Category Archives: Things to Do in Las Vegas

Hakkasan Grid is an Eye-Opening Wonder of Science and Art

If Vegas knows anything, it’s dazzle, and the new Hakkasan Grid at Hakkasan Nightclub takes dazzle to a whole new level.

The multi-million dollar light installation made its debut during EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival, May 17-19, 2019), and delivers on the promise of a sensational new reason to visit Hakkasan inside MGM Grand.

Hakkasan Grid

You’re going to wish you had more eyes.

The Hakkasan Grid is a marvel of technology. The ceiling light installation is made up of 57 individual triangles that can be turned into a virtually unlimited number of shapes, colors and configurations.

Here’s a look at some of the technology involved in making the Hakkasan Grid such a stunner.

Hakkasan Grid Las Vegas

Only slightly less complicated than brain surgery.

The overhead display undulates and pulses, intensifying the impact of the music, creating an ever-changing visual feast for nightclub-goers.

Hakkasan Grid

The 57 triangles are moved using 169 winches, which is 2.964912280 winches per triangle, which can’t be right, but we are a blog, not a mathematician, so let’s move on.

Yeah, you sort of have to see it in action. Behold the Hakkasan Grid.

It’s like a space ship, a kinetic sculpture and a neon factory had a threesome and the Hakkasan Grid is the offspring.

The thing is straight-up amazing, and we aren’t even a nightclub person.

If you’re a light installation nerd, it’s worth noting the Hakkasan Grid is 30 feet wide, and each of the triangles was custom-designed and 3-D printed. The display features pixel mapping and color-mixing technologies as well.

Hakkasan nightclub Las Vegas

Hakkasan is a Japanese word meaning, “You have no chance with that girl, so stop pestering her, you big dope.”

Hakkasan opened in 2013, making it 104 in Las Vegas nightclub years.

Given its substantial investment in the new light installation, Hakkasan clearly isn’t resting on its laurels and intends to stay relevant as the nightlife landscape continues to evolve in Las Vegas.

Hakkasan nightclub Vegas

The exterior of Hakkasan got some digital mapping since your last visit. You need to get out more.

The venue boasts world-class DJ talent, including Tiesto, Zedd, Steve Aoki and others. Such residencies are the bread-and-butter of nightclubs, but it can’t hurt to have a mind-blowing light show in the mix as well.

Hakkasan Grid Las Vegas

Hakkasan it the place to let your geometry freak flag fly.

We’ve added the Hakkasan Grid onto our list of must-see attractions in Las Vegas, right up there with the Bellagio fountains, the new Eiffel Tower light show, the Viva Vision canopy on Fremont Street, the Mirage volcano and us in a thong.

That’s weird. People usually don’t read this far. Good luck unseeing that.

Wynn’s Popeye Statue to Set Sail for Encore Boston Harbor

A famous statue of Popeye at Wynn Las Vegas is about to set sail for Encore Boston Harbor, so catch it while you can, matey.

Or whatever.

The Popeye statue, made by renowned sculptor Jeff Koons, will reportedly be packed up in the early morning hours of June 4, 2019.

Wynn Popeye statue

Sun’s out, guns out, or whatever the kids are saying now.

The statue will be in place at Encore Boston Harbor in time for its opening on June 23, if all goes according to plan.

The Popeye stands in front of the Wynn Theater, not far from the self-parking garage, which is free again, so you have no excuse to not visit the resort before Popeye’s departure.

Wynn Popeye

Popeye is incarnated with Brancusian reflectivity in the artist’s signature material: Stainless steel. Which we totally didn’t steal from the Sotheby’s Web site.

The Popeye statue has a long and storied history we didn’t have time to research.

We do know it was purchased for $28,165,000 in 2014. It’s rumored Wynn Resorts turned down an offer of $60 million for the statue at one point.

If you’re an art person, don’t fret that Popeye won’t be at Wynn much longer. You can pop into the Wynn Plaza and snap a selfie with another impressive piece of art, Smiling King Bear by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel.

Wynn Plaza

Our photography is occasionally fleek.

Please take care of our Popeye statue, Encore Boston Harbor. We sort of want it back, eventually.

Downtown Grand to Open New Showroom, The Spare Room

Downtown Grand is getting into the comedy game with the opening a new showroom dubbed The Spare Room.

The new showroom hasn’t officially been announced yet, but give it a minute.

Downtown Grand

You can find Downtown Grand downtown. Hence, why were are considered a Las Vegas expert.

