(CNN) More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, this desert city is looking bigger, bolder and better than ever.
New casino resorts, innovative restaurants, expanded convention space and one-of-a-kind cultural destinations characterize the latest iteration of Las Vegas, which continues to reinvent itself in the face of adversity.
Heck, Elon Musk even built an underground tunnel and transport system that's opening soon.
"There's not only pent-up demand for travel, there's pent-up demand for the unrivaled Vegas experience," said Lori Nelson-Kraft, senior vice president of communications for the LVCVA. "We anticipate visitation to Vegas growing stronger with each passing month."
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opened this March.
Courtesy Virgin Hotels
Pandemic casino boom in Vegas
Any discussion of the latest and greatest in Las Vegas must start with the city's newest casino resorts.
This property has more than 1,500 rooms, a 60,000-square-foot casino, a 4,500-seat concert hall and an expansive pool area with a resort pool, a Mykonos-themed day club and an event lawn. While the resort retained Nobu and some of the same restaurants as its predecessor, it also added a lineup of new ones, including One Steakhouse from brothers David and Michael Morton.
If these aren't enough reasons to check out the new resort, Richard "Boz" Bosworth, president and CEO of parent group JC Hospitality, noted that Virgin has no resort fees, free parking and free Wi-Fi, all rarities in this market.
"We really wanted to establish ourselves from the beginning as doing something totally different," he said. "I think we've achieved that goal."
The pool at Circa Resort & Casino is called Stadium Swim.
Rum Tongue Media/Courtesy Circa Resort & Casino
This 35-story, 777-room resort represents the first new casino in downtown Las Vegas in more than 40 years. The highlights: an iconic steakhouse, one of the largest and most spectacular sports books in town and a pool deck with stadium-style lounging terraces. (The pool actually is called "Stadium Swim.")
Circa is the brainchild of Derek Stevens, a casino magnate who also owns Golden Gate Hotel & Casino across Fremont Street and the D Las Vegas a few blocks east. Stevens was the first local hotelier to put a Bitcoin ATM on his casino floor (at the D). He was one of the first casino operators to open sports books 24/7. Most nights, he dons a shiny blazer and spends a few hours hanging out with customers at his bars.
When the pandemic caused Las Vegas to shut down last March, Stevens said his lenders became concerned about how the shutdown would affect progress on the project. Then, in April, his project manager presented him with an unexpected choice.
"Downtown was a ghost town, nobody was around, and [the project manager] comes to me and asks, 'We can probably work on this thing day and night and open ahead of schedule; is that something you'd want us to do?' " Stevens remembered. "Of course, I said yes. And we did it. We were able to open two months earlier than planned, get the cash flow going, and work out kinks in the operation. All in the middle of a pandemic."
The new West Hall vastly expands the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Other new attractions
While new casinos represent the most exciting developments in Las Vegas over the past year, the city has debuted other attractions during the pandemic as well.
First, in December, the LVCVA completed a $989-million expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center that adds 1.4 million square feet of new space to the existing 3.2-million-square-foot campus.
The new digs, dubbed the West Hall, sit on Strip-side real estate formerly occupied by the Riviera and Landmark hotels, and boast 328,000 square feet of column-free space, the largest such space in North America. The facility will officially open to the public this June at the World of Concrete, the first large-scale convention to return to Las Vegas since the shutdown.
The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop is an underground shuttle featuring all-electric Teslas.
Stephen Morgan/Courtesy LVCVA
The pedestrian shuttle will whisk convention attendees from one facility to the other in two one-way tunnels 40 feet beneath the ground. The chariots: all-electric Tesla vehicles that will run at speeds around 35 mph.
The city has approved plans to expand the Loop throughout the destination and connect the convention center with Strip resorts and the airport. No timetable has been announced yet.
Area15 is a new entertainment district on the west side of I-15.
Peter Ruprecht/Courtesy AREA15
Put differently, AREA15 CEO Winston Fisher said he sees his new venture as a "content box" where visitors can come for "memory creation" and an outing they can't get elsewhere in town.
"We have created this imperfect space with a mishmash of incredible art and interactivity that comes together and just hums," he said. "These days, originality is important, and that happens to be something we do well."
Dining scene growth
Surprisingly, the food scene in Las Vegas has grown during the pandemic.
Trees, a James Beard award finalist last year for his work at Esther's Kitchen in the city's Arts District, opened Al Solito in the suburban neighborhood of Tivoli Village as a place for Las Vegas residents to get classic Italian dishes such as the chicken parmesan and rigatoni alla vodka they might find on the East Coast.
Al Solito Posto is the newest restaurant from chef James Trees.
"For a lot of my customers with ties to the East Coast, the food [at Al Solito] is like the stuff their grandmother used to make," said Trees. "In a lot of cases, these are people who haven't gone out to a restaurant in a year. They're ready. They're resilient. They're hungry to get back to lives they had before."
Even more new eateries are on the way.
In May, when the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame relocates to the Las Vegas Strip north of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, it will feature a food truck park.
