Category Archives: Things to Do in Las Vegas

Slick Video Marquee Unveiled Outside Forum Shops

An impressive new vertical video marquee has been unveiled outside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

We wouldn’t typically share such news, except for the fact it’s a stunner.

Forum Shops marquee

If you’re looking for a free “show” on The Strip, you might try this new eye candy at the Forum Shops.

While we can’t be sure of the technical specs of the new marquee, we can share some video. We think you’ll agree the graphics are eye-popping.

The new, 80-foot-tall video marquee has a healthy selection of animated segments, and surprisingly few are marketing messages.

The sequences feature creative uses of the Ultra High-Definition (4K) screen with custom 3-D effects.

The company behind the screen is called Acquire Digital. Check out their blog post about this and other screens at Forum Shops.

Come to find out, one of the reasons the video is so distinctive is it was created by Moment Factory, a major player in multi-media and video entertainment. Moment Factory did the video elements for Celine’s production at Caesars, as well as two of the light shows at Fremont Street Experience (Imagine Dragons and Tiesto). Take a look.

You can find the new marquee near the replica of the Trevi fountain at the Forum Shops, between Caesars Palace and Mirage.

Why, here’s the Trevi fountain now.

Trevi fountain Las Vegas

Fun fact: Trevi restaurant inside the Forum Shops is nowhere near the Trevi fountain.

We love shiny new things, and the video display outside the Forum Shops certainly qualifies.

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Neon Museum Rolls Out Signs for Expanded Boneyard

The Las Vegas Neon Museum has begun taking vintage signs out of storage to display them in a new part of its Neon Boneyard.

The Neon Museum recently demolished an adjacent building, expanding its relatively small footprint. The additional space is just .27 acres, but that’s a lot when measured in classic Las Vegas signs.

One of the signs is a truck-sized monster from the demolished Stardust.

Neon Museum Stardust

We miss you even more than our own youth and virility, Stardust.

The Neon Museum’s expansion will also feature a sign from the Riviera.

Neon Museum Riviera sign

Riviera closed on May 4, 2015, to make way for a super sexy parking lot.

It’s also expected the new space will have signs from the Las Vegas Club, Spearmint Rhino, Longhorn Casino, Opera House Gambling Club.

While we’ve never heard of the Polynesian casino, its sign is apparently one of the signs already on-site.

Neon Museum

We are blog, not a historian.

With a little digging, we found out more about the Polynesian. The Polynesian was one of the many incarnations of what is now the Hooters resort. Prior to becoming the Polynesian, it was the Howard Johnson Hotel, Paradise, 20th Century, Treasury and the Pacifica. It later became the Hotel San Remo.

We can’t wait to see what the Neon Museum has in store. We got a little riled up when we saw random Googie stars lying around the site.

Neon Museum Googie stars

Googie architecture and design flourished from the 1940s to the 1960s, at which time hippies ruined everything.

Fans of the Neon Museum will be happy to hear they’ll be bringing some vintage neon to The Strip for the first time. The Neon Museum is partnering with Fashion Show Mall, and will install a sign from the Red Barn at the shopping complex in June.

The signs at Fashion Show Mall will be swapped out every few months.

Red Barn neon sign

At one time, the Red Barn sign was on display at Fremont Street Experience. It left after becoming annoyed by those idiots beating on plastic buckets.

While we’re on the subject, the Red Barn opened in the late 1950s as an antique store at 1317 Tropicana Avenue. In the early ’60s, it was converted it into a bar. The bar became a favorite spot for the gay community in Las Vegas. The Red Barn closed in 1988.

You can learn more about the Neon Museum at the official site, and the museum’s expanded space should be completed and ready for viewing later this year.

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14 Sips of New, Cool and WTF in Downtown Las Vegas

Things move fast in Las Vegas, so we’ve carelessly slapped together a list of 14 new things happening in downtown Las Vegas to keep you in the loop.

Why 14 things? Well, it was originally 20, but in Sin City, the house always takes its vig. Or something.

1. Golden Gate Expansion

The expansion of the Golden Gate into the former La Bayou space is moving at a brisk pace. Note: Every great list of Las Vegas things begins with a security breach.

