Las Vegas

The 8 Best Immersive Art Experiences in Las Vegas

Enter the mind of the artist with the most out-of-this-world art experiences in Sin City.

Photo courtesy of AREA15
Photo courtesy of AREA15
Photo courtesy of AREA15

It’s no surprise that immersive art has taken hold in Sin City. As the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is the perfect place to push the boundaries of art, technology, and theatricality. After all, Sin City is its own version of a surreal alternate reality.

AREA15, which is home to 14 different augmented reality experiences, may have sparked this trend when it opened in 2020, and it’s only become more widespread since. Whether it’s an exploration of current environmental issues or far-away worlds, each of these eight immersive art experiences will shift your perception of reality and allow you to absorb art in a new modern way. From shows and exhibitions to museums on and off the Strip, these are places where you can “turn on, tune in, and drop out,” no drugs required.

Don’t forget to check out our hacks for scoring deals on Vegas shows, including some of the experiences listed here.

Photo courtesy of Arcadia Earth
Photo courtesy of Arcadia Earth
Photo courtesy of Arcadia Earth

Arcadia Earth

Paradise
Experience the planet like never before at Arcadia Earth, the first immersive augmented reality journey through Earth. With a unique combination of art installations, projection mapping, scent technology, and robots, you’ll explore Earth through your own personal lens, uncovering not only the beauty and wonder of our planet but also how we can have an impact on its future.

Designed by experiential artist Valentino Vettori, Arcadia Earth transports you to the heart of global challenges such as melting ice caps, loss of biodiversity, and plastic waste. But rather than shame you, the exhibits inspire you to take action. Leading by example, a tree is planted for every ticket sold, and proceeds support Arcadia Earth’s educational and charity partner, Oceanic Global.
Cost: $39 GA; $31 for seniors, students, veterans, and active military with ID; 20% discount for Nevada residents with the code NVRES.

Photo courtesy of Maisato
Photo courtesy of Maisato
Photo courtesy of Maisato

Particle Ink: Speed of Dark

Arts District
Located at The LightHouse in the Arts District, Particle Ink is a mind-bending, mixed reality installation that brings you through a portal into the 2.5th dimension. What is this dimension, you ask? It is a place where the virtual world blends into the physical world, the liminal space between waking and sleeping.

You’ll step inside an abandoned warehouse to enter this portal, and soon find yourself within the pages of a living graphic novel, a world created with ink and paper. Whimsical illustrations leap from the walls to foretell events that will forever change the life of the graphic novel’s artist and his wife. With a lively blend of puppetry, acrobatics, street art, and hip hop dance, you’re free to roam the space as performances unfold around you.

Wink World: Portals to the Infinite

Off Strip
Next door to Museum Fiasco, Wink World is the brainchild of Chris Wink, a co-founder of the Blue Man Group. It describes itself as a psychedelic art house meets carnival funhouse, which seems fitting. This multisensory art experience consists of six mirrored infinity rooms, each with a strobe light show and dubstep music playing in the background, the reflective landscape seeming to go on forever.

These exhibits are separate but interlocking, all exploring Wink’s fascination with the notion of infinity. Whether it’s tiny aliens attached to the bottom of Slinkies or Hoberman spheres on display, they all add to the exhibit’s appeal. When you first walk in, you’ll tour artist Alex Aliume’s 3D paintings, best viewed with the supplied 3D glasses.
Cost: $18 GA; $14 children / locals / seniors / active military

Photo courtesy of Perception
Photo courtesy of Perception
Photo courtesy of Perception

Perception

Resorts World
The newest addition to Vegas’ immersive art scene, Perception is just steps from Resorts World. This 17,000-square-foot digital art museum (the first in the city) invites you to immerse yourself in the lives and works of the most celebrated artists throughout history. It opened in June, and the current exhibit is Leonardo the Universal Man.

Prepare to be transported into the genius mind of Leonardo da Vinci in Renaissance Italy, as daunting as that may sound. But first, you’ll be greeted by the “Mona Lisa,” who seems to come alive right before your eyes. Then you’ll experience “The Last Supper” in a way that is quintessentially Vegas. As you enter the third and final room, you’ll take flight with da Vinci’s ornithopter flying machine and float through Tuscany on a parachute.
Cost: $34.50 GA, plus discounts for seniors, military, and Vegas locals.

