School’s in session, the leaves are changing, your dreams of summer romance are dead. But wait. This is Las Vegas, the land of eternal sunshine, where Life Is Beautiful prolongs festival season into the fall and we can all escape reality for one more weekend surrounded by life’s greatest joys—art, music, food, friends and beer. Even better news: There are plenty of places to find these delights outside of the festival footprint Downtown, known for community, culture, dining and live music.
Where to Pregame
Local acts The Lique, Brittany Rose and Brumby are playing the festival stages, but you can see more homegrown music at the trendy cocktail bar on September 22. Velveteen Rabbit hosts a festival pre-party with music from psychedelic rock band Acid Sisters, Americana musician Jack Evan Johnson and haunting singer Chandelle starting at 10 p.m. on the back patio. Tickets $5.
Hiding just outside the festival’s East boundary, the award-winning coffee shop is hosting a Back Alley Kick Off September 23-25. Enjoy Vietnamese shrimp or vegetarian street tacos in rice paper shells (soaked in water and hand-fanned by one of Chef Shawn Giordano’s unlucky employees), sangria, beer, wine and live DJs from 12 p.m. to close.
Sticks and Stones fashion agency takes over the newly renovated Downtown pool Saturday to wash off any lingering Friday-night shame. See a live photo shoot from Brooke Mitchell-Olimpieri of Filthy Mouth Creative. Rapper Mod Sun plays the space Sunday.
Where to Dine
Located near the entrance, the New American restaurant hosts a backyard BBQ with draft beer and kabobs all weekend long.
One of the newest additions to Downtown, the vegan-friendly eatery now offers brunch items from 8 a.m.–2 p.m. daily with items such as paleo banana pancakes and sausage, breakfast chimichangas and shakshuka vegan protein scramble. Prices range from, $9-$11.
Inside the footprint
Fried chicken and Chinese restaurant Chow is offering a $12 two-piece fried chicken meal with potato salad, watermelon, corn on the cob or its new kimchi fried rice.
Where to Find Cheap Beer
Find $3 drafts of Left Hand IPA, Dos Equis and Rolling Rock at the antique shop/bar hybrid in the Arts District. (Bonus: Buy anything and receive a raffle ticket for a free guitar that will be given away at midnight on Saturday.)
Anyone with a Life Is Beautiful wristband can purchase a $25 all-you-can-drink pass for house-brewed beers all weekend at the small local brewery.
Grab a $7 big-ass Hamm’s. It’s three beers in one.
Inside the footprint
Find $3 Busch Light drafts at Atomic Liquors (most likely the cheapest pint you’ll find).
Stop by the video club, which is slightly off the beaten path on Fremont East, for guaranteed dance parties in its back room.
The Western-themed bar known for live music and a large outdoor patio is located east of the boundary. Local rock ’n’ roll band The Dirty Hooks play Friday ($10), soul group Home Cooking takes the stage on Saturday ($10) and a no-cover open-mic night happens Sunday.
The small, chic cocktail bar plans to stay open until 4 a.m., with live DJs and no cover all weekend.
British indie rock band the Crookes play Saturday (no cover), with hip-hop artist and activist Brother Ali ending the weekend on Sunday (tickets $20). Doors open at 8 p.m. both nights.
More Late night Parties
All weekend long from 11 p.m. ’till late, over 200 pairs of roller skates are available to rent for $5 (or bring your own) at the Gold Spike roller rink.
Special guests, RZA of WuTang and Paul Banks of Interpool will be at Gold Spike for a Banks & Steelz album listening party starting at midnight on Saturday.
Stop by the Fremont bar for live DJs (Charlie Darker, ChuckFader, Dave Fogg, Jami, Paolo, P-dot and Yazz) all weekend long starting at 7 p.m.
Snag some brunch every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The kitchen will be open late with surprise acts on the patio.
On the Park On Fremont parking lot, there will be adult big wheel racing starting at 7 p.m. all weekend.The event is free for all ages. DJs spin from the Red Bull MXT Truck every night.
On Saturday, catch DJs Sense’, Amir, Bad Beat and Edgar starting at 12 a.m.
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