This is the Raiders’ second season in Las Vegas, but this is a special year because it will be the first season with fans in the seats at the beautiful, new Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders were 2-6 at home in the coronavirus-impacted 2020 NFL season but they played in totally empty stands. Fans will now be able to attend live games in the gambling capital of the world — what can be more unique than that? The team can’t wait to build a special home-field advantage at the only NFL stadium that will have a nightclub (courtesy of Wynn Resorts) just off of the field with live DJs and bottle service. Welcome to Vegas!
What to Eat
Raiders Tavern and Grill
The name says it all: This should be the first pit stop for all of Raiders Nation when they land in Las Vegas. The one-of-a-kind Raiders Bar and Grill inside the M Resort (which is also the official team HQ hotel) overflows with Silver and Black pride and is dripping with Raiders merchandise and memorabilia. Whether you are meeting fellow fans before heading to Allegiant, or if this is your final destination because game tickets are too damn expensive, the Raiders Bar and Grill will be your home-away-from-home while in Sin City. Fans can follow the other games around the league on the 45 HDTVs while enjoying a combination of stadium-style food or sports bar fare. The 10-oz Tavern Burger with fried egg and bacon is sure to be a crowd favorite — or splurge for the Wagyu skirt steak if you won big on the Vegas tables.
Down the strip at the Mandalay Bay, Libertine Social is a classy restaurant that fits with Allegiant’s high-end design. Described as a “next generation gastropub,” it encourages customers to “Eat. Drink. Liberate” and boasts a neon sign proclaiming “Stay Wild” behind the bar. How can we say no? The expansive menu by James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain ranges from pretzels and cheese fondue to plates of ribs, or those rushing to the stadium for kickoff can pick up sandwiches and salads to go. According to Eater, Libertine’s master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim has also conjured up the cocktails inside Allegiant.
Biggest tourist attraction
Las Vegas Strip
It’s Vegas, baby. Walk the Strip and find somewhere fun. There is truly something for everyone here and you will not be disappointed. While it is only a 2.5-mile section of Las Vegas Blvd., the Strip can feel deceptively long as you have to go up multiple stairs and walkways to weave in and out of the casinos. The good news is that at least NFL season comes after the scorching heat of summer, but be warned, Vegas can get surprisingly cool in winter. If you need to give your feet a break, take a gondola ride at the Venetian Hotel or stop to watch the dancing fountains at the Bellagio. For 360-degree views of Vegas, climb the observation deck of the Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower. It is 46 stories high but well worth the effort.
Under the radar attraction
Lake Mead is only 24 miles away from the Strip. When you think Vegas, you think desert. but Lake Mead offers a vast array of water sports and a respite from the scorching Vegas heat. Lake Mead is actually a reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam and Colorado River in 1935, and it’s the biggest reservoir in the U.S. There are nine access points to Lake Mead, which is located in both Arizona and Nevada, with the largest body of water being the Boulder Basin. On the water, you can rent a boat from Hemenway Harbor or take a cruise to the Hoover Dam. Those who prefer to be land-bound can lie on the beaches of the 750-miles of shoreline or hike the rocky cliffs.
Game day experience
This is going to be a work in progress because it’s all so new. Allegiant Stadium is just off the Strip and it will be easy to get to in theory. But it may take some time, because traffic is going to be crazy, especially without an overwhelming amount of parking. Yet, Uber and Lyft are readily available in Las Vegas and that may be the way to go. Walking to Allegiant Stadium is also viable, especially if you’re staying at the end of the Strip near the stadium. Access Allegiant Stadium on foot from Las Vegas Blvd. via Hacienda Bridge, which will be closed to cars and pedestrian-only on game days. Allegiant is going to be the first cashless venue as well: you can buy a prepaid card, or use credit cards and Apple Pay.