Circa opened its casino in downtown Las Vegas on October 28 and it’s everything we were promised – and then some. Casinos often make lofty announcements and share super slick renderings to get people excited. This tactic works to build buzz before the property is open. Unfortunately, the real-life experience doesn’t always meet the hype.
Circa is different. The property has great looking renderings. There were lots of teasers about the property over the past few years. Remarkably, Circa delivers on just about everything it promised.
My first visit to Circa was through the locals entrance at Garage Mahal. The parking garage was optimized for easy access for rideshares and locals driving in. It also has memorable artistic design elements for anyone visiting to appreciate. This doesn’t sound too exciting on the surface but it’s not always easy finding a rideshare in downtown Las Vegas. Additionally, the garage is easy to get in and out for anyone driving.
We crossed the street and the first thing inside Circa we saw was Jack Pots. Finally seeing the coffee shop with the very punny name was a highlight. Unfortunately, I only sampled the exclusive blend of coffee created for Circa. I’ll get more next time!
This was the part of the casino I was most looking forward to. I spend more time in sportsbooks than any part of a casino.
After passing a satellite Circa Sports betting desk we saw the massive sportsbook from the highest point inside the casino. The sportsbook is highlighted by a three-story tall screen. Looking down into the pit of 350 stadium seating was different. This sportsbook is designed unlike any other Las Vegas sportsbook.
From the second floor of the casino, sports fans can watch the games from a variety of locations. The best view is probably from video poker machines that surround two walls looking into the sportsbook. The Overhang Bar only has seating on three sides so guests can always have a clear view of the action. Heading past the bar, guests can watch the games while grabbing a bite a Victory Burgers and Wings.
This was just the beginning of exploring the sportsbook. The first floor of the casino offers even more video poker seats overlooking the sportsbook. Once inside the actual sportsbook, there are various levels of seating. Traditional stadium seats flank recliners and booths available to reserve.
Between the variety of viewing options and the massive screen, the Circa sportsbook is one of the best places to watch sports in Las Vegas. I watched the Dodgers win the World Series and that was cool. I can’t wait to watch teams I actually like win some big games here. The roars will echo throughout the casino.
The sportsbook is impressive. The concept is an improvement on what other casinos offer. However, there’s nothing like Stadium Swim at any other Las Vegas casino. The multi-level rooftop pool complex is absolutely breathtaking.
The rooftop pool deck has six heated pools and is open all year round. Two of the pools have swim-up bars. There are two more bars and waitresses for everyone outside of the pools to get food and drink.
There are plenty of lounge chairs, 30 cabanas plus one Super Cabana that can hold 50 people for relaxing spaces at Stadium Swim.
The rooftop pool amphitheater can hold up to 4,000 people to swim or watch a performance. The pool complex looks out to a YUGE 143 x 40-foot video screen. This will be a great open-air location to watch sports and can be a serious game-changer for watching March Madness.
The screen faces north and away from the sun so there shouldn’t be much of a problem watching the action. Those cabanas will make great seating options for when there are games to watch or just to hang out. Oh yeah, there’s also a small room with open-air gaming if anyone wants to gamble outdoors.
The Stadium Swim renderings were impressive but don’t show the scope of how impressive this venue is. The same for pictures that may look great but really can’t capture everything at the pool complex. Stadium Swim is truly is the standout venue at Circa.
Inside the Circa casino
After the 90-second escalator ride back inside the casino I decided to walk around and check the scene outside of the two big features.
Circa is the sister property of the Golden Gate casino and The D. The casinos share a players club and offer similar rules for most games. The Circa casino also plays the same music as the other properties at a similarly loud volume. I happen to love Pitbull but I heard at least five songs during my visits to the Circa.
While the casino is new and pretty it’s still a casino floor. There are 1,350 slot machines and 55 table games between the first and second levels. There are also nearly 20 electronic table games available for those who like to play without being at a table with dealers. Circa, like The D, offers cashless gaming at the tables for those that need more chips but don’t feel like walking to an ATM for money.
There are a couple of things to note. The air system is unique in that it blows air up from the floor instead of down from the ceiling. This should create cleaner, less smoky, air. There’s also a variety of art pieces throughout the casino. The most famous piece of art is the fully restored Vegas Vickie sign at the lobby bar with the same name.
Circa has good gaming rules and is certainly the prettiest casino in downtown Las Vegas.
Drinking and dining
Aside from the Golden Nugget, downtown Las Vegas casinos don’t have too many dining options. Circa has about 10 bars and restaurants for visitors. The casino feels particularly masculine and you can see that reflected in this part of the property.
Dining options include a steakhouse (Barry’s Downtown Prime), BBQ (Project BBQ) burgers (Victory Burgers and Wings), and a deli (Saginaw’s). Personally, the restaurant that excites me most is 8 East. The offshoot of the popular Le Thai restaurant in the Freemont East section of downtown Las Vegas offers a more diverse Asian dining menu than the original.
When you walk into Circa from the Fremont Street Experience you’ll see MEGA BAR. This takes the long bar concept from The D to another level. This is the longest indoor bar in Las Vegas and has 46 TV’s and 53 video poker game.
Circa has a total of five casino bars plus four outside at Stadium Swim. It’s almost impossible not to find a place to grab a drink at Circa and there’s still another bar that hasn’t opened yet. Legacy Club will open with the hotel tower in December.
Overall First Impression
Initial impressions I’ve heard have ranged from “this is amazing” to “just another casino.” In this case both can be true. Sports fans and bettors will be in love with Circa. Everything from the sportsbook to Stadium Swim is appealing. That said if someone doesn’t care about sports (gasp!) they may not be in awe. At its core, Circa is a casino and hotel with a very strong nod to sports fans (like me).
Visitors who aren’t in love with the vibe inside the casino should find some sense of awe after heading outside to Stadium Swim. This is a unique pool complex that offers an experience that isn’t found elsewhere. Frankly, it won’t be a surprise to see people visit Circa and spend the entire time at Stadium Swim.
I’m easily impressed with shiny objects. Circa is everything I hoped for and more. It’s a nice casino with some amazing elements that aren’t available elsewhere. The dining options pretty much touch on the types of food I eat – steak, sandwich, burger, BBQ, and occasionally Asian food.
Circa Sports has some of the best lines and odds but I can wager anywhere with a mobile account. The sportsbook itself has great screens and is set up to be the kind of place that will explode when we’re able to congregate in large gatherings again. This should offer the perfect sportsbook experience.
It’s rare that anything new can live up to and exceed the hype. Circa does just that for me.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.