Whether you’re already a fan of Las Vegas or have been on the fence about visiting, this spring proves an excellent time to make the journey to Nevada’s famous gambling town, if for no other reason than checking out The LINQ. Though a small portion has already been unveiled, the bulk of the $550-million, 300,000-square-foot open-air district opens this weekend, revealing more than 30 unique shops, eateries, and bars — all free of people dressed like Disney characters or performing bad magic tricks.
Situated between The Quad Resort & Casino and Flamingo Las Vegas, directly facing Caesars Palace, The LINQ’s first part debuted last December with a revamped O’Sheas, a 5,000-square-foot casino that features beer pong, $5 Blackjack games, 60 types of beer and live music. Caesars Entertainment, the group behind the project, decided to keep this institution as a tip of the hat to old Las Vegas. That’s why O’Sheas is the only place in the complex where you can gamble — not that you will miss the poker tables much with all the other things going on.
With dining options, for example, you can choose brick-oven pizza at the vintage rock-themed Flour & Barley, or go for modern Mexican cuisine and margaritas at Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar, where they also have a mechanical bull you can ride for free. After, get dessert at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop where homemade hot fudge is served on the sundaes. If you’re looking for a more alcohol-fueled treat, try the giant daiquiris at Purple Zebra; the cinnamon and lemon-tinged Tastes Like Heaven and Pink Elephant, which has a tart hibiscus flavor, make for perfect palate pleasers as you walk around and explore the space. Beer lovers should head to Yard House to sample 180 brews on tap. Dine inside or out on the bright patio, and watch the revelers wander back and forth, or grab your ale to go from the takeout window.
Another great place to explore is the first outpost of Brooklyn Bowl, a stunning, 32-lane bowling alley straight out of New York that serves American comfort food by the celebrated Blue Ribbon Restaurant Group and hosts live concerts. To commemorate the grand opening in style, the bi-level venue will present Soulive on March 7-9. Future guests include Elvis Costello and The Roots (March 15-16), Cake (March 20) and Primus (May 1-3).
As far as shopping goes, shade yourself from that harsh dessert sun with sunglasses by Brazilian company Chilli Beans, pick up a cap from the famous Goorin Bros. Hat Makers or buy trendy items at the upscale Kitson boutique. Ruby Blue is a funky accessory shop that, with its shiny red walls, looks like the dressing room for a classy Las Vegas burlesque show. Make sure to check out the two-level, 8,500-square-foot Polaroid Fotobar, too. With a whole Polaroid Museum and fun ways to print your photos, it’s an exceptional way to remember your trip.
While most of The LINQ opens this weekend, not every aspect will be ready to go right now, namely, the High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel. This soon-to-be-iconic contraption towers 550 feet high — for comparison’s sake, the London Eye stands 443 feet — and each of the 28 attached spherical pods can accommodate up to 40 people. The goal of the attraction is to offer visitors an awesome way to see the city, as well as give them a space to book private parties. These missions should be easily accomplished when the ride opens later in the spring.
Photos Courtesy of Caesars Entertainment-TheLINQ and DTRUSSCELLO