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THE LINQ

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The Quad

3536 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

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AT A GLANCE

What is it?

An outdoor entertainment complex featuring bars, restaurants, and shops lining a pedestrian mall leading to the High Roller, a 550-foot tall observation wheel that is the biggest of its kind in the world.

Where is it?

In between The Quad and The Flamingo on the Center Strip.

Is it worth the cost?

It is free to walk through and window show; store and restaurant prices vary.

What else do I need to know?

They have a cupcake ATM. No, really.

What's the bottom line?

An interesting detour from your walk along The Strip.

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FULL REVIEW

Back in the day the idea of building a casino related facility that expressly kept people OUT of a casino would have been considered madness. But these days you have to remember that more than 50% of a resort's revenue comes from things other than gambling, so perhaps it is no surprise that Caesars Entertainment has built The Linq.

Linq is an outdoor entertainment and shopping district on The Strip in between The Flamingo and The Quad, which has turned a service alley into a pedestrian mall lined lined with stores, restaurants, bars, and more. It's sort of a miniature version of one of those malls designed to look like a city street (Los Angeles residents familiar with The Grove or Americana at Brand will know what I'm talking about) and has a pleasant vibe conducive to strolling, presuming it's not too hot or too cold.

Along the route are new entrances to The Quad and The Flamingo, the latter of which is flanked by big statues of the hotel's namesake.

Although the entire length of it is now open, many of the stores and restaurants are coming online throughout early 2014. Things that are open now include a rebirth of O'Sheas, the small casino that was torn down to make way for this project, a return of the Ghiradelli chocolate shop, a Yard House outlet, and a few other stores and eateries. One of the anchors is Brooklyn Bowl, an 80,000 square-foot sister to popular NYC and London venues that features a restaurant, a bar, a bowling alley, and a performance space that hosts a wide variety of acts like The Roots, Elvis Costello, Cake, Jane's Addiction, Fishbone, and more. Also still to come is FAME, an Asian market and entertainment venue; The Titled Kilt Irish pub; a Polaroid Museum and store; and Vegas' first outlet of Los Angeles' famed Sprinkles cupcake store, which has one of their famous cupcake ATMs (an automated machine that dispenses cupcakes).

It all leads to the High Roller observation wheel, billed as the biggest of its kind in the world, standing at 550 feet high.

Finally, behind the wheel is a new 19-acre parking lot that will host festivals and other outdoor events.

I like what I see so far of The Linq. It's got a good layout, an eye-pleasing design, and an interesting roster of tenants. Watch for a review of the full facility sometime after it opens in the spring of 2014.

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