Category Archives: Things to Do in Las Vegas

Confirmed: New York-New York’s Roller Coaster Will Go Virtual Reality

It was way back in August 2017 when we first, and solitarily, reported New York-New York’s roller coaster would be converting to a virtual reality ride.

Now, we’ve got proof it’s true.

New York-New York has tipped its hand by putting up signage that gives instructions for riders on the next iteration of the popular thrill ride.

Unfortunately, no photos are allowed on the roller coaster platform, so we aren’t able to share the photo below.

virtual reality roller coaster

Do you know this blog at all?

That’s right, the Big Apple’s virtual reality system is currently undergoing testing and the roller coaster is expected to go full VR in January 2018.

From what we hear, virtual reality will bump up the ride’s current price by $5, to 20 bucks.

Rider operators have shared there will no longer be a lower-priced, non-VR ticket option, although we trust guests won’t be forced to don the sex-magnet virtual reality goggles if they’d like to just gaze upon The Strip in the (yawn) traditional way.

Las Vegas roller coaster

Let us know how it goes. We are not a heights person. Not to mention our morbid fear of goggles.

The addition of virtual reality is a cunning way to increase Big Apple’s ticket price (known in retail parlance as the “per cap,” or the average amount spent by a customer).

The Big Apple roller coaster is hugely successful for New York-New York and its parent company, MGM Resorts, with 1.4 million riders each year.

There’s still been no official confirmation the New York-New York roller coaster will convert to virtual reality, but as we’ve said before, if it’s in a news release, it’s too late.

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Bellagio’s Holiday Display Never Fails to Impress

As annual traditions go in Las Vegas, we hope Bellagio’s unveiling of its holiday display never will. Go. In case that wasn’t clear.

Bellagio Conservatory

Paging Dr. Freud.

The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio are one of the few remaining free spectacles in Las Vegas and should not be missed.

Bellagio pulls out all the stops for its Christmas display. Vegas regulars will recognize some familiar elements (such as the polar bears), but there are always new things to see.

Bellagio Conservatory

Bellagio’s up to the challenge of giving your inner Grinch a beat-down.

The focal point of the holiday display is the big-ass Christmas tree, of course.

The White Fur tree, brought in from Mt. Shasta, stands 42-feet tall and has about 2,500 ornaments. Yes, we counted.

Bellagio Christmas

Bellagio’s Christmas tree is 18 feet in diameter, not unlike this blog after a buffet.

Naturally, the Conservatory is replete with flowers, including the seasonally-appropriate poinsettias (28,000 or so), famous for not being pronounced like they’re spelled.

Bellagio Christmas

The botanical name for the poinsettia is “euphorbia pulcherrima,” which sounds like what you’d call a poinsettia if you were bullying it in a locker room.

The Ice Princess is a new addition to Bellagio’s Christmas display, with a dress of white hydrangea and Phalaenopsis orchids. Yes, we copied and pasted those flower names. We are a busy person and don’t have time to “take notes” or “exert effort.”

Bellagio Conservatory

When your mom sees your browser history.

Bellagio’s horticulture staff of about 120 people have this whole Conservatory thing down pat.

The larger-than-life display draws throngs to the Strip casino, although the vast majority don’t stick around to eat or drink or gamble.

In recent years, casinos have cut back on free offerings to strengthen their bottom lines. Bellagio’s Conservatory has weathered those cost-cutting measures, and hasn’t yet suffered the fate of attractions like “Sirens of TI” at Treasure Island or “Masquerade Show in the Sky” at Rio.

Trust us, there have been meetings.

Bellagio Conservatory Christmas

Props on the elf diversity, Bellagio.

Here’s an insider tip for your Conservatory visit: Watch for the GoPro camera on the train at the base of the Christmas tree.

Bellagio Christmas

It’s only creepy if you get one for your ex.

Video from the camera is streamed live on a nearby video monitor.

Bellagio Christmas

Please keep it classy. There are lots of kids around.

Bellagio regulars will find it notable the horse statue in the hotel’s lobby has been swapped out. Not for a holiday-inspired horse and rider, but a samurai-themed one.

There’s currently a samurai exhibit in the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Here’s more.

Bellagio lobby horse rider

Bellagio’s disco ball horse has been replaced with a samurai’s. The Japanese warriors were fairly kick-ass archers on horseback.

While we enjoy visiting the Bellagio Conservatory during the day to see all the details of the flowers and props, some prefer the glow of the lights at night.

The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio are open 24 hours a day, so check out during the day and after dark.

