What’s New in Las Vegas (Winter 2023)
The only constant in Las Vegas is change, but that’s also one of the things that make Las Vegas so exciting! Want to know what you’ve been missing? Read on for some of the newest and now-est that Sin City has to offer.
ICONIC HOTELS REVAMPED, REOPENED, AND REIMAGINED
The Palms Resort & Casino, still fresh off a $700 million remodel in 2019, finally reopened in June 2022 after being shuttered for more than two years. With this high-profile reopening, the new owners resurrected some old favorites like the (in)famous 55th-floor Ghostbar and the exquisite Scotch 80 Prime.
Bally’s rebranded to the legendary Horseshoe Las Vegas with new restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues to go with it, like Jack Binion’s Steak and the Cabinet of Curiosities lounge, with property-wide room renovations coming next. This new old brand also brought the World Series of Poker back to the Strip after 17 years at the Rio (the first-ever tournament was played at the original Horseshoe Las Vegas in 1970).
Hard Rock International has officially overtaken operation of The Mirage with plans to build a multi-billion-dollar guitar-shaped resort tower in the coming years. It will still be a while before that project even breaks ground, though; for now, the property will continue operating as the Mirage for the next 18-24 months as rebranding and renovation work gets underway, and you can still catch the iconic “exploding” volcano on the Strip in the meantime.
The main entrance and adjoining public spaces at Caesars Palace got a multi-million-dollar glow-up last year with an impressive coffered ceiling covered in hand-painted illustrations and a 15-foot-tall Carrara marble statue of Augustus Caesar under a chandelier comprised of 70,000 crystals. Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
…AND REMODELED & REFRESHED
Speaking of glow-ups, Vegas hotels themselves are always evolving with regular room refreshes and remodels, so visitors can stay in brand-new rooms at some of the world’s most iconic hotels – like the Bellagio.
In 2022, the Bellagio completed renovations in all 2,568 rooms of its main tower with color palettes of cream, gold, and blue (reflecting the resort’s famous famous) for some and the yellows of a desert sunset for others. Visitors can also expect upgraded bathrooms with walk-in showers and more plush seating with desks for the bleisure traveler.
The Wynn is wrapping up a total overhaul of its 2,674 rooms with all-new furniture, fixtures, lighting, and artwork, as well as upgraded bathrooms with more storage and closet space and in-room touchless technology.
Nobu at Caesars Palace also got a luxe glow-up with all 182 rooms refreshed with new custom furniture and more luxurious materials.
Likewise, the ARIA Sky Suites also got even more luxurious with upgraded bathrooms than can double as in-room spas (complete with jacuzzi tubs and steam showers), more plush seating and bedding,
For a trendier city life vibe, New York-New York is currently in the midst of a $63 million property-wide transformation touching all 1,830 rooms and 155 suites, with design elements like exposed brick walls and colors like “taxicab yellow” and “big apple red” meant to evoke New York City, and much more modern, stylish furniture that you could imagine finding in a boutique hotel in Manhattan. The first batch of renovated rooms are ready with the rest coming online later this year.
HIT NEW SHOWS
The Entertainment Capital of the World isn’t one to rest on its laurels, and 2022 saw the opening of new shows like Awakening, the $120 million new production at Wynn created by a powerhouse production team who together have worked on Broadway’s The Lion King, Siegfried and Roy, and tours for Katy Perry and Britney Spears, along with an Emmy-winning costume designer. The show is presented in a 360-degree theatre with a 60-foot stage custom-designed with dichroic glass and incorporating large-scale LED screens, and it’s all narrated by Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Cirque du Soleil’s edgy new show Mad Apple at New York-New York has juggling, sword-swallowing, Harlem Globetrotters-style acrobatic basketball tricks, a wheel of death, aerial acts that include some jaw-dropping performances AND the Statue of Liberty, singers, and a standup comedian hosting it all. This is not your mama’s Cirque!
