The Newest Addition to the Vegas Strip Is Over the Top, Even by Vegas Standards

The new $2.3 billion Vegas Sphere entertainment venue is pure chaotic fun.

I am generally against expensive vanity projects—best case scenario they implode at the bottom of the ocean, worst case scenario they involve the exploitation and abuse of the working class—but something about the new Vegas Sphere really tickles my fancy. The $2.3 billion entertainment venue reportedly has the largest LED screens on the planet. It officially opened on July 4, after being under construction since 2018.

It has the capacity to fit 20,000 standing audience members, and is also the world's largest spherical structure according to developers. What is most impressive about the Sphere, to me, is that it is actually cool. The Sphere offers giant light displays of the entire globe, seascapes, the moon—it really brings an element of fantasy into what often feels like a droll existence. It seems like so many of the "big," "innovative" projects of the last few years have mostly delivered sanitized, gray scale spaces design with maximum profit and Instagram-ability in mind.

And while the Sphere is certainly photo-friendly, it also feels larger than life, something genuinely exciting and worth traveling to see. I mean, look at this mega-basketball for NBA Summer League:

"The Exosphere is more than a screen or a billboard—it is living architecture, and unlike anything that exists anywhere in the world," said Guy Barnett, Sphere Entertainment's senior vice president of brand strategy and creative development.

This is fun! Weird! Eye-catching! And it is going to be multi-purpose, too. An immersive show called Postcards From Earth, directed by Darren Aronofsky, will be hosted at the space, plus there will be a U2 concert at the Sphere in September.

The Vegas strip just got a lot brighter and more entertaining with this addition. Hopefully, the lawmakers and investors who brought this very pricey project to life will devote a similar level of innovation and financial support to Nevada’s public school system, which is the most underfunded in the entirety of the United States. Maybe an easy start would be funding field trips to the Sphere to teach students about the impressive science that went into creating such a round and shiny toy.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.