Oh, and don’t forget to use the hashtag below to help homeless youth.

Bellagio Conservatory

At least that hashtag doesn’t have any unfortunate double meanings.

The Christmas display, called “Holiday Glamour” (because naming things is hard) runs through Jan. 1, 2018. Next up, Chinese New Year, from Jan. 8 through Mar. 3, 2018.

Enjoy more poorly-composed photos in the gallery, below. And if you’d like to see past Bellagio displays, we’ve grouped them all together on our site, so dive right in.

Bellagio Conservatory Christmas 2017

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Checking In On Ellis Island Casino’s Front Yard

It’s been a few months since Ellis Island broke ground on its new Front Yard, a two-story dining, bar and entertainment venue.

The project is a pretty big deal for the diminutive, family-owned casino, so we figured it was time to see how the $10 million project is going.

Ellis Island Front Yard

Things are definitely happening here, we’re just not sure what.

We should probably provide some context.

The Front Yard will run along Koval Lane (east of the Las Vegas Strip, at Flamingo), and the venue will have a capacity of 300 people. It will have a casual atmosphere, with bar games and activities, as well as live entertainment.

It will also have beer and lots of it. Ellis Island is known for its on-site brewery, making it a beer-lover’s paradise when it comes to coldness, freshness and sheer inexpensiveness. A typical glass of beer, or whatever they’re served in, will run you upwards of $1.50, and no, that’s not a typo.

Anyway, here’s a scale model of the Front Yard being built at Ellis Island.

Ellis Island Front Yard

Similar to many Las Vegas strippers, Ellis Island is about to expand its frontage through extensive construction.

The Front Yard will have a full cocktail and wine menu as well as food. If the BBQ served at Ellis Island is any indication, the food will be plentiful and cheap, just the way we like our eats. And boobs. But mostly that first thing.

While there doesn’t seem to have been much obvious progress made on the Front Yard, we assume there’s been some because the venue is supposed to debut in April 2018.

That’s according to one of our favorite casino people in Las Vegas, Christina Ellis, Director of Marketing at Ellis Island. She recently did a Q&A with the Las Vegas Sun, so check that out.

Ellis Island Front Yard

That thing in the middle is a brick wall. Or part of one. Three more and it’ll be a thing!

It’s only because we know Christina (we interviewed her on our podcast) that we can tease her about the fact their contractor is apparently Sloth & Sons Construction, LLC.

We kid!

Ellis Island is one of our favorite hangs on The Strip, an unpretentious good time that’s heavy on gambling, liquor and great values.

Ellis Island Front Yard

The missing “D” in “Island” is clear evidence things are, in fact, happening at the Front Yard.

We’re looking forward to seeing further progress at the Front Yard, and can’t wait to have our first Captain and diet in the new venue at Ellis Island.

Hey, just because they’re known for something doesn’t mean we have to try it. Ellis Island’s also known for karaoke. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

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Confirmed: Linq Promenade to Get Zipline Attraction

As we exclusively reported nearly two months before the rest of the world, Caesars Entertainment has confirmed the Linq promenade will be getting a new zipline attraction, Fly Linq.

We’ve got all the skinny about Fly Linq, the first and only ziplines on the Las Vegas Strip.

Fly Linq will accommodate 10 riders at a time, side-by-side.

Like downtown’s SlotZilla zipline (where we work in digital marketing as our day job), riders will have the option to fly seated or “Superman-style” (prone).

Prone is a lot more fun, so expect a price bump, but it’s totally worth it.

Fly Linq zipline

Here’s a look at Fly Linq! We’d like your sister to Linq with our fly, if you get our drift.

Riders will take off from a 122-foot-tall tower, traveling 1,080 feet eastward from near the Linq hotel toward the High Roller Ferris wheel.

Ride speeds are expected to reach 35 miles per hour.

The attraction will cost $20 million to build and construction will begin in spring 2018. The attraction will open in late 2018.

Fly Linq zipline

Recently, casinos have tried to increase profits by making the most of “idle” space. The air above a pedestrian mall certainly qualifies.

Prices for the ziplines haven’t been set, but expect something in the $40-50 range. The VooDoo Zipline at Rio is about $30.

Judging by the success of SlotZilla, Fly Linq is likely to make a bundle from thrill-seeking Las Vegas visitors.

Fly Linq will also serve as a customer delivery device for the under-performing High Roller, and combo deals that include rides on the world’s tallest observation wheel are a sure bet.

