Must dos this weekend in Vegas: Nov. 27 – 30, 2014

Turkey time is here. For the few oblivious people who don’t know, Thanksgiving is Nov. 27. Vegas has always been a great place to stuff yourself as well as savor fine food, so on T-Day you can expect every buffet and restaurant in town to offer a festive feast. Whether you crave a traditional or twisted take on the holiday, you won’t have any difficulty finding some form of turkey, stuffing and potatoes (loaded with gravy, of course) and following it up with a pumpkin-flavored dessert. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Thanksgiving also serves as the ramp into a weekend chock full of seasonal shopping and celebrations. Lots of events are geared toward spreading good will and great joy in Vegas. Plus, if you’re looking for a laugh, there’s a trio of funny comedians in town you may want to check out.

Clockwise: Hash House A Go Go's roasted turkey breast, KGB's Thanksgiving turkey burger and the dining room at Strip House

Clockwise: Hash House A Go Go's roasted turkey breast, KGB's Thanksgiving turkey burger and a peek inside Strip House

Pig out on Thanksgiving

There are so many lip-smackingly good meals being cooked up in Sin City for Thanksgiving, it’s nearly impossible to pick favorites.

If you’re looking for a conventional turkey spread, Hash House A Go Go, found in both The LINQ Hotel & Casino on the Strip and the Plaza in downtown, is always a good bet. These two locations are featuring roasted turkey breast with mashed potatoes, rosemary gravy, dressing, carrots, baby green beans, grilled corn on the cob and cranberry sauce for $21.99. Or if you yearn for something a little different (how does homestyle-meets-Italiano-meets-grill sound?), try this: stuffed turkey meatloaf with griddled mozzarella, grilled onions, spinach, charred tomato and mashed potatoes topped with BBQ cream for $18.99.

Over at the Strip House inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, you’ll discover gourmet-caliber eats on Thanksgiving. The roast turkey entrée will be accompanied by chestnut and apple bread stuffing, butternut squash purée and haricots verts with a balsamic cranberry sauce and confit giblet gravy for $38 ($24 for children). Want more? Kick off your meal by ordering the potato gnocchi with duck confit and truffle for $28.

Or for a casual take on this day of feasting, head to KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers at Harrah’s. For the month of November you can enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey burger. Rock ’n’ roll chef Kerry Simon has created this contemporary version of the classic American spread by covering a turkey patty with pea sprouts, stuffing, white gravy, cranberry sauce and mayo. His pumpkin pie milkshake topped with whipped cream and pie crust pieces complements it wonderfully. The Thanksgiving turkey burger is $14 and the pumpkin pie shake is $6 – or get both for only $18.

Want more choices? Here’s our list of 20 can’t-miss places to gobble up your Thanksgiving dinner in Vegas.

The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, The Forum Shops at Caesars and some of gorgeous performers in "Fantasy" at Luxor

Clockwise: Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, The Forum Shops at Caesars and some of gorgeous performers in "Fantasy" at Luxor

Shop ’til you drop on Black Friday

Credit cards? Check. Comfortable shoes? Check. The mental fortitude to endure pushy crowds and long lines? Hmm…perhaps.

If you’ve got these things, you’re ready for Black Friday. You see, just because you’re in Vegas doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the most exciting shopping day of the year. Some of the best retail centers in the world are located on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Fashion Show mall is one of them. With more than 250 stores (including anchors like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s), a runway and The Cloud (a cool steel structure that hovers above the main entrance), this is not just a great place to shop, but also to hang out. Numerous stores at Fashion Show will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving night and then stay open until Friday evening at 9 p.m. Now that’s marathon shopping!

The Forum Shops at Caesars is a Roman-themed mall with everything from cobblestone walkways and a spiral escalator to a free animatronics show atop an aquarium complete with fire and smoke. Featuring more than 160 specialty shops and restaurants, this mall will be open from 10 a.m. – midnight on Black Friday. Some stores like MAC Cosmetics, Express and 7 for all Mankind will open even earlier at 7 a.m. And the colossal H&M store will unlock its doors at 8 a.m. and offer fashion finds for as low as $4.95. If you love shoes (and what woman doesn’t?), Donald J Pliner is having Black Friday door busters from 9 – 10 a.m., along with breakfast items and mimosas.

