Sin City's stylish new shopping, hotel, and dining hub is a sure bet.
The home of flying Elvises, drive-in weddings, and a half-scale Eiffel Tower now offers up CityCenter, an $8.5 billion development that spurns Vegas kitsch for a clean, shiny aesthetic that Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne calls “grown up and irony-free.”
Set on the Strip across from a jumble of souvenir shops and margarita bars, CityCenter is an assertively high-minded 67-acre complex of glass-clad high-rises filled with hotel rooms—4,004 in the Aria Resort & Casino alone. Arrayed throughout are dozens of tony restaurants, budget-busting retail shops, and works by artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Maya Lin.
It’s all lofty but not arid. Sculptor Nancy Rubins’s soaring bouquet of canoes and kayaks is outrageous fun, as are architect Helmut Jahn’s playfully tilting twin towers—likely to bamboozle tipsy visitors. And when flame red cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers hit your table at Julian Serrano, a cheery tapas restaurant, you may forget momentarily where you are. “This is the first piece of truly contemporary architecture in Las Vegas,” says urban designer Robert Fielden. “That in itself is a real transformation.”
This article was first published in September 2010 and updated in August 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.