Ziplines will add a lively element to the Linq promenade which has an already-appealing mix of restaurants and bars.

Emphasis on bars.

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Truck Dings Self-Driving Shuttle on First Day of Service

Murphy’s Law is laughing its ass off right about now.

On its first official day of service downtown, an autonomous shuttle had a close encounter with a delivery truck and the incident went viral.

Driverless shuttle accident

“Look, Ma, it’s a P.R. nightmare.”

Within an hour of a news conference about the shuttle going into service in a 0.6-mile loop around downtown’s Fremont East district, the shuttle was bumped by a truck illegally backing into an alley near La Comida restaurant.

The shuttle, as programmed, sensed the presence of the truck and stopped. The delivery truck driver, however, didn’t sense the presence of the shuttle and continued backing up, so the truck’s tire made contact with the shuttle.

driverless shuttle accident

Despite the self-driving shuttle being sponsored by AAA, no roadside assistance was required.

The story of the fender bender made international news with misleading headlines like “Driverless Shuttle Crashes Within First Hour on the Road.”

Oh, Internet.

During the incident, there were no injuries (the shuttle only goes 10-15 miles per hour), the truck suffered zero damage and the self-driving shuttle had only a small dent on its front left side from being grazed.

Driverless shuttle accident

The delivery truck driver was cited for illegal backing and ruining a perfectly good paint job.

Granted, a human driver might have reversed in time to avoid the accident, but we’re striking this up to bad luck and awful timing as there were numerous news crews near the scene of the accident due to the earlier news conference.

Company reps say the self-driving shuttle has transported 275,000 passengers without incident.

The shuttle is expected to continue its one-year pilot program as planned. It’s free and stops at three locations along Fremont East and a block south on Carson Avenue.

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30 New Things in Downtown Las Vegas Since Your Last Visit

There’s always something new happening in Las Vegas, and we try our best to keep up with the latest restaurants, bars and offbeat things to do and see.

Here, we’ve decided to focus on downtown, so let’s dive into a metric ass-ton of what’s new since your list Las Vegas visit.

1. Golden Gate Expansion

Downtown’s oldest casino recently unveiled an expansion into the space formerly occupied by La Bayou. The space added about 100 slot machines to the casino, and features an entrance highlighted by a 24-foot-tall fountain of TVs.

Golden Gate expansion

The TV “fountain” is surrounded by 468 mirrors, much like Jennifer Aniston.

2. Corduroy Bar

Corduroy Bar opened on Fremont Street between Beauty Bar and The Griffin. It’s a good drink and a good time. What else do you need from a Vegas bar?

Corduroy Fremont Street

Corduroy features a “bubble wall” behind the bar and Moscow Mules on tap.

3. White Castle on Fremont

White Castle got a lot of buzz when it opened on Fremont Street. It no longer serves liquor (liquor license trouble), but still fills a void for those experiencing the “drunchies.” So, pretty much everyone partying on Fremont Street.

White Castle

Yes, they screwed with the Trader Bill’s sign, but we’re trying to get past it.

4. Las Vegas Lights Soccer

Yes, Las Vegas now has a pro soccer team, the Las Vegas Lights. The team was named by fans, and its logo was also crowd-sourced. The team starts play in downtown’s Cashman Center in 2018.

Las Vegas Lights

The “FC” stands for “football club,” and you can’t go wrong with Googie stars.

5. Downtown Grand High Limit Room

Downtown Grand’s high limit room has gone through several iterations, but we like it’s current one the best. It’s petite, but welcoming and visually appealing. Also new at Downtown Grand is an e-sports lounge in the former Commissary.

Downtown Grand high limit room

Just the right amount of fancy.

6. Sidebar Renovation

Just across the way from Downtown Grand is Triple George, one of our favorite restaurants in Las Vegas. Sidebar is attached to Triple George and recently got an overhaul. We hear Sidebar will be rebranded soon, so we’ll have something for a future “new in downtown” list.

Sidebar renovation

Yes, Sidebar is on one side of Triple George, but the name refers to the fact lawyers who work downtown frequent the establishment.

7. Waffelato at Downtown Container Park

This new treat spot specializes in “Hong Kong-style egg waffles,” whatever those might be, and Italian gelato. We know exactly what that is.


Hong Kong-style waffles are eggy leavened batter cooked between two plates of semi-spherical cells. Oh, just eat them, already.

8. Downtown Terrace Kitchen & Bar

Perch restaurant has a new name, Downtown Terrace Kitchen & Bar. Apparently, the eatery heard from another venue with the same name and decided to rebrand to avoid any legal hassles.