Finally, later in the year, chef and (sometimes polarizing) restaurateur Nusret Gke is expected to open a Las Vegas outpost of his Salt Bae steakhouse in The Park between New York-New York and Park MGM.
On the horizon
The trend toward development in Las Vegas isn't stopping any time soon.
This property, situated northwest of Wynn and Encore, is scheduled to open this summer, and will feature an Asian theme. It also will feature several standout food and beverage options, including a Singapore-style Hawker food market (with a restaurant from Trees) and an outpost of Wally's Wine and Spirits, a celebrity favorite wine bar with locations in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.
The lesson here is simple. No matter what the world throws at humanity, don't ever bet against Las Vegas.
Top photo by Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images
Read the rest here:
Las Vegas is set to come out of Covid-19 better than ever - CNN
- COVID-19 Dashboard Q&A UT Business Intelligence - May 4th, 2021
- Exposure to COVID-19 - The University of Tennessee System - May 4th, 2021
- Sweetwater, TN Coronavirus Information - Safety Updates ... - May 4th, 2021
- Availability - TN COVID-19 Hub - May 4th, 2021
- Cuomo, Governor Murphy and Governor Lamont Announce Significant Easing Of COVID-19 Pandemic Restrictions on Businesses, Gatherings and Venues -... - May 4th, 2021
- COVID-19 variants in Texas: What you need to know - The Texas Tribune - May 4th, 2021
- India is Added to COVID-19 Geographic Travel Ban - The National Law Review - May 4th, 2021
- Daily active COVID-19 cases on the decline, vaccines on the rise - Columbia Missourian - May 4th, 2021
- Bentz urges Gov. Brown to lift renewed COVID-19 restrictions - KTVZ - May 4th, 2021
- Oregon reports 540 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 1 new death - Tillamook Headlight-Herald - May 4th, 2021
- New wave of COVID-19 infection threatens Costa Rica tourist revival - Reuters - May 4th, 2021
- Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 1 death and 271 new cases reported over weekend - Anchorage Daily News - May 4th, 2021
- COVID-19 in South Dakota: 85 total new cases; Death toll at 1,970; Active cases at 1,512 - KELOLAND.com - May 4th, 2021
- Photos Show The Distressing Severity Of Indias Covid-19 Crisis - Forbes - May 2nd, 2021
- Beyond the First Dose Covid-19 Vaccine Follow-through and Continued Protective Measures | NEJM - nejm.org - May 2nd, 2021
- Timberwolves relieved to get second dose of COVID-19 vaccine - PostBulletin.com - May 2nd, 2021
- Coronavirus by the Numbers: COVID-19 Metrics in Each of Illinois' 11 Health Care Regions - NBC Chicago - May 2nd, 2021
- N.J. reports 36 COVID deaths, 1,455 cases. More than 7 million doses administered and 3 million fully vaccina - NJ.com - May 2nd, 2021
- CDC finds some COVID-19 vaccine reactions actually due to anxiety - ABC News - May 2nd, 2021
- 12 shocking images that show how bad the COVID-19 crisis is in India - USA TODAY - May 2nd, 2021
- COVID-19 deaths, hospitalisations slowing in Brazil, WHO says - Reuters - April 30th, 2021
- NIH to invest $29 million to address COVID-19 disparities | National Institutes of Health - National Institutes of Health - April 30th, 2021
- Covid-19 vaccine myths: These reasons for not getting a shot don't hold up. In fact, they'll set the United States back - WLS-TV - April 30th, 2021
- Wolf Administration Highlights Impact of COVID-19 on Individuals with Substance Use Disorders and Collaborative Projects Through the Opioid Disaster... - April 30th, 2021
- Norway to speed up first COVID-19 jabs by delaying second dose - Reuters - April 30th, 2021
- Conn. Has Lowest Increase in COVID-19 Cases in 6 Months: Governor - NBC Connecticut - April 30th, 2021
- Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 161 cases and no deaths reported Thursday - Anchorage Daily News - April 30th, 2021
- Amish In Ohio Aren't Getting Vaccinated Despite High COVID Infections, Deaths : Shots - Health News - NPR - April 30th, 2021
- COVID-19 variants believed to be cause of virus outbreak at local middle school - KUTV 2News - April 30th, 2021
- U.S. Pledges Medical Aid To India, Where COVID-19 Is Overwhelming Hospitals - NPR - April 26th, 2021
- Fighting misinformation in the time of COVID-19, one click at a time - World - ReliefWeb - April 26th, 2021
- Immunization services begin slow recovery from COVID-19 disruptions, though millions of children remain at risk from deadly diseases WHO, UNICEF,... - April 26th, 2021
- COVID-19 infections surge in Nepal, fueled by mutant strains from India - Reuters - April 26th, 2021
- Rising COVID-19 cases spell trouble as Everett aims to attract events with grant - KING5.com - April 26th, 2021
- COVID-19 Daily Update 4-25-2021 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources - April 26th, 2021
- April 26: Nebraska reports over 600,000 residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - KTIV - April 26th, 2021
- City of Springfield weekly COVID-19 update - WWLP.com - April 26th, 2021
