Maybe you’ve already booked your annual Las Vegas pilgrimage this winter, or perhaps you haven’t been to The Strip since your best friend’s bachelor party 10 years ago. Either way, there are plenty of reasons why even the most gambling-averse traveler would want to go this season.

From a bevy of exciting restaurant openings from the likes of Daniel Humm and Roy Choi to a brand-new NoMad hotel (all centered around the new Park MGM resort), now’s the time to take advantage of the city’s burgeoning movement away from completely over-the-top spots toward more intimate and luxurious experiences.

One of the three bars inside Eataly Las Vegas
Eat at the new Eataly Las Vegas
After expanding from New York to Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago, Eataly debuted its sixth U.S. location on December 27, 2018, inside the new Park MGM resort. In addition to a marketplace, gift shop, two restaurants, and three bars, Eataly Las Vegas also features a “counter-to-table” concept called Cucina del Mercato. A first for the brand, guests will be able to shop from six different counters—including a butcher, cheesemonger, and fishmonger—and then watch chefs prepare their purchases right in front of them. 

Still hungry? After closing Commissary at The Line hotel in Los Angeles in 2018, Roy Choi moved on to his first Las Vegas endeavor, Best Friend, a casual Korean barbecue spot located just beyond the casino floor of the Park MGM. 3770 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, eataly.com

Tickets are still on sale for Lady Gaga’s Las Vegas shows.
Experience Lady Gaga’s Las Vegas residency
On December 28, 2018, Grammy and Golden Globe winner Lady Gaga launched her Las Vegas residency with two different shows at the Park Theater inside the Park MGM. With dates through 2019, Lady Gaga Enigma features the star’s pop hits and has already won the praise of critics, while Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano will see her performing stripped down versions of her songs along with music from the Great American Songbook. 3770 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, from $399, ticketmaster.com

Inside the NoMad Restaurant in Las Vegas
Check in to the NoMad Las Vegas
The Sydell Group unveiled its third NoMad property in Las Vegas in October 2018 and quickly opened the brand’s eponymous restaurant a month later. While elements of the New York and Los Angeles hotels and restaurants are the same (interiors designed by Jacques Garcia, the signature roasted chicken for two, a standout cocktail program), the Las Vegas property is worth traveling to see for yourself.

Located on the top four floors of the Park MGM, the NoMad Las Vegas provides a more intimate experience than other resorts on The Strip and even has its own casino located below a historic Tiffany glass ceiling. 3772 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, thenomadhotel.com

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Windowside seats at the Ken Fulk–designed Sadelle’s in Las Vegas
Brunch at Sadelle’s
While most of the exciting openings this season are centered around the Park MGM, Vegas stalwarts are also introducing new concepts to The Strip. For example, Bellagio just opened a new location of the popular New York brunch spot, Sadelle’s, in a Ken Fulk–designed space.

You can expect the same bagel towers and smoked-fish platters as the New York location, but the pastel-colored café (inspired by Belle Époque Paris) also has roaming Bloody Mary and pastry carts, as well as tableside chopped salad service. 3600 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, bellagio.com

Part of the $620 million makeover at Palms included this secret staircase between Vetri Cucina and APEX Social Club with murals by Dabs Myla, the Australian pop-art team.
Explore the new Palms
In addition to a $620 million makeover that introduced redesigned rooms and an extensive art collection (Damien Hirst, Dabs Myla, KAWS) last fall, Palms also is opening three new restaurants with big-name chefs Marc Vetri, Michael Symon, and Bobby Flay. Although Flay’s seafood-forward Shark won’t be ready until March 2019, Vetri Cucina and Symon’s Mabel’s BBQ are already open.

Philadelphia-based Vetri brings his upscale take on rustic Italian fare to a space at the top of the resort with impressive city views, while Symon expands his Cleveland barbecue restaurant with his second location of Mabel’s. The reservation to get, though, is in the intimate 45-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant named Sara’s that is set to open in late January in a secret room off of Mabel’s. Nicknamed a “meateasy,” Sara’s will deliver old-school Las Vegas flair in the form of waiters in tuxedos and smoked prime rib prepared tableside. 4321 W. Flamingo Road, palms.com

>> Next: Plan Your Trip with AFAR’s Guide to Las Vegas