Remember The Hangover? Set in Sin City, it’s the movie where a bachelor party goes awry with heightened Las Vegas tropes, from getting drunk to getting face tattoos, heavy betting on blackjack tables and even a tiger kidnapping. Well, this is not an itinerary for that. Because while pool parties, casinos and clubs are certainly counted among the more popular places to kill time in Vegas, we are of the belief that there’s so much more to see and do outside of shooting cheap vodka all day and night.
The good news is this: if you, like us, don’t find the idea of spending an exorbitant amount of money to black out as enticing to you as it did in, perhaps, your colleges years, you’re in good company. In fact, the sober curious lifestyle is one of the hottest trends of 2023, with one in three Americans trying to drink less alcohol.
First, What Exactly Does Sober Curious Mean?
Sober curious is a term to describe people who don’t want to drink as much and not restrict their social life. For example, whereas a traditionally debaucherous trip to Las Vegas likely involves shots, vodka sodas and lots of beer (and also probably more shots) to keep the party going, a sober curious trip isn’t centered around being heavily intoxicated. Imagine this: not waking up with a splitting headache that’ll have you bedridden for at least half the day. Intrigued? Keep reading.
In this sober curious guide, you’ll find renowned restaurants, bars (with mocktails), shows, entertainment and opportunities for exploring off the strip for a weekend in Vegas that you’ll actually remember! No regerts, just immaculate vibes.
Where to Stay
There are an overwhelming amount of options to choose from when finding a hotel in Las Vegas. If you come across one that, price-wise, seems too good to be true, read the reviews. You may be booking an extremely outdated (and gross) hotel with a heavily cigarette-scented casino in the lobby. To save you some trouble in that department, here are some of our favorites that aren’t in the epicenter of the party scene:
Vdara Hotel & Spa: You won’t find a casino here, but if you want to play the slots you can walk next door to ARIA Resort & Casino or to the Bellagio, also a few minutes away by foot. Vdara is known for its laid back atmosphere, suite-style rooms, spa and rooftop pool that serves as a much-needed oasis after a day out.
The Signature at MGM Grand: For those seeking a low-key homebase, the Signature has three towers each with a private entrance. The rooms are suite-style and come with a kitchenette and a whirlpool jacuzzi. Like the Vdara, there isn’t an on-site casino as the property prides itself on being a a place to relax and recharge with its private pools, cabanas and close proximity to the Strip.
9 Top Picks for a Foodie’s Trip to VegasForget gambling. You’re here to eat.
Let’s Talk Food (and Mocktails)
We’ll let you in on a little secret: the food in Vegas is an event all in itself. There’s even a Carbone! (For the uninitiated, there are only five Carbone locations in the world.)
Pro tip: Make your dinner reservations in advance because most restaurants book up, particularly on the weekends. With sober curiosity trending, each of the below restaurants not only offer signature mocktails, they’ll make you something custom on the spot pending what you like (sweet, sour, etc).
Best Friend at Park MGM: This restaurant by Roy Choi is a fusion of Korean barbecue and Mexican cuisine. There’s a literal bodega setup before entering a hidden entryway that leads to the main restaurant area. A popular menu item is the slushy (we love the orange cream flavor) that comes in a refillable giant souvenir travel cup (we also love a souvenir cup), which is also available sans the alcohol.
Petrossian Bar at Bellagio: Located in the middle of the casino, enjoy some pre-dinner mini caviar tacos, mocktails with fresh fruit and a pianist playing some of your favorite hits. It’s a prime location to people watch — a required activity on the Strip.
The Mayfair Supper Club at Bellagio: Imagine a swinging prohibition-era jazz club mixed with a late-night dance party and you’ve got the Mayfair Supper Club. Please make a reservation here. Not only is the menu elevated, featuring high-end steaks, but the live music is over-the-top, interactive and includes acrobatics inches away from your table. During our visit, the bartender was slinging custom — and delicious — mocktails all night.
Carbone at ARIA: With the original in New York City, Carbone is worth the hype. From the lavish decor and menu items, Carbone pays homage to Italian-American restaurants of the mid-20th century. Dishes from this time include classics such as Lobster Fra Diavolo, Veal Parmesan, Octopus Pizzaiolo and Chicken Scarpariello. But in our opinion, it’s all about their signature dish, the spicy rigatoni!
