Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 | 6 p.m.
The weekend ahead is full of local love, from free rides at the Stratosphere tower to a film festival celebrating the city’s cultural diversity.
Here’s a look at our weekend best bets:
Saturday - Sunday: Zac Brown Band at the Joint
Grammy Award-winning country-folk sensations Zac Brown Band return to Las Vegas for another victory lap this weekend with a pair of shows at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. Fans can expect a mix of jams, covers and No.1 singles — and maybe even some tracks off the band’s EP collaboration with Dave Grohl released last month. The show begins at 8 p.m. with guest Levi Lowrey. Tickets start at $99.50.
Tonight - Sunday: ‘Panda!’ at Palazzo
“Panda!,” Palazzo’s newest resident show and the first Chinese production to headline on the Strip, celebrates its Las Vegas debut this weekend at Palazzo Theater. The theatrical production comes from director An Zhao and the team behind the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing. The tale blends traditional Chinese themes with spectacle, including acrobatics, martial arts, music and dance. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $48 to $128.
Saturday - Sunday: Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival at Adelson Educational Campus
Movies are a mitzvah as the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival returns for its 13th year. The fest showcases Jewish dramas, comedies and documentaries from around the world as a form of cultural enrichment for local Jewish organizations and synagogues and the Las Vegas community as a whole. Films range from “Cupcakes,” an Israeli satire about the Eurovision Song Contest, to the stark thriller “Bethlehem,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Individual general-admission tickets start at $10, and festival passes are $50. For tickets, schedules and more information, visit the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival website.
Friday: Linkin Park at the Joint
Rap-metal kings Linkin Park take the stage at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel this weekend to play a set of classic fan favorites, as well as new tracks off their latest record “Recharged.” The show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $85.
Tonight - Sunday: ‘Mamma Mia!’ at Smith Center
Here it goes again! The ABBA-inspired musical smash “Mamma Mia!” returns to Smith Center with its tale of love, family and friendship. Head to Reynolds Hall to re-live hits like “Dancing Queen” and “S.O.S.” with shows running nightly at 7:30 and matinees at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $26.
Friday - Sunday: Free Stratosphere tower rides
If you’re local and have never been to the top of the Stratosphere, this weekend is the time to check it off your list. Throughout January, Las Vegans can head up to the 107th and 108th floors free of the normal $12 charge on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with a valid Nevada ID. The attraction is open 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and until 1 a.m. Sundays.