Also this past year, Lost Spirits Distillery at AREA 15 was finally able to launch its full vaudeville-inspired live show with circus acts, aerialists, strongmen (and women!), jazz acts, magicians, and more across four stages and a lounge all hidden inside its labyrinthine venue – the idea being to get “lost,” naturally. This is an experience unlike any other anywhere else in the world, and a Vegas must!
Freestyle Love Supreme at the Venetian is a new production of an old show dating back to 2004 when one Lin Manuel Miranda first co-founded this improv hip-hop comedy musical group before he got his big Broadway break. The Man himself is also known to pop in and join the fun onstage at the Venetian, and you’ll definitely want to be in the room where it happens!
Vegas residencies had another whiplash-inducing year of A-listers, most notably Adele’s “Weekends with Adele” at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, who came into town and bested Usher as the hardest tickets to get in Sin City. (But Usher’s “My Way” tickets at Dolby Live at Park MGM are still damn hard to get, too.) Currently Adele has dates through March and Usher has dates through July. Also at Dolby Live and also insanely popular, Bruno Mars (no name for his residency because he’s Bruno Mars) currently has dates through February – but don’t worry, his pattern year after year is to just randomly announce new dates seemingly whenever he feels like it, so he’ll be back!
Over at the brand-new Resorts World Theatre, Katy Perry’s “PLAY” roared into 2022 with one of the most over-the-top (literally larger-than-life) residencies Vegas has ever seen. She currently has dates through April. Carrie Underwood’s “Reflection” was also a huge hit, and she’ll be back later this year with dates starting in June. Miranda Lambert’s “Velvet Rodeo” at Zappos Theater inside Planet Hollywood was another rhinestone-covered highlight, and she’s got dates all through 2023 into December.
HOT NEW RESTAURANTS
Splashy new celebrity restaurants include Martha Stewart’s first-ever restaurant, The Bedford; Lisa Vanderpump’s Vanderpump à Paris; and a third Las Vegas location for Nobu, all at Paris Las Vegas.
Other new celeb concepts include Salt Bae’s Nusr-Et at The Park Las Vegas; Giuliana and Bill Rancic’s RPM Italian at the Forum Shops at Caesars; and Dominque Ansel’s first Las Vegas bakery at Caesars Palace.
Some more not-to-miss new openings include Carversteak, Caviar Bar, and the totally plant-based Crossroads at Resorts World; Villa Azur, WAKUDA, and Estiatorio Milos (relocated from the Cosmopolitan) at the Venetian; and the legendary Lotus of Siam’s luxe new location at Red Rock Resort. For more casual outings, the two-story BrewDog Las Vegas has the best rooftop bar with a panoramic view of the Strip, located on the third floor of Showcase Mall (across from Park MGM).
NEW NIGHT (AND DAY) LIFE
Zouk Nightclub at Resorts World is Sin City’s most technologically advanced nightlife venue, and the first new superclub to open in Vegas since OMNIA in 2014. This 36,000-square-foot club with floor-to-ceiling LED displays pulls in A-list acts like Tiësto, Kaskade, Deadmau5, Zedd, and more.
Outside, Ayu Dayclub boasts similar A-list artists in an outdoor oasis inspired by the beauty of Southwest Asia’s islands.
Over at the Venetian, Tao Beach – the original Vegas dayclub – is fresh off a multi-year, $50 million renovation that completely reimagined the iconic dayclub, expanding it to 44,000 square feet (now the largest in Las Vegas) with a Bali-inspired design…it’s less a remodel than it is a completely new dayclub experience.
NEW WAYS TO GET AROUND
A Vegas experience of any kind should be anything but boring, and the Boring Company’s Las Vegas Loop is no exception. This one-way underground tunnel – all lit up with multicolor LED lights and powered by Tesla vehicles – connects several stops along the Las Vegas Convention Center and its newest stop at Resorts World. Plans are to expand the current 1.5-mile loop with 4 stops to 29 miles with 55 stops throughout the city of Las Vegas.
The Downtown Loop offers a little less razzle-dazzle, but the free (above-ground) shuttle service is a practical way to get around Downtown Las Vegas and see all the top attractions and points of interest.