Las Vegas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, and for good reason. Every year, more than 40 million people visit the desert city, some of whom come for the gambling, some of whom come for the shows, and some of whom come just to get a taste of the American Southwest (including some of the surrounding state and national parks).
There’s certainly no shortage of interesting things to do in Las Vegas, but if you’ve been there before, you may find yourself wondering what’s new—and what the locals and tourists are most excited about this year.
What’s New and Exciting in Vegas?
If you plan on traveling to Vegas this year, make sure you check out these amazing new installations:
- The Revitalization of Old Vegas. Freemont Street, otherwise known as “Old Vegas,” never stopped being a popular tourist attraction, but it has certainly experienced fluctuations in popularity as the main, modern Strip usually takes center stage. However, over the last several years, there’s been a revitalization of the Old Vegas district, with new restaurants, stores, and attractions, including the quirky Container Park, which uses repurposed shipping containers to host shops, galleries, and other attractions.
- The Wynn Expansion. The popular Strip hotel the Wynn is planning to expand this year, adding more than 80,000 square feet of new shopping, dining, and nightlife opportunities where the Ferrari dealership once stood. The addition is slated to open in 2017, though an exact date has not been confirmed.
- The All Net Resort. Las Vegas is planning to add a $1.3 billion arena and hotel project, located where Wet n Wild (and the Sahara) used to be. Specs for the project include a retractable roof arena with a capacity for 22,000 people, an all-suite hotel with more than 500 rooms, and a shopping plaza of more than 300,000 square feet (including a 16-screen movie theater). Originally slated to open in 2017, the project has faced numerous delays, and may not be open in time for your 2017 visit.
- The Lucky Dragon. The Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino is the first new casino and hotel to be built in the Strip since the Cosmopolitan in 2010. It’s a bit smaller than the average Strip hotel, with just over 200 rooms, but it began welcoming guests in December of 2016, and appears to be a prime new destination.
- Skill-Based Video Game Gambling. Are you tired of trying your luck at slot machines and other games of pure chance? This year, GameCo is attempting to appeal to skill-based gamers with a line of new video games that function as gambling machines. These new video game gambling machines (VGMs) are housed in arcade-style cabinets, with controls similar to what you’d find in a 1980s or 1990s arcade game. If you’re looking for a nostalgia rush (and maybe an edge that can help you win some extra money), make sure to seek some out while you’re in the city.
If you’ve never been to Vegas before, or if you work your way through all the new attractions, don’t forget to hit up these popular old standbys, which never get old:
- Red Rock Canyon. Just outside of Vegas is the scenic and expansive Red Rock Canyon, which is an ideal destination for hiking, camping, biking, or just driving through on a leisurely day. The Grand Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and other major national landmarks and parks are also within driving distance, so if you have the time (and a decent rental car), make sure to check them out.
- Shows and Events. Las Vegas is home to some of the best performers and most entertaining shows in the world, including an extensive lineup of acrobatic and artistic Cirque du Soleil performances. No matter what your musical, artistic, or visual preferences are, you’re bound to find some evening entertainment to keep you interested. Vegas is also home to many conferences, expos, and events—so keep an eye out for topics of personal or professional relevance to you.
- Casino Life. Of course, Vegas wouldn’t be Vegas if it weren’t for the casinos that make it so exciting. Spend at least a little time gambling at your game of choice. As long as you keep playing, the drinks are free (just remember to tip your waitress), and if you use a loyalty card, you’ll rack up rewards based on how much you spend. Even if you don’t like the gambling angle, the thematic and architectural appeal of the casinos is bound to delight.
No matter how you choose to explore Las Vegas, you’re bound to have an interesting time. The Strip and its surroundings are always changing, so you’ll never run out of new things to try and new adventures to enjoy.