Las Vegas

How to Celebrate Lunar New Year in Las Vegas

The Year of the Rabbit arrives with food, drink, lion dances and more.

Photo courtesy of the Bellagio
Photo courtesy of the Bellagio
Photo courtesy of the Bellagio

Lunar New Year is Sunday, January 22, falling within the Spring Festival (January 21-27). But don’t worry about keeping track of dates. Las Vegas is already joining celebrations around the world for the holiday, which is also known as Chinese New Year, Tết (in Vietnam) and Seollal (in Korea). If you want authenticity, head to Chinatown to best experience the culture and cuisine of our city’s diverse Asian community. For maximum spectacle, stick to the Strip, where virtually every hotel lobby is welcoming the Lunar New Year in one way or another. There’s a lot going on, so use the following guide to keep track of the festivities, food and fun in Las Vegas.

Downtown Summerlin
Downtown Summerlin
Downtown Summerlin

Parades and Festivals

Chinese New Year Festival

Saturday, January 21 – Sunday, January 22
Chinatown
Chinatown Plaza, the shopping center where the modern-era of Vegas’ Chinatown originated, hosts the 2023 Chinese New Year Festival over two days. Come by Saturday (January 21) 1-8pm or Sunday (January 22) 11 am-8pm for a variety of food trucks and vendors, ranging from traditional Asian favorites (like Pampanga for Filipino and Little Dings for Taiwanese) to nontraditional bites (like Custom Pizza Truck and I Luv Cotton Candy) or something in-between (Louie Louie for Japanese-Mexican fusion). You’ll also be able to browse Chinatown’s popular on-site restaurants (like Xiao Long Dumpling) and shops, while enjoying cultural performances, guest speakers and more.
Cost: Free admission.

Downtown Summerlin Lunar New Year Parade

Sunday, January 22
Summerlin
The Downtown Summerlin outdoor shopping plaza is celebrating Lunar New Year with fan dancers, stilt walkers and an oversized dragon presentation at 5pm, followed by a parade with floats and performers marching down Park Centre Drive. Pick up a free light stick before the parade (3:30-4:30pm) at the ONE Summerlin office building by downloading the Experience Pass on the Summerlin app. Keep your eyes peeled for samples from Kirin Ichiban in the restaurant district 4-7pm. Come back for holiday decorations, photo stations and red envelope giveaways (at ONE Summerlin) January 23-27.
Cost: Free.

Las Vegas Spring Festival Parade

January 28
Fremont East
Chinese New Year in the desert presents an annual tradition: the Las Vegas Spring Festival Parade, which runs down Fremont Street between 11th Street and 7th Street. Bleachers will be set up near 8th Street. Spectators can view floats, colorful costumes, lion dancers and other performers. The parade takes place 11am-1pm with an after-party at the Downtown Container Park 12-3:30pm.
Cost: Free admission.

Desert Breeze Spring Festival

Sunday, January 29
Spring Valley
Desert Breeze Park welcomes the 2nd Annual Spring Festival, east of Chinatown on Spring Mountain and Durango. The event aims to pack plenty of fun into just three hours (11am-2pm), beginning with a lion dance and continuing with live performances, arts and crafts, vendors, food trucks and playtime activities for the kids.
Cost: Free.

Photo courtesy of the Bellagio
Photo courtesy of the Bellagio
Photo courtesy of the Bellagio

Hotel Lobbies and Landmarks

Fashion Show Las Vegas

Ongoing through Sunday, February 5
The Strip
The Fashion Show mall presents lantern light shows, hanging from the ceiling to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, set to music at the top of every hour in the Great Hall. Take advantage of a few holiday discounts at individual stores and pay a visit on January 22 for a lion parade and blessing 12-3pm.
Cost: Free to view.

The Forum Shops

Ongoing through Tuesday, February 28
Caesars Palace
Take a break from shopping at the Forum and look for an illuminated steel-framed dragon on the Fortuna Terrace near the casino entrance. The creature is 12 feet high and 22 feet long with 30,000 flickering red and amber lights. Surrounded by wooden pillars and gold fencing, it’s the ultimate photo spot inside the busy mall.

Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Ongoing through March 4
Bellagio
The Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a free attraction in the Bellagio lobby, has the largest holiday display on the Strip. Walk among a series of immersive floral arrangements, including a 32-foot-tall medallion, bonsai trees, cherry blossoms, Fu Dogs, and a pond with water lilies. Take the experience up a level with an exclusive meal at the Garden Table inside a tea house in the center of the exhibit with the choice of a dim sum lunch (1 or 3pm) or prix fixe Chinese dinner (6 or 8pm) by Noodles restaurant.
Cost: Exhibit is free. The Garden Table is $88 per person for lunch and $128 per person for dinner.

Waterfall Atrium

Ongoing
Venetian
A 16-foot tall, 700-pound, furry rabbit stands inside the Waterfall Atrium at the Venetian resort’s Palazzo tower. It’s the centerpiece of an elaborate Lunar New Year showcase, designed with feng shui in mind. The exhibit also includes bright greenery and gold coins to represent prosperity in the new year.
Cost: Free.

High Roller

Sunday, January 22
The LINQ
The 550-foot-tall High Roller observation wheel will shine in red, yellow, and orange lights to welcome the Lunar New Year. The attraction stands tall at the east end of The LINQ outdoor promenade.
Cost: Rides on the High Roller run between $8.50 and $34.75.

Eiffel Tower

Sunday, January 22
Paris Las Vegas
The Eiffel Tower replica on the Strip-half the size of the original in Paris-will be illuminated in red, yellow, and orange for the Year of the Rabbit. As usual, twinkling light shows will take place on the exterior every half hour after dark.
Cost: Rides to the top begin at $24.50.

Photo by Claudine Grant, courtesy of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
Photo by Claudine Grant, courtesy of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
Photo by Claudine Grant, courtesy of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

Drinks and Dining

Wing Lei

Tuesday, January 17 – Sunday, January 29
Wynn
Wing Lei is launching a limited-edition cocktail to match the restaurant’s fine-dining interpretation of Chinese cuisine throughout the Lunar New Year season. The Year of the Rabbit cocktail by Wynn mixologist Mariena Mercer Boarini uses Bombay Sapphire East (featuring cubeb berries, Thai lemongrass, grains of paradise and Vietnamese black pepper in the botanicals) with a coconut-ginger cloud of egg white foam and an edible lucky rabbit decal.
Cost: $21.

Hakkasan Restaurant

Thursday, January 19 – Sunday, February 5
MGM Grand
One of the most romantic restaurants in Vegas is offering an elevated multi-course dinner of Cantonese-inspired cuisine to welcome the luck and prosperity associated with the Year of the Rabbit. Visit Hakkasan Restaurant for a crisp octopus salad, dim sum, cherrywood-smoked roasted duck, stir-fried wagyu, steamed John Dory with black bean butter sauce and a Lucky Rabbit dessert made with black sesame mousse. Make sure to add on a special Remy Martin cocktail and write down your wishes on a red and gold ribbon to hang in the restaurant. Lion Dances take place in the dining room at 9pm January 20-22.
Cost: The prix fixe dinner is $158 per person.

The Noodle Den

Friday, January 20 – Thursday, January 26
Sahara
The addition of the Noodle Den is one of the best things about the recent string of renovations at the Sahara resort. Chef Guoming Xin’s restaurant has a few special dishes for Lunar New Year: black sesame rice balls, chicken with chili oil, poached chicken, stir-fried prawn, black pepper beef with asparagus, scallop and asparagus with XO sauce, steamed sea bass with soy sauce and abalone and shiitake mushroom on baby bok choy.
Cost: Holiday dishes are $6 to $58.

China Poblano

Friday, January 20 – Sunday, February 5
The Cosmopolitan
Jose Andres’ China Poblano, which combines Asian and Mexican dishes on the same menu, is leaning towards the former with special limited-edition Year of the Rabbit recipes. Order the Songshu Yu (whole-fried fish with vegetables), Ha Cheung Fun (rice and noodle roll), Cha Nian Gao (rice cakes), and the Lucky 7 (pineapple and pomelo tart) for a full, festive meal. Don’t forget the Pears of Prosperity cocktail-Dewars White Label Scotch with spiced pear and baijiu.
Cost: Special dishes are $13.88 to $37.88. The specialty cocktail is $18.

