Las Vegas is a city that’s constantly reinventing itself: rebuilding, revamping and renovating. So no matter how recently visitors have been there, there’s always something new in Vegas.
The Grand Bazaar Shops opened in late February in front of Bally’s casino-hotel. More than 120 storefronts make up a 21st-century bazaar, with retailers featuring an eclectic mix of independent boutiques and international stores that “are not found anywhere else,” said Art Jimenez, senior director of leisure sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Since the Rock in Rio festival debuted in 1985 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it has been held in Lisbon, Portugal, and Madrid, Spain, and it will make its U.S. debut in Las Vegas over two weekends in May. Headliners for the “rock weekend” May 8-9 include Metallica and No Doubt, and the “pop weekend” May 15-16 will feature Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars.
MGM Resorts is building The Park, an eight-acre entertainment district, anchored by a 20,000-seat arena, that’s slated to open in spring 2016 between the Monte Carlo and New York-New York. The arena will host more than 100 events a year, from boxing matches to major concerts.
The 2,250-room LINQ Hotel and Casino opened in October after taking over and transforming the former Imperial Palace. The hotel is next to the LINQ entertainment district, an open-air dining, shopping and entertainment complex that’s anchored by the 550-foot High Roller — the largest observation wheel in the world — and the Brooklyn Bowl concert venue and bowling alley.
Mississippi Gulf Coast
After battling to come back from Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill and the Great Recession over the past decade, the Mississippi Gulf Coast region is now experiencing “tons and tons of growth,” said Janet Harrington, leisure travel sales manager for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A new casino resort is under construction in D’Iberville. The Scarlet Pearl is planning to open on New Year’s Eve with 300 guest rooms and 60,000 square feet of gaming space, as well as a 36-hole tournament-level miniature golf course.
The Golden Nugget Biloxi, formerly the Isle of Capri, opened last year after a $100 million renovation redid all 700 guest rooms, revamped the pool area and brought in new restaurants, including Morton’s the Steakhouse and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
In January, the Silver Slipper Casino in Waveland opened a 142-room hotel, the first for the casino. In Gulfport, the Island View casino, formerly the Grand Gulfport, is renovating its beachside hotel that has been closed since Hurricane Katrina.
A recent change in state law has also opened doors for the craft brewing industry. Breweries can now make beer with higher alcohol content and let visitors do on-site tours and tastings, although breweries still can’t sell beer. The region has four craft breweries now, and three of them offer tours and tasting rooms: Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Kiln, Crooked Letter Brewery in Ocean Springs and Chandeleur Brewing Co. in Gulfport.