G. guides patrons through a rowdy night of cold drinks and hot tunes. The neighborhood bar atmosphere is something you don’t always get with Las Vegas Strip bars, yet Dino’s serves it up in spades. After serenading the regulars, stop by Viva Las Arepas next door to satisfy that late night meat tooth.
Nearby 18b Arts District has seen quite the resurgence as of late. New art galleries, bars and restaurants have sprung up all over the place. Along Main Street, between Stratosphere and city hall, visitors will find local breweries, new coffee shops, secretly chic bars as well as a host of locally owned furniture stores, clothing shops and antique dealers. During the first Friday of every month, the homely but lovable neighborhood welcomes thousands of residents and tourists for an art festival aptly named First Friday. The festival boasts live music, fun activities for children and great food and drinks for adults. Even better than people-watching is mixing it up with the locals, and First Friday is a great place to start.
For the ultimate Vegas people-watching experience, take to the sky. Maverick’s award-winning Vegas Nights tour puts a whole new perspective on the age-old pastime of people-watching. A plush motor coach will transport you from your Strip hotel to the Maverick Helicopters terminal located across from the famous Las Vegas welcome sign. After a champagne toast, you’ll take off aboard a luxurious ECO-Star helicopter to tour the Las Vegas Strip. The flight path takes passengers north along the eastern edge of Las Vegas Boulevard before making a U-turn over Fremont Street, home to the city’s oldest casinos. Heading back south, you’ll see such sites as the fountains of Bellagio, The Mirage’s erupting volcano, and Stratosphere, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States.
Don’t let your Vegas vacation pass you by. Take a moment to stop and stare at the roses at these favorite Vegas spots. If you’re planning an upcoming trip to Vegas and can’t decide between the Strip and Downtown, take our helpful quiz. By answering a few questions, you’ll receive tailored suggestions for your upcoming trip.