Las Vegas: It’s the entertainment capital of the world, a hot spot for celebrations of all kinds and one of the top five travel destinations in the U.S. It’s a frequent stop for many lucky travelers, but I hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting Vegas for more than a decade. After throwing around a few ideas for an upcoming birthday celebration, through, my husband and I decided it was high time for a return visit to this famously fun city. Rather than spend long hours rolling dice or playing cards, we set out to see the most fun attractions and try some of the best food on Las Vegas Boulevard, otherwise known as the Strip, and in downtown Las Vegas. Whether you’re planning a low-key trip or you want to go all out and celebrate in a big way, you’re going to want to add these gluten-free Las Vegas spots to your itinerary.
Seek some thrills
There’s really no bad place to start your adventure on the Strip, but in my experience, there tends to be more daytime fun on the north end. kick things off with a sky-high, 360-degree view from the Stratosphere or take your pick from thrilling rides that catapult you hundreds of feet in the air. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, head over to Circus Circus to see one of the oldest shows on the Strip. This casino is home to over a dozen thrill rides, live circus performances around the clock and countless arcade games.
Need a break from all the excitement? If you’re in Vegas on a weekend, head down the street to the Encore, which is home to one of the most popular pool parties in town. Reserve one of the exclusive cabanas or bungalows ahead of time or snag a poolside chair, where you can enjoy the music, soak up the sunshine and toast to a great start to your Vegas day.
Step into a Parisian wonderland
Ready for lunch? Head down the Strip and look for the gigantic replica of the Eiffel Tower, the most prominent landmark of Paris Las Vegas. When you step inside this whimsical resort and casino, you’ll leave the hustle and bustle behind and enter an alternate universe that recreates the most iconic parts of Paris. Inside this replica of the City of Lights, you’ll find one of the top gluten-free spots in town.
Mon Ami Gabi effortlessly keeps the French theme going with freshly baked bread, a great wine menu and plenty of Parisian favorites. French cuisine isn’t always the easiest for diners avoiding gluten, but thanks to the dedicated gluten-free menu, you’re sure to find ample choices to dazzle your taste buds.
Start with the classic French onion soup au gratin, which comes complete with gruyère cheese and croutons on top. For a main dish, go for the ultra-Parisian steak-frites or the luscious caramelized scallops, but make sure you save room for the over-the-top vanilla crème brûlée.
French cuisine can get heavy, but you can easily stretch your legs and get a breath of fresh air at the same time. Hop on the monorail or take a quick walk across the street, where you can catch some of the best views of the area on the High Roller, the world’s tallest Ferris wheel.
Celebrate with sushi
If you’re a Vegas regular, you know that some of the classic attractions here have drawn throngs of visitors for decades—and they’re still going strong. The Venetian, for instance, offers indoor and outdoor gondola rides, while The Mirage is home to a lifelike volcano that erupts nightly.
Caesars Palace has long attracted visitors with its animatronic Fall of Atlantis fountain, but there’s much more to this Ancient Rome-inspired casino resort. Tucked inside the Forum Shops at Caesars, Sushi Roku boasts stunning elevated views, an upscale dining environment and, most importantly, a delicious gluten-free menu.
This celebration-worthy spot beautifully fuses traditional Japanese recipes with contemporary influences for a menu that everyone will fall head over heels for. Though this upscale spot specializes in sushi, you’ll find plenty of other choices in you aren’t a fan of raw fish. In fact, Sushi Roku offers an extensive gluten-free menu with several options for each course, so you’ll never go hungry. For a cold starter, you can’t go wrong with the divine Tofu 3 Ways, which features fresh tofu topped with black truffle, caviar and kimchi. For a hot starter, warm up with the savory Beef Ribeye-Wrapped Asparagus before moving on to your main dish.
Feeling fishy? Dig into the Chilean seabass with a zesty yuzu sauce or cool down with a Shima Roll, which features shrimp, spicy tuna and avocado wrapped in a rice paper roll. All of the sushi and sashimi here can be made gluten free, so if you’re craving something simpler, Sushi Roku has you covered. Be sure to ask for gluten-free soy sauce, which comes in a cylindrical container to distinguish it from other sauces on the table.
Take in the spectacle
After dinner, you’re going to be ready for some entertainment. Though seeing one of the top Cirque du Soleil shows, taking in a concert and trying your luck at one of the tables are all great choices for evening entertainment, we opted to see the magical fountain show in front of the Bellagio.
Several times every evening, the fountains are illuminated, and they move to impeccably choreographed music. This show is a big draw, so arrive a few minutes early to get a good view. Don’t forget to peek inside the Bellagio, too, as its indoor botanical garden and glass sculpture ceiling are pretty amazing.
Still have some pep in your step? Round out the evening next door at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Grab a glass of bubbly at The Chandelier, the appropriately named multilevel, chandelier-draped bar that’s just off the casino floor.
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, swing by Milk Bar, located in The Cosmopolitan’s upscale food court. This spot is known for its Cereal Milk and Crack Pie, both of which contain gluten, but many of the decadent cookies—which come individually wrapped—are gluten free. With names like Best Freaking Cookie, these sinful treats are going to more than satisfy your sweet tooth.
Check out Fremont Street
There’s always something to do on the Strip, but what if you need a change of scenery? As we discovered, there’s plenty to do in downtown Las Vegas, no matter the time of day.
Getting an early start? Stop by Downtown Container Park, an outdoor shopping area in a pretty unique location. You’ll find hip boutiques set up in reused shipping containers, a treehouse-inspired playground for little visitors, and movie and music events. It’s located just off Fremont Street, the main drag in downtown Vegas.
For extreme thrills, though, you’re going to want to grab a ticket for SlotZilla, the zip-line that extends the length of Fremont Street. You’ll get on at the top of a 12-story slot machine, where you can take your pick between two zip-lines at different heights. Either way, you’ll feel like Superman—or Superwoman—as you zip down Fremont Street, dozens of feet about passersby below.
Stick around Fremont Street to do some people-watching and see the neon lights turn on at classic spots like the Golden Nugget, the Four Queens and the Golden Gate. Then make a beeline for Pizza Rock, which is just one block away from the Fremont Street Experience.
This spot is fun for a date and large enough for big groups, and since it specializes in pizza, everyone will find something to enjoy. Pizza Rock has gluten-free diners covered. The pizza joint’s menu clearly marks safe gluten-free options. In the kitchen, the chef bakes your pie in a separate gluten-free oven and uses a separate cutting surface and utensils to ensure your pizza is totally safe for you.
You can order a gluten-free version of just about any pizza on the menu or you can build your own. I recommend the gluten-free pancetta Gorgonzola pizza. It’s packed with smoked pancetta, bacon and Gorgonzola, and then drizzled with agave nectar. That’s not all, though. It’s also topped with mixed greens tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, so it’s sort of like getting a salad on top of your pizza. This dish alone is worth the trip to Fremont Street.
Whether you stay on the Strip or venture downtown, have fun taking a showstopper of a trip. With glittering lights, nonstop fun and amazing food around every corner, Sin City is the perfect place to celebrate.
Travel Editor Anna Sonnenberg is a food and travel writer who has journeyed around the world gluten free since being diagnosed with celiac in 2012. She launched her website, glutenfreejetset.com, in 2013.