‘Tis the season to shop, and options for browsing abound along the Las Vegas Strip. Most hotels have a shopping area, but a few have gone all-out on shopping malls that double as entertainment. Shoppers will find upscale, expensive retailers, but an ever-changing influx of stores means a shopper never knows what she might find. Even if you do nothing but browse, these malls offer a Vegas entertainment option that’s free until you decide to buy something.
At Caesears Forum Shops, you’ll find a large selection of up-scale shops: Bvlgrari, Versace, and Gucci, for example. Restaurants run a wide gamut, but offer a good selection of affordable places: The Cheesecake Factory, Planet Hollywood, and La Salsa offer a good value. If you’re a Wolfgang Puck fan, you may want to visit Spago–its patio has a great view of the mall. At the Forum, the statues talk, the “sky” changes, and shoppers can stop to watch a huge aquarium. FAO Schwartz left the Forum in the first part of 2010, but as of this month their space is now occupied with an H&M, which opened in early December.
Across from Caesears, the Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes are joined with the Shoppes at Palazzo. It’s an extravaganza of visual entertainment–simulated canals and that ever-changing sky/roof—with an array of high-end and boutique shops and restaurants filling the re-created St. Mark’s Square. Look for costumed characters roaming the square and talking statues. Even if you don’t buy a thing, it’s terrific entertainment.
Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile shops give shoppers an indoor rain storm for a twist on the whole sky/roof theme, and they’re conveniently located across the street from Crystals, City Center’s shopping mall full of windows and a clean, urban feeling (without a changing indoor sky).
Valet parking is a great option at any of these Vegas malls, but if you’re parking yourself in the parking garage, scope out the elevators’ location before picking a level. Find the elevators on the first level, then proceed to a less-crowded level for a close parking spot. The top is almost always open, and you usually get great views of the Strip to boot.
Photo of Crystals courtesy of Rian Castillo
Photo of Forum Shops courtesy of Kana