9 reasons you won't recognize Las Vegas in your next trip

By Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune

LAS VEGAS — The commonest refrain you'll hear from anyone who's been to Las Vegas — besides “What happens there, stays there” — is that it's not what it was.

Vegas has evolved for the reason that very first pair of dice rolled like desert tumbleweed across a craps table. And it's consistently changing, a lot in order that it's virtually inconceivable for a Vegas experience to repeat itself.

Since my visit in February alone, I can count on two hands the variety of restaurants and bars which can be open, and a minimum of one iconic resort, Tropicana, has closed. Vegas is the Snapchat of travel destinations; As soon as you create a memory there, it disappears.

Here are some things you need to learn about the whole lot recent in Vegas.

The sphere

Recently, a glowing orb appeared within the Las Vegas skyline. Getting inside ought to be at the highest of your list.

The Sphere is an immersive concert arena with a 15,000 square foot LED screen. It opened last 12 months with a series of U2 live shows, with tickets costing hundreds of dollars. This weekend's Phish shows and next month's Dead & Co. residency are also highly wanted.

There's one other technique to experience the world's largest spherical structure and possibly the highest-resolution screen ever: purchase a Sphere Experience ticket, valued at $79 to $119. Once inside, you may interact with talking AI robots, grab a drink, and sit down within the theater to look at a visually stunning Darren Aronofsky film, Postcard From Earth. You'll feel the wind in your hair as you soar over mountains, go on safari, and hurtle into space. (Really, there may be a wind machine.)

New resorts

Construction took 20 years, however the Fontainebleau finally opened its magnificent doors in December. The highest resort on the Strip shines in and out. With greater than 30 bars and restaurants, tons of public art, and world-class shopping, you might almost forget that it's a casino hotel at its core.

Across the road you may even find Resorts World Las Vegas. Opened in 2021, this collection of three Hilton brands under one roof—and a number of other intriguing restaurants, including an Asian food hall—still feels shiny and recent with a sprawling pool complex.

The Fontainebleau Las Vegas Hotel and Casino stands on the Las Vegas Strip on February 7, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

A 20-minute drive from the Strip, desert-chic Durango opened late last 12 months. The most important attraction is the midcentury-style casino floor, but there are also a handful of upscale restaurants and a nice dining room, in addition to a tasteful pool area.

The days of flashing neon tents, cavernous casinos and carpets smelling like stale cigarettes are a thing of the past. Las Vegas' newest resorts are clean, airy, and fresh and don't attempt to make you forget what time it’s. The Fontainebleau installed its casino in an atrium under 42-foot ceilings, bucking the convention that players would play longer if the space felt small and intimate.

At Durango, the casino is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and indoor and outdoor dining areas. Flooding the slot machines with natural light may not sound particularly remarkable, but in Las Vegas it’s.

Mandalay Bay is updating its rooms and adding mini golf for adults only. Rio is currently undergoing a $350 million renovation; So far, the outside has been wrapped in programmable LED lighting and a food hall has been added. The volcano show on the front lawn of the Mirage will soon get replaced by a guitar-shaped tower to represent recent owner Hard Rock International.

In town center, the enduring sparkling facade of the Plaza Hotel & Casino was transformed last summer into the circular Carousel Bar, an outside cocktail lounge with tiki drinks and retro touches, in addition to outdoor video poker machines. The Plaza also unveiled a non-smoking and “social media friendly” gaming area.

The 2,500-square-foot zone features selfie-bait backdrops and, most significantly, a separate air filtration system. (The only completely smoke-free casino resort on the Strip is the Park MGM.)

Quite a lot of amenities

Millennials and Generation Z don’t spend as much time or money on the slot machines and tables. That doesn't mean they don't play; It just looks different, with more app-based options. Casinos are getting involved with mobile apps and sports betting.

Expect casino resorts to supply more varied amenities, from high-end bars and bowling alleys to increasingly elaborate pool complexes and classical music performances.

This 12 months's lineup for Fontainebleau's recent 3,800-seat theater is steeped in '90s nostalgia, with Third Eye Blind, Hootie & the Blowfish and the Smashing Pumpkins. Kylie Minogue is artist in residence on the Venetian; Blink-182 and Jodeci Play Vegas This Summer; and My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy are co-headlining the When We Were Young Festival in October. Of course, if Wayne Newton, Donny Osmond, Rod Stewart or Barry Manilow are more your thing, they'll all be within the residency too.

Check out certainly one of these recent venues reserved for A-listers. Blake Shelton just opened a honkytonk, Ole Red. Bruno Mars is behind the Pinky Ring cocktail lounge on the Bellagio. Shaq's Fantasy Lab, an “immersive art experience,” opened last fall courtesy of the basketball star. And Van Halen's Sammy Hagar will open poolside Sammy's Island on the Palms next month.

Fine dining

Buffets have been displaced from food halls around the globe. Resorts World's Famous Foods imports Michelin-awarded Ah Chun Shandong Dumpling from Hong Kong and Boon Tong Kee Hainanese chicken rice from Singapore. Get Korean fried chicken from Seoul Bird at Proper Eats Food Hall at Aria and mezcal cocktails from Ghost Donkey at Block 16 Food Hall at Cosmopolitan. Grab a vodka slice from Prince Street Pizza on the Eat Your Heart Out concourse in Durango. And at the brand new Sundry Food Hall, you may sample dhaba-style dishes, tacos, hand rolls and fried chicken from award-winning California chefs.

Snow and ice?

Yes, cold baths are all the trend in spas in all places. But I wasn't expecting a snow shower. The Lapis Spa in Fontainebleau encompasses a 14-degree water boiler in certainly one of several rooms designed with natural elements. The Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars features an arctic ice room.

There are actually numerous “ice bars” on the Strip where you may placed on a parka, snuggle up on a fur blanket and take photos on skis comprised of ice glasses. When summer temperatures reach triple digits in Las Vegas, I'll be there.

©2024 StarTribune. Visit startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

image credit : www.mercurynews.com