CHĪ Asian Kitchen

Friday, January 20 – Sunday, February 5
The Strat
The newly opened CHĪ Asian Kitchen at the Strat is rolling out some intriguing specials for its first-ever Lunar New Year. Come hungry for the Cantonese lobster with noodles and garlic sauce or the spicy prawns with fried noodles. The Lunar Moon Shadow cocktail mixes Remy Martin VSOP cognac with yuzu and raspberry marmalade with a rabbit design printed on top.
Cost: Lobster $59, prawns $32, and Lunar Moon Shadow $19.

Mott 32

Saturday, January 21 – Saturday, January 28
Venetian
Mott 32, a contemporary combination of elevated Chinese food in a stylish dining room, has a special à la carte lineup of holiday dishes by Chef Alan Ji. Mix and match a selection of lobster and abalone salad, crispy fried spring chicken, steamed sea bass with chopped red chili, pan-fried golden oysters with honey glaze and brown sugar sticky rice cakes. If you prefer a more casual environment, Hong Kong Cafe (on the other side of the casino floor) has some Chinese New Year specials of its own.
Cost: Mott 32 specials run between $18 and $138.

The Cocktail Collective

Sunday, January 22 – Sunday, February 5
Venetian
Each of the three lounges that make up the Venetian Cocktail Collective will have their own respective Lunar New Year drinks-all made with Remy Martin VSOP cognac. Rosina (one of the essential bucket-list bars in Vegas) has the Spicy Longevity, a fiery spin on a Moscow Mule. The Lunar Lantern at The Dorsey is like an Old Fashioned with a touch of sweet Benedictine, while the Lucky Red Rabbit at Electra provides a refreshing burst of muddled strawberries and lemon juice.
Cost: Cocktails are $18.

Dim Sum Café

Saturday, January 28
West Valley
Any of the best restaurants in Vegas for dumplings and dim sum are worth your attention throughout the entire year. Most will continue to operate as usual during the Spring Festival holiday season. However, one of our faves, Dim Sum Cafe near Summerlin, is hosting a special Lunar New Year networking lunch 1-3pm in partnership with the Las Vegas chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals. Tickets are available online.
Cost: Tickets are $25, although the price may increase after January 21.

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

Roaring Lion Dances

You can never have too many lion-dance parades roaming the lobbies of Las Vegas resorts. Celebrate Lunar New Year with boisterous music, traditional costumes and energetic choreography at The Strat on the casino floor at 5pm January 22; the Venetian between the porte cochère and Waterfall Atrium at 3pm January 23; the Wynn Encore by the south valet entrance at 5:30pm on January 23; the Aria main valet at 6pm January 27; the Bellagio main valet at 1pm January 28, the MGM Grand porte cochère at 5pm January 28 and the Cosmopolitan by the east-side doors near Starbucks at 1pm on January 29. Take a break from shopping with lion dances throughout the Shops at Crystals Friday, January 27 at noon and at the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets 1-3pm January 29 (with special offers in lucky red envelopes offered at guest services).
Cost: Free to watch.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than eight years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He was born in the Year of the Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.

Las Vegas

A Fresh Take on Italian Dining Opens in Southwest Las Vegas

A first look at Basilico Ristorante Italiano.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

You can’t be all things to all people. Yet a new Italian restaurant strikes an intriguing balance between authenticity and inventive touches while helping to shape the identity of a new community in the booming Southwest Valley of Las Vegas.

Basilico Ristorante Italiano is now open at Evora, a master-planned apartment development still under construction that won’t be finished for at least five years. The 160-seat restaurant follows the vision of chef Francesco Di Caudo, a Sicily native who draws on his heritage and experience throughout Italy to build a compelling menu based on traditional techniques and modern ingenuity.