Golden Gate expansion

Golden Gate is doing a lot with a little. La Bayou was a mere 25 feet wide and 130 feet deep.

It’s expected the new structure will be completed in August 2017 and will feature 100 new slot machines. Here’s an inside look at the expansion construction.

2. Pop-Up BBQ

Across Fremont Street from the Golden Gate, a new BBQ truck has taken up residence in a spot where two shops used to be. Find it between the closed Mermaids and Glitter Gulch strip club.

The shops were purchased by Derek and Greg Stevens for $13.5 million and the space will eventually be part of a new resort, currently referred to as 18 Fremont.

BBQ truck

There are only about four things on the menu. That means less time waffling, more time carnivoring.

It seems the BBQ truck idea is catching on, and the pop-up restaurant will be in place as demolition of the closed Las Vegas Club begins in Q3. Derek Stevens talks about his new resort on our podcast, so have a listen.

downtown Las Vegas

Fun fact: If some of the accessories look familiar, it’s because they’re from the closed Mermaids casino, right next door.

3. Pizza Rock Menus

Just when we thought Pizza Rock couldn’t get any better, it busts out some awesome new menus. Real album covers with real albums inside double as menus. Glorious.

Pizza Rock

Millennial translation: “Albums” were made of vinyl and people used them to listen to music back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

4. Fear the Walking Dead: Survival Attraction

Demolition and construction have begun on a new attraction at Fremont Street Experience. The new walk-through attraction, inspired by “Fear the Walking Dead,” will be a mixture of escape room, maze and interactive motion ride. Here’s a look at the space.

Fear the Walking Dead Survival

Given the zombie theme, think how much money they’d save by just leaving it like this and adding zombies.

The “Fear the Walking Dead: Survival” attraction will be near the base of the SlotZilla zip line tower and is expected to open in July 2017.

downtown Las Vegas

We actually work at Fremont Street Experience as our day job. If you can’t security breach at your own place of employment, where can you security breach?

5. SlotZilla Video Screens

The SlotZilla zip line tower got an upgrade to its video screens. The largest screen is 23 feet wide. Three others simulate the reels of a (wait for it) slot machine.

SlotZilla

Yes, we rode it, and we are not a heights person. Thank you, comedy-hypnotist Marc Savard.

Here’s a look at all the dudes it took to install the largest screen.

SlotZilla zip line

You should probably consider something a little smaller for your man cave.

6. Hennessey’s Pint Glass

The seemingly endless process of rebranding the “World’s Largest Pint Glass” at Hennessey’s Tavern continues. The glass will eventually transform into a mug touting Not Your Grandfather’s Root Beer, including the addition of a massive handle.

Hennessey's pint glass

This is the back of the pint glass. The front side is 85 feet tall. That’s a lot of head.

7. Inspire Bar Windows

A small tweak to the exterior of the street-level bar at Inspire Theater has opened up the space and lets guests experience the sights and sounds and occasional fragrances of Fremont Street.

Inspire lounge

It’s actually “Inspire Bar, Lounge and Theatre.” Yes, with the fancy spelling of “theatre.”

The bar is quite welcoming, and yes, they have Captain Morgan spiced rum, the best thing since the advent of sex on giant Ferris wheels. Allegedly.

Inspire bar

Inspire is at the corner of Fremont Street, Las Vegas Blvd. and Hipster Avenue.

8. Progress at The Vault

At long last, there’s activity at a new bar on Fremont East, The Vault. Previously, the space was home to a clothing store called Coterie. Not sure where things are on Fremont East? We did walking tour.

The Vault Fremont East

The Vault is located between the Griffin and Beauty Bar, which you have also never heard of.

Outside, not a security breach. Inside, security breach.

The Vault Fremont Street

The Vault could be the hottest new spot for gymnasts in Las Vegas, unless we’ve completely misread the meaning of “vault.”

9. Changes at Emergency Arts and Eureka

A mural-covered construction wall has come down at the Emergency Arts Building across the street from El Cortez. There’s a lot of activity inside the building’s bottom floor where a new restaurant, Eureka, is expected to open soon. The space used to be the Beat Coffeehouse. There will be a quiz.