The new showroom will be located in the former Mob Bar space, just across the street from the Mob Museum.

For the showroom launch, The Spare Room will feature two shows, “Hypnomania” and “Delirious.”

“Hypnomania,” a comedy-hypnosis show featuring 20-year comedy veteran Don Barnhart, runs at 7:00 p.m.

“Delirious,” with traditional stand-up comedy, happens at 9:00 p.m.

The showroom will be open Wednesday through Sunday.

The Spare Room will have a full bar, thankfully, and a capacity of around 100 people.

Comedy fans will be able to find tickets at the official Downtown Grand Web site once they go on sale.

Downtown Grand has faced some challenges in the past due to its location, but the resort has recently perked up with the beginning of construction of a new hotel tower.

Downtown Grand construction

Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower is coming along nicely.

If you’re checking out the new showroom at Downtown Grand, we recommend making it dinner and a show by stopping in either at Pizza Rock or Triple George, a few steps away.

Update (6/20/19): Our scoop has been officially confirmed, of course. Learn more at the official site.

Your Perfunctory Raiders Stadium Construction Update

Apparently, Las Vegas is getting another professional sports team, the Raiders.

As NFL teams need a place to engage in their copious concussions, Las Vegas agreed to help build the Raiders a sportsball theater experience.

We are not a sports person, so we don’t tend to blog about sports too much, but Raiders stadium is hard to ignore, so here’s an update!

Raiders

All due respect, Oakland, you can’t touch this.

As Las Vegas can get warmish (think a “kiln” you can’t turn off except for two weeks in early January), the Las Vegas Raiders stadium will have a translucent roof. Retractable roofs are so 2012.

The roof will be made from ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a fluorine-based polymer. And, yes, we knew that off the top of our head.

Raiders stadium will have 52 truss columns, each weighing about 65 tons, or about what your brother-in-law weighs after a visit to a Las Vegas buffet. Give or take a ton.

Raiders Stadium truss

These things weigh a lot, truss us on this one.

That roof will be 200 feet up and supported by trusses, which are being installed right now.

Raiders stadium update

T-Mobile’s slipping lifts into its shoes right about now.

It’s expected the stadium will be completed in August 2020.

Here’s a video that shows what’s gone into building this massive structure. Bonus: It’s narrated by Mike Rowe, the guy from “Deadliest Catch.”

The stadium will have 65,000 seats.

It’s been reported the Las Vegas Raiders stadium project will cost $1.8 billion. Although, that’s pocket change in NFL dollars.

Raiders Stadium

Still the worst education system in the country, but damn we’re good at making buildings for sports.

While we may not be the biggest football fan, there’s no denying the Raiders stadium is a big deal for Las Vegas, so we’ll keep an eye on this project, even perfunctorally, which we’re pretty sure wasn’t a word until this sentence.

10 New Things Happening in Downtown Las Vegas Right Now

It’s time to dive headlong into a metric ass-ton of downtown Las Vegas updates. The alternative is for us to get a life, and you know that’s not happening.

Enjoy this hastily slapped-together list of things going on downtown at the moment, including some new things to do in downtown Las Vegas, in no particular order.

1. Flamingo at Lyft Art Park

The Lyft Art Park, in the parking lot next to Park on Fremont restaurant, has updated its collection of “Grammable” art with Phoenicopterus Rex, a 40-foot flamingo. The giant flamingo made its debut at Burning Man in 2017.

Flamingo Lyft Art Park

About 750 pounds of steel are used for each of the flamingo’s legs.

2. Circa Las Vegas Gets Its Pour On

Circa Las Vegas, a new casino resort coming to Fremont Street, has already made significant progress, including a couple of recent, massive concrete pours. Here’s the latest from the site.

Circa

While Circa is expected to eventually have 777 rooms, it will open with 500 rooms and 71 suites.

On Apr. 9, 2019, 205 concrete trucks lined up to deliver 2,050 cubic yards of concrete for the foundation of Circa. Here’s where some of it went.

Circa

We will not bore you with the technical details of what’s happening here, mainly because we don’t know what those are. We do know these are elevator shafts. One bank will go halfway up Circa, the other will go all the way up.

Circa is slated to open in 2020, and the good folks at Circa have thoughtfully put up a schedule so we can keep abreast of what’s happening when.

Circa

Thanks, Circa. Suitable for lamination.

Here’s a bonus new thing you need to know about: If you’re a fan of the Project BBQ truck, please know it’s relocated. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding it, as it’s only moved 20 feet.

