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Celebrate yourself in Las Vegas

Celebrate YOU in Las Vegas
Celebrate YOU in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, known for its vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, embraces LGBTQ+ culture with open arms, making it a thriving hub for the community. Iconic events like the annual Las Vegas Pride Parade and Festival bring together people from all walks of life to celebrate diversity and unity. Pride is in early October, so start planning now.

The city’s commitment to inclusivity is reflected in the diverse range of LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, ensuring visitors feel welcome and respected. Beyond the nightlife, Las Vegas hosts a variety of community organizations, support groups, and cultural events that contribute to the rich tapestry of the city’s inclusive ethos. Whether exploring the famous entertainment offerings or participating in community-driven initiatives, LGBTQ+ individuals and allies alike find a warm and accepting home in the vibrant cultural tapestry of Vegas.

Author Joey Amato stands outside of the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

Since I was young, I have wanted to stay at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. The hotel epitomizes luxury and sophistication, offering an unparalleled experience that seamlessly blends opulence, entertainment, and fine dining. From the moment you step into the grand lobby, it’s evident that Bellagio is committed to providing a world-class stay, especially when you glance at the ceiling adorned with Chihuly glass sculptures.

The Chihuly glass display in the lobby of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

I stayed in a recently renovated room in the Spa Tower with an unobstructed view of the Vegas Strip and the fountains. The attention to detail is evident in the tasteful decor, plush furnishings, and modern amenities. Beginning at 3 p.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends, the choreographed water show, set against the backdrop of the Las Vegas Strip, is a mesmerizing display of artistry – combining music, light, and water in perfect harmony. It sets the tone for the exquisite experiences that await within Bellagio.

View of the Bellagio fountains with other Las Vegas landmarks in the distance.

Bellagio is also home to the famous Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a lush oasis that undergoes seasonal transformations, displaying stunning floral displays and thematic installations. This botanical escape provides a serene contrast to the lively atmosphere of the casino and the bustling Strip. During our stay, the staff completed their new springtime exhibition, giving us Alice in Wonderland vibes.

A giant purple tea pot fountain pours water into a massive tea cup.

For those seeking entertainment, Bellagio offers the spectacular “O” by Cirque du Soleil, a water-themed extravaganza that complements the hotel’s overall theme. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is another cultural gem within the hotel, featuring rotating exhibitions of masterpieces from around the world.

Although never leaving the hotel was possible, I wanted to experience other MGM Resorts properties, so we headed to LPM at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for dinner. LPM offers an exquisite dining experience that effortlessly marries Mediterranean charm with the vibrant energy of the Strip. The moment you step through the entrance, you are greeted by an ambiance that perfectly balances sophistication and conviviality.

LPM’s interior is a visual feast adorned with chic decor, warm lighting, and an intimate atmosphere. Contemporary design elements combined with classic French accents create an elegant and comfortable, welcoming space. Whether celebrating a special occasion or seeking a romantic dinner, LPM’s ambiance sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience.

LPM’s menu is a culinary triumph, highlighting the rich and diverse flavors of the French Riviera. The emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients is evident in every dish. I began my meal with various appetizers, including the Yellowtail Carpaccio, Escargots, and their signature burrata prepared with heritage tomatoes and basil and topped with white truffles. For our main courses, I decided to focus on seafood entrees, so I tried the Lobster Risotto and grilled Chilean Bass. Both were perfectly prepared and paired very well together if you want to share entrees.

LPM's burrata prepared with heritage tomatoes and basil and topped with white truffles.

Of course, one of the biggest attractions of Vegas is the Strip itself. Spend a few hours meandering through each hotel and enjoying the vibe. There is no other place in the world quite like it.

If you want a little adventure, head to Area15, about 10 minutes from the strip. Area15 is an immersive entertainment complex that blends art, technology, and entertainment in a unique and captivating way. Boasting an otherworldly exterior and a dynamic interior, Area15 is home to various innovative experiences, including interactive art installations and virtual reality adventures.

The sign for Area15 in Las Vegas.

Its anchor tenant, Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, is a surreal supermarket-like environment filled with mind-bending art and hidden mysteries. The venue also hosts concerts and live events, including Beyond Brunch, a variety show hosted by drag queen extraordinaire Andrew Ryan. The 2-hour spectacle includes a wonderful buffet and performances by talented acts ranging from hoop dancers to Cirque-style entertainers. The show is well worth the price of admission; it is not your typical drag brunch.

Andrew Ryan performs during Beyond Brunch.

Spend the afternoon touring Area15 or head to The Sphere, Las Vegas’ newest concert venue. Rock icons U2 opened the venue with a 40-night run, but guests can purchase tickets to Darren Aronofsky’s multisensory film Postcard from Earth.

For a trip down memory lane, especially if you were born in the 70s or 80s, check out Retro by Voltaggio at Mandalay Bay. The restaurant, owned by Top Chef stars Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, takes diners on a nostalgic journey through time, blending modern culinary techniques with comforting flavors reminiscent of classic American dishes in a retro-chic environment. The space is adorned with quirky memorabilia, neon accents, and a colorful palette that captures a sense of nostalgia without feeling overly kitschy, creating a welcoming environment for diners to unwind and enjoy the culinary adventure.

A view of the entrance to Retro by Voltaggio at the Mandalay Bay casino.

Retro by Voltaggio’s menu is a playful exploration of classic American favorites. I started my dinner with deviled eggs with smoked trout roe and the Beet Steak Tartare, which was incredible. Next came the bluefin tuna ceviche served over coconut crushed ice. For entrees, I tried the trout meunière, served in a lemon and caper sauce, and the lobster thermidor with lobster waffles. Yes, you read that correctly. It was as delicious as it sounds.

Save room for the dessert cart, which offers innovative creations that satisfy the sweet tooth. Whether you’re a fan of nostalgic flavors or simply seeking a unique and enjoyable meal, Retro by Voltaggio is worth the visit.

Author Joey Amato poses outside of the entrance to Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson "ONE" entrance.

After dinner, catch a performance of Michael Jackson “ONE” by Cirque du Soleil also at Mandalay Bay. The show is a captivating tribute to the King of Pop that seamlessly blends the magic of Cirque du Soleil with the timeless music and iconic choreography of Michael Jackson. From the moment the lights dim to the final bow, the show is a high-energy, emotionally charged celebration of the legendary entertainer’s life and legacy. This isn’t your typical Cirque du Soleil show and is more like a concert featuring all of Michael’s greatest hits, memorable dance moves, and state-of-the-art production. I felt like “ONE” is the type of concert Michael would have wanted to perform if he were still with us.

Las Vegas is always evolving. Every time you visit, there is something new to see or do. But when LGBTQ+ tourists want a little bit of opulence on their trip, they can’t beat Vegas.

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