The glitzy and glamorous city of Las Vegas offers a dazzling array of choices when it comes to dinner and a show. Because we understand the sheer amount of options can be overwhelming, we’ve done the hard work for you and narrowed down a list of our faves.

Downtown

If you haven’t visited Downtown Las Vegas in a while, then it is time to return. When we recently visited some local friends, we were taken aback when they suggested we head down to Fremont Street for a night out. We were also surprised to find that the area is undergoing a full-scale transformation. Downtown Las Vegas actually is—and these are words we thought we would never say—hip. 

For a great dinner-and-a-show combo that won’t destroy your wallet, start with Park on Fremont. The hipster playground meets childhood nightmare (Tim Burton nightmare, not Freddy Krueger nightmare) atmosphere makes for a perfect start to the night. Grab a beer, and order up some “garbage fries” loaded with two cheeses, bacon, peppers, and egg. Be sure to take a turn on the teeter-totter out back. Just do so before the beer and fries.

Once you’ve filled up on yummy grub, walk a block to the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian promenade and catch one of the many free shows that occur every night. Whether you gawk at the spectacle that is the Viva Vision Light Show playing on the underside of the 1,500-foot canopy (you have to see it to believe it), or you stumble upon a live concert in front of the D Las Vegas, you won’t be let down. Many of these events are top-quality; on our visit, we saw one of the too-talented-for-their-own-good aerialists from Flying Dreams perform.

A slice of cheesecake before heading off to a show

North Strip 

If you’re staying mid strip, we recommend you start the night at Society Café in one of our favorite properties in the world, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. We like to say that Society Café is elevated comfort food, elevated. Our suggestion is first to nibble on some Mac & Cheese Bites with truffle dipping sauce. Then move on to the Build Your Own Burger part of the evening, and make sure to start with a 60/40 patty (that is, 60 percent beef and 40 percent ground bacon). If a combination of whiskey, muddled blackberries, Créme de Cassis, sweet and sour, and vanilla-infused simple syrup sounds good to you, ask the friendly bartenders to make you a Sinatra Smash, the resort’s signature cocktail.

You’ll need a little walk after dinner, so hoof it over to Treasure Island Hotel and Casino and see an iconic Las Vegas show, Mystère. It’s a unique and colorful mash up of circus, street theater, music, and comedy. The acrobatics particularly are beautiful. This transformative show—Cirque du Soleil’s first permanent show in Las Vegas—celebrated its 20-year anniversary in 2013. In a city that is as known for impermanence as it is for its neon, that is a real feat. Make the show part of your evening, and you will understand why it has such staying power.

Viewfinder Tip: Keep your eyes out for cost saving dinner and a show promotions such as those offered at Wynn Las Vegas.

South Strip 

You don’t have to head south of the border to find great Mexican food; just to the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. Here you’ll find Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, home to Border Grill. We are fanatical about Mexican food, so we try to make it to this restaurant whenever we are in Las Vegas. We’ve eaten our way through the menu over multiple trips and have yet to be disappointed. Our suggestion: Order a margarita, close your eyes, and point at the menu. You are bound to pick something delicious.

After dinner, you don’t need to go far to see one of Las Vegas’s best shows: Michael Jackson One. If you enjoy Michael Jackson’s music, you are in for a treat. If, like one of us, you spent your childhood wearing a single glove, glitter socks, and black penny loafers, bring tissues; you’re going to have a “moment.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to dive into the world class dining and entertainment that Las Vegas has to offer. Go with one of our recommendations or put together your own perfect dinner-and-a-show combo. Regardless of where you stay or what you do in Las Vegas, you’ll have a buffet of options.

What is your ideal dinner and show combination?