New Year, New Things to Do in Vegas

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One of the things I love the most about Las Vegas–and the reason I can keep coming back here every year without getting bored–is that the city is constantly changing. Out with the old, in with the new, just like the new year. Okay, I’m sometimes gutted when I find out something I love is going buh-bye (like the Las Vegas Mob Experience or the lion habitat at MGM Grand–sob!). But sometimes the new things are pretty great themselves and I’ll add them to my list for my next visit. It’s been 4 months since my last trip to Las Vegas, and there are already a few new things I’m looking forward to trying on my next one:

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip

Confessions of a Rock Star (the Riviera)

This new show is brought to us by Pat DiNizio, lead singer of one of my favorite rock groups of all time, the Smithereens!  You remember the Smithereens: They had such hits as “Blood and Roses,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “Blues Before and After,” “A Girl Like You,” and perhaps my favorite, “House We Used to Live In.” I used to own the Best of the Smithereens album on cassette, which shows you how long they–and I–have been around. The show is billed as “songs, sounds and stories from 30 crazy years in the big bad business of rock & roll”. I’m mostly looking forward to the songs, but I’ve heard the stories are pretty great, too.

The Mob Museum

Not to be mistaken with the late, lamented Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana, the Mob Museum will be opening in the Downtown area of Las Vegas in early 2012 and will walk visitors through the history of Las Vegas’s ties to organized crime. I’ll be interested to see how it compares with the museum elements of the Las Vegas Mob Experience, which I thought were well done.

The Neon Museum

Finally! This museum dedicated to the preservation of the classic neon signs of yesteryear in Las Vegas (a collection of over 150 signs) is slated to open its new Visitors Center in mid-2012. I hope this makes it easier to get in to see the signs than its current Neon Boneyard outpost, where tours need to be booked well in advance. Two weeks’ lead time wasn’t enough last time I tried to book a tour.

Viva Vision Light Show

Viva Vision Light Show

Bon Jovi’s Viva Vision Show (Fremont Street Experience)

Viva Vision, the overhead canopy light show at the Fremont Street Experience, is adding a new show to its lineup, a Bon Jovi-centric show featuring three of the band’s hit songs, “It’s My Life,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”  According to the press release, the storyline for this show was Jon Bon Jovi’s concept, in which “the band is dropped onto the screen from a spaceship” and performs their hit songs while traveling the universe–kinda like they do in real life. The Bon Jovi show joins classic Viva Vision shows such as Don McLean’s American Pie, John Van Hamersveld’s Signs of Life, and A Tribute to Queen. The show debuted on New Year’s Eve, appropriately.

The Dark Knight (slot machine)

This Batman slot machine came out in 2011, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in Las Vegas during my last trip. Hopefully, by the time I return, it’ll be more widespread in casinos around town, because I really want to try it. It follows the Batman timeline of the Christian Bale movies and pits Batman against (Heath Ledger’s) Joker. This is one of those new style video slot machines which includes clips from the movie, sounds, etc. and you can choose to play as either Batman or the Joker. Here’s a review of the game.

I can only hope and pray that these things are successful enough that they’re still in operation by the time I am in Las Vegas again. There’s nothing worse than when something opens–and then closes–before I can even get back to town. And I can’t wait to see what other cool new things are announced in the next few months.

What shiny new Vegas thing are you looking forward to on your next trip?

Oh–and Happy New Year, everyone!

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22 thoughts on “New Year, New Things to Do in Vegas

  1. Gray

    Good choice, Andy! I’m intrigued by that project, too, though to be honest, whether or not I actually get to enjoy it will depend completely on what’s playing there during the one week a year that I’m in town. I do think it’s a fabulous addition to Las Vegas, though.

  2. Hetz

    It’s my first stay there. I booked months ago and was lucky to get a premium fountain view room for a great rate during CES. I’m ready!

  3. JoAnn

    I didn’t know they were closing the lion habitat. I’m glad I got my picture taken with one of cubs when I did.

  4. Hetz

    I’m back from LV. I passed on a goodbye to the lions for you Gray. The Planet Hollywood room/casino was great. Personally, I’d rather spent time playing video poker or slots in a casino that has an atmosphere like PH. A casino like Harrahs just isn’t as fun. Fours nights turned out to be a perfect stretch for a solo visit. I would stay longer with a group of friends. It was very enjoyable solo experience. Oh and poker was very very good to me.

  5. Gray

    Ha, thanks Hetz! 🙂 Yeah, PH is one of the more fun casinos in town, for sure. Congrats on your good luck (or skill) at poker!

  6. Craig H

    The last couple of days of my next trip I will be staying at PH for 2 nights, for the first time, in all my years of going to LV. Just the right offer at the right time.
    This will be great as I will be right across the street from City Center and Cosmopolitan so I can spend a lot of time there and only have to cross the street to get back to my room. I really want to take a good look around there.
    Also, I love hanging out at PH, so this makes it a perfect ending to what I know will be a great week in my favourite city.

  7. David K

    I saw the Dark Knight slot machine at PH, right next to Earl of Sandwich. I remember watching the video loop on the large upper screen while enjoying another great sandwich.

  8. David K

    It looked pretty slick, like one of the newer slot machines with multi-screens. The upper screen for Dark Knight is HUGE and imposing in a great way. I believe there were 4 players side by side on either side of it, so that gives you a sense of the overall width of this. I didn’t do much “gaming” on my last trip when I saw this (early- to mid-Feb), but the graphics and sound were pretty engaging from what I observed.

  9. Hetz

    Gray,
    The huge Dark Knight slot banks were in several casinos I visited in January, i.e. MGM, Cosmo, PH, Caesars, Bellagio, Venetian and even the Plaza, I hate to be a Debbie Downer but I threw 40 bucks in on two occasions and never even got a bonus round. The seats at each location were almost always empty. I don’t think it bodes well for Gotham City.

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