10 Actually Fun Things to Do in ‌Las‌ ‌Vegas‌ ‌This‌ Weekend

Life is Beautiful, rooftop movies, Mexican Independence Day, and more.

Life is Beautiful Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of Life is Beautiful/Alive Coverage

Las Vegas is still flying high after the Raiders won a dramatic season opener at Allegiant Stadium on Monday—and as the Golden Knights have shown, this town will love any sports team that starts out as a winner. The Raiders are on the road this weekend for Game Two, but there's still plenty to do here at home. Two major music festivals, Life is Beautiful and iHeartRadio, are taking place at the same time; each with a diverse lineup of entertainment. And just like a Raiders game at Allegiant Stadium, a COVID vaccination is required to enter. Check with each event for the official policy (and possible exemptions for those with a negative test from within 72 hours prior), but all three accept the CLEAR app as a record of vaccination. Download it now before heading out this weekend.

Help a good cause with the luck of the Irish

Thursday, September 16-Sunday, September 19
Shoppes at Mandalay Place
Ri Ra Irish Pub wraps up its week-long "Halfway to St. Patrick's Day" celebration with a special menu of Celtic-inspired bites that include black pudding scallops, a Guinness-infused bratwurst "super" dog, rasher and leek chicken, stuffed salmon, and whiskey bread pudding. The Irish pub is donating 20% of sales to HELP of Southern Nevada, which aids low-income families and homeless youth.
Cost: Special menu items are $8.50 to $22.50

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day

Thursday, September 16-Sunday, September 19
Mexican Independence Day is being celebrated throughout the weekend with special food and drink items at many of the best Mexican restaurants in Las Vegas. Ray Garcia's ¡Viva! is going the extra mile with the 16, a limited-edition Casa Dragones cocktail. The Fashion Show Mall has dancing piñata shows inside the Great Hall and roaming entertainers 1-4 pm all weekend long, as well as a Latin-inspired fashion show Sunday at 2 pm with models walking the catwalk to mariachi music. On the other side of Las Vegas Boulevard. The Grand Canal Shoppes will host its own mariachi performances throughout the weekend at 3 pm in St. Mark's Square with special appearances by The Voice's Eli Zamora at 4 pm and 6 pm.
Cost: Free admission

See chart-topping acts at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

Friday, September 17-Saturday, September 18
The Strip
As the name suggests, the iHeartRadio Music Festival is a celebration of all things heard on the radio with a focus on proven mainstream acts. There's something for everyone, ranging from the dance pop of Dua Lipa and rap of J. Cole to the rock of Weezer and the country of Sam Hunt. There's always a few classic rockers thrown into the mix as well. In this case, Journey and Cheap Trick. The headliners play short sets on the main stage at the T-Mobile Arena throughout the evening. However, the outdoor daytime stage at AREA15 is making a point to feature up-and-coming acts like Olivia Rodrigo and Saweetie. If you can't score tickets in person, most of this will be broadcast on iheartradio and cwtv.com.
Cost: Tickets begin at $81.75.

Watch a movie at a new rooftop theater

Friday, September 17-Saturday, September 18
Downtown
Hidden Cinema Rooftop Garden debuts in a discrete location a few blocks south of the Fremont Street Experience with city views, string lights, and classic films on a 30-foot screen. The debut weekend has Kingpin on Friday and The Beach on Saturday. Tickets include a picnic blanket, bean bag chair, or bean bag loveseat with beer, wine, and food available to buy at the bar. Doors open at 7 pm. Movies begin at 8 pm. Seating is first-come, first-serve.
Cost: Tickets begin at $10

Rock out to Keith Urban at the Colosseum

Friday, September 17-Saturday, September 18
Caesars Palace
Keith Urban resumes his residency at the Colosseum inside Caesars Palace for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. A lot has changed since then. The Australian country star has a new album, The Speed of Now Part 1 (featuring a duet with Pink, digitally recreated in concert) and the Colosseum now requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter. You know what to do. After this weekend, Urban returns with three more shows on September 22, 24, and 25.
Cost: Tickets start at $60

Party all night at Zouk Nightclub

Friday, September 17-Saturday, September 18
Resorts World
There's so much going on this weekend, it's almost easy to overlook the opening of a brand new nightclub on the Strip—which is always a big deal. Zouk joins the list of things we love about Resorts World with Tiesto on Friday and Becky G on Saturday. The new 26,000-square-foot venue isn't revealing too much ahead of opening night, but expect the latest audio and visual tech features, with the club divided between the main room (with seats surrounding the stage) and the smaller Empire Room.
Cost: General admission begins at $50.

Roam the streets of Downtown at Life is Beautiful

Friday, September 17-Sunday, September 19
Downtown
Green Day, BIllie Eilish, and dozens of other music acts are the big draw at Life is Beautiful, but half the fun is roaming the festival grounds, which cover about 18 blocks of Downtown Las Vegas. The culinary lineup alone is worth a visit, with more than 70 local and regional restaurants represented. Experiences range from the open-flame grill of The Cookout to the intimate multi-course presentation of the Omakase Cantina. You'll also want to check out the expansive display of art exhibits, especially the large-format murals, a pop-up installation by Meow Wolf's Omega Mart, an interactive tribute to cannabis by psychedelic artist Laurie Shapiro, and Bacardi's Art Motel. Somewhere in the middle of all this, find time to unwind and meditate with Deepak Chopra.
Cost: Tickets are sold out, but there's an official ticket exchange to help you score a last-minute deal.

Go shopping for oddities and curiosities

Saturday, September 18
Downtown
The Oddities and Curiosities Expo makes a stop in Las Vegas at the World Market Center 10 am–6 pm. Think of it as a pop-up shopping mart for anything weird and unusual—much of it creepy, scary stuff in time for the Halloween season. Browse anything and everything, from clothes and artwork to responsibly sourced taxidermy and "funeral collectibles." It's not discouraged to show up in costume. The event may not be for everyone, but makes a point to be family friendly.
Cost: Tickets begin at $10

Volunteer for a BioBlitz at Valley of Fire

Sunday, September 19
Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire is hosting a BioBlitz throughout the day from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm. Sign up for a designated time (30 minutes or an hour) and volunteer to work alongside scientists and other professionals to track and document wildlife. Choose from "reptiles," "birds and plants," and other categories. You may even spot a tortoise or bighorn sheep along the way. Email the park for more information.
Cost: Free

Cheer on the Raiders from afar

Sunday, September 19
Multiple Locations
Let's see if we can keep the momentum going. The Raiders are in Pittsburgh, facing the Steelers inside Heinz Field at 10 am. Watch the game from one of the best football party spots in Vegas, some of which may overlap with our favorite sports bars, craft beer taprooms, and maybe even a brunch restaurant or two. It is Sunday morning, after all.
Cost: Prices vary

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Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. In addition, his work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Leafly, Supercall, Modern Luxury, and Luxury Estates International's seasonal publication. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.