Omega Mart

Off Strip
You may have already heard about Omega Mart, a massive corporate grocery store art installation that was created by Santa Fe art collective Meow Wolf and is one of the biggest draws at AREA15. Browse the shelves and encounter such oddities as lemon-lavender canned beverages labeled as “Gender Fluid,” nut-free salted peanuts, and patriotic steaks positioned behind a meat counter. The best part? Everything’s for sale.

But that’s just the opening act-hidden doorways and secret portals lead to other environments (60 in all) to explore. From an abandoned village to a jumble of serpentine slides, Omega Mart is more than a bunch of psychedelic experiences. There’s also a storyline which focuses on a mythical energy called The Source. You’re invited to follow along and look for clues that are hidden within the exhibits.
Cost: $59 GA; $50 for children, seniors, and military.

Photo by Denise Truscell, courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh
Photo by Denise Truscell, courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh
Photo by Denise Truscell, courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh

Immersive Van Gogh

The Shops at Crystals
Not to be confused with Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience at AREA15 (which itself is worth a visit), you’ll find Immersive Van Gogh at The Shops at Crystals adjacent to ARIA Resort & Casino. Created by Italian video artist Massimiliano Siccardi, the exhibit partnered with Emmy award-winning set designer David Korins, who recreated Van Gogh’s highly emotive art on a grand scale. It opened last year and Las Vegas is now one of 22 cities that hosts this exhibition.

Step inside Vincent Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings as they come to life. While you’re there, use an AI tool to write a letter to the artist, and receive a personalized one in return. Visit the Pocket Gallery, and the Lighthouse Immersive app will transform vibrant colors into paintings, all on the screen of your phone.
Cost: $49 GA

Photo courtesy of AREA15
Photo courtesy of AREA15
Photo courtesy of AREA15

Illuminarium

Off Strip
Another one of AREA15’s offerings, Illuminarium fully immerses you in the world’s most extraordinary experiences, placing you in the center of the narrative that is unfolding around you. “SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond,” is a celestial experience like none other, one that defies explanation. But you can sure try: you’ll walk on the moon, weave your way through an asteroid belt, and fly through a nebula. As Buzz Lightyear put it, “To infinity and beyond!”

Visit after 8 pm Sunday through Thursday, and you’ll experience a new dimension-the adults-only SPACE After Dark, where you can sip cocktails on the moon or champagne in the cosmos while a live DJ spins tunes. On Fridays and Saturdays, dance all night at the Ultra Lounge, where the immersive settings are constantly changing.
Cost: SPACE standard experience is $24; SPACE After Dark is $29; the Ultra Lounge is $20.

Museum Fiasco

Off Strip
Opened in November 2020 as the first Kunsthalle-style museum in Las Vegas, Museum Fiasco has rotating exhibits that use immersive sound, fog, and lighting (or lack thereof) to distort perception by playing with time and space. Its current exhibit is Cluster, which is composed of three chapters: Kernal, Railwave, and Stellar, and will appeal to any alien enthusiast. The light show lasts exactly 12 minutes, envisioning and inviting you to explore AREA15 as a spacecraft to an alien world.

Created by Playmodes Studio, the show is perhaps best described as a psychic journey of abstract geometry. They have essentially transformed a 5,000-square-foot mirror box into a vessel for the language of sound waves, vibrations, and oscillations. Within that room you’ll ride a train going nowhere and everywhere at the same time, and take a journey through the interstellar world before landing back on Earth.
Cost: $18 GA plus $2 to rent 3D glasses.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat!

Based in Southern California, Danielle Bauter is a freelance writer who focuses on travel, LGBTQ, and culinary topics. Her writing has appeared in a variety of print and digital publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, and Fodor’s Travel. Follow her travels on IG @missbauterfly and read more of her work at daniellebauter.com.

Las Vegas

A Fresh Take on Italian Dining Opens in Southwest Las Vegas

A first look at Basilico Ristorante Italiano.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

You can’t be all things to all people. Yet a new Italian restaurant strikes an intriguing balance between authenticity and inventive touches while helping to shape the identity of a new community in the booming Southwest Valley of Las Vegas.

Basilico Ristorante Italiano is now open at Evora, a master-planned apartment development still under construction that won’t be finished for at least five years. The 160-seat restaurant follows the vision of chef Francesco Di Caudo, a Sicily native who draws on his heritage and experience throughout Italy to build a compelling menu based on traditional techniques and modern ingenuity.

