23 Ways Las Vegas Will Look Different in 2023
It's time. Let's see that Sphere.
What's new? What's next? Las Vegas is constantly changing, and while the new openings of 2022 were pretty cool, they almost seem tame compared to everything Sin City has in store for 2023. The word of the year is ambition. We'll see the arrival of new resorts like Durango and Fontainebleau, a nighttime Formula 1 Grand Prix along the Strip and the long-awaited debut of the MSG Sphere. Get planning now. The new year has lots of good stuff to keep you busy over the next 365 days.
Last year's When We Were Young emo and power punk music festival proved the early aughts were ripe for nostalgia. You'll not only see that event return to the Las Vegas Festival Grounds this October, but also the debut of Sick New World, which goes in a harder rock, alternative and nu-metal direction. System of a Down headlines May 13 with more than 50 acts on multiple stages, including Korn, Deftones, Incubus, Evanescence and Chevelle. Sick New World is officially sold out, but feel free to sign up on the official waitlist. You might get lucky.
The opening of the Beverly Theater in early 2023 marks a new cultural milestone in the Downtown Las Vegas art and entertainment scene. The two-story venue is an independent film house, performance theater and "storytelling arena" in one 14,300-square-foot package. It also has a terrace, courtyard and capabilities for hosting and catering private events. Look for it next to the Writer's Block bookstore and coffee shop south of the Fremont East district. Philanthropist Beverly Rogers and the Rogers Foundation launched the concept and will operate the theater on a nonprofit basis for the community.
Southwest Las Vegas is booming—and you don't need any more evidence than a big new hotel. Station Casinos just topped off the all-new Durango resort, which is already making an impression off Interstate 215, stretching 15 stories into the air with more than 200 rooms and suites to welcome guests when it's all said and done. The $750-million property will also have a pool deck, convention space and restaurants with their own sun-filled patios. Expect lots of walkable, tree-lined outdoor spaces and in a sign of the times, at least 40 electric vehicle charging stations. Durango has a sleek golden brown exterior to match the surrounding desert landscapes and is scheduled to open in the second half of the year. Yes, parking is free.
One of the most dramatic new additions to the Las Vegas Strip arrives late in the year after a long construction process that began well before the pandemic. The MSG Sphere is a massive dome next to the Venetian, standing 336 feet tall and 516 feet wide, wrapped in panels of video screens to show off images in ultra-clear 16K resolution. The interior is nearly as impressive with its own video wall and capacity for up to 20,000 guests. While not officially confirmed, U2 is playing a 12-show residency to open the venue in what is currently the worst-kept secret in Vegas.
Formula 1 racing comes to Las Vegas November 16-18 with the debut of the Las Vegas Grand Prix–or more specifically, the Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix. The Strip will be transformed into a race track (Monte Carlo-style), spanning nearly four miles with competitors approaching speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. The race takes place at night with 50 laps surrounded by the neon glow of Las Vegas. A new Paddock building and headquarters is under construction where the track loops around by Koval and Harmon. Expect hotels to be extremely expensive and ticket availability to be tight. Special hotel and grandstand packages are available through MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, the Wynn and Venetian.
UnCommons has been undergoing a slow rollout since quietly opening last year, but the pace will dramatically pick up in 2023. The mixed-use space will include apartments, offices, a luxury movie theater, fitness club and plenty of food offerings. We're most excited about The Sundry (a new food hall by Michael Mina), Amari (modern Italian by Nicole Brisson of Brezza and Bar Zazu) and Todo Bien for agave spirits and cocktails. When it's all said and done, UnCommons will cost $1 billion and cover 40 acres near Durango and the 215. It's already developing into a charming spot with a tree-filled courtyard and public art murals.
Topgolf will have some competition in 2023. Atomic Range is under construction in the lot adjacent to The Strat hotel tower with an opening date on tap for late 2023. The 99,000-square-foot complex brings together the timeless combination of golf and booze with more than 100 driving bays, 10 putting bays and six bars over four floors. The Astrocade mixed-use lounge has large-screens for watching a game and hanging out with friends.
Adele wraps up her run at the Caesars Palace Colosseum this spring, but another big name is en route to pick up the slack. Garth Brooks debuts his "Plus One" residency May 18 with dates set through to at least 2024. No two shows will be the same as the country star mixes up the setlist and number of performers on stage from night to night. Other new residencies include Bryan Adams at the Wynn's Encore Theater (January 25-February 4), Maroon 5 at Dolby Live inside the Park MGM (March 24-August 12) and The B-52s at the Venetian Theatre (May 5-September 3). Keith Urban is no stranger to Vegas with a long-running residency at Caesars Palace, but he’s switching venues to Planet Hollywood's Zappos Theatre with dates March 3-July 1.
