The Ultimate Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Killing Time at Harry Reid International Airport

A concourse-by-concourse guide to the best pre-flight meals and activities at the Las Vegas airport.

Harry Reid International Airport
Harry Reid International Airport | NurPhoto/Getty Images
Harry Reid International Airport | NurPhoto/Getty Images

If you've ever flown into Las Vegas, you know that Harry Reid International is one of the most convenient airports in the world. Rather than being a city with an airport, Vegas almost feels like an airport with a city built around it. Harry Reid is right next to the Strip, making it easy and accessible to all the hotels, restaurants, attractions, and everything else that makes Sin City awesome.

But what if you're stuck inside waiting for a flight? Your first priority is probably finding a place to plug in your phone charger. The next priority is finding some decent food and shopping. Here's the bad news: Harry Reid, for all its ease and accessibility, falls behind others when it comes to fun and interesting stuff to do. But don't worry. You've still got a few places worth checking out, and we've put together a quick guide to sort out the good from the meh. It includes the best options in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. In case you're wondering, there's no Terminal 2. It was demolished after the construction of 3. Hopefully, that makes sense while navigating your way through the airport.

And if that's not enough, Harry Reid is one of just two U.S. airports (along with Reno) to have slot machines on property. That should keep you busy. If not, here's all the other cool stuff to check out.

Liquor Library
Liquor Library | Photo courtesy of Harry Reid International Airport

Terminal 1


ZEROLevel Fitness & Wellness
It's not widely known, but Harry Reid International Airport has a 13,000-square-foot fitness center with weights, cardio machines, and other equipment for a full workout. Look for an elevator near Baggage Claim 10 and take an elevator down a level. A Traveler Day Pass is $25 with other options available for frequent travelers and airport employees. Just having access to a shower and towel service could be worth the splurge alone. And check this out: You can book a Sleep Room (beginning at $40 for two hours) with a private bed and access to the fitness center.

Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum
Take some time to learn about Sin City's aviation history before or after you pass through the security gates in Terminal 1. The Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum is on Level 2 with exhibits about the beginning of public flights in Vegas and how McCarran International Airport took shape before changing its name to Harry Reid. The museum has additional exhibits throughout the terminal, including a replica of a red 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible that was a fixture at the airport in the '50s and '60s. A small aircraft, Hacienda (named after the casino that sponsored it), hangs above the baggage claim. The Cessna 172 holds the record for the longest continuous flight, staying in the air nearly 65 days in 1958, refueling 128 times by flying low over a gas truck with an extended hose.

Jimmy John's
This particular Jimmy John's is on the small side, but easy to notice, thanks to the smell of fresh-baked bread outside the Terminal 1 security lines. Whether it's the B.L.T. or Turkey Tom, there's something on the menu to do the trick. The skinny, mini Little John sandwiches cost a little less and are good for a quick snack. Fans will be happy to know the ultra-customer-friendly Freaky Fast Rewards system is in effect too. This is easily the best sandwich spot in the airport.

Liquor Library
Liquor Library is the only non-duty free liquor store in the United States in an airport baggage claim. Look for it right behind the escalators that welcome arriving passengers. Prices aren't cheap, but it's a good place to pick up Nevada spirits (like Frey Ranch whiskey). Even better: free samples are offered throughout the day with a schedule posted online. A second Liquor Library is by the smaller baggage claim in Terminal 3. And yes, that one likes to offer samples too.

Luxe Cigars
This place is a quick fix for a good cigar, featuring a premium selection from throughout the Caribbean. Sorry, no Cubans. The store is also semi-obsessed with F1 and is probably the best place in the entire city to score official swag at this point. Look for it near Carousel 8 in the Terminal 1 baggage claim.

Siegel's Bagelmania
Siegel's Bagelmania | Photo courtesy of Siegel's Bagelmania

Concourse A


Closest Gate: A3
Doughp was founded in San Francisco and once had a quick-serve counter at the Miracle Mile Shops on the Strip, but is now strictly a retail item. The company (pronounced "dope," not "dopey") sells edible cookie dough in a variety of flavors, eaten out of disposable containers like ice cream. Try some for yourself with a choice of vending machines in the A or B concourses. The recipe is egg-free, so refrigeration isn't necessary. The machines also sell branded socks and fanny packs… you know, just in case.