“I come from a country where farm-to-table is nothing new,” says Di Caudio, while emphasizing the importance of ingredient sourcing and simple, straightforward flavor combinations.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

Just look at the appetizers. Americans are used to eggplant parmesan that’s breaded and fried without restraint. Di Caudo sticks to a traditional Sicilian recipe with the vegetable sliced thin, sizzled in a pan, and layered with tomato and basil. No mozzarella. On the other hand, the Smoked Cigar is destined to be a signature showstopper. Duck, foie gras, and porcini mushrooms are packed inside a thin, cracker-like shell, presented in a box, and dipped into a glass ashtray. The “ash” in the centre is a black sesame and truffle mix. Don’t be shy about double dipping.

The risotto is bound to be another conversation piece. The recipe uses Carnaroli rice, a starchy grain from North Italy that produces a creamy texture, balancing the saltiness of a parmesan broth with a sweet splash of chestnut honey. The real surprise is the inclusion of Lavazza espresso, manipulated to crackle in your mouth like Pop Rocks candy.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

All pastas are made in-house, from a parsnip cavatelli to a lamb and thyme tortellini in a broth filtered from braised prosciutto. Some dishes have a subtle Asian influence, including a hamachi crudo with pomelo (similar to yuzu), Hokkaido scallops with oxtail, and a planned octopus braised in dashi. The flavours come to life inside a sharp, contemporary dining room with deep red chairs and stone, wood, and marble touches. The wine collection is dominated by Italian labels, with a few California and Oregon picks thrown in to round out the list. Bottles are on display near the front entrance and inside illuminated square shelves. “It looks like a fancy restaurant, but when you sit down, I want you to have fun,” adds Di Caudio.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

The bar is the heart of the restaurant, ready to serve up to 16 people inside and dozens more via accordion-style windows that open wide to a covered patio. The outdoor space, temperature-controlled with overhead fans and heaters, effectively extends Evora’s open-air plaza with dramatic water and fire features. It’s a natural spot for tastings and special events with a covered stage for live music. Evora is rolling out in four phases, with the first 342 apartments ready by fall. There could be as many as 1,400 when it’s all said and done. Rent begins at around $1,800 for studios and one-bedroom units and goes up to $4,000 for two-story top-floor residences with a loft and Strip views. The community will include swimming pools, pickleball courts, a putting green, a dog park, firepits, EV charging stations, and pavilions equipped with audio and video features.

“Basilico matches the demographic for our apartments,” says Danny Sorge of Digital Desert Development, the company behind the community. “The term ‘youthful sophistication’ has been thrown around about the restaurant and Evora as a whole. It brings something new to the area.”

Rendering courtesy of Evora
Rendering courtesy of Evora
Rendering courtesy of Evora

The development follows a deliberate strategy to have the commercial tenants in place before the first residents move in, occupying a stand-alone building that strikes a commanding presence on the corner of Patrick Lane and Buffalo Drive. Lemon Tree Cafe & Market is already open as a European-style grocery store with plenty of room to sit down with a sandwich and glass of wine. Keep your eyes peeled for Taps & Barrels (a self-service beer hall), Tachi Ramen, and EVOQ hair salon in the months ahead, with more businesses to come. The timing couldn’t be better. The Southwest Valley is on fire right now, with the Durango hotel and casino and UnCommons mixed-use development taking shape as new attractions in 2023. The Bend, a long-promised shopping and dining district, has been in a holding pattern for years but holds promise in an area where everything is getting bigger and better.

Meanwhile, the team behind Evora is staking a claim with Di Caudio running the kitchen at Basilico. The chef’s recent collaboration with Chef Oscar Amador helped Anima by EDO score a recent James Beard Award nomination and reputation as one of the best new restaurants in Las Vegas. Di Caudio first came to Las Vegas to work at Zeffirino at the Grand Canal Shoppes-a gig he expected to last about six months before returning home. Instead, he stuck around and continued to build his reputation at culinary destinations like Sinatra at the Wynn and Ferraro’s off the Strip.

Ultimately, Basilico will be a restaurant to keep an eye on as it develops under Di Caudio’s guidance. The menu will shift and evolve based on the chef’s preferences and the availability of seasonal ingredients. Di Caudio is also planning a smaller menu and social hour for the bar area and a reasonably priced tasting menu with around 10 dishes served family style.

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Rob Kachelriess¬†has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than nine years. In addition, his work has appeared in¬†Travel + Leisure, Leafly, Supercall, Modern Luxury, and¬†Luxury Estates International’s seasonal publication. Follow him on Twitter¬†@rkachelriess.

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