Vegas puts on its game face on NFL Sundays

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T0920SPHINX1_C_HR [Credit: MGM Resorts International]
The 110-foot-tall sphinx at Luxor Las Vegas dons a Raiders eyepatch during the NFL season. Photo Credit: MGM Resorts International

It took one year longer than expected because of the pandemic, but 61,756 fans packed Allegiant Stadium to watch the Las Vegas Raiders play their first game in front of a home crowd. Those fans left satisfied after the Raiders beat the Baltimore Ravens in an overtime thriller on Sept. 13.

Whether they have tickets for the game or choose to take in the game from their favorite sports book, NFL fans can choose from among a variety of game day activities on or near the Las Vegas Strip.

Before the game

MGM Resorts International hosts the Bud Light Beer Garden at Las Vegas Boulevard and Hacienda Avenue for both University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Raiders home football games. The 130,000-square-foot tailgate experience, within walking distance of the stadium, will open four hours before kickoff and remain open until the game's conclusion.

T0920BUDLIGHTGARDEN_C_HR [Credit: MGM Resorts International]
The Bud Light Beer Garden tailgate party offers free admission and a variety of activities before and during home games. Photo Credit: MGM Resorts International

Admission is free, and it includes interactive football challenges as well as Jenga Giant and oversize chess, live DJ entertainment and sports betting. Food and beverage offerings from MGM Resorts' restaurants include International Smoke, Diablo's Cantina, Public House and Beerhaus. A $99 VIP package features a buffet of stadium favorites and unlimited drinks.

"The city's first football season with fans in the stands is a monumental moment," said Chuck Bowling, president and COO of Mandalay Bay and Luxor. "We've created a game day event that embodies the spirit and excitement of Las Vegas and offers fans unique pregame experiences. We look forward to creating new traditions at this venue for this season and beyond."

During the game

Options abound in the city for those not fortunate enough to have tickets for the game.

• Among the city's many sports books, the three-story book at the Circa Resort & Casino downtown is the newest, boasting a 78-million-pixel screen and an overhanging bar to watch the action.

• The new Stadia Bar at Caesars Palace, with decor inspired by a variety of sports, presents classic drinks, specialty cocktails and rare spirits such as Kentucky Owl and Pappy Van Winkle bourbons.

• Another new choice is Resorts World's Dawg House Saloon & Sportsbook with draft beers, cocktails and American fare like the Raiders Burger and the Raiders Dog. Red Tail at Resorts World Las Vegas has 50% off pitchers of beer on Thursday nights (for those primetime NFL games), buy-one-get-one deals for wings on college game day Saturdays and bottomless mimosas for $25 on Sundays throughout the season.

• The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas' Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub also transforms into a football oasis every Sunday with a big screen poolside, bottle service, game day eats, beverages and a DJ.

• Related: Tours offer an inside look at Allegiant Stadium

• Money, Baby! at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, which debuted this summer, combines sports viewing, food, betting, entertainment and nightlife with 15,000 square feet indoors and 5,500 square feet outdoors overlooking the pool area. Two DJ booths, golf simulators, shuffleboard and other games keep things lively when the action on the TV wanes.

• Dedicated fans of the home team can check out the Raiders Tavern & Grill at the off-Strip M Resort Spa and Casino. Silver and black dominate the decor, and memorabilia celebrated the rich history of the Raiders.

• Podcaster Raider Cody broadcasts live from the Sahara Las Vegas' Casbar Lounge, which offers drink specials and houses a Raider merchandise popup store. The hotel-casino also offers a 20% discount on room rates, a $50 food and beverage credit and complimentary room upgrades.

After the game

For dessert, Aria Resort & Casino features life-size pastry art creations of Raider stars Derek Carr and Darren Waller in addition to replicas of Allegiant Stadium and the Las Vegas skyline. More than 40 pounds of fondant, 100 pounds of sugar and 200 pounds of chocolate were required.

The sweet art will be displayed throughout the football season, while Raider-themed silver-and-black cakes and confections will be for sale at Aria Patisserie.

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