Project BBQ

Consider your visit to the Circa site a catered affair.

Oh, and here’s a bonus bonus: In a nearby location, we spotted some early exposure tests of the Circa windows.

Circa windows

Fun fact: The spots without glass are LED panels. So, the entire side of Circa will essentially be a video screen. The mind reels.

3. Golden Gate Sports Book Underway

Just across from the Circa site, Golden Gate is quickly working on its news sports book. We popped our head in, because that’s sort of how we roll, despite it’s being related to sports. The new sports book at Golden Gate will open June 1, 2019, under the Circa Sports brand.

Golden Gate sports book

While the sports book at Golden Gate will be one of downtown’s smallest, the one at Circa is being billed as the world’s biggest.

4. Santos Tacos & Beer Opens

We’ve spoken often of “Restaurant Row” on Carson Street downtown, as it boasts several popular dining establishments including Carson Kitchen, Vegenation, 7th & Carson and Eat. Now, Santos Tacos & Beer has taken up residence in the former Bomb Tacos space.

Santos Tacos downtown

This space has hosted a string of restaurant concepts. Let’s hope this one sticks.

Santos Tacos is a solid offering, and well worth a stop to help manage those drunchies. One of the quirky aspects of this new restaurant is its “Saint of the Day.”

Santos Tacos

The day we visited, Celine was the “Saint of the Day,” and we can all get onboard with that.

5. Cat’s Meow Karaoke Bar in the Works

Despite our best efforts to keep karaoke from being a thing in Las Vegas, Cat’s Meow at Neonopolis actually seems to have potential.

Cat's Meow

In case you’ve wondered what’s going on in there. This is that.

Cat’s Meow has its roots in New Orleans, and will take over a massive, 10,000-square-foot space on the second floor of Neonopolis.

Cat's Meow

Curiosity is the only thing we have in common with cats.

You can see Cat’s Meow from the street, and the owners say they’re trying to get approval for a staircase from Fremont Street. Access has proven a challenge for a number of businesses in Neonopolis.

Cat's Meow Las Vegas

Cat’s Meow will have multiple bars, a necessary amenity when there’s karaoke.

It sounds like Cat’s Meow will open in May 2019, and another sing-along business, OD’s, will follow in a adjacent space.

6. Don’t Tell Mama on the Move

In other Neonopolis news, Don’t Tell Mama, a piano lounge with a passionate following, has moved to the retail complex. Don’t Tell Mama originally opened in 2009.

Don't Tell Mama

Now, you know where that place you know nothing about is.

7. Downtown Grand’s Gets a New Tower

While Downtown Grand’s casino is often under-peopled, the hotel side of the business is apparently booming, so Downtown Grand is building a new hotel tower. The new tower will sit in the space where the hotel’s porte cochere used to be and construction will add 495 new rooms to the hotel.

Downtown Grand construction

Rest assured, we’ll be keeping an eye on Downtown Grand’s new erection.

8. Whiskey Licker Up at Binion’s

Construction continues in dramatic fashion at Binion’s, making way for a new venue called Whiskey Licker Up.

Whiskey Licker Up Binion's

Binion’s lost a little neon, but there’s plenty left.

Of course we poked our head inside. Do you know this blog at all?

Whiskey Licker Up Binion's

Walls are highly overrated.

Whiskey Licker Up will be a bar and lounge with a rotating bar as its centerpiece. There will be food, dancing and live entertainment as well. Read more.

Whiskey Licker Up

Consider this the “before” photo.

The new bar will wrap around one corner of Binion’s providing a sweet view of the festivities below. Whiskey Licker Up is expected to open summer 2019.

9. Hotel Apache Takes Reservations

See what we did there? Back in February, which never seems correctly spelled, Binion’s announced it would open about 80 rooms in a boutique, hotel-within-a-hotel, Hotel Apache. The rooms are decorated in a vintage style, and Binion’s isn’t being shy about how some believe the place is haunted. Rooms can now be booked online.

Hotel Apache

We’ve heard Hotel Apache, like its sister hotel, Four Queens, won’t have a resort fee, so there’s that.

10. First Fremont Street Experience Canopy LEDs Arrive

Fremont Street Experience, where we work in marketing as our day job (opinions are our own, as if that weren’t readily apparent), is getting a $32 million renovation of its Viva Vision screen. The canopy upgrade is a huge undertaking, and the first shipment of LEDs were recently delivered.

Fremont Street Experience canopy upgrade

These crates hold just 1/16th of the LEDs needed for the Viva Vision upgrade.