Eureka Las Vegas

Eureka sure is taking its sweet time.

10. Stoned N Baked Closes

A tasty pizza shop inside the Downtown Container Park has closed. The owner says he sold the business, including the equipment and recipes, to the Downtown Project, with promises the shop would open again in some form.

Stoned N Baked

Recreational marijuana will be available for sale in Las Vegas on July 1, 2017. Missed it by that much.

11. ChillSpot Closes, Puffles On the Way

Also at the Container Park, a frozen pop store called ChillSpot (owned by the same folks as Stoned N Baked) has also closed. A new “gelato and waffles” shop, Puffles, will take over the space.

Puffles

Puffles cones use egg waffles which originated in Hong Kong, a city whose king once climbed the Empire State Building.

12. The Dome

In other Downtown Container Park news, The Dome has opened. The dome-shaped theater seats 25 people and offers five different shows (mostly music-driven and family fare) and one interactive shooting game.

The Dome Las Vegas

In “Logan’s Run,” people rose into the air and blew up as part of a ritual called Carrousel. Location: Dome.

13. Petting Zoo

You knew we’d get to the WTF, eventually. This one’s flown under the radar, but it seems there’s a petting zoo coming the the Downtown Project’s Learning Center space.

Friends of the Wild

We spend way too much time poking our nose into places we shouldn’t.

Friends of the Wild will be a “a non-profit educational animal facility,” and appears to be in the fundraising phase. We’ll keep an eye on this one.

Friends of the Wild

Las Vegas Zoo closed. Roos-N-More closed. Let’s get it right this time, please.

14. Bonanza Gift Shop Signs

Bonanza Gift Shop is sort of downtown. Well, the “World’s Largest Gift Shop” has finally gotten around to repairing its signs damaged by high winds in March 2017. And we’re using the word “repairing” very liberally here.

Bonanza Gift Shop

Being the world’s largest gift shop means there’s plenty of space to store all the WTF.

There are always new things going on in downtown Las Vegas. If you spot something new or notable, drop us a line.

Full disclosure: This blog’s day job is in the marketing department at Fremont Street Experience. Our opinions, especially the most idiotic, are entirely our own.

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Luxor’s Sphinx Once Sported a Nose Ring

We are not making this up.

A friend of ours took a photo of the Great Sphinx of Giza replica at Luxor when it was being built.

It was the summer of 1993, which isn’t as catchy a title as the song’s, but let’s keep our eye on the prize here.

As the Sphinx was being constructed, it had a curious bit of “jewelry” that, in retrospect, makes it seems ahead of its time, fashionwise.

That’s right, Luxor’s Sphinx had a nose ring.

Luxor Sphinx nose ring

Thanks to our pal Tom Jones IV for the epic photo.

Who knows what the ring was for. It’s awesome, and we are not personally a facial ornamentation person.

Luxor opened on Oct. 15, 1993, after just 18 months of construction, at a cost of $375 million.

The Sphinx has endured despite efforts to de-theme the Strip resort. In 2007, MGM Resorts spent about $300 million to remove Egypt-inspired elements inside the resort and to renovate all the rooms.

Luxor Las Vegas

Luxor’s design is distinctive, to say the least. In fact, the hotel doesn’t use elevators, it uses “inclinators.”

Unlike many of the replicas in Las Vegas, like the half-scale Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas or one-third-scale Statue of Liberty at New York-New York, the Sphinx is actually bigger than the original.

Luxor’s Sphinx is 110 feet tall.

Some believe the Sphinx at Luxor was built facing the wrong direction. The Luxor Sphinx faces east. The original faces west. This, among other things (like mysterious deaths and the fact Egyptians used pyramids as tombs), has led the superstitious to think Luxor may be cursed.

People be crazy.

The Sphinx is just one of the distinctive features of Luxor Las Vegas. There’s the beam of light, of course, that can be seen from 250 miles away on a clear night.

There’s also an obelisk, one of the most distinctive phallic objects in Las Vegas.