“I come from a country where farm-to-table is nothing new,” says Di Caudio, while emphasizing the importance of ingredient sourcing and simple, straightforward flavor combinations.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

Just look at the appetizers. Americans are used to eggplant parmesan that’s breaded and fried without restraint. Di Caudo sticks to a traditional Sicilian recipe with the vegetable sliced thin, sizzled in a pan, and layered with tomato and basil. No mozzarella. On the other hand, the Smoked Cigar is destined to be a signature showstopper. Duck, foie gras, and porcini mushrooms are packed inside a thin, cracker-like shell, presented in a box, and dipped into a glass ashtray. The “ash” in the centre is a black sesame and truffle mix. Don’t be shy about double dipping.

The risotto is bound to be another conversation piece. The recipe uses Carnaroli rice, a starchy grain from North Italy that produces a creamy texture, balancing the saltiness of a parmesan broth with a sweet splash of chestnut honey. The real surprise is the inclusion of Lavazza espresso, manipulated to crackle in your mouth like Pop Rocks candy.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

All pastas are made in-house, from a parsnip cavatelli to a lamb and thyme tortellini in a broth filtered from braised prosciutto. Some dishes have a subtle Asian influence, including a hamachi crudo with pomelo (similar to yuzu), Hokkaido scallops with oxtail, and a planned octopus braised in dashi. The flavours come to life inside a sharp, contemporary dining room with deep red chairs and stone, wood, and marble touches. The wine collection is dominated by Italian labels, with a few California and Oregon picks thrown in to round out the list. Bottles are on display near the front entrance and inside illuminated square shelves. “It looks like a fancy restaurant, but when you sit down, I want you to have fun,” adds Di Caudio.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

The bar is the heart of the restaurant, ready to serve up to 16 people inside and dozens more via accordion-style windows that open wide to a covered patio. The outdoor space, temperature-controlled with overhead fans and heaters, effectively extends Evora’s open-air plaza with dramatic water and fire features. It’s a natural spot for tastings and special events with a covered stage for live music. Evora is rolling out in four phases, with the first 342 apartments ready by fall. There could be as many as 1,400 when it’s all said and done. Rent begins at around $1,800 for studios and one-bedroom units and goes up to $4,000 for two-story top-floor residences with a loft and Strip views. The community will include swimming pools, pickleball courts, a putting green, a dog park, firepits, EV charging stations, and pavilions equipped with audio and video features.

“Basilico matches the demographic for our apartments,” says Danny Sorge of Digital Desert Development, the company behind the community. “The term ‘youthful sophistication’ has been thrown around about the restaurant and Evora as a whole. It brings something new to the area.”

Rendering courtesy of Evora
Rendering courtesy of Evora
Rendering courtesy of Evora

The development follows a deliberate strategy to have the commercial tenants in place before the first residents move in, occupying a stand-alone building that strikes a commanding presence on the corner of Patrick Lane and Buffalo Drive. Lemon Tree Cafe & Market is already open as a European-style grocery store with plenty of room to sit down with a sandwich and glass of wine. Keep your eyes peeled for Taps & Barrels (a self-service beer hall), Tachi Ramen, and EVOQ hair salon in the months ahead, with more businesses to come. The timing couldn’t be better. The Southwest Valley is on fire right now, with the Durango hotel and casino and UnCommons mixed-use development taking shape as new attractions in 2023. The Bend, a long-promised shopping and dining district, has been in a holding pattern for years but holds promise in an area where everything is getting bigger and better.

Meanwhile, the team behind Evora is staking a claim with Di Caudio running the kitchen at Basilico. The chef’s recent collaboration with Chef Oscar Amador helped Anima by EDO score a recent James Beard Award nomination and reputation as one of the best new restaurants in Las Vegas. Di Caudio first came to Las Vegas to work at Zeffirino at the Grand Canal Shoppes-a gig he expected to last about six months before returning home. Instead, he stuck around and continued to build his reputation at culinary destinations like Sinatra at the Wynn and Ferraro’s off the Strip.

Ultimately, Basilico will be a restaurant to keep an eye on as it develops under Di Caudio’s guidance. The menu will shift and evolve based on the chef’s preferences and the availability of seasonal ingredients. Di Caudio is also planning a smaller menu and social hour for the bar area and a reasonably priced tasting menu with around 10 dishes served family style.

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Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than nine 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.

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