The B Lounge
Closest Gate: A7
The "B" stands for Budweiser, which is pretty much what you get along with a few other drafts, a basic spirits selection, and some prepackaged food items. It's really your only choice for booze in the A concourse and to catch a big game on TV.

Siegel's Bagelmania
Closest Gate: A10
Siegel's Bagelmania may be a New York-style deli, but it's a born-and-raised Las Vegas original. More than 30 years after opening east of the Strip, the family-owned business now has a second location at the airport, where you can get your fix for a lox and bagel or a black and white cookie. Sandwiches include a grilled Rueben with a choice of pastrami, corned beef, or turkey, and the Yiddish Bird, which combines turkey and bacon with chive cream cheese and sprouts.

Moe's Southwest Grill
Closest Gate: A15
Yes, it's a chain, but worth noting because the airport has the only Moe's in Las Vegas. (We're more of a Chipotle kind of town.) While some fans of the brand might be eager to endure a TSA security check to get their hands on burrito bowls made with relatively healthy ingredients, this particular outpost doesn't exactly feel vibrant or exciting, although the breakfast menu is an interesting addition.

PGA Tour Grill
PGA Tour Grill | Photo courtesy of PGA Tour Grill

Concourse B

360 Gourmet Burrito
Closest Gate: B15
This is the closest you'll come to Mexican street food at the airport, but that's almost an insult to street food. If you have low expectations walking in, you'll probably be fine with one of five food court-quality burrito/burrito bowl combinations at this no-frills grab-and-go counter. Otherwise, if you have time before your flight, it's worth the walk to Concourse A for Moe's.

PGA Tour Grill
Closest Gate: B17
This airport staple is a familiar sight to frequent flyers. Is it fine dining? Not by any means. Is it a place where you can sit down and have a meal? Yes. It's also the only "regular" restaurant in the B concourse. The omelets and burgers are decent, with an Impossible Burger available for vegans. The grilled chicken pesto is our favorite from the pizza menu. You also have a larger-than-expected lineup of beer and wine, which come in six or nine-ounce servings. A newer version of the PGA Tour Grill is near Gate E3 in Terminal 3.

Beer, Wine & Cocktails To Go
Closest Gate: B25
The name says it all, doesn't it? If you just want booze and nothing else, these dual-counters will do the job. The cocktails and wine are canned and the beer is limited to big-name brands, but sometimes convenience is king.

Shake Shack
Shake Shack | Photo courtesy of Harry Reid International Airport

A&B Rotunda

Carlo's Bakery Shop
Closest Gates: A3/B1
The "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro is determined to be everywhere in Las Vegas with three restaurants and a bakery on the Strip and a growing number of vending machines (or "Cake ATMs") that seem to be popping up all over hotels and other busy tourist areas. That includes the airport, where giant multi-layered slices are available at the touch of a button. Rainbow and chocolate are almost always in stock, but keep a lookout for other flavors like carrot cake, vanilla confetti, and red velvet. A second machine is just past the TSA checkpoint in Terminal 3.

Shake Shack
Closest Gates: A3/B1
Shake Shack is one of the newer and nicer dining spots at McCarran. The standalone fast food joint is positioned right between the A & B gates with an art-deco design patterned after the burger chain's original location in New York. Pretty much everything you'd expect is on the menu, including frozen custard shakes and ShackBurgers made with the company's own distinct ground beef blend and served on buttery potato buns. Show up early and you'll get a full lineup of breakfast sandwiches.

Sprinkles | Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Concourse C

Corcoran's Irish Pub
Closest Gate: C2
Don't get too excited. The dark decor is a small attempt at an Irish pub feel, but kinda makes the small bar feel a little gloomy and dingy. However, this is the place you want to be for a basic selection of Irish beers, including Harp and a Guinness that's actually poured correctly.

