Since the first casino opened on the Las Vegas Strip, the El Rancho Vegas, in 1941, the city has been continually changing and developing. New venues are opened while old ones are closed. The hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and casinos are always changing, and this is what keeps Vegas fresh, alive and exciting.
This year is no exception, there have been numerous developments along the Strip already and many more are set for the second half of the year. From new residencies to new restaurants and museums, there is plenty to look forward to. Read on to find out about all that is taking place in 2018.
Renovations at the MGM Resorts International
One of Las Vegas’ most iconic resorts is undergoing major renovations and a number of new restaurants are set to open. They are maintaining the basic structure of the Monte Carlo, but are gradually remodelling it into the Park MGM, a brand new resort that will sit alongside the Park Theater and the Park outdoor promenade, which are already in place.
The renovations are set to include a version of New York’s NoMad Hotel, which will effectively turn it into two hotels in one. Absolutely everything at the Park MGM, from the hotels to the swimming pools, is being redone. Furthermore, the courtyard that faces the Strip will be replaced with a huge entrance that will house the Vegas debut of the Eataly retail-restaurant hybrid.
There are already a few new restaurants welcoming diners, Bavette’s, a Chicago style steakhouse serving prime cuts and seafood opened last year, and Primrose, which offers guests a drawing room lounge and outdoor patio. Later in the year, a restaurant is on its way from Chef Roy Choi and will be inspired by Koreatown in Los Angeles.
Zip Lines Come to the Vegas Strip
You can find most things on the Las Vegas Strip and later this year you will even be able to find a huge zip line. Under construction at the moment is Fly LINQ, a new attraction that will allow you to fly more than one thousand feet above the dining, entertainment and shopping space at The LINQ outdoor promenade. It is set to be a massive attraction. The 122-foot tall Fly LINQ tower will give space for up to ten people to soar along the line side by side at speeds of up to 35 mph. It is similar to Slotzilla, on Fremont Street, and it will give you the option of flying horizontally, Superman style. There is also a good chance that tickets will be bundled with the nearby High Roller observation wheel. This exiting attraction is due to open before the end of this year.
Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen Has Arrived at Caesars Palace
If you are a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s television shows then you are sure to love his latest restaurant to open in Las Vegas. Normally new restaurants are inside hotels and casinos, however, Ramsay’s fifth Vegas restaurant is right in front of Caesars Palace, just by the sidewalk, in a building that was once home to Serendipity 3.
The venue has been completely refurbished. It was gutted and then basically rebuilt from the ground up as a modern dining venue with contemporary décor and huge floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the Strip. There you will see the television show’s logo, the bronze HK sign and pitchfork, and the atmosphere makes it feel like you are almost eating on the show, complete with plenty of shouting between the chefs and kitchen staff. The food is excellent and it is an amazing venue. As you walk in a virtual reality version of Gordon Ramsay greets you, and you are immediately immersed in the atmosphere. However, be sure to book early, as this restaurant-come-tourist-attraction is immensely popular.
Esports Gaming Arrived in Vegas
Earlier this year Las Vegas got its first massive eSports arena dedicated to video gaming. The Luxor joined with Allied Esports to open the Esports Arena Las Vegas. The arena is in the 30,000 square foot space that was one home to the nightclub LAX. It is a multilevel venue full of bright lights, a huge LED video wall, individual gaming stations and telescopic stadium seating that overlooks a competitive stage.
The arena even has its own television and production studio to stream events online. It was the first venue dedicated to eSports in Vegas and has already proved to be a huge success. Competitive video gaming regularly draws in large crowds and they are only expected to grow. Furthermore, the venue was even host to some of this year’s World Poker Tour events. At the arena, you will also find elements of traditional Vegas nightlife, including a food and drink collection from celebrity chef José Andrés, a known fan of video gaming.
Lady Gaga to Take Up Residency in Las Vegas
Many very famous musicians have taken up residencies over the years such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion and many more. Now joining the list is six-time Grammy award winner, Golden Globe award winner, and Academy award nominee Lady Gaga.
She is due to start a two-year residency at the Park Theater at the end of this year that is set to include 74 performances. A number of big names have just finished, or are close to finishing, their Vegas runs, such as Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, and Elton John, and Lady Gaga will be an excellent replacement. She has reportedly designed a show especially for the relatively small Park Theater. Tickets are not yet on sale, but as soon as they become available, they are widely expected to sell very fast.
Wynn Resorts to Build New Paradise Park
Wynn Resorts is one of the greatest innovators on the Las Vegas Strip and their recently announced plans for a new outdoor venue sound extremely exciting. They will be removing much of the famous golf course and replacing it with a new Paradise Park.
The focal point of this new outdoor extravaganza will be a huge lagoon surrounded by sandy beaches and a mile-long walkway. Over the water it is thought that there will be a carousel with a bar in the middle and there will also be a bumper car attraction with feature lights and sound effects that respond to every collision. A highlight of the Paradise Park is set to be the nightly water parades featuring 30 foot tall animated floats. Furthermore, about 1,500 new hotel rooms will be built inside a 47-story tower that will include suites, villas and lake views. There has been no confirmed opening date yet, but construction is underway.
Speaking about the project last year Steve Wynn said, “We have decided to take the theme of Carnivale and turn it on its edge and make a series of attractions and interactive experiences that in some way have its roots in everything we grew up with carnivals.”
There have also been plans announced for Wynn West, another resort on the opposite side of Las Vegas Boulevard that will be connected by a pedestrian bridge. While Wynn had to step down from the company following a scandal earlier this year, before he did he promised that they would be “moving quickly” on building the resort which will be located on a site next to the Trump International.