Legal weed isn't hard to find in Vegas. Smoking it however, is another story. Right now, the use of cannabis is restricted to private homes (give or take) with hotels with casinos still definitely out of the question. Relief and clarity are now on the way as approved licenses for consumption lounges finally go into effect. Planet 13, a superstore for cannabis off the Strip, is transforming its on-site Trece restaurant into a consumption lounge. No more alcohol, but guests will be able to get high with no worries about the law and rideshare services on standby. Details are still being worked out, but the menu may include single-serve portions as well as infused cocktails and food. Some of it may be self-controlled to an extent (like applying a THC-infused condiment to a burger, for example). Things will change and develop as we enter uncharted territory, but it's clear we're moving away from the same old brownies and gummies, thankfully.
It feels like something's missing on Fremont Street with the temporary closure of Park on Fremont. The bar and lounge is undergoing extensive renovations and returns this spring with a renewed dedication to outdoor spaces. An expanded corner patio near the intersection of Fremont and Las Vegas Boulevard will have larger tables for group dining, while the backyard garden patio will be a space curated for live music. A new menu, featuring fresh takes on burgers, wings, and other forms of snackable comfort food will be served alongside a revised lineup of cocktails.
The Punk Rock Museum opens March 10 on a stretch of Western Avenue between the Strip and Downtown—a gritty location to match the nature of its subject matter. It's the first public attraction to document and preserve the history of punk rock on this scale with memorabilia ranging from handwritten lyrics to instruments and concert flyers. The museum takes the interactive experience seriously with a bar, tattoo parlor, wedding chapel (or wake chapel, depending on the occasion) and a stage for live music. In a truly inspired idea, the Punk Rock Museum is launching guided tours on April 1, led by the musicians who actually performed with bands like the Offspring, NOFX, Suicidal Tendencies, Fishbone and more.
You can never let open space go to waste on the Las Vegas Strip. After the Harmon Tower was dismantled over an architectural mishap at CityCenter, the imprint is now being filled by 63 Las Vegas: a multi-level shopping plaza featuring Ocean Prime (not to be confused with Mastro's Ocean Club next door inside the Shops at Crystals) as the anchor tenant. The restaurant is promising a menu inspired by land and sea with 400 seats, a sophisticated dining room and an outdoor terrace with a bar and lounge to soak in the Strip views.
Off the Strip
The Silverton is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a dramatic room remodel that's on pace to wrap up by the middle of the year. The new designs fall into three categories: Cowboy Kitsch, Rustic Modern and Livin' Lodge with varying amounts of overhead beams, weathered wood and contemporary art-deco touches. The main hotel tower is closed while work continues, but guests can still book rooms at The Berkley or Hyatt Place, which are both part of the Silverton Village complex. Don't worry, Bass Pro Shops and the property's famous mermaid aquarium are still open.
It's finally happening. This is the year the biggest eyesore on the Strip becomes one of the largest hotels on the Strip—and the tallest if you don't count the viewing deck at The Strat. Originally planned for 2009, the 67-story Fontainebleau was a victim of the Great Recession and never opened its doors despite being nearly finished. Its name and owners changed over the years, but it's now back to the Fontainebleau, ready to test the "too big to fail" mentality with 3,700 hotel rooms, a casino, expansive pool deck, convention plus meeting space, shops and dining concepts to be announced. When completed in the fourth quarter of 2023, the hotel will give a much-needed sense of continuity and synergy to the north end of the Strip, making it one of the biggest Vegas stories this year and beyond.
Bally's was officially rebranded a Horseshoe property last year, but a few things still need to be sorted out. MY Asia could be one of the best restaurant debuts of the year. The opening was delayed a few times, but Martin Yan (the celebrity chef and force behind "Yan Can Cook") is ready to unleash a menu that covers every corner of the Asian continent with a few surprises in store—as well as some interactive, experiential presentations. Ole Red, on the other hand, is gearing up for a big opening at the Grand Bazaar Shops in front of the resort. Country-themed bars (i.e. Redneck Riviera) seem to struggle in the plaza, but Blake Shelton's bar concept is already a hit in four Southern markets and arrives in Vegas with a dramatic four-story setup, outdoor patio and live music stage. For many tourists, it's the first thing they'll see before entering the Horseshoe.
New Las Vegas Restaurants
A new wave of openings will do their upmost to give the best restaurants in Vegas some competition this year. The Strip will see the debut of Flanker Sports Bar + Kitchen at Mandalay Bay and two Mediterranean-inspired concepts by Israeli-born chefs: Eyal Shani's HaSalon (taking over the old Majordomo space) at the Venetian and a currently unnamed restaurant by Alon Shaya at the closed Intrigue nightclub at the Wynn. Emmit's (featuring the presence of former NFL star Emmit Smith) at Fashion Show mall and a pair of steakhouses at Caesars Palace (Peter Luger and Stanton Social Prime) will also all open this year following delays. Plus two more Mediterranean spots are set to open: Naxos Taverna and Kallistos Oyster Bar, will pop up in Summerlin at the Red Rock Resort, while sister property Green Valley Ranch welcomes a new version of Sam Marvin's Echo & Rig steakhouse to Henderson with a location in The District. The 10th Distill in the valley opens this spring in the ever-growing Inspirada community, but we're still waiting for an opening date (and website, social media, or anything else) for Vic’s Italian Jazz Bistro at Symphony Park next to the Smith Center. The Plaza is introducing a new rooftop patio for Oscar's Steakhouse, part of an ongoing series of renovations that also includes the Carousel Bar under the restaurant's famous dome-shaped dining room. Finally, the site of the former stand-alone Chinatown restaurant Joyful House will be the home of a new dim sum concept by San Francisco's Palette Tea House.