Downtown Terrace

Here’s Downtown Terrace Kitchen & Bar, especially that last thing.

9. Movies at The Dome

Also at Downtown Container Park, there are now movies showing inside The Dome. The Dome shows family-friendly fare on an “ultra-HD” screen billed having 14 million pixels and “360-degree imagery.” The Dome seats 25 and tickets run in the $15 range.

The Dome Las Vegas

Fun fact: There is currently nothing in Las Vegas that isn’t described as “immersive.”

10. Ike’s at El Cortez

El Cortez revamped its casino bar and now it’s Ike’s. The hope of Ike’s is to grab some of these elusive millennials casinos have heard so much about. Surprisingly, we hear Ike’s is actually drawing its intended audience, as they’re already bar-hopping on Fremont East, anyway.

El Cortez casino lounge

While you’re there, check out the table with chips from the closed Thunderbird and Western casinos embedded in it.

11. Chumlee’s Candy on the Blvd. at Pawn Plaza

The popular goofball and fan favorite of “Pawn Stars,” Chumlee, has opened a candy store at Pawn Plaza. There’s a great selection of classic candy, and Chumlee makes frequent appearances at the store, so consider the bumped up prices the cost of rubbing elbows with reality TV royalty.

Chumlee candy shop

Fun fact: Nostalgic candy has fewer calories than typical candy, and that’s the story out thighs are sticking to.

12. Carson Kitchen Expansion

A downtown favorite, Carson Kitchen, recently got a new bar when it expanded into a neighboring tattoo shop. Same great menu, with more seats and cocktails.

Carson Kitchen

Carson Kitchen’s expansion arrived just in time because downtown was lacking in watering holes.

13. World’s Largest Keno Board at The D

Yes, it’s just a large video screen at The D, but it does show live keno games, so it probably qualifies as the “world’s largest keno board.”

world's largest keno board

We sort of put this on the list so we could share this photo because we are nine.

14. Fear the Walking Dead Survival Attraction

This new walk-through attraction was created in conjunction with “Fear the Walking Dead.” It’s (wait for it) immersive and features a motion ride.

Fear attraction

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Well, that and becoming a reanimated corpse.

15. Life is Beautiful Murals

Life is Beautiful is an annual music festival in downtown Las Vegas, and the event brings with it some impressive murals. The mural below is on the Fremont Street Experience parking garage. The Plaza and El Cortez got murals, too.

Life is Beautiful mural

We’d tell you who painted this mural, but that would involve “effort.” We can barely muster the effort needed to swallow our Captain Morgan, and we really like Captain Morgan.

16. 7th & Carson Restaurant

Glutton’s out, 7th & Carson is in. The menu is divided into Oven, Land, Sea and Earth, so you’re pretty much covered.

7th and Carson

If only we knew where 7th & Carson is located.

17. Flippin’ Good Restaurant Renovation

Flippin’ Good Burgers & Shakes is back after a major overhaul. The name of the place has been tweaked to Flippin’ Good Chicken, Burgers, Beer, and the former fast food place is now a casual restaurant complete with servers.

Flippin' Good Fremont Street

Except for the country music, we love the joint.

18. Not Your Father’s Root Beer Pint at Hennessey’s

It’s billed as the world’s largest pint glass, and it sits atop Hennessey’s tavern. For some time, the Hennessey’s pint glass doubled as a billboard for Bass Pale Ale. It took a full year (no, really), but the pint glass now touts Not Your Father’s Root Beer.

Not Your Father's Root Beer pint glass

The Not Your Father’s Root Beer mug was originally designed to have a handle. Unrelated: In gambling, a “handle” refers to the total amount of bets taken.

19. Downtown Loop Shuttle Service

The Downtown Loop moves riders between seven stops, at least three of which you’d actually want to visit: Bonneville Transit Center, The Arts District, Pawn Plaza, Fremont East, the Mob Museum, Fremont Street Experience and Las Vegas North Premium Outlets.

Downtown Loop shuttle

The Downtown Loop stops about every 20 minutes, or approximately four times longer than sex with us.

20. Las Vegas Club Demolition

This blog loves it some Las Vegas Club demolition. The gradual dismantling of the Las Vegas Club, as well as Mermaids and the Glitter Gulch strip club, has changed the downtown landscape, and there’s more newness on the way as a new resort gets built. And, yes, a demolition is a “new thing.” Like we were going to do a list with 29 things on it.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Hey, even excavators get the drunchies.

