Adweek’s VIP Guide to CES Side Trips in Las Vegas

Thousands will pour into Sin City this week for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, a destination where even the the most seasoned conference goer can become overwhelmed with the sheer number of options for what to do and see both on and off the show floor. Here, our handy guide for helping attendees navigate the magic and madness that this desert city is so famous for, featuring everything from luxury retail and art installations of note to entertainment hot spots—and even where to hock your Tag Heuer after hours after losing your shirt at the blackjack table.


The New Normal

SLS Las Vegas, a new resort property on the north strip that opened in August, is a $415 million renovation of the former Sahara.

The culinary high point is celebrity chef José Andrés’ Bazaar Meat, with a menu that includes a whole suckling pig ($520 for 9-11 pounds), Japanese Kobe “Eye of the Rib” steak ($100 for just 4 oz.) and morcilla sausage with uni ($25), in a space designed by Philippe Starck. For low-key carnivores, there’s also Umami Burger (GQ’s burger of the year in 2010), which boasts a beer garden overlooking the strip as well as a sports betting operation.


Photo: Ryan Forbes / AVABLU

On the retail side, SoCal designer boutique Fred Segal opened seven separate shops (the Fred Segal Collective) featuring curated designer goods. The twist? The shops have been sprinkled throughout the resort property—one by the pool, one near the front desk, another in the dining area, the casino and so on.


Day/Night Trip

If you find yourself with an extra day or two on your hands, consider a trip to Mound House, Nev., near Lake Tahoe. There (at 69 Moonlight Rd.) you’ll find the Moonlite BunnyRanch, the licensed legal brothel featured on the HBO series Cathouse. And that is all we’ll say about that.


Get Bombed

Founded in 1952, Fremont Street landmark Atomic Liquors is Las Vegas’ oldest freestanding bar and still features its iconic original neon sign. The bar gets its name from the “Atomic Cocktails” the first patrons sipped on the building’s roof while watching mushroom clouds rise from the nearby Nevada Test Site. Once upon a time, The Rat Pack, the Smothers Brothers and Barbra Streisand all were purported to be regulars.


Hock It to Me

If you’ve already lost your per diem at the blackjack table (but you know you can win it back), try hocking something at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop to generate the necessary funds. The home to History’s reality hit Pawn Stars (where filming takes place almost daily) is both a tourist destination and a fully operational business. Pro Tip: The shop’s night window is open from 9 p.m.-9 a.m. for those transactions that can’t wait until morning.



Whether you’re an Ultimate Fighter or a fitness freak, consider working out at one of the four UFC Gyms in the Las Vegas area, home to the world’s fastest growing sports league. The franchises offer boxing, kick boxing and Daily Ultimate Training, modeled on the regimen of mixed martial arts fighters. Pro Tip: Register online for a free guest pass.


Art and Commerce

Take a break from the flashing lights and clanging of the penny slots to immerse yourself in the trippy otherworld of artist James Turrell. Commissioned by Louis Vuitton and housed on the fourth floor of the retailer’s shop at City Center, this is the largest of the artist’s famous ganzfeld installations (as pictured below in Oslo, Norway). Pro Tip: The permanent work is open to the public, with limited capacity. Reservations: (702) 730-3150.



Michael Jackson topped Forbes' 2014 list of top-earning dead celebrities with $140 million. One multimillion-dollar revenue stream comes from Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson One (in residence at Mandalay Bay). The show features holograms and projections that put the legend back on stage with a cast of 63 dancers and performers.


Coworking in the Silicon Desert

Thanks to Zappos. com CEO Tony Hsieh (above), Las Vegas now has a burgeoning tech scene. The Downtown Project and Vegas Tech Fund are investing in small businesses and startups, creating hundreds of jobs along the way. Pro Tip: If you need a temporary desk, check out Work in Progress, a co-working space for the less well- funded.



For a super exclusive experience, look no further than the members-only 365 Tokyo located inside the new Inspire development on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. With just eight seats, this 260-square-foot bar features “artisanal” ice service (have it carved into an orb, cracked, crushed or cubed to your specifications); drinks can be served layered, frozen with liquid nitrogen or smoked with your choice of wood. Pro Tip: Set the mood by choosing from a selection of jazz on vinyl, which you can also purchase as a souvenir. You can sign up for an Inspire membership online or call 702.489.9110 to ask about a temporary membership.


Reason to Return

Once your hangover clears, call your travel agent and book a return trip for the end of April. In its ninth year, Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit brings together celebrity chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, through a series of events across the city’s resorts. Pro Tip: New events this year include an exclusive steakhouse dinner by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and In Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay (a participatory event). 


No Cars Available

One thing you won’t find in Vegas? Uber. Though the embattled startup car service did launch in the market last year, it only took Nevada officials a little more than a month to shut it down on the legal front. For now, service is suspended, but we likely haven’t heard the last of it.


Go Home

After you’ve had your fill of gaming, guzzling and gadgets, pack your bags, head off into the sunset and remember: “What Happens Here, Stays Here.” And tip your hat to local shop R&R Partners for creating one of the most memorable campaigns in tourism history more than a decade ago for client Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.