Ethel M Chocolates
Closest Gate: C4
Finally, something local at the airport to sink your teeth into. Ethel M Chocolates are made in Henderson with quality ingredients, nothing artificial, and a clean taste that's a welcome alternative to all those other candy bars at the newsstand. This is basically a gift shop. Mix and match your own individual pieces from a display window or grab a prepackaged variety box. Ethel M can also be found throughout the airport near gates D3, D32, and E11.

Jose Cuervo Tequileria
Closest Gate: C5
Despite its name, the Jose Cuervo Tequileria seems to place a stronger emphasis on beer and wine than Mexican spirits, but it's one of the busier dining spots in the airport, especially during weekend or holiday travel. Burritos, tacos, and quesadillas are promised as "handcrafted," confirming the term is now officially overused. Choose "Mexican Way" (with pico and pickled onions) or "American Way" (with lettuce, cheese, and sour cream). No surprises here, but it's nice to sit down with a drink and eat some slightly-above-average Tex-Mex off an actual plate. Right around the corner, the Tequileria Grille is the restaurant's to-go counter, which comes in handy if your flight's on final boarding. In case you're wondering… yes, you're welcome to take a cocktail with you while wandering around the airport. You can do a lot worse than the house margarita made with 1800 Reposado.

Brookwood Farms BBQ
Closest Gate: C14
It's nowhere close to being one of the best BBQ joints in Vegas, but the small walk-up counter for this North Carolina brand provides a surprisingly welcome twist on airport food. Even better—you get a good amount for the price. A Beef Brisket Platter comes with two sides—go with the Baked Beans and Cornbread over the Mac n' Cheese or Mashed Potatoes. As for breakfast, the Biscuits and Gravy will keep you full throughout almost any domestic flight.

Neon Museum
Closest Gate: C16
No, this isn't an extension of the actual Neon Museum in Downtown Vegas, where old marquees are on exhibit. This is a gift shop that celebrates Vegas history with shirts, hoodies, drinkware, and other items inspired by vintage imagery. A replica of the iconic Stardust marquee on the ceiling is a nice touch.

Closest Gate: C16
This shop has a variety of games, gifts, and sunglasses. It also has custom poker chips, playing cards, and coins, giving you a Vegas souvenir on the personal side. You can also place a wholesale order for a business or special event. Another version in near gate D1.

Pei Wei Asian Diner
Closest Gate: C19
As fresh and hot as airport food gets. Most of the dishes are made to order, which is a refreshing change of pace, but the lines get long quickly. If you have time to kill, the wok-tossed spicy chicken and fried rice is the way to go. Regardless of who makes it, airport sushi feels like a risk. A second Pei Wei for international travelers operates in Terminal 3 near gate E11.

Kylie Cosmetics
Closest Gate: C21
The Kardashian/Jenner empire dabbles in pretty much everything, and that includes vending machines. Here's your chance to pick up items from Kylie Jenner's cosmetics line–a little blush, eyeliner, or even a "lip kit" to help master the perfect pout while applying makeup in an airplane lavatory. You'll come across additional machines near gates A7, D18, and E9.

Nathan's Famous
Closest Gate: C22
Nathan's Famous has seven hot dog stands in Las Vegas, but this is the only one not inside a hotel. You can pretend you're in Coney Island and have your own hot dog eating contest or explore the ever-expanding menu, which now includes angus burgers and chicken sandwiches.

Sammy's Beach Bar & Grill
Closest Gate: C24
Think of this as the poor man's Cabo Wabo Cantina. "Sammy" refers to Sammy Hagar, who has attached his name to this airport hangout in just one of the rockstar's many business ventures. The decor resembles a beachside surf shop with platinum Van Halen albums hanging on the wall. The menu sticks to burgers and bar food, but if you're feeling adventurous, try the spicy Red Rockin' Wings or the Island Burger combo of beef and pork. You can also avoid meat altogether with three variations of an Impossible Burger on the menu. The lineup of sipping rums is a welcome touch.

