Last week, at Clint Holmes’ show, his granddaughter who had sung a duet with Holmes, noted she had to leave the concert early to attend a prom. Holmes casually asked where the prom was being held and she said, “Area 15”. Holmes reacted quizzically. He had no idea what Area 15 was. But I knew. I had just visited the spot two days earlier and would do so again following a computer problem and lost photos.
So what is Area 15? It is an off-strip (3215 S. Rancho Dr) Las Vegas entertainment and retail complex that opened to the public September 17, 2020 with its largest tenant opening its doors in February of 2021.
A friend and I arrived (both times) on a weekday around Noon, when the complex opens. We found convenient parking and waited until a line of folks had been granted entry before we joined the line. Reservations are encouraged and we had reservations on our first visit; reservations were forgotten. on our second visit, but we were ushered in.
We took photos of the many interesting sculptures outside on “Art Island” and even walked “through” a large trailer with artwork on the outside and lights and sounds inside. Once inside the Area 15 warehouse-like structure, we were greeted with great air conditioning and still more sculptures, especially a 12-foot-tall skull that changed colors as lighting rotated. The. atmosphere was dark, so neon lighting displays had impact. We walked and looked and took pictures — it was fun, and I recommend a visit for any age interested in killing time away from the Strip.
Part of what we saw for free were retail stores and eating and drinking establishments. Chef Todd English has his name associated with an eating area called “The Beast.” In addition, several activities requiring tickets are available. On our most recent visit, the line was outside the Omega (Mega) Mart, “an interactive art installation that is operated by the experiential art collective, Meow Wolf.” The. price for us entering the Mart would have been $40 each. We chose not to spend the money, but obviously many folks did choose tickets. Mega Mart is said to have been a three-and-a-half-year project involving 325 artists. Sadly, we didn’t visit a second floor at Area 15, giving us something to explore on our next visit.
Incidentally, the crowd and the staff (“Alien Ambassadors”) we saw were mostly young folks. Both times we visited, we felt we might have been the oldest folks attending. In fact, on the first trip as we were leaving, a young. woman about to enter looked at us and asked, “Are you lost?” We weren’t lost, just going back to our car, but the question still makes me wonder just how “different” we looked to the young crowd.
For others in a “mature” age group, I recommend a weekday, daytime. visit. Apparently Area 15 is popular with certain locals and if you want to avoid crowds, go early during the week. The most crowded hour seems to be 9 p.m. at night. Guests must be 21 or older for entry at 10 p.m. and later. (Closing time. is 2 a.m.). The Area 15 code of conduct prohibits a variety of disorderly behaviors including the possession of firearms and other weapons.
As for us, we had fun both times we visited Area 15.. A few benches are inside if walking gets tiring, and the bars and restaurants are available with seating as well.
The exhibits and bars seem to function like concessions and all of them offer a local discount. There is no entrance fee to enter the main building and then all of the attractions require additional fees. Two of the most striking exhibits are the Immersive Van Gogh (which lasts about thirty-one minutes and is a continuous loop so visitors can join anytime. Visitors can stay as long as they want, although most people seem to leave around the 35 to 40-minute mark.) And the Van Gogh VR Experience which takes about 15 minutes or so. Currently both are in a soft-opening with significant discounts for locals. There are at least four different bars with different themes.
Enjoy the photos: