It’s that time of the year again when the oohs and aahs of sports fans intermingle with the werk and yaaass of the unsuspecting queer community watching the Super Bowl for the halftime show (this year, Super Bowl LVIII is headlined by R&B legend Usher).
On February 11, Las Vegas and the state of Nevada are finally hosting the Super Bowl for the first time ever, all thanks to the newly opened Allegiant Stadium. And let’s be real, this has been a long time coming because nothing screams Vegas like a jaw-dropping, diva-worthy spectacle like the Super Bowl.
But hold on to your hats because this year’s game is going to be on a whole new level with the promise of T-Swift in the mix. That’s right, Taylor Swift is rumored to be at Super Bowl LVIII to show her support for boyfriend Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs (who are playing the San Francisco 49ers in the big game).
So, if you’re one of the lucky ones attending Super Bowl LVIII, or just happen to be going to Sin City, here is your glitter-fueled, touchdown-dance-filled guide to Vegas, where the lights are bright, and the parties are, well, just as lit.
Vegas Lights: The Ultimate Destination for the Fabulous
Hands down, if there’s one city that knows how to throw a bash, it’s Vegas. But beyond the roulette wheels and all-you-can-eat buffets, this cosmopolitan desert oasis is home to a vibrant LGBTQ+ nightlife scene.
Make a beeline for the renowned gay bars and clubs, many of which are located in the “Fruit Loop” — yes, that is the actual name of Vegas’ gay bar district just east of the Strip. You’ll find fun places like Piranha Nightclub for a dancing; FreeZone Nightclub and Bar for cocktails mixed by the sexiest bartenders in Vegas; and QuadZ Video Bar for a more casual, laid-back vibe.
Swift Delights: Must-Do Activities
Okurr, now that we’ve found the queer pulse of the city, let’s talk must-do’s.
Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world for a reason: Shows, darling. Shows!
If you only see one show in Vegas in your entire life, make it Absinthe. This whacked-out, raunchy, NSFW, and most definitely queer variety show is basically like a Cirque show, if Cirque embraced queer camp. Or if you’re looking for more skin, you can always check out the hunky dancers of Thunder from Down Under at Excalibur Hotel and Casino. And of course, if drag is on your agenda, you can catch the fiercest queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race at their very own show at the Flamingo. RuPaul’s Drag Race LIVE! is an original production based on the Emmy Award-winning reality competition.
Keepin’ it FaBuLoUs
Now, we’re not suggesting a mani-pedi here (although if that’s your jam, rock those nails!), but there’s more than one way to indulge. Head to DTLV for the Downtown Container Park for unique, locally-owned businesses for a shopping spree that’ll make even the most seasoned queen’s heart flutter.
A Fine Culinary Cabaret
The culinary scene in Vegas is a stage unto itself. From Michelin-star dining to the gastronomic symphony of Buffets, the city serves up a treat for your palate.
Queen Las Vegas is the only LGBTQ+ restaurant and bar on the Las Vegas Strip. Hamburger Mary’s, the campy queer burger joint with locations all over the US, has a spot in Sin City. And for some daytime excitement, you can find delicious eats and drag performances each weekend at The Garden Las Vegas’ Bottomless Drag Brunch.
Navigating the Super Bowl Experience: The Dance-Through
You know there are those moments in life where you just have to ask, “What the Cher is going on here?” Well, the Super Bowl in Las Vegas is definitely one of them. Here are some tips to enjoy not just the game, but the party.
Sashay Your Way Through the Ultimate Football Fest
Forget top model; you’ll be top fan at The Super Bowl Experience presented by Toyota at Mandalay Bay! From February 7-10, rub elbows with gridiron greats and autograph your heart out with current NFL hotties and the legends whose jerseys are practically vintage chic by now.
Before the first kick-off, Las Vegas has you covered with a week of events leading up to Super Bowl LVIII. On February 7, there’s a night of inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community hosted by the NFL and GLAAD. It will feature a special live performance by the talented singer-songwriter VINCINT. And the NFL’s first openly gay player, Carl Nassib, will be there to discuss being queer in the NFL.
Outfit of the Knight
Balancing game day chic with Vegas fab is an artform. Will you suit up with a sequined pocket square? Or sport a feather boa under your Taylor Swift jersey? The world is your catwalk, honey. Just remember, comfortable shoes are key because you’ll be dashing to the slots between plays.
And if you’re looking for an eleganza extravaganza makeover before you head out, head to RuPaul’s Werk Room at The Flamingo.
Tailgate Like There’s No Tomorrow
The Super Bowl Sunday ritual of tailgating will be elevated in Vegas, thanks to a sunny sky any time of year that feels like the best day of summer. Head over to the gay-friendly Garage which offers patio seating perfectly suited for this ideal weather.
In the Stadium Spotlight
Game time! The stadium is a whole experience on its own, but let’s be real here, you don’t have any tickets. So, head to the Fremont Street Experience who is hosting a free Excessive Celebration Bowl Bash. And if you’re watching the Big Game there, make a mental note that free prizes are awarded randomly to those who are celebrating excessively!
Halftime: The Original Runway
The Super Bowl halftime show is legendary. With high-profile performers and surprise guests, this is your chance to fully express your fando — ahem — support, while your inner diva takes notes for the next time you sing karaoke at Charlie’s Las Vegas.
Post-Game Celebration (Or Where to Drown Your Sorrows)
So, after the game, whether you’re celebrating or commiserating, head to Qarma — the only gay club on The Strip. But here’s the deal, technically it is on Las Vegas Boulevard, but it’s not right smack on The Strip that you’ve got in mind. It’s a good 15-minute walk from The Strat Hotel and Casino. There is a 3,500-sq-ft dance floor and go-go dancers that could put male revues in this city to shame. And who knows, maybe the hunky Carl Nassib, the first NFL player to come out as gay will show up.
The Final Play: Embracing the Excitement
This Super Bowl, as you get into your NLF era be the shining star that catches everyone’s eye with the above tips. And may the football gods be forever on your side, granting you a glimpse of Tayvis, or at the very least, a drag queen channeling Taylor Swift.