Closest Gate: C24
Sprinkles closed its Strip location a few years ago, but you can still wolf down their cupcakes at the airport. The California chain has vending machines—known affectionately as "cupcake ATMs"—in busy corridors of the airport. They operate 24 hours, offering a much-needed sugar buzz for redeye travelers when most restaurants close overnight. Despite the format, the cupcakes are nearly as good as what you'd find in a regular Sprinkles store. Go with the Red Velvet. It's the best five bucks you'll spend at McCarran. Additional machines are by gates A7, D51, and E10.

The Raider Image
Closest Gate: C24
Okay, the Raiders may not be in line for the Super Bowl this year, but you can still show some support with a football jersey. The Raider Image is the best option for scoring Raiders swag with hats, hoodies, and other black-and-white fashion statements. A second shop is near gate E9.

Barney's Lounge
Closest Gate: C25
File this one under "not-for-kids." Barney's is a closed-door lounge where guests are welcome to play slots, smoke, and drink cocktails. The place is all-business in an "Old Vegas" kind of way. Nameless smoking and slot machine lounges near gates A7, B15, C5, C25, D16 and E14 are even more no-frills.

Rachel's Kitchen
Rachel's Kitchen | Photo courtesy of Rachel's Kitchen

Terminal 1/Terminal 3

Concourse D

Jamba Juice
Closest Gate: D1
Are the D gates part of Terminal 1 or Terminal 3? It kinda depends on where you check in. Here's what's important: the food is a significant step-up from older parts of the airport. We're singling out Jamba Juice since it's the first thing you'll notice after taking the long escalator up to the D concourse from the tram. The shakes and bowls always taste good, the fruit is always fresh, and the staff knows how to keep the line moving along. A welcome sight before an early morning flight. A second Jamba Juice is near gate C 25.

Ruby's Dinette
Closest Gate: D1
This sit-down restaurant has a modest 1950s diner theme, rounded out with a jukebox and thick milkshakes that require a spoon to finish off. Pay at the counter and hang around until the food is brought to your table. Fair warning: it can take a few minutes. Burgers are made fresh on the grill and the cooked-to-order fries are a nice change of pace from the fast food alternatives. A separate bar area is adults-only, allowing you to sip on that airport-quality Old Fashioned without children screaming in your face.

Sugar Factory
Closest Gate: D1
The Sugar Factory became an international hit by mixing candy, food, and booze on the same menu with colorful photogenic presentations. Locations come and go, but you can still get the full experience in Vegas at Harmon Corner on the Strip. The airport version is retail only with a variety of sweets, including large-size Pez dispensers, candy sold by the pound, and the brand's signature lollipops.

Rachel's Kitchen
Closest Gate: D6
We have a soft spot for Rachel's Kitchen, a local Las Vegas chain where everything is based on fresh, vibrant ingredients. The airport location is basically a grab-and-go version of the concept. When it comes to pre-made sandwiches and salads, these are by far the top choices in the airport. You can also order up smoothies and juices made fresh on the spot. Watermelon juice all by itself is pretty awesome and a good way to hydrate after a long flight.

Sammy's Woodfired Pizza & Grill
Closest Gate: D6
This one has nothing to do with Sammy Hagar. Sammy's Woodfired Pizza is a regional chain with a strong presence in Nevada and California. As the name implies, pizzas are the big draw here, along with kobe burgers, salads, and wraps. Definitely on the higher end of choices at the airport, but between Metro and Wolfgang Puck, there are almost too many options for pizza by the D gates.

Wolfgang Puck Express
Closest Gate: D17
Wolfgang Puck Express is the closest you'll come in the airport to experiencing Vegas' fondness for celebrity chef culture, even if it's pretty much in name only. This place isn't Spago, but probably the only Harry Reid restaurant with Butternut Squash Soup, Kale and Quinoa Salad, or gluten-free Fennel Sausage Pizza. The Wolfgang Puck brand of wines are also better than what you'll find at the average airport bar. Whether sitting down in the dining room or grabbing food to go, this is definitely near the top of the list.