Superfrico at the Cosmopolitan: On their site, Superfrico is defined as “an Italian American Psychedelic restaurant inside the ultimate Las Vegas house party.” Once you walk in through the purple doors, it feels as if you’re walking through a circus act movie set. It’s chaotic, with characters entertaining, dancing and singing, all while you’re ordering your food. It’s not a set routine; Spiegelworld’s hit show OPM is right next door so the performers stop by the restaurant for a full experience for those feeling spontaneous.
Skyfall Rooftop Lounge at Delano: Enjoy a mocktail with arguably the best view on the Strip. Located on the 64th floor of Delano hotel, it’s a quiet refuge from all of the action.
The Bedford by Martha Stewart at Paris Las Vegas: This is, in fact, a replica of Martha Stewart’s 1925 farmhouse. The Bedford draws inspiration from the garden and her love for French cooking with locally sourced ingredients that feature Martha’s favorite recipes.
Sin City is an amazing destination for live performances. From magic to acrobatics, singing, dancing and more, here are the shows we believe most worthy of your dime:
Mad Apple by Cirque du Soleil at New York, New York: Paying homage to the Big Apple, this Cirque du Soleil show is one that shouldn’t be missed, as it blurs the lines between circus, entertainment and Manhattan nightlife culture.
Absinthe at Caesars Palace: If you’re looking for some grown-up fun, Absinthe is rated-R comedy, circus, burlesque and packed with surprises.
OPM at the Cosmopolitan: If you’re dining at Superfrico, you may recognize some performers as this show takes place right next door. With an out of this world concept — literally, outer space — this cheeky show highlights surreal performances from acrobatics to singing and even…bubbles.
Go to a concert: Before you head to Vegas, see what music artists will be performing while you’re in town. So many greats have residencies nowadays: Adele, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Bruno Mars and more.
Now Treat Yourself (to a Spa Day)
While Vegas is known for its hustle and bustle, Sin City is gaining recognition as a wellness retreat, too. Enjoy a day at the spa and treat yourself to a facial, massage or simply lounge in the sauna or plunge pool. It’s always a good idea to relax and recharge from a busy itinerary.
Voie Spa & Salon at Paris Las Vegas: Inspired by France’s countryside, Voie Spa & Salon is a sensory journey experience for guests with treatments that include HydraFacial, heated salt stone therapy, microcurrent treatments and more.
Qua Baths and Spa at Caesars Palace: Trade in the pool party scene at the day pool for a day at Qua Baths and Spa, which spans over 50,000 square feet and includes three authentic Roman baths to help you feel rejuvenated. If you’re feeling brave, try the Arctic Ice room — the only one of its kind, due to its freezing temperatures and actual snow fall.
Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace: Ordering poolside mocktails while being surrounded by columns and Roman statues will have you forgetting that you’re actually in Nevada. There’s seven different pool experiences to both swim and sunbathe.
Being sober curious (thus, not hungover), you’ll be pletny ready to take on the day’s adventure. Besides great restaurants and spas, Las Vegas offers one-of-kind experiences that are unique to the Strip.
High Roller at the LINQ: See the Las Vegas Strip 550 feet in the air on the iconic High Roller ferris wheel. It’s so big — the largest in North America — that it takes 30 minutes for one loop.
The Wildlife Habitat at Flamingo Hotel: Escape your concrete surroundings to this peaceful four-acre Wildlife Habitat. Perfect for kids or adults, this exhibit is free and complete with exotic wildlife including — you guessed it — pink flamingos!
Adventure Off the Strip
The bright lights, traffic and 24-hour casinos for which its come to be known make it easy to forget that Las Vegas is in the middle of a beautiful desert. It’s worth renting a car for the day just to explore what’s a only short drive from all the noise:
The Neon Museum Las Vegas: A short Uber ride away from the Strip, the Neon Museum is an outdoor collection of unique signage from different points of time in Las Vegas’s history. Through guided tours during the day and at night with the lights illuminated, guests are treated to a behind the scenes look into the craftsmanship, a number of other fun facts and lots of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.
Seven Magic Mountains: Among the natural rock formations, 30 minutes from Las Vegas, you’ll find giant 30-35 foot tall neon-painted boulder totems. These sculptures are by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. Originally meant to be a temporary installation, they’ve gained such popularity through social media it looks like they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Hoover Dam and Lake Mead: Located about 40 miles from the Strip is the Hoover Dam. Visitors can take in the views of both the massive dam and surrounding Black Canyon, learn about the history through exhibits and take guided tours.
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