Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fashion Show Mall

I work near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain. This is a fairly interesting intersection, with TI, Wynn, the Venetian and the Fashion Show Mall on each corner. There is a fair amount of construction nearby – the Venetian is constructing a new tower right on the corner, Wynn is building a new tower to the north, and Trump is building two towers right behind the mall.

The Fashion Show Mall is the largest shopping center in Las Vegas. It has over 250 stores, in comparison to the big Mall of America which has 500 stores. Though located right on the Strip, the Fashion Show (OK, let’s just say FS to save my typing from here in) is not really a destination, being surrounded by the fancy Vegas resorts. Most of the people inside are local residents, but some tourists that get bored with all the flashing lights and noise wander through.

The mall received a make over a few years ago, about doubling in size and putting a fancy front on to the Strip. I remember driving past it years ago, and wondering why such a dull building was facing all the glittering lights. Now it can hold it’s own compared to other attractions. Part of the makeover was the installation of their ‘cloud’ out front:

We watched as it was being constructed, and it is a fairly impressive structure. At night they project advertisements on the underside, to give you something additional to look at. The above shot is from the Wynn across the Strip. Walking up to it from TI it looks a little smaller:

From the Wynn front door:

In this shot you can better see the big video screens that line the front – Apple usually has ads running on this for their Ipod – the Apple store in town is located inside the mall, so the site of dancing silhouettes is fairly standard.

You can get to the main entrance from below, or go up the escalator to enter on the second level.

You can better see the video screens here – unfortunately I didn’t catch any of the dancers in action, here you just get some pink shapes.

Recently opened on the front of the mall is a place where you can get half price same day show tickets, kind of like the half price ticket place in New York. I don’t know how many shows they get tickets for, but there is usually quite a crowd in line waiting to buy them. I can understand this – the average show price now is near $100 per ticket.

Inside it’s a rather pleasant mall. It is composed of a main corridor running west off of the Strip frontage. Because of the slight slope there are several levels, leading you to some interesting staircases:

There is parking down below as well as in two large structures behind. Up on the top level at the front is a food court, where you can find the standard mall places to eat. There are also a few good restaurants, where you can sit on the balcony and look down at the strip and over at the trees in front of Wynn. I've got two places there I like to eat at: the California Pizza Kitchen located next to the runway for pizza (what else?) and the coffee shop located on the top level of Nordstroms, which is a nice quiet place with good soup and sandwhiches.

At the first big open area inside are some of the new mall ‘standards’.

There is a Starbucks for coffee, an oxygen bar for breathing, and some massage chairs to tone up that sore back.

Farther back is the runway, where models wander back and forth at various times.

The runway (that silver strip in the middle) rises up from the floor about two feet, and a room located at the far end also rises up, so that the models have a place to change before they come out on display. There are several restaurants scattered around here, and you can sit at one of the tables and watch or join the crowd leaning over the upper level railing.

Behind and off to the north side of the mall is the Frontier hotel.

The Frontier has rooms at a much lower cost than most of the hotels in the area, so a lot of people coming for conventions stay there. It has a western theme, and also hosts Gilley’s Bar where you can hear live music and ride the bull, or on regular nights watch Bikini Bull Riding or Bikini Mud Wrestling. I understand that Anna might be participating in some of these activities if she returns for CES next January.

Behind the Frontier is a large lot where Trump is in the process of constructing a condo tower.

Not finished yet, all of the units have been sold. Because of this they recently announced the construction of a second tower to start soon, right next to this one.

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