Magazine article Sunset

Real Deal Las Vegas: Taking on Sin City without Talking to the Locals First? Now That's a Gamble. Lucky for You We Found the Winning Pair

Magazine article Sunset

Real Deal Las Vegas: Taking on Sin City without Talking to the Locals First? Now That's a Gamble. Lucky for You We Found the Winning Pair

Article excerpt

What's your favorite un-Vegas place to hang out?

AMBER UNICORN BOOKS

SARAH JOHNSON: Amber Unicorn Books is the best used bookstore in the city, with a huge cookbook section. They stock first edition James Beards and other fun stuff. DANIELLE KELLY: They have a secret vintage sci-fi collection. I found a copy of Nightwood by Djuna Barnes published in the 1960s with a beautiful cover. And the store also has the uniquely Vegas attribute of being hidden in a strip mall. Oh--and you get 10 percent off with your Trader Joe's receipt!

Where do you have breakfast?

DU-PIR'S

DK: A classic diner inside the Golden Gate Casino, on Fremont Street. Best pancakes on the planet. They must be soaked in at least two cups of butter--yet somehow they're really fluffy If pancakes aren't your thing, try a pie. Pecan. Peach. Blueberry. The display case is jammed with them 24 hours a day.

What are some fun places to take kids?

MYSTIC FALLS PARK AT SAM'S TOWN

DK: Sam's Town is the locals' casino. In the middle of it there's an atrium with a giant fake waterfall, a free laser show, and all these animatronic animals. When the laser show is about to start, this enormous bear roars and a wolf howls, and then there's a laser show on the waterfall. There's also an eagle that cries, a cougar, chipmunks, deer, a beaver building a dam. During Christmas they put Santa hats on them all. It's strange and wonderful and so beautifully Las Vegas.

PINBALL HALL OF FAME

SJ: Walking in here is like going back in time to when I was a kid. It's the world's largest public collection, hundreds of machines, rows and rows of them. DK: Some games date to the '30s, and you can play them all--for a quarter or two each. I'm pretty loyal to the Kiss pinball machines. SJ: They have some nonpinball arcade games too, like Tron. I keep coming back to that one. It torments me.

And for the big kids?

MICHAEL JACKSON ONE BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

SJ: I grew up with Off the Wall and Thriller, so I could not wait to see this show. The people sitting in my section ranged from children to retirees, and everyone was into it. We all engaged with it in our own way. There's video, magic, acrobatics, and incredible lighting effects like you've never seen. It's phenomenal. From $69; Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; cirquedusoleil.com.

Favorite old-school steakhouse? …

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