10 best things to do in Las Vegas this weekend — Dec. 1-3

The holidays are here in Las Vegas.

Welcome the beginning of December at the first night of Hard Rock’s Holiday Havoc with Portugal. The Man.

Support the Las Vegas community on the two-month anniversary of the mass shooting at tonight’s Vegas Strong benefit concert with The Killers and Imagine Dragons.

Make sure to head downtown and catch the last First Friday festival of 2017.

Here are your top 10 picks for what to see, eat and do in Las Vegas this weekend.

Grab a bite

Naked City Pizza has pushed forward the opening of its downtown location to be open for First Friday. The popular local chain is taking over the space at El Cortez that was previously Pizza Lotto. Read more about Naked City Pizza here.

Get a drink

Since downtown doesn’t have a dedicated tiki bar, Pizza Rock is the best place to get your Polynesian drink fix. The Freaky Tiki offers all the key ingredients: multiple types of rum, fruit juice and a cool glass. Learn how to make it yourself here.

See a show

As much as anything else, this is who Patton Oswalt is: an intensely funny, equally conscientious dude whose stand-up specials and albums are united by a constant chronicling of his evolution as a person.

Oswalt explains in a recent phone interview, “I’m the classic ‘Thinks he’s very liberal, progressive and open-minded’ and yet has prejudices that he can’t even see. So to start realizing that about yourself is very fascinating — and can be very funny.” See Patton Oswalt at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel. Read more about Patton Oswalt.

Rock out

’Tis the season for Christmas-themed concerts, so let’s break down the lineup for Holiday Havoc Night 1 (Night 2, headlined by The Killers, is Dec. 11). See Portland, Oregon-based alt-rock changelings Portugal. The Man hit Vegas in support of their eighth record, “Woodstock,” one of the best albums of the year. Read more about Holiday Havoc.

Catch a movie

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Titanic,” writer-director James Cameron has remastered the Oscar-winning love story yet again. A weeklong 3-D engagement will begin Friday in Dolby Cinema at 20 AMC locations, including Town Square. Read the RJ movie writer’s real-time thoughts while he watches “Titanic” for the first time.

Vegas Strong

Imagine Dragons were in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, playing at the Hollywood Bowl.

“We walked off stage to the news,” singer Dan Reynolds says. “We sat down and we all just cried and watched the news together that night at the venue.”

They reached out to their manager, Mac Reynolds, Dan’s brother, the morning after the tragedy to coordinate a benefit show. See the Vegas Strong Benefit Concert at 7:30 tonight at T-Mobile Arena, where Imagine Dragons and The Killers will team up with a variety of Vegas performers and local notables.

First Friday

As 2017 rapidly moves toward its close, December’s First Friday celebration acknowledges the fact with an “Art of Movement” theme.

The monthly gathering in the downtown arts district runs from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, mustering a mix of art, music, food, fun — and, inevitably, holiday shopping. Read more about the monthly downtown arts fest.


The first of two Brunch with Santa events will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Downtown Container Park at Fremont and 7th streets. In addition to an all-you-can-eat brunch, guests can make hot chocolate, decorate a holiday cookie and sit for pictures with Santa. Tickets are $30, plus $15 for unlimited mimosas, $15 for kids under 12.

Mac and cheese

Grab a bite of your favorite comfort food. At Yardbird Southern Table & Bar go for the torchio pasta (they look like little torches), but stay for the complex five-cheese blend and the crispy herb crust in a definitely updated take on Southern supper. See 4 more of the best spots for mac and cheese in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Philharmonic

The Las Vegas Philharmonic is performing not one but two concerts Saturday. The family-friendly matinee, dubbed “Home for the Holidays,” promises a more traditional musical menu while Saturday evening’s “A Baroque Christmas” teams the orchestra with its resident vocal ensemble, the Las Vegas Master Singers, for Part I of Handel’s oratorio “The Messiah.” See the shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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