Closest Gates: D17/D51
The D concourse has two opportunities to shop from a Lego vending machine. Place an order on a digital screen and choose from a selection of small packages. Some are co-branded with Star Wars or Disney, guaranteed to make the child in your life perk up with a last-minute gift. Putting a Lego set together in-flight on a tray table? Not recommended. A third Lego machine is near gate C21.

Metro Pizza
Closest Gate: D36
Now we're talking. Metro Pizza has been a Vegas favorite since 1980 and one of our top choices in town for Brooklyn-inspired pizza. The slices are snatched straight from the oven—no microwaves or heat lamps here—and the meatball sliders are served on house-made garlic knots. You don't quite get the attention-to-detail and diverse menu options found at Metro Pizza's other full-size locations around the valley, but as far as Vegas airport options go, this could be your best bet.

Burke in the Box
Closest Gate: D52
This quick-casual concept by David Burke doesn't feel like it has anything to do with a celebrity chef—it's rather routine—but the food and dining room room work for anyone who wants to take a load off their feet for a while. The breakfast platter exceeds expectations. Only get a sandwich if it comes with a pretzel bun. The adjacent "On the Fly" to-go counter has little in common with the regular restaurant menu, but you gotta buy bottled water somewhere.

Hudson Nonstop
Near the train platform
Hudson operates nearly a thousand duty-paid and duty-free shops in hotels and airports across North America, and 21 of those are at Harry Reid. That gives you ample opportunity to pick up a packet of aspirin, magazine, or book (including Vegas-centric options like What Really Happens in Vegas, James Patterson's new nonfiction take on behind-the-scenes personalities in Sin City). Hudson Nonstop is a little different, utilizing Amazon's "Just Walk Out" technology. Enter the store by inserting a credit card or hovering your palm over an Amazon One device. You can then take anything you like from the store and be charged automatically without dealing with any sort of checkout. Try it out for yourself at the bottom of the escalators in the D gates or at the Esplanade in the general public area.

Vegas SpecialTees
Vegas SpecialTees | Photo courtesy of Harry Reid International Airport

Terminal 3

Concourse E

Las Vegas Chophouse & Brewery
Closest Gate: E8
Terminal 3, or "T3" as the kids call it these days, is the newest wing of the airport and where you'll end up for international travel. So it's no surprise the E concourse has the Las Vegas Chophouse and Brewery—the closest Harry Reid comes to fine dining. It isn't as good as the best steakhouses in Vegas, but you can still get a juicy New York Strip or filet ordered to your liking with a nice char on the outside. The "brewery" part of the name is a bit odd since the beer selection isn't much, but you're better off sticking with a martini or Bloody Mary anyway. Round out the meal with a Loaded Baked Potato, Caesar Salad, or French Onion Soup.

Vegas SpecialTees
Closest Gate: E9
The airport is loaded with Vegas-themed gift shops, but Vegas SpecialTees carries shirts that are a little higher quality than what you'll find in the average tourist shop. Take your time browsing the selection and you'll come across cuts and designs to compliment the frames of both men and women. It's also your best bet to find last-minute Vegas Golden Knights apparel before boarding is called. A second Vegas SpecialTees is near gate D50.

Village Pub
Closest Gate: E14
An interesting choice for the airport. The Village Pub is a locals video poker hangout with 14 locations throughout the valley that most tourists wouldn't usually bother with. Take advantage of the comfortable seating and order the Fish & Chips. It will make you happy. So will the microbrews (and root beer!) from the local Ellis Island Brewery.

Espresso Urbano by Sambalatte
Baggage claim
This new java counter at the airport is brought to you by Sambalatte, one of the best local coffee shops in Las Vegas. You can get an authentic espresso as well as drip coffee, lattes, and other specialty drinks. Sambalatte is known for sourcing quality beans directly from farms in South America, Central America, and Africa–and roasting them in-house.

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Rob Kachelriess is a full-time freelance writer who covers travel, dining, entertainment, and other fun stuff for Thrillist. He's based in Las Vegas but enjoys exploring destinations throughout the world, especially in the Southwest United States. Otherwise, he's happy to hang out at home with his wife Mary and their family of doggies. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.