Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Vegas Golden Knights and other sports and entertainment offerings, more Las Vegans are spending more spare time having fun on the Strip than ever before. The Sun’s new Strip for Locals series is designed to highlight different destinations and attractions along Las Vegas Boulevard we think residents will enjoy just as much as tourists do.
There are four Vegas Golden Knights games at T-Mobile Arena in the next eight days and the team plays 10 of its next 12 games at home. If you’re a local returning to the Fortress to take advantage of this stretch, you probably already have your VGK routine set in stone — where you park, where you meet your party posse, where you grab a drink or snack before heading into the arena.
If you don’t, consider the Aria resort and casino, the swanky 9-year-old property on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard near Harmon Avenue, between Park MGM and the Cosmopolitan. Its parking garage (which is not free, of course) offers a quick walk to the Arena but Aria is still far enough to avoid much of the vicious traffic that can jam up the Strip before and after hockey. On two separate occasions, I’ve arrived a bit later than planned, easily found a space to park here and strolled into T-Mobile in time to buy a beer and catch the puck drop.
And you don’t even have to walk through Aria’s sprawling casino. The path from the garage to the casino practically begins with the indoor walkway connecting to Park MGM’s lobby area, which exits directly to Toshiba Plaza. If you’re a better planner than me and you have some time to fuel up before the game, there are two quality quick-serve options just inside the nearest portion of Aria’s casino.
Burger Lounge is a San Diego chain that touts itself as the originator of the grass-fed beef burger, and the counter-service location just inside Aria’s doors is its first Las Vegas location. There’s beef, turkey, chicken, fish and vegetarian burger options as well as salads, fries, shakes and more. They’ve got you covered with paleo or gluten-free options, but it’s a great place to add extra bacon and cheese, too.
Walk past the poker room, a small sundries store (where you can pick up VGK gear if you somehow forgot to wear yours) and a casino bar and you’ll find one of the best pizzerias on the Strip, Five50 Pizza Bar, created by the same folks behind Aria’s fine-dining favorite Sage. Five50 is a great place for a relaxed lunch or dinner with a terrific beer list, but it also has a counter serving up hot slices and there’s rarely a line. The best part: It’s open until 12:30 a.m. every night, so you can grab a second slice on your way back to the car after the Knights get the W.