Chip Shots is a new spin on a classic country club, featuring eight high-tech Full Swing golf simulators, a restaurant, cigar lounge and cocktail bars. Hang out by a fire pit on an outdoor terrace and enjoy sweeping views of the Strip. The two-level, 13,000 square-foot space is being built near Flamingo and the 215, with membership application now active and an opening date set for mid-2023. Chip Shots is designed to be a place you'll spend a few nights a week at, sipping on drinks and munching on food by Los Angeles chef Andew Hunter, who's worked with big names like Wolfgang Puck and Niman Ranch.
The Tour de France is coming to Las Vegas…kinda. L'Étape is an amateur cycling event produced by the iconic racing competition—and only one of two in the entire US this year. Participants can choose between a 75-mile, 50-mile, or 25-mile route, which begin and end at the Las Vegas Ballpark in Downtown Summerlin. The cyclists will travel through Red Rock Canyon with elevation varying between 2,200 and 6,500 feet and can relax afterwards in the Athletes Village and Expo. Shorter, simpler routes are available for families and kids.
The escape room trend isn't going away anytime soon. Look for Escape IT to open near MLK and Symphony Park in early 2023. The attraction is based on the It horror film franchise with 20 interactive rooms, special effects and costumed actors to help bring the story of Pennywise, the evil clown, to life. Navigate the Derry sewers, the Losers' clubhouse and other locations from It and It Chapter 2. It's all about brain power. Put your skills to the test and escape the clutches of Pennywise…if you can.
As Station Casinos continues work on the Durango property in the Southwest, the company is also gearing up for the February debut of a lower-profile casino in a quiet, working class corner of Downtown. A new Wildfire is taking shape near Fremont and Charleston with a 21,000-square-foot casino that includes 200 of the latest slot machines and electronic table games. Place a bet at the STN Sportsbook and grab a meal at either IHOP or local’s favorite Tacos El Pastor.
Shops along the Miracle Mile are hoping to wrap up a large-scale redesign by spring. The interior will see new lighting, artwork and a revamp of the mall's famous indoor rain shower (one of the best free things to do in Vegas) to make it a more spectacular light and water show. Guests can also enjoy the entertainment of Sandbox VR, a free-roam virtual reality attraction opening soon. However, the most dramatic improvement will be the high-definition video screens on the exterior of the shopping plaza, intended to make a splashy statement by the time Formula 1 hits Vegas.
Downtown Arts District
Esther's Kitchen, the restaurant most responsible for making the Downtown Arts District a neighborhood on the rise, moves into a larger space in 2023. Founding chef James Trees bought the Retro Vegas shop next door when the owners retired and is making it the new home for his signature Italian restaurant, offering a fresh opportunity for multiple dining rooms, two kitchens, a hearth oven, hand-rolled pastas to order and a greater dedication to butchery. So don't be surprised to see cool stuff like a Tomahawk pork chop on the menu. The original Esther's Kitchen will be reimagined as L'Aristocrat with globally inspired tasting menus in an intimate 30-seat setting. Yet another concept by the chef, La Bohême and Bar Bohême, will take over the shuttered Jammin on Main tie-dye shop two blocks away with French cuisine inspired by Paris' culturally forward Left Bank.
Some of the most noteworthy changes will happen quietly in 2023, setting the stage for bigger things to come in the years beyond. The Hard Rock bought the Mirage, but is keeping the operation business-as-usual for now. Eventually, you'll see expansive room renovations, a pool revamp and a new guitar-shaped tower. Work continues on the Dream Hotel near the airport and the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign with an opening targeted for 2025. The Majestic hotel is now anticipating a 2026 debut near the Convention Center. Billionaire Tilman Fertitta took over more than six acres of the Strip across from CityCenter with demolition of the old Travelodge clearing the way for a planned 42-story hotel tower, while the neighboring Hawaiian Marketplace lot will likely be transformed into a luxury shopping plaza. Mandalay Bay is investing $100 million to renovate its convention hall by the end of 2024, but there are changes underway off the Strip as well. Otonomous (west of Allegiant Stadium) will be the first Vegas hotel in partnership with Airbnb, the Mt. Charleston Lodge is sharing plans with residents regarding rebuilding after an accidental fire and the team behind the English Hotel is bringing Selina (a luxury co-sharing hostel-style resort) to the Arts District at an unspecified date in the future.