Among the 170 stores housed inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, you’ll find more fun and great deals. For example, you’ll be able to take 30 percent off everything in Chinese Laundry on Black Friday. And the first people who get through the doors of Steve Madden when it opens will receive a free Alex and Ani bangle (with a $100 purchase). If you need a break in the afternoon, make tracks for Cabo Wabo Cantina. This rockin’ Mexican restaurant and bar owned by Sammy Hagar will not only offer $5 Black Friday daiquiris from 3 – 6 p.m., but it will also host a calendar signing by the sexy cast of “Fantasy” from 3 – 4 p.m. Their 2015 anniversary calendar called “Fulfilling Fantasies for 15 Years” costs $20 – and will make a perfect gift for that uncle of yours who’s always ogling the ladies.

For those who want to avoid the chaos completely, do your Christmas shopping with us. The ideal gift for anyone who loves Vegas is a Vegas.com eGift Card. And you can get them right now (in amounts ranging from $100 to $2,000) for 10 percent off!

Clockwise: The spectular tree in front of The Venetian and decorations at Opportunity Village's Magical Forest

From left: The spectacular tree in front of The Venetian and decorations at Opportunity Village's Magical Forest

Get into the holiday spirit

You may find this hard to believe, but even here in the desert there’s a winter wonderland-like magic. Just look in front of The Venetian. At the center of Doge’s Palace plaza is a 65-foot-tall Christmas tree. Made with thousands of programmable LED lights, it’s definitely a sight for holiday-starved eyes. If you arrive in Vegas early this week, on Nov. 25, you can attend the official lighting ceremony, which will be held from 6 – 7 p.m. and feature holiday music from the Australian vocal group Human Nature.

Take a side trip northwest of the Strip to get into the Christmas spirit and support a good cause. The Magical Forest display at 6300 W. Oakey Blvd. is put on annually by Opportunity Village and boasts hundreds of real trees laden with sparkling lights. And that’s not all. Hop on the Forest Express passenger train or Cheyenne’s Enchanted Carousel. Ride Rudolph’s Raceway, Boris the Elf’s 3-D Experience and the Avalanche Slide. Play a game of mini golf and gaze at a scrumptious gingerbread display. The Magical Forest is guaranteed to be a great time for the whole family. It’s open Sunday – Thursday from 5:30 – 9 p.m. and Friday – Saturday from 5:30 – 10p.m. Money raised is used for programs that benefit individuals in the community with intellectual disabilities.

From left: Whitney Cummings, Jeff Dunham with Peanut and George Lopez

From left: Whitney Cummings, Jeff Dunham (with Peanut) and George Lopez

Laugh it up with a trio of comedians

Several of the hottest comedians in the business will be in Vegas this weekend.

On Nov. 28, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham debuts his resident show, “Not Playing with a Full Deck,” in the PH Showroom at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Of course, he’s known for having plenty of help onstage. Dunham’s entourage consists of characters like Walter the Grumpy Retiree, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, the redneck Bubba J and José Jalapeño. Peanut, his hyperactive, purple-skinned “woozle,” is coming too. They’re a group of goofballs like no other.

Sitcom star and talk show host George Lopez has a humorous take on Mexican American culture. He tells it like it is and there’s rarely a dry eye in the house afterward…because everyone laughs so hard they cry. Lopez will appear in the Terry Fator Theater at The Mirage on Nov. 28 – 29 at 10 p.m.

And, as part of the Lipshtick Comedy Series, which features hysterical female comedians, Whitney Cummings performs Nov. 28 at 10 p.m. and Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sands Showroom at The Venetian. Having starred in her own television show, “Whitney,” for two years on NBC and co-created the popular series “2 Broke Girls” on CBS, she knows all about what it’s like to be a single gal in the 21st century – and it’s hilarious.

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I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Vegas.com. Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.