21. Axe Hole at Neonopolis

The business model is simple: Pay to throw sharp objects at targets. It’s therapeutic, it’s challenging and it’s utterly addictive. Axe Hole is a fun diversion and your new eye patch will really up your mystique quotient.

Axe Hole

There are no actual holes involved in Axe Hole. Marketing!

22. Mural at Evel Pie

One of our favorite Las Vegas pizza joints is still evolving, including a new mural that captures the spirit of the 1970s throwback.

Evel Pie

Evel Pie sits between Park on Fremont and Red lounge. You sort of can’t miss her. It, you sort of can’t miss it.

23. Smooth Eats

Smooth Eats, from the owners of the popular Donut Bar, serves up smoothies, salads and sandwiches in the space that used to be home of Grass Roots Juice Bar. Come for the paninis, stay for the wheat grass shots, you freak.

Smooth Eats

The last time we had anything this healthy, our liver could do 50 push-ups without breaking a sweat.

24. Neon Museum Expansion

Downtown’s Neon Museum recently bought up some neighboring land and has expanded its footprint to allow for about 30 more classic Las Vegas signs. Bonus: There was demolition involved.

Neon Museum Googie stars

We haven’t been by since the expansion, but we were giddy about the arrival of these giant Googies.

25. Wana Taco at Four Queens

The Wana Taco stand just inside the northeast entrance of Four Queens started as a temporary offering, but is back permanently. The tacos are surprisingly good, and the price is right. You can’t get hooch at the taco stand, but there’s a casino bar just a few feet away.

Wana Taco Four Queens

Save room for cookies, which isn’t just a tip for Wana Taco, it’s a tip for Life.

26. Downtown Parking App

Downtown has frequently tried to change public perception about its parking challenges, and is now touting a new app to make parking (or at least paying for it) easier. The app, Passport Parking, helps visitors monitor their parking “session,” pay for additional time remotely and get receipts by mail. Hey, we didn’t say it’s “fun,” we just said it’s “new.” Well, new-ish. It’s been used in the City’s surface lots for two years.

Passport app

Here’s a frequently asked question: If the story’s about the City of Las Vegas (downtown), why are the folks at Passport using photos of The Strip?

27. Troy Liquor Bar at Golden Nugget

Gold Diggers at Golden Nugget is no more, but there’s something new already in the works. The Gold Diggers space is being renovated and will be rebranded as Troy Liquor Bar.

Troy Liquor Bar

Troy Liquor Bar is already an established brand in New York’s meat packing district. “Meat packing,” surprisingly, is not a euphemism for anything.

28. Golden Nugget Sports Book Renovation

Also new at Golden Nugget is a recently-unveiled sports book renovation. We do not know the specifics of the renovation because we are not a sports person, but we understand customers quite like the improvements.

Golden Nugget sports book

This is where you can bet on your favorite sportsball.

29. Binion’s Poker Room Relocation

Poker was a thing at Binion’s before poker was a thing, a sentiment they should clearly steal and use in their advertisements. Binion’s has turned its former poker room into a space for arena gaming and to debut new slot machines, so its live poker area has moved to the main casino floor. The casino has erected a wall to separate the new poker room from the sports book, complete with photos from its Poker Hall of Fame.

Binion's poker room

On Jan. 23, 2004, Harrah’s (now Caesars Entertainment) bought Binion’s Horseshoe. They sold it on Mar. 11, 2004, keeping the Horseshoe brand and World Series of Poker.

30. Driverless Shuttle on Fremont East

It’s back and nobody’s at the wheel. After a short test in early 2017, a driverless shuttle (autonomous vehicle) is back for a year-long run on Fremont East. The shuttle is free, travels in a .6-mile loop and is the first of its kind to be deployed on a public roadway in the country.

Las Vegas driverless shuttle

While there won’t be a driver, there will be an attendant onboard at all times. It’s not about making sense, it’s about making news!

Unless we’ve miscounted, that’s 30 new things, and boy are our arms tired.

We’d list more, but we’re fairly exhausted. We’re also a big fan of more doing things and less writing about things.

Please note, as our day job, we work in digital marketing at downtown’s Fremont Street Experience. And, yes, we tend to put “work” in quotation marks.

There are a few noteworthy new things going on at Fremont Street Experience, including a resurfacing of the mall (happening now) and an upgrade in the works for the Viva Vision canopy, but seriously, our arms are very tired and we might need them for something.

If you think of anything we’ve left off our list, please send it our way so we can be duly impressed.

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