Downtown Las Vegas hasn’t had a new property open in decades.
That changes next week.
Circa, a 1.25 million-square-foot hotel casino owned by Derek Stevens, opens to the public at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. The 777-room property is only open to those 21 and over and brings a number of new attractions to downtown Las Vegas, including a six-pool swimming area and a three-story sportsbook. The property’s hotel tower is set to open later this year.
Here are some of Circa’s most defining features.
Circa’s stadium-style sportsbook is a flagship of the property. The venue includes a 78-million-pixel screen, large enough to require 10 operators, and can fit up to 1,000 viewers.
Stevens said it’s the largest in the world by cubic feet.
Sports fans have several reservations options, including VIP single-seat cushioned chairs, plush recliners, booth-style seating and tiered stadium-style seating — some of which are stationed in front of bar top games.
For those who’d rather hang out at a bar while watching sports, there’s the Overhang Bar on the second floor that offers views of the sportsbook’s colossal screen. There’s also a seating available for podcasters who want to record near the sportsbook.
A broadcast studio for sports betting network Vegas Stats and Information Network, or VSiN, will operate daily on-site with in-depth analyses from broadcasters, industry professionals and athletes. Sportsbook patrons will be able to access promotional codes for a day pass to access the network.
The book will be operated by sports betting brand Circa Sports, which is also at the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate. The Strip-adjacent Tuscany’s sportsbook is also set to offer the sports betting brand in March.
Circa’s nine-story parking garage is like no other.
Alice O’Keefe, the resort’s director of design and architecture, said she went to nearly every garage in Las Vegas to see what works and what doesn’t when helping design Circa’s so-called “Garage Mahal.” Unlike the dimly lit, concrete structures that define most parking garages, Circa’s 982-spot parking structure is filled with light from a mix of natural and artificial sources, fending off any dark corners that could make guests feel unsafe.
The garage was also built with Uber and Lyft specifically in mind, providing space for rideshare services and valet on the first floor. The property invited ride-hailing service drivers to familiarize themselves with the garage Wednesday.
There are murals and artwork on nearly every floor, and each floor is assigned a color, number and icon — such as a diamond or cherry — that helps guests, especially those who have had a few drinks in the property, remember where they parked.
The crown jewel of the Garage Mahal is its “Time of Your Life” chandelier, a 22-foot-tall, color-changing structure that hovers over the escalators that lead to a climate-controlled bridge that leads to the casino.
The property will require users to pay for parking, but rates have not yet been disclosed.
Stadium Swim is all about making an entrance.
The anticipation builds as you ascend the tallest escalator in Las Vegas. From bottom to top, the ride gives you a final 81 seconds to prepare.
Then — BAM! — the lights hit you. First the sun, unimpeded by any nearby shade-producing structures, then the mammoth 143-foot by 40-foot LED screen, designed to show several games at once, sports book-style, and bright enough to do so in the middle of the day.
Once your eyes adjust, you can take in the entirety of the tiered complex. Six pools and two spas make up the 15,000 square feet of wet space. The 337 chaise lounges, 38 daybeds, 30 cabanas and super cabanas, eight poolside boxes and two swim-up bars add to Stadium Swim’s capacity of 4,000 guests.
Designed for year-round use, the water temperature ranges from 78 to 94 degrees, with a couple of the pools capable of hitting 104 degrees during the worst of a Las Vegas winter.
When hunger strikes, there’s a selection of food from American Coney Island owners Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros and Zingerman’s Deli co-founder Paul Saginaw.
Related: Where to eat at Circa
Stevens has said he wants the experience of entering Stadium Swim to evoke the feeling of walking out of the tunnel at Michigan Stadium and letting The Big House overwhelm your senses.
The only thing missing is the cheering.
Vegas Vickie has a new home on the same west end of Fremont Street where she began greeting visitors four decades ago. There’s one big difference, though. She resides inside now. Inside Circa, that is. The neon kicking cowgirl is the artistic centerpiece of the new resort.
Stevens knew even before Vickie’s last days atop the old Glitter Gulch that he wanted her to have a new life in a casino he could only envision in 2016.
Vegas Vickie is visible as soon as visitors enter Circa — from three levels. And how appropriate. The downtown resort includes numerous homages to Las Vegas of yesteryear.
Vickie, who famously married Vegas Vic in 1994 (he still stands under the famous Fremont Street Experience canopy), has been renovated from the inside out. Stevens wanted the neon icon to be restored to her original beauty, from her hat to her boots.
Enter YESCO. The Las Vegas venerable sign company created and painted a scale model of Vickie, who stands about 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. That model guided a seven-month restoration effort that wrapped up in February. The sign’s internal structure was reinforced, and the neon and paint are new throughout.
“She’s back in action,” Stevens told the Review-Journal in July. “She’s got a knee replacement and will be kicking again and ready to roll.”
A galvanizing amenity at the D has been the Longbar, where Stevens and his team characteristically convenes for colorful conversation. This is where the resort owner has tracked his sports wagers as he commiserates with staff, hotel guests and any other interlopers wading in from Fremont Street.
The Mega Bar is to Circa what Longbar has been to the D, supplanting the original bar as the longest in the state. The new bar is 165 feet long, or 65 feet longer than its inspiration at the D. Flair bartenders will serve up to 53 patrons seated at the bar, where the wall is lined with red-glass tiles and 40 double-stacked TVs. Draft beers rotate from 120 taps.
Whether Team Stevens, and the owner himself, will relocate remains to be seen. But expect the owner to at least have a space reserved for himself, and also his wife, Nicole. Just look for the name plates.
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