Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2017

Currently: 74° — Complete forecast

A local’s guide to CityCenter’s secrets

Where to eat: New Thai restaurant opens doors

If you’ve been looking for authentic Thai cuisine on the Strip, Aria finally has it. We don’t know what took Strip resorts so long to catch on to the Thai food craze, but all that matters is they have with the opening of Lemongrass. Chef Krairit Krairavee, formerly of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, cooks up dishes like Thai curries, homemade fish cakes and, of course, Pad Thai. Dishes start as low as $8. The restaurant is tucked away near the baccarat rooms and Sky Suite elevators. Lemongrass is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Julian Serrano, the chef behind the regal Picasso restaurant at the Bellagio, is responsible for one of the most affordable high-end dining restaurants at CityCenter. At his namesake restaurant in Aria, Serrano returns to his roots with tapas and authentic Spanish dishes. The restaurant lets patrons build their meal, rather than pick from pricey entrees. Another plus: Sharing is encouraged. Small plates start at $6 and don’t hit much higher than $14, except for the seafood platter and paellas. Drinks are reasonably priced, too (by Strip standards, at least), with wines and sangrias by the glass starting at $7.

Where to party

Haze and Eve are the newest additions to the Strip’s nightclub scene. Haze, run by Light Group, is in Aria, while Eve, Eva Longoria Parker’s brainchild, is steps away at Crystals. The two clubs have their locals appreciation nights — Wednesday is Eve’s and Thursday is Haze’s. On those nights, locals can enjoy free cover with a Nevada’s driver’s license. Cover is the only deal you’ll get though; expect to pay at least $14 for mixed drinks inside.

Where to park

CityCenter is a maze when it comes to parking. Enter from Harmon Avenue off Las Vegas Boulevard and you’ll find numerous signs directing motorists. There is only one place to self-park at CityCenter, and that’s Aria. At the other properties — Vdara, Mandarin Oriental and Crystals — valet is a must. The best place to park with the least amount of headache is Monte Carlo. You can access the resort’s parking garage from Frank Sinatra Drive. After parking, walk toward the hotel lobby, down the Street of Dreams, up the escalator at the end and down another, and you are inside Aria. It might seem like a lot of walking, but it’s usually worth not fighting the Strip traffic.

Where to stay

If you or your out-of-town guests are looking to stay at CityCenter, head to Vdara. Rates at the non-gaming hotel range from $20 to $100 less than Aria’s. Each Vdara suite comes with free wireless Internet, a fully functioning kitchen, a refrigerator for doggy bags and a kitchen table — all things that Aria’s standard rooms lack. The hotel’s on-property amenities include a two-level spa, a large pool area, a Mediterranean restaurant and bar. There’s no gaming at Vdara but the hotel is steps away from all of Aria’s amenities and is connected to the Bellagio by a 100-foot covered walkway.

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