The Cal Gets a Colorful New Paint Job

The California has been going through a rough patch recently, but that hasn’t kept the downtown casino from sprucing up in honor of the arrival of a new neighbor, Circa Las Vegas.

The Cal is in the process of an exterior rejuvenation, so allow our boots on the ground to keep you in the loop on what’s up. Full disclosure: It’s impossible to find a comfortable pair of boots, so we don’t wear them. We love you, but not enough to suffer foot discomfort.

Cal paint

The Cal got a renovation inside in 2016, now the titivation moves outside. You’re welcome for the new word.

The California has gone “full Hawaiian” with its floral motif.

The Cal, of course, relies heavily on guests from Hawaii. Which sort of ties into the aforementioned “rough patch.” Travel restrictions due to the pandemic have resulted in downtown Las Vegas revenues dropping 71 percent from the third quarter of 2019. Read more.

Another Boyd Gaming casino, Main Street, has yet to reopen.

But back to the happy colors!

Cal painted

When you get a shiny new neighbor, you have to up your game.

The Cal’s signature red has been refreshed, but some new colors have been added to the casino’s palette.

We’re getting a bit of a Baskin-Robbins logo vibe, but we’re hoping somebody leaves a comment on this post that reminds us where we’ve seen this combination of orange, purple and pink.

Cal paint job

For the record, Lappert’s at The Cal has excellent ice cream.

The new flair makes the building pop, and it’s very much a response to the Cal’s new neighbor, Circa. Circa Las Vegas opened on Oct. 28, 2020, and everyone in the neighborhood is primping.

For example, Plaza, just across the street from Circa, recently replaced 9,740 bulbs in its old-school porte cochere.

Plaza lights

Plaza wants to make sure price-sensitive visitors to Circa know they’re a a short stroll away.

The Cal was starting to look a little long in the tooth, as it was built in 1975.

Artwork adoring the building has all been replaced. By “artwork,” of course, we mean “awkward attempts at art.”

One of the tile-based art pieces (pictured below) caught our eye back in 2013. We are so glad we captured it for posterity, as it’s been replaced by floriculture.

Cal mural

Don’t judge. These settlers are consenting adults.

The new paint job certainly brightens The Cal up, and longtime guests will appreciate the investment by Boyd.

Cal paint job

Hang in there, Cal. Your Hawaiian fans will be back in force soon.

Enjoy more photos of The Cal’s vibrant facelift.

17 thoughts on “The Cal Gets a Colorful New Paint Job

  1. Mike Alexakis

    “Price-sensitive” is what I tell people I am when I am actually price-butthurt… The old Union Plaza Hotel used to run TV commercials and they had a jingle, I can sing a few licks of it…

  2. Mark

    The Cal gold panning, bear hunting scene was my very first read of Vital Vegas – via the VMB. I hate so see that one go, the piece of “art”.

    1. William Wingo

      Harold’s Club in Reno had a similar mural, “Dedicated in all humility to those who blazed the trail.” I saw it on my first visit to Reno in the fall of 1968.
      I don’t know how big the one at the Cal was, but this one was probably much larger. It was made up of 224 hand-painted porcelain enamel panels, and covered the entire front facade of the building on Virginia Street. It was there for 50 years, from 1949 to 1999. After Harrah’s bought Harold’s, the mural was dismantled and put in storage before the building was demolished.
      In 2007 it was reassembled at the Reno Livestock Events center. There are proposals to relocate it to a more central location, perhaps the wall of a parking deck at the former Reno Fitzgerald’s casino, not far from its original site.

    1. John

      Hawaiians love to gamble since no gambling is permitted in the state except on cruise boats. Sam Boyd flies them on a charter 4 times a week to fill his hotels. The employees all wear aloha shirts and have that aloha spirit. They have restaurants that provide local style food and a buffet. Step into the California or Fremont and you will see the difference. There is a reason why Las Vegas is affectionately known as the 9 island.

    2. JeffinOKC

      The California was built to draw customers from California. It did not draw well. Founder Sam Boyd decided to draw upon his memory of living in Hawaii around 1940 and appeal to islanders. It was a raging success since around 1976. All gambling is illegal in Hawaii, IIRC.

  3. Jaxon

    I know Boyd won’t do this, but how about rebranding/renaming The Cal as something more Hawaiian? If it’s marketed to Hawaiians, why not rename it to reflect the core market?


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