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T+L's Definitive Guide to Las Vegas


Photo: Misha Gravenor

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Four ways to get your culture fix, Vegas-style.

Neon Museum: After years of appointment-only showings, this collection of 150 neon signs dating back as far as the 1930’s is finally open to the public. The lobby of the rehabbed La Concha Motel now stands as its visitors’ center, through which you’ll enter to see iconic signs from the Moulin Rouge, the Desert Inn, and the Stardust.

Mob Museum: The federal courthouse where the 1950 Kefauver Hearings on Organized Crime were held is now a museum dedicated to the history of mobsters. Among its showstoppers: the entire bullet-ridden wall from the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago; interactive exhibits on wiretapping; and real weapons used by Mafia hit men.

Project Dinner Table.: Every month, internationally renowned chefs, including Mark LoRusso and Michel Richard, serve 150 guests at one very long dinner table in a different setting—the middle of an orchard, say, or left field at a baseball stadium—for charity. Caveat: seats fill up quickly, so book at least 30 days in advance. April through November.

Smith Center for the Performing Arts: The most hotly anticipated cultural venue in recent Las Vegas history is a breathtaking, $465 million center that hosts groups ranging from the Israel Philharmonic and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to the Cleveland Orchestra and London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

Only in Vegas...

Where can you race a Ferrari or watch an after-hours cookoff among the world’s top chefs? Vegas, baby, Vegas.

Test Drive Race Cars: The year-old Dream Racing experience at Las Vegas Motor Speedway offers aspiring drivers classroom training, a simulator session, and five high-speed laps around the track (0 to 60 mph in 3 1/2 seconds) in cars—like the Ferrari F430 GT—that are not street legal.

Play Vintage Games: Bring your quarters. At the upstairs gaming room at the D Las Vegas (formerly Fitzgeralds), you can race mechanized horses on one of the few remaining Sigma Derby tables, or plunk your change into retro one-armed bandits.

Watch Famous Chefs Battle: Once a month starting at 1 a.m., high-profile chefs are pitted against one another at a clutch of food-truck kitchens in the Tommy Rocker’s parking lot with only a basket of mystery ingredients in what’s been dubbed the Back of the House Brawl. Dishes are sold to the public until 2 a.m.


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