From mountain peaks to poker pits, the state of Nevada offers a wide variety of attractions and activities.
People visit Nevada for a host of reasons. Some are drawn by the boisterous atmosphere of the casinos, others by the serenity of the desert’s open spaces. Some come for the cosmopolitan restaurants and upscale entertainment, others for the hiking, biking, and skiing. And, well, some people live here already. Even if you have your recreational intentions well mapped out, allow us to suggest a few more items for your Silver State bucket list.
Located in the MGM Grand, Level Up is where nerds are high rollers. The arcade has all types of games, from pool to esports, pinball to virtual reality. The VR is courtesy of Zero Latency and offers several virtual worlds to interact with, from a tiki-tinted fantasy of wandering amongst floating temples to full-on zombie attack first-person shooters. It’s set up for groups, so you and your friends can chase parrots or battle the undead together. Put on those goggles and go!
Elko’s Western Folklife Center hosts exhibits, events, and concerts related to the Old West and also serves as the headquarters for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Now in its 34th year, the gathering celebrates storytelling and local traditions with concerts and readings, as well as workshops to develop your own tales. It’s not just your traditional cowboys either: Northern Nevada’s Basque heritage is also celebrated with song, dance, and food.
The Golden Tiki proves that theme-ing did not die with the camels of the Sahara and the cowboys of the El Rancho. The bar is over-the-top tiki, replete with shrunken heads, blowfish lamps, fishnets, and a “talking” pirate skeleton. Nightly entertainment ranges from surf and jazz combos to burlesque acts and Elvis impersonators, as well as Rex Dart spinning soul, garage, and other oddities.
For over three decades, the Great Reno Balloon Race has filled the skies of Northern Nevada with all manner of fantastic sights. Taking place in early September, it’s the largest free hot air balloon event in the world, with over 100,000 attendees over a three-day period admiring balloons of all shapes and colors. There are airborne blackjack tournaments, nighttime light shows, and, of course, balloon races.
The “last neighborhood bar in Las Vegas,” Dino’s has been pouring since the 1960s. Karaoke night at Dino’s may be the city’s finest, though it is indeed a crapshoot. You can get an inebriated bachelorette woozing her way through “Rhiannon,” or you can get an off-duty Strip performer delivering a “My Girl” that would make Berry Gordy stand up and holler.