Luxor

And you thought stepping on a Lego was painful.

Luxor also boasts the world’s largest atrium, at 29 million cubic feet. No, we do not know what a cubic foot is, just play along.

While 80% of the Luxor’s original theme has been removed, we’re still a fan of these iconic themed resorts, curse be damned.

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Commissary Restaurant at Downtown Grand Closes, Converts to eSports Lounge

The long-struggling Commissary After Dark restaurant at the Downtown Grand resort has closed.

The space is still being used, however. The restaurant’s tables and chairs have been removed, and now the space has been reconfigured as the Downtown Underground eSports Lounge.

Commissary

Out with the underperforming restaurant, in with the millennials playing first person shooters.

The eSports lounge could once be found in the former high limit slot room in the casino at Downtown Grand.

Moving the eSports lounge across the street makes some sense given the fact eSports tends to draw a younger crowd, but only those 21 and older can be in a casino. The move to the former Commissary space means another, even younger, crop of video game competitors and enthusiasts can join in the fun.

The Downtown Underground eSports Lounge hosts events and tournaments Fridays and Saturdays, 4:00 p.m. to midnight.

Downtown Underground eSports

For better or worse, everybody in Vegas is jumping on the eSports bandwagon, but Downtown Grand was way ahead of the pack.

You can stay abreast of all things eSports at Downtown Grand on the official Facebook page of the Downtown Underground eSports Lounge.

Downtown Grand had big plans for Commissary After Dark when it opened, including using the space as a nightlife venue. In recent months, the restaurant had been reduced to serving coffee and snacks for a few hours each morning.

There are tons of great dining options in the immediate vicinity of the closed Commissary, including Freedom Beat inside Downtown Grand, the reliably excellent Triple George Grill and the incomparable, must-try Pizza Rock.

Who knows if eSports is going to be a thing for Las Vegas casinos. If it is, though, now it has a new place to be it. A thing, that is. Please try and keep up.

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Circus Circus Expands Pool Complex, Including 50-Foot Waterslide

Circus Circus has begun an expansion of its pool complex, including the addition of what professionals in the waterpark industry call a “big-ass waterslide.”

Circus Circus pool expansion

Do not let your kids see this or they will badger you about it for the rest of your life.

The towering, 50-foot waterslide will give guests three distinct experiences. There’s a “speed slide,” an “aqua tube” and a four-lane “mat racer.”

Here’s a closer look at the slide and its various parts.

Circus Circus waterslide

1. Aqua tube. 2. Mat racer. 3. Speed slide. Take care to not hit your head on the numbers on the way down.

The slide is just the beginning of the Circus Circus pool expansion, however.

There will also be a “Splash Pad” area, including water features like water cannons, “splash falls” and “tilting buckets,” whatever those might actually be.

The expansion will also have shade structures, lounge chairs, cabanas and personalized lockers.

The pool will also have its own food truck. With food. Please try and keep up.

Circus Circus waterslide

The pool expansion abuts the current pool area at Circus Circus. Again, don’t let your child learn the word “abuts” or expect to hear it approximately 47 million times.

The pool’s existing snack bar will be refurbished, and new showers and restrooms will be added to the pool complex.

Circus Circus pool expansion

Restrooms, lockers, showers. Who knows? We are a blog, not a building psychic.

A highlight of the Circus Circus pool expansion will be an area reserved for guests 18 and older. Because hallelujah.

A news release about the pool expansion said the project will be completed in the second quarter of 2017. In terms human beings use, that’s June 2017.

Circus Circus pools

Despite the lack of diving boards, the pool complex at Circus Circus is surprisingly well-maintained and welcoming. Thanks a lot, lawyers.

There’s one caveat about the expanded pool at Circus Circus. It will be available only to hotel guests.

We’ve enjoyed our stays at this underrated Las Vegas resort, and there’s a lot to love about Circus Circus, including the fact parking remains free.

Here are a photo gallery of the new waterslide at Circus Circus, mainly because it’s much too late in the game for us to get a life at this point.

Circus Circus Pool Expansion

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