Travel Thursday: Experience the Art, Food, & Culture of Las Vegas

Image via MGM

Infamously known as Sin City, Las Vegas has upped its travel and tourism game since my previous visit. Yes, it is still full of flash, cash, and booze, but its reinvigoration of cuisine, live entertainment, and cultural offerings, along with its urban renewal, was quite noticeable, even with all the abundance of glitz and glam. The last time I visited Las Vegas was in 2007, when I was a young and innocent Midwest high school boy, so you can imagine my surprise at seeing how much the city had changed since then. 

This time around, I was ready to take in Las Vegas with my adult eyes and truly enjoy my time in Nevada. I wanted to experience the art and food of Las Vegas as well as staying in one of the most iconic hotels on The Strip. Here’s a recap of the great experiences I had during my Las Vegas getaway.



Accommodations were made at the Bellagio Resort and Casino, a location on the Strip I have always wanted to stay at. My suite at the Bellagio offered the perfect blend of beauty and elegance that instantly elevated our stay to above expectations.  Our room was a Fountain View King Suite, which included a breathtaking view of the iconic Bellagio Fountains. Whether you’re traveling for business, celebrating an event, or looking for a weekend getaway, staying at the Bellagio is nothing short of unforgettable. 


LAGO by Julian Serrano: After arriving and checking into the hotel, I prepared myself for my first culinary adventure at LAGO, located inside the Bellagio. Featuring a bright open décor and an amazing view of the Fountains, LAGO serves delicious a la carte Italian/American cuisine with flair. The restaurant’s newly reimagined lunch menu offers an array of pasta made fresh daily; superbly prepared fare from the land, sea and grade; and creatively decadent desserts. You may also pair your lunch with coastal-inspired cocktails or an expansive selection of Italian wines.


Some of my top picks include the Salmon Crudo (grapefruit vinaigrette, pink peppercorn, raspberries), the LAGO Pizzetta (black truffle shavings, pata negra, truffle cheese), the Seafood Linguini in a white cream sauce (includes shrimp, scallops, and lobster), and any of their deserts (Tiramisu, Cheesecake, Gelato).

Mayfair Supper Club: Dinner on my first night was at the Mayfair Supper Club, also located inside the Bellagio. Inspired by top supper clubs around the world, this is a modern take on a classic American restaurant where design, dining, and entertainment collide. I and fellow guests were treated to live musical song and dance while dining on menu favorites such as Cauliflower Steak, Branzino, and Whole Dover Sole. Not only is the Mayfair Supper Club a feast for the senses, but it takes you back to the glamorous eras of Las Vegas and old New York. 

I was delighted to see that the menu offered sushi, so I had to try the Wagyu & Caviar Hand Roll. A bit smaller than I expected, but absolutely delicious. Then for my entrée, I asked what was recommended, and I was told the steak options were out of this world. Of course, I did my research beforehand and the Mayfair Supper Club offers a 9oz A5 Wagyu New York Strip Steak with Black Garlic Ponzu for $540. After a little persuasion, I decided to go for it. When in Vegas, right? Let me tell you, that was by far the best steak I have ever eaten in my life. Is it worth over $500? I’ll let you decide, but it was definitely worth the try. Pairing it with Potato Purée as a side, I was in foodie heaven. 

La Pizza e La Pasta at Eataly: On my second day, I was magically transported to Italy at Eataly Las Vegas, which houses two sit-down restaurants, more than a dozen counters, three bars, a marketplace, a Chef’s Table and more. Located at Park MGM and inspired by the open markets of Italy, Cucina del Mercato at Eataly is the largest Italian marketplace in Las Vegas. With a counter-to-table concept, guests will discover the best of Italy as chefs, mongers, butchers, bakers, and pasta makers practice their craft and prepare food behind the counters.


