If our recent trip to Meow Wolf Omega Mart made you eager to learn more about Area15, we’ve got the lowdown on LIFTOFF and the other elevating attractions available at the hottest new entertainment destination in Las Vegas.
There’s no charge to enter Area15, although you’ll need either a paid admission to one of its tenants or a free timed entry ticket (available on the website or at the door). Before entering the massive 200,000-square-foot main building, be sure to check out the outdoor gallery of sculptures, especially the Iron Giant-esque Mechan9 robot, whose head conceals the key to decoding a secret message.
Once past the spaceship-like entry portal, a half-dozen art exhibits are free to peruse, highlighted by the “Flux Capacitor” art car and projection-mapped “Shogyu Mujo” skull sculpture.
When you get hungry, there’s The Beast, a barbecue-focused hall featuring a menu created by celebrity chef Todd English, as well as the Emporium video arcade/cocktail lounge, along with numerous bars, including one dubbed Oddwood built around a towering illuminated maple tree covered in color-changing leaves.
With more than 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, Area15 is also becoming a destination for concerts (which may be separately ticketed) and pop-up promotional “activations,” like the party held in 2022 for K-Pop superstars BTS.
Lost Spirits at Area15
The second-best headliner at Area15—or first, depending on your thirst for rum—is Lost Spirits, an immersive walk-through circus inside an operating distillery. After checking in at the main building, participants are led outside across the complex, where they are welcomed with a snifter of white grog, the first of five shots included in the tour.
Inside lies an ominously underlit Victorian village, with a winding maze of steampunk streets concealing four watering holes (including a spectacular Nautilus-inspired submarine lounge that serves as the tour’s finale) where additional samples can be obtained.
Start in the jazz club if you wish to take an educational tour of the distilling operation, or visit Admiral Nelson’s bar at the top of the hour to join the progressive sideshow, as a magical emcee leads observers to contortionists, tango dancers, and aerialists who appear throughout the labyrinth.
Also look for a secondary stage where knife balancers and burlesque dancers perform on the half hour.
Be forewarned that the straight rums you’re served are fairly strong; mixed drinks and some small snacks are sold, but you should eat before entering. Tickets for the 2-hour experience start at $74 ($49 for the scaled-down afternoon magic shows), and there’s no discount for non-drinkers. You can save a few bucks with a limited access pass that only gets you the distillery tour and samples, but we think the world-class live entertainment is what makes visiting Lost Spirits worthwhile.
Illuminarium Las Vegas
Also located just outside Area15’s main building is the Illuminarium, a 10,000-square-foot L-shaped room; its bare walls and floor become canvases for dozens of vivid 4K laser projectors. Depending on the seasonally rotating program being shown, visitors can become immersed in the African veldt or the vastness of outer space.
The photo-realistic visuals are augmented by holographic surround-sound, haptic vibrating floors, and even scent effects. We were especially impressed with the Planet Earth-quality nature photography in the Wild safari show, which features life-size animal imagery that entrances kids.
The 45-minute films loop continuously, and you can exit whenever you want. Seating is available on padded benches, but you are encouraged to move around and take photos (without flash). Tickets start at $29 for adults ($24 for kids age 3-12); all ages are welcome, except during designated “after dark” showings.
Lumin Cafe & Kitchen, a creative contemporary restaurant run by James Beard Award-nominated husband-wife team Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau, is attached to the venue.
LIFTOFF at Area15
You can’t miss spotting LIFTOFF when you approach Area15, as the tethered balloon ride from Aerophile towers up to 130 feet above the complex. Because the surrounding pylons stabilize and raise the 16-passenger circular platform that riders are strapped into, the 7-minute experience feels more like going up and down in a slowly rotating elevator, rather than the free-floating sensation a traditional hot-air balloon provides. (In fact, the balloon itself is basically just for show and can be removed in bad weather.)
Flights cost $10 before 6 p.m. for ages 13 and up (under 13 are free with the purchase of an adult ticket), or $15 after 6 p.m. Riders must be at least 42” to ride with an adult, or 48” tall to ride alone. You can’t bring bags, and your phone must be tethered with a provided leash, but you are allowed to bring up drinks from the bar at the base.
The view isn’t all that impressive by day; save the trip for sunset or nighttime, when DJs generate a party atmosphere.
Preview the LIFTOFF experience by watching our video of the ride up:
More Area15 Attractions
Joining these major draws at Area15 are nearly a dozen other smaller attractions, including a number of virtual reality and augmented reality experiences: Army of the Dead zombie shooting, Virtