The casino and most of the amenities at Circa Resort and Casino in Las Vegas just opened in late October. It’s rare that any business opens and impresses as much as the hype. Circa does that and then some. The property will be fully complete when the hotel opens in late December.
Circa is a different property for the downtown Las Vegas market. To start, the property is the first new casino build from the ground up in downtown Las Vegas since 1980. Circa is the second-tallest building in this part of town. The property occupies an entire city block of the Fremont Street Experience.
Circa is the product of downtown Las Vegas casino operator Derek Stevens. He also owns The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate casinos. The latter is across the street from Circa. There are concepts from both of those properties throughout Circa.
Since this casino was built from the ground up, Stevens was able to create a unique property for downtown Las Vegas. Circa is a 1.25 million-square-foot, adults-only property. While Circa is modern, it pays homage to old Las Vegas.
This isn’t intended to be another value property in “Old Vegas.” This is a shiny, brand-new casino inside and out. Visitors can see that from the moment they walk into Circa from the Fremont Street Experience entrance with the massive MEGA BAR that has 53 video poker machines, 46 TVs and more than 100 beer taps.
There’s a vintage yet modern design aesthetic throughout Circa. Much like Stevens’ other properties, there’s classic old-school Vegas hospitality that he’s so fond of. At the same time, there are modern touches throughout the property.
The innovation goes outside of the property as well. The fifth-floor rooftop pool deck called Stadium Swim is by far the largest, most indulgent pool complex in downtown Las Vegas. Circa is full of interesting elements both inside and out.
Circa has the world’s largest sportsbook
As mentioned, Circa occupies an entire block of the Fremont Street Experience. Much of the casino occupies the land that was once home to Las Vegas Club casino. This was a sports-inspired casino with a giant statue of a baseball player above the main entrance. Circa pays homage to that history with an enormous sportsbook that is bound to be a destination for sports fans and bettors visiting Las Vegas.
The “World’s Largest Sportsbook” is the centerpiece of the property. The multilevel sportsbook has 350 seats with a total capacity of 1,000. Additional guests can watch the action from the video poker machines or bars and restaurants that surround the different levels of the Circa Sports sportsbook.
There are other large sportsbooks in Las Vegas, but the layout and seating options are different at Circa. The three-story video screen and stadium seating make this is a unique venue in which to wager and watch the games. Guests who don’t walk into the main sportsbook can wager at a kiosk or satellite sports betting station on the second level. Even better, guests can watch the games on a massive screen outside on the pool deck.
Stadium Swim is probably the second most popular venue at Circa. It’s very rare that any element inside of a casino can match the renderings and preopening hype. However, Stadium Swim and the sportsbook do just that. In fact, they exceed expectations.
The Stadium Swim pool complex is open 365 days a year. The six pools are temperature-controlled for taking a dip during the cooler temperatures. When operating on all cylinders, Stadium Swim has a combination of features not found at any other pool complex in Las Vegas. Highlights include:
- Two swim-up bars inside the pools
- Two large bars featuring frozen cocktails
- A performance stage
- A DJ booth
- A covered gambling space featuring a handful of table games
- Special menus from some restaurants on-site
- A 143 x 40-foot video screen that dwarfs most casino sportsbooks
- 30 cabanas, including one that holds 50 people
- Cutting-edge cleaning tech like ultraviolet light sanitation and the fastest water-recirculation patterns in Las Vegas
The overall pool concept is unique and has great views from above the Fremont Street Experience. It takes a 90-second ride up a three-story escalator to reach the Stadium Swim. The ride itself is somewhat of an experience, as there’s nothing else like it in Las Vegas.
The pool complex isn’t just unique for downtown Las Vegas. The multipurpose pool venue is different for all casinos in Sin City. Sports fans will love Stadium Swim as one of the best outdoor environments to watch the games in Las Vegas.
New tech everywhere you look
Appropriate in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stadium Swim at Circa features new pool cleaning technology that won’t be found at other Las Vegas properties. The sportsbook TV screen is so high tech that it takes 10 people to operate. The new tech doesn’t stop at the featured parts of the property.
The casino floor (above) has an air filtration system only found at one other casino in Las Vegas. The air inside Circa blows up toward the ceiling instead of down from the top of each floor. This should provide cleaner air with less smoke than at other properties. It certainly feels that way at Aria, which is the only other property in Las Vegas with this system.
Circa has some new, but not exclusive, technology on the gaming floor. Just like its sister property, The D, Circa offers cashless gaming at the tables. Guests can use a point-of-service machine to get money for new chips without walking over to an ATM.
Another relatively new piece of tech on the casino floor is kiosks that allow guests to sign up for The One players club or reprint an old card. A few properties in Las Vegas use this technology already. However, this is a very convenient product. It should be available at all casinos eventually.
The hotel at Circa opens in December and will offer similar contactless technology to that used at the larger casinos on the Vegas Strip. This includes mobile check-in and mobile room keys. All of this new technology will help Circa stand out from the competition in downtown Las Vegas.
Lego Art Gallery
The Chris Ihle Art Gallery is one of the least publicized venues inside Circa. The gallery produces and displays life-size Lego statues. The centerpiece of the small gallery is currently a statue of Stevens and a dancing dealer. The statue is so detailed that it has Stevens’ favorite drink in hand, with just enough clear bricks to emulate ice cubes.
The gallery continues to produce statues of celebrities, like Las Vegas Golden Knights player Marc-Andre Fleury. But famous people aren’t the only subject of the Chris Ihle art gallery. There were smaller but still life-sized Lego animals on display in the gallery when Circa first opened to the public.
This gallery isn’t just for showpieces. Visitors can commission Ihle to create a statue of their loved ones or pets. All the gallery needs is a photo of the subject, and they can build pretty much anything. It isn’t cheap, but the unique custom-created statues can be purchased — for $10,000-$15,000 and up. Prices will vary by the amount of time it takes to create a statue.
Instagram-worthy photo ops
Most of the downtown Las Vegas casinos were built many years ago. While a makeover can create a more modern property, there’s nothing like building a casino from scratch. Circa has a lot of different design elements and art everywhere. There seems to be an Instagram-worthy photo opportunity every 10 feet.
The lobby bar is named after and features the iconic neon kicking cowgirl Vegas Vickie. This is probably the most recognizable art piece at Circa but it’s just one item. Guests entering the property from the garage will see a massive chandelier with the unofficial motto for the casino: “The Time Of Your Life.” Yes, people will take pics for the ‘gram in a parking garage — it’s that cool.
— Marc (@MeltzVegas) October 27, 2020
Downstairs at Barry’s Downtown Prime, steakhouse guests will see a variety of designs for different parts of the restaurant. A semiprivate room has two cow heads flanking a steak cooler. Another section has faux trees. There’s an art deco-inspired space in between those parts of the restaurant.
There are subtle and not-so-subtle pieces of art located everywhere inside Circa, including outside on the rooftop pool deck.
Meat eater’s paradise at Barry’s
Most of the casinos in downtown Las Vegas are small because they’re inside old buildings. Dining options are often limited unless you’re at the Golden Nugget, which happens to be owned by Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the Landry’s restaurant chain.
Circa is a large casino and brings plenty of new, shiny dining options to the table. Many of these will appeal specifically to carnivores:
- Barry’s Downtown Prime (steak)
- 8 East (Asian)
- Saginaw’s Deli (24-hour cafe)
- Project BBQ (BBQ)
- Victory Burger & Wings (burgers)
Circa is a haven for meat eaters in downtown Las Vegas. Guests can find lighter fare in the special menus offered by various restaurants at Stadium Swim. Project BBQ offers a feast for a crew of sports fans looking for an over-the-top experience. They will deliver a whole pig to a table inside the sportsbook. Yes, of course, there are sparklers so everyone can follow the pig to its destination.
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor
Circa has more bars than anyone could think a single casino in downtown Las Vegas would need. There’s almost always a bar within an eyeshot from any part of Circa. Before even entering the casino, guests will see Circa Bar, the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street.
Just steps inside the casino, guests will have to pass by MEGA BAR. Nevada’s longest indoor bar is 165 feet long. It’s longer than Longbar at The D. MEGA BAR has 120 beer taps, 46 stacked TVs and 53 video poker machines. Its largess is indicative of what guests will experience at Circa.
Vegas Vickie’s is the lobby bar located near the hotel part of Circa. Overhang Bar looks out on the massive sportsbook while being slightly removed from the action.
Legacy Club is located on the 35th floor of the hotel and will open in December. The rooftop lounge will have some of the best views in downtown Las Vegas.
The bars continue outside at Stadium Swim. There are four bars with plenty of frozen drink options.
Viva Las Vegas!