- Why it's dangerous that workers in Pa. prisons, covid-19 hot spots, aren't getting vaccinated - TribLIVE - April 26th, 2021
- Staying 6 feet apart indoors does almost nothing to stop the spread of COVID-19, MIT study finds - Business Insider - April 26th, 2021
- North America Metal Stamping Market Forecast to 2028 - COVID-19 Impact and Regional Analysis By Process and Application - GlobeNewswire - April 26th, 2021
- Thailand ramps up efforts to rein in COVID-19, deaths hit daily record of 11 - Reuters - April 26th, 2021
- BREAKING: Juarez shutting down this weekend due to COVID-19 spike - ABC27 - April 24th, 2021
- Houston Astros' Jose Altuve doing well after positive COVID-19 test - ESPN - April 24th, 2021
- COVID-19 Daily Update 4-24-2021 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources - April 24th, 2021
- Study: COVID-19 Can Kill Months After Infection - WebMD - April 24th, 2021
- Astros' Jose Altuve confirms he tested positive for COVID-19 - Houston Chronicle - April 24th, 2021
- COVID-19 in South Dakota: 137 total new cases; Death toll increases to 1,958; Active cases at 1,871 - KELOLAND.com - April 24th, 2021
- In Texas, COVID-19 vaccine demand is dropping - The Texas Tribune - April 24th, 2021
- Klamath Falls restaurant hit with another fine over COVID-19 rules - OregonLive - April 24th, 2021
- Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Heres what happened April 23 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area - Chicago Tribune - April 24th, 2021
- Coronavirus response | Ask the Admin: COVID-19 and drug use - Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette - April 24th, 2021
- Vaccination rate still far outpacing new COVID-19 infections in Utah - Deseret News - April 24th, 2021
- Houston Methodist employees have until June 7 to get COVID-19 vaccine or they're fired - KHOU.com - April 24th, 2021
- U of I student dismissed for failing to comply with Covid-19 testing - wcia.com - April 24th, 2021
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Rochester Regional Health - April 22nd, 2021
- Rochester, NY Coronavirus Information - Safety Updates ... - April 22nd, 2021
- Supporting Children, Adolescents and Women Affected by COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa - 2020 - World - ReliefWeb - April 22nd, 2021
- FLASH REPORT #156 - COVID-19 Response and Recovery | News - City of San Jose, CA - April 22nd, 2021
- Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund opens for new applications | Governor Jay Inslee - Access Washington - April 22nd, 2021
- Large NIH clinical trial will test polyclonal antibody therapeutic for COVID-19 - National Institutes of Health - April 22nd, 2021
- Researchers develop chip that improves testing and tracing for COVID-19 - UNM Newsroom - April 22nd, 2021
- Active COVID-19 cases stay above 7TH in West Virginia - West Virginia MetroNews - April 22nd, 2021
- Veteran infielder JT Riddle added to the COVID-19 injured list by Minnesota Twins during road trip - ESPN - April 22nd, 2021
- Yields on 10-year JGBs fall on worries around COVID-19 surge - Reuters - April 22nd, 2021
- State health experts: Washington seeing beginning of 4th wave of COVID-19 cases - KOMO News - April 22nd, 2021
- University of Washington study finds first cases of COVID-19 antibodies in Washington dogs - KOMO News - April 22nd, 2021
- 2021 Indianapolis 500 set to be biggest event since COVID-19 pandemic began with 135,000 fans - Yahoo Sports - April 22nd, 2021
- COVID-19 Daily Update 4-20-2021 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources - April 22nd, 2021
- DHEC: SC still far from relaxing COVID precautions - Index-Journal - April 22nd, 2021
- Large clinical trial to study repurposed drugs to treat COVID-19 symptoms - National Institutes of Health - April 22nd, 2021
- About a third of service members have taken the COVID-19 vaccine - Military Times - April 22nd, 2021
- COVID-19 in South Dakota: 157 total new cases; Death toll at 1,954; Active cases at 2,043 - KELOLAND.com - April 22nd, 2021
- Summer Covid-19 testing, building access and events guidance - University of Wisconsin-Madison - April 19th, 2021
- COVID-19 Daily Update 4-19-2021 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources - April 19th, 2021
- Four Astros on COVID-19 list tentatively set to rejoin team - Houston Chronicle - April 19th, 2021
- Young, healthy adults will be deliberately reinfected with COVID-19 to boost vaccine development - MarketWatch - April 19th, 2021
- Houston Health Department offering 9,000 COVID-19 vaccination appointment slots for week of April 19 - City of Houston - April 19th, 2021
- Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine: What to know about the side effects - Medical News Today - April 19th, 2021
- Lawsuit accuses Ramsey Solutions of firing employee who questioned Dave's handling of COVID-19 - The Tennessean - April 19th, 2021
- Demand for COVID-19 vaccine slowing down in Northeast Wisconsin, health officials say - Fox11online.com - April 19th, 2021