10 new things to experience in Vegas during 2013

Get ready to sleep more comfortably, party more heartily, eat more decadently and just enjoy vacationing more thoroughly than ever before in Las Vegas! This year promises an exemplary batch of openings – including at least two new hotels, an observation wheel, an extraordinary show, a popular East Coast restaurant, a thrilling zipline, a water park and a wedding chapel in a diner setting. Here are 10 imminent arrivals you can anticipate in 2013.

Room at Nobu Hotel in Caesars Palace

A king room at Nobu Hotel in Caesars Palace (photo courtesy of Nobu Hospitality)

Nobu Hotel—For the past year, the former Centurion Tower at Caesars Palace has been undergoing a major transformation and rebranding. The world’s first Nobu Hotel – among whose partners are celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and film producer Meir Teper – is expected to open there in February. Designed by David Rockwell, the boutique resort will house 181 rooms and suites. All of them offer luxury and serenity through a fusion of Japanese and Asian traditions with elements of Western culture. Guests will also be able to dine in the world’s largest Nobu restaurant and lounge measuring 12,775 square feet.

“CeeLo Green Presents LOBERACE”—Flamboyant entertainer CeeLo Green will be launching his Las Vegas residency on Feb. 27 at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. “CeeLo Green Presents LOBERACE” will feature an array of glamorous costumes along with sexy showgirls and some magic. Described as a “spectacle” that covers several decades of music, guests can expect to be part of an over-the-top concert and dance party.

Denny’s Wedding Chapel—The 6,400-square-foot Denny’s in downtown’s Neonopolis entertainment complex is about to get something no other Denny’s in the world has – a wedding chapel! Scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2013, guests will able to select from a variety of wedding packages. Options range from traditional to wacky, like cutting into a celebratory cake made with the 24-hour diner’s beloved Pancake Puppies.

Hakkasan Las Vegas—Already established as an upscale restaurant in London, Dubai and New York City, Hakkasan has taken over the space where Studio 54 once stood at MGM Grand and is adding a new facet to its menu – a lavish nightclub. Created in collaboration with Angel Management Group, this five-story, 75,000-square-foot venue is expected to revolutionize the dining and clubbing scenes in Sin City when it’s unveiled in spring.

Carmine’s—This beloved New York City eatery is coming to The Forum Shops at Caesars in spring. Known for its old-fashioned, family-style service, you can look forward to humongous portions designed to make you feel like you’re part of an Italian-American wedding feast. The list of pastas and sauces are to die for, as are items like the oversized meatballs, chicken scarpariello and veal scaloppine.

Container Park in downtown Las Vegas

A rendering of Container Park in downtown Las Vegas (photo courtesy of the Downtown Project)

Container Park—Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project is leading this experiment in flexible urbanism on Fremont and Seventh streets. Imitating similar projects in San Francisco, New York and London, Container Park will make use of 40-foot-long shipping containers to house small businesses such as cafés, boutiques, bars and galleries. They’ll be arranged around a courtyard with a playground and stage. A giant praying mantis sculpture will sit near the entrance. It’s scheduled to open in spring.

Wet ’n’ Wild—This summer locals and visitors alike can cool off at a $50 million, 41-acre water park. Wet ’n’ Wild (not affiliated with the bygone Wet’n Wild on the Strip, which closed in 2004) will be located in Summerlin on Fort Apache Road, just off the I-215 between Sunset and Warm Springs roads. Tennis superstars Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf are among the investors for this project that is scheduled to debut in May. Plans call for a 1,000-foot-long lazy river, Las Vegas’ largest wave pool and thrill-inducing rides like the Hoover Half Pipe and the raging Rattler slide.

SlotZilla in downtown Las Vegas

A depiction of SlotZilla, a two-level zipline attraction at Fremont Street Experience (photo courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Fremont Street Experience)

SlotZilla—A multifaceted new attraction estimated to cost $11 million will be launched in June. It will replace the existing Flightlinez ride at Fremont Street Experience. A two-level zipline, SlotZilla will literally spit riders out of a 120-foot-tall slot machine. The brave at heart can head to the upper tier (100 feet above the ground), where they’ll take off while lying flat in a harness and soar for 1,700 feet beneath the famous Viva Vision canopy. Those who are timid can make tracks for the lower tier (70 feet above the ground), where they’ll find a tamer, more traditional zipline experience and glide for 850 feet to a mid-point landing platform among the glittering lights.

The LinqCaesars Entertainment Corporation’s massive retail and entertainment complex, which spans more than 200,000 square feet, will open in late 2013. Estimated to cost $550 million, The Linq aims to transform the corridor across the street from Caesars Palace between the Flamingo and The Quad. The complex will be comprised of restaurants, bars and stores. Without a doubt, the centerpiece at The Linq will be a giant observation wheel called The High Roller. At 550 feet, it will become the tallest observation wheel in the world. There will be 28 cabins designed as transparent spheres. Each one will be able to hold 40 people and provide spectacular bird’s-eye views of the Strip and the greater Las Vegas valley. A full rotation on The High Roller will take about 30 minutes.

Downtown Grand Casino & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas

A sketch of the Downtown Grand Casino & Hotel (photo courtesy of Fifth Street Gaming)

Downtown Grand Casino & Hotel—Fifth Street Gaming is at the helm of renovating the former Lady Luck in downtown Las Vegas. Situated on Third Street just north of Fremont Street Experience in a four-block redevelopment area dubbed “Downtown3rd,” the property will reopen as the Downtown Grand Casino & Hotel in late 2013. Plans call for renovating the resort’s 650 rooms as well as adding a pool, a spa and several stores. There will also be a 35,000-square-foot casino with 30 table games and 700 of the latest slot and video poker machines. Plus, visitors will discover 11 restaurants appealing to all palates and eight different bars and lounges.


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Vegas.com. Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.