Las Vegas sure knows how to have fun 365 days a year, especially when big sports events are involved. This means whenever there’s a big game happening anywhere across the country, it’s an exciting time to be in town.
Visitors from coast to coast come to Vegas to add their voices to the collective cheering and rooting, to feed off the energy of a crowd and to celebrate a great win or find solace in a loss, surrounded by a density of other devoted fans.
“There’s nothing like the rush of adrenaline when you’re in Vegas on game day and everyone is invested in the game because they’re fans or they’ve got action,” said Scott Stevens, a regular visitor from Portland, Oregon. That electric party atmosphere—and the myriad places to relish it—are why so many sports fans revere the city as The Greatest Arena on Earth™. Want in on that vibe? Here are some of the best spots to soak up the experience—before, during, and after a big game.
Best Vegas Game-Day Parties
PARTY BEFORE THE GAME!
Pre-gaming takes on a different meaning in Las Vegas, where most visitors are pre-gaming for something at all hours of the day. On the days of big sports events, however, some places are standouts for getting the party started.
A must-stop on the list: Tailgate Social inside Palace Station. When the Raiders take the field at Allegiant Stadium, patrons can order the LV Nation Burger, a prime rib patty topped with onion rings, horseradish aioli, provolone cheese, and fried jalapeño. Each game day menu also features a special inspired by the hometown of the visiting teams, including chili (vs. Cincinnati), and carne asada tacos (vs. Los Angeles).
New for 2021, the Bud Light Beer Garden in the parking lot between Luxor Hotel & Casino and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is one of the best pre-game parties in town, with dozens of projection-screen televisions, betting windows, and beverage service. It’s free and open to the public, but a VIP experience for $99 gets you all you can drink and eat.
You’ll also want to check out the Overlook Lounge inside Wynn Las Vegas. The upscale bar on the casino floor is a great spot to sip craft cocktails and soak up the vibe before heading to the sportsbook.
Finally, to the west of the Las Vegas Valley, another pregame destination is Downtown Summerlin. Here, shops and open-air restaurants are a baseball throw from the Las Vegas Ballpark, where the Oakland Athletics AAA-affiliate Las Vegas Aviators play.
PARTY DURING THE GAME!
Once the big game starts, it’s important to be tactical about where you post up in Las Vegas.
Excitement is at its peak inside the various sportsbooks around town; these are the spots where enthusiast gamblers go to bet and watch. For those less interested in gambling—or for those who’d rather just bet on their mobile phones—other exciting options abound.
“My friends and I always like to get a place where we can sit and feel like we’re part of the action,” said Gregg Steverson, who visits with friends from Richmond, Virginia, annually. One of the prime spots inside The Venetian Resort is Black Tap, where, if you sit at the bar, you can enjoy your giant milkshake while looking out across the casino to follow games on the big-screen televisions in the sportsbook.
At the Dawg House Saloon & Sports Book inside Resorts World Las Vegas (the newest casino on the Strip), there are betting windows, a full-service bar with food, and after big games or concerts at the property, live music, too. This venue doubles as the property’s sportsbook, and the biggest of the big screens almost always are all tuned to the contests on which guests have bet the most money.
On the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, the HyperX eSports Arena at Luxor typically hosts esports tournaments, but during football season and for big games in other sports, the space transforms into a giant viewing party with food and drink specials. The team-branded Raiders Tavern & Grill inside M Resort Spa Casino is a draw, too. It’s the ultimate environment for Raider fans and sports lovers alike.
And for bowl games and other college sports, Blondies Sports Bar & Grill inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood pulsates with the excitement generated by fans of just about every school. Go during a big contest and you’re bound to hear a few fight songs.
PARTY AFTER THE GAME!
Whatever the outcome of the game you’re in town to watch, Las Vegas is jam-packed with great places to celebrate a win or drown sorrows in drink.
One of the liveliest options is to head to Downtown Las Vegas and stroll the bars of Fremont Street East, including the iconic Atomic Liquors (the oldest freestanding bar in Vegas, serving sports fans since 1952) and 1970’s unfused Corduroy (known for its Moscow Mules, made with ginger-beer on tap). Lucky Day also is a fun option; the Mexican Candy shots with tequila, grapefruit liqueur and tajin are tasty but dangerous.
Re:Match bar inside The LINQ Hotel & Experience is cool for post-game fun for two reasons: 1) Though it’s inside the casino, it opens up onto Las Vegas Boulevard so you can revel in the action right off the Strip, and 2) It’s a hotbed for testing new technologies and games, so you can learn new tricks while you’re riding the post-game vibe.
Finally, for the ultimate in post-game beer, visit Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas near Virgin Hotel Las Vegas on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard. This beer hall and restaurant fires up an Oktoberfest celebration every day, no matter what month it is.
Written by Matt Villano in partnership with ClutchPoints.