Star Wars Virtual Reality Experience Now Open
Star Wars continues to be hugely popular with more films, video games and spin offs arriving all the time. If you are a Star Wars fan in Las Vegas then you can visit The VOID for an exciting new virtual reality attraction. Titled “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire”, the interactive experience allows groups of four people to explore a molten planet called Mustafar while disguised as Stormtroopers and guided on a secret mission by K-2SO (the robot from Rogue One). The aim is to collect Imperial intelligence for the rebellion. Participants wear full VR goggles and special equipment that allows them to walk freely in the 3D environment.
The San Antonio Stars Became the Las Vegas Aces
Sports fans will be aware that Las Vegas has now welcomed its second major league sports team. Less than a year after the Golden Knights moved to the T-Mobile Arena, the San Antonio Stars from the WNBA have moved location and changed their name to the Las Vegas Aces. They have been playing at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, a mid-sized arena with a full capacity of around 12,000.
The Aces have changed ownership and are now controlled by MGM Resorts, and the move brought with it a new logo in black, red and gold, and plenty of new fan merchandise. While they have not been having a hugely successful season, their relocation to Las Vegas is still excellent news for sports fans visiting the Strip.
New Restaurants at The Mirage
MGM Resorts International are set on rewarding success and this is certainly the case at The Mirage. This year the hotel got rid of its famous restaurant Portofino, but has given the chef Michael LaPlaca and even bigger and better restaurant in a far better location. The brand new Osteria Costa has replaced the long-running Samba Brazilian Steakhouse. The venue, which has already received rave reviews, can hold more diners than the Portofino and it is inspired by Italy’s Amalfi Coat. On the menu is fresh seafood, pastas and pizzas baked in an open kitchen. The Portofino is now being used for meeting and convention events, while it is not yet known what will be replacing the recently closed Fin restaurant.
Major Rennovations of Palace Station Casino
While Las Vegas attracts people from across the world, there are also plenty of locals who enjoy gambling and more venues designed for locals are appearing near the Strip.
Station Casinos is one company that aims to attract locals and it has developed a total of 20 gaming properties across the Las Vegas Valley, but it has never had one directly on the Strip. However, the company is gradually moving closer to the Strip and in 2016 it purchased the Palms. The Palms casino and resort is less than a mile and a half away from the strip and it has been undergoing a full renovation that is costing $485 million. Some of the renovations are already complete and an impressive new buffet called AYCE is already open. In fact, nearly all of the restaurants are being revamped and they have brought in a number of well-known chefs such as Bobby Flay. The Palms is also getting a new rooftop lounge, a pool complex and a nightclub from the Tao Group. Based on the scale of renovations it seems that the Palms will soon be appeal to far more than just local residents.
The company has also invested $191 million in renovating Palace Station, just a few blocks away from the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. The casino used to have a number of very dated train decorations on its exterior, but these have now been removed and an art deco style covered entrance has been added. They are also working to add a new buffet, a bingo hall, a poker room, and completely redo the casino floor. There are also plans for a cinema, outdoor event space, a swimming pool and many more hotel rooms. The dining options are also being refreshed with a new Asian restaurant and a burger lounge. They are retaining the popular Oyster Bar, but they have removed Jack’s Irish Pub.
The renovation of the Palms is being completed in stages with more due to be finished before the end of the year. All of the renovations at Palace Station are due to be finished by the end of this year.
OPIUM Opened at The Cosmopolitan
Earlier this year a new show, OPIUM, opened at The Cosmopolitan. Set aboard a spaceship, it is an exciting variety show with a Vegas twist. The show is from Spiegelworld, the same people behind the hugely popular show Absinthe. Before the show, you are offered some “Spocktails” such as “Kiss My Asteroid” and the “Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster” and the show itself is a space spoof complete with jugglers and acrobats. The show has already proved to be a hit with audiences, it runs on four nights a week at 10pm and tickets start at $79.
A New Home for the Spago Restaurant
For the last 25 years Wolfgang Puck’s iconic restaurant Spago has been found at the Forum Shops at Caesars. However, the restaurant is now packing itself up and moving across to the Bellagio. It will be in the space that used to be occupied by Todd English’s Olives. The move is a huge upgrade to a prime location off the floor of the Via Bellagio shopping area and has an up-close view of the famous Bellagio Fountains. Full details are not yet known, but it is expected that the décor will be in line with the original Beverly Hills location, completely with leather furniture, brass fixtures and oak wood floors.
Advanced New Security for Las Vegas Hotels
After last year’s deadly mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip there is a renewed focus on security at the casinos and other venues. Now casinos are beginning to make use of the latest technology to help and keep their guests safe. Recently, the Westgate became the first hotel in Vegas to make use of the PATSCAN Cognitive Radar Microwave Radar. Patriot One Technologies developed the device and it is designed to detect concealed guns, knives, other weapons, and even pressure cooker bombs on people who walk past it. The system can be hidden in walls, doors, gates, and more, so that the general public are unaware of its presence.
Furthermore, there are companies, such as FaceFirst, working on developing facial recognition technology for casinos and other public spaces. The systems use security cameras to recognise and identify individual faces in crowds in real time using a vast database of digital information, such as police mug shots. However, there are some concerns about these systems infringing on privacy and their use is likely to provoke a fair amount of debate.
Much More to Come to Vegas
This is just a brief roundup of some of the exciting plans for Las Vegas this year. There is much more going on and already plans are well underway for 2019. If you think that you have already been to Vegas and have no reason to return, then think again. There is plenty more in the pipeline that is sure to appeal to all kinds of visitors.
However, in the meantime, why not visit Casino Las Vegas where you can find all the excitement of the Las Vegas Strip but without needing to leave your home. With a bit of luck, you might even win enough to fund your next holiday in Vegas.