In Eataly, lunch was at La Pizza e La Pasta, which offers a fabulous selection of seasonal pasta from Gragnano, Napoli and Neapolitan style pizza. The table started off with the Fritto Di Calamari, which was absolutely divine, and I then had a robust dish of Agnolotti Del Plin, which was house made pasta filled with short rib, sugo d’arrosto, and parmigiano peggiano. And if you’re like me who enjoys a cocktail every now and them for lunch, I would suggest the Bellini (peach pureé and prosecco by Canella). 

Saginaw’s Delicatessen: The final restaurant on my culinary voyage was Saginaw’s Delicatessen, a Jewish-style deli located inside Circa Resort & Casino on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. Legendary Michigan restaurateur Paul Saginaw, who joined us for dinner, opened his first concept restaurant outside of Detroit. His undeniable charm adds a special flair to Sin City. 

The menu consists of unique sandwiches, soups, latkes, salads, breakfast specialties, and comfort style plates like Rosie’s Meatloaf, which I couldn’t resist trying. Hearty and full of flavor, it is a choice you will not regret. Beforehand, I tried a heart bowl of New England Clam Chowder, which hit the spot – especially since winter storms were moving through the area at the time!



“Forgotten, Redux” by Artist Thomas Putzier: If you find yourself in Downtown Las Vegas, I would recommend stopping by the ENGLiSH Hotel and checking out “Forgotten, Redux,” a new art exhibit by queer Minneapolis-based conceptual artist and designer, Thomas Putzier.  The Neon Museum’s Artist in Residence Program asks participating artists to create works of art inspired by Las Vegas, and to prepare for the exhibition, Putzier visited and has spent a great deal of time in the city since December 2022. 

Running through March 26, “Forgotten, Redux” is a reimagination based on historical reference and exaggerations of Las Vegas themes, history, entertainment, infrastructure, gaming entities, architecture of signs, relationship between state, culture, and commerce. The exhibit is a collection of works that looks at things that can be forgotten in history or forgotten and right in front of us.

The Neon Museum: I had the incredible opportunity of visiting the Neon Museum, learning more about its connection to the LGBTQ community through the history behind iconic signs such as Caesar’s Palace, Silver Slipper, Stardust, Green Shack, and more. Located at the former La Concha Motel, attendees experience an outdoor exhibition space during this tour known as the Neon Boneyard, where they will hear and see a glimpse at the city’s past through historic signs that lined Fremont Street, the Las Vegas Strip, and beyond.

Each piece offers a unique story about the personalities who created it, what inspired it, where and when it was made, and the role it played in the city’s distinctive history. Across the street, the North Gallery is home to the immersive audiovisual experience “Brilliant!,” which uses technology to re-illuminate more than 40 non-operational signs. Take a step back in time and watch the sights and sounds of Las Vegas’ past come back to life. 


Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art’s “In Bloom” Exhibit: While on this trip, I had the privilege of being one of the first attendees of “In Bloom,” the newest exhibit at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts. Celebrating Spring’s flourishing beauty, this collection of 30 works from nationally and internally recognized artists explores themes of rebirth, rejuvenation, identity, abstraction, humanity, and forces that move us to collective change through a fresh introduction to Spring.

Running through September 12, “In Bloom” highlights diverse approaches to art, from still life and landscape paintings to kinetic and large-scale sculptures. LGBTQ artists Martine Gutierrez, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Nick Cave have all contributed pieces to this exhibit, and together, these works challenge our conventional understandings of seasonal change, giving space for new narratives to bloom.

MGM Resorts International Art Tour: So, this isn’t an actual exhibit, but the next time you take a walk through any MGM resort, take a moment to stop and look at the incredible art that is displayed throughout each property. MGM Resorts International’s public fine art collection reshapes and contemporizes each of its locations with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Showing different mediums, guests will see acquired works from a variety of artists of color, women, and the LGBTQ community such as Rashid Johnson, Sanford Biggers, Derrick Adams, Ghada Amer, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Tomás Esson, Svenja Deininger, and more.

So, are you ready for an amazing Las Vegas getaway full of art, food, and a great place to stay? Do you have any recommendations on something we should check out? If so, let us know in the comments!


Leave a Comment