We poked our camera into one of the crates to get a look at the new LEDs. The Viva Vision canopy renovation starts around May 6, 2019, and the upgraded video screen will debut on New Year’s Eve.

Viva Vision modules

These LEDs will give the Viva Vision screen seven times the brightness and four times the resolution.

The light shows at Fremont Street Experience will continue to play throughout the upgrade. Installation of the new LEDs will happen in the late evening through early morning in 150-foot sections (from the west end of the street, near Golden Gate, to the east, near White Castle), but the shows will play with little interruption.

This Doesn’t Fit With the Rest of the List, But We’re Sharing Anyway

We figured it was worth mentioning, Beauty Bar on Fremont East has closed and isn’t coming back. The entertainment venue didn’t go down without some drama, but the curtain has fallen for the last time on this beleaguered venue.

Beauty Bar closed

Beauty Bar opened in 2004, and was once co-owned by Corey Harrison of “Pawn Stars” fame.

We trust our list satisfies your thirst for downtown Las Vegas updates.

Downtown offers a distinct and idiosyncratic, to say the least, alternative to the Las Vegas Strip.

We do our best to keep you in the loop on all the latest news, mainly because it gives us an excuse to drink and gamble downtown more. We also love keeping you informed. But mainly the drinking and gambling thing. Just keeping it real.

FlyOver Las Vegas Virtual Reality Attraction Coming to Linq Hotel

It was recently announced a new flight simulator attraction is coming to the Las Vegas Strip, and now we know where it will land.

We’ve learned FlyOver Las Vegas will be located at the Linq hotel, on the resort’s third floor Vortex deck.

FlyOver Las Vegas

Las Vegas will soon have a new way to get your woozy on.

The attraction will feature two domes, one a high tech theater, the other a ticketing, merchandise and concession space.

So, what’s FlyOver Las Vegas?

According to the FlyOver Web site, “FlyOver Las Vegas utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give you the feeling of flight. You’ll hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 52-foot spherical screen as our film whisks you away on an exhilarating journey over and above Las Vegas, Nevada and more local wonders. Special effects, including wind, mist and scents, combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience.”

The ride will feature destinations in and around Nevada with filming locations expected to include the Grand Canyon, Zion and Arches National Parks in Utah and Lake Tahoe. More Vegas, please.

Each virtual reality show will run 8-10 minutes.

Here’s a promotional video.

FlyOver Canada has already been a thing. Check out the official Web site.

Side note: The FlyOver Canada location has a pre-show presentation by a company called Moment Factory, featuring “2-D and 3-D animations as well as 360-degree video projection mapping.” These are the same folks who did the incredible video display outside the Forum Shops. Let’s have more of that in Vegas.

Here are some perfunctory details from the FlyOver Las Vegas permit filing:

The theater dome will be 7,854 square feet, 33 feet tall and 50 feet in diameter with about 1,963 square feet of floor area. The theater dome will accommodate 62 movie theater seats with bass shakers.

Fun fact: The Bass Shakers are one of our favorite bands, ever.

The ticket dome will be 17 feet tall and 26 feet in diameter, with approximately 531 square feet of floor area.

Thanks to @morenoapa on Twitter for pointing us toward the permit application.

The Linq’s Vortex deck has been one of the most underutilized spaces on the Las Vegas Strip. Why you’d take people inside a dome for simulated views, rather than taking advantage of the Strip views from the Vortex deck, we have no idea. But we quite enjoy sparkly new Vegas things, so there’s that.

If you have no idea what we’re talking about, here’s a look at the Vortex at Linq. You sort of can’t miss it.

Linq Vortex

Today’s reminder Vegas does eye candy like no other place on Earth.

Construction of FlyOver Las Vegas is expected to begin in late 2019. Which is weird when you consider the attraction is expected to open in early 2021. It’s domes.

Here’s the official FlyOver Las Vegas Web site.

As gambling revenue declines over time, Las Vegas casinos continue to seek out partners to help generate revenue in other ways, especially attractions appealing to younger visitors.

While we tend to avoid attractions featuring heights (yes, even virtual) and the potential of motion sickness, FlyOver looks like it could be a fun new diversion in very visible location, so it has the potential to make a killing. This is one to watch!

Update (6/14/19): Plans for a virtual reality attraction at Linq have been confirmed, but it’s called Fantasy Dome, “powered by Ominvision.” We have no idea where the dome is, nor have we seen any publicity for it, but presumably it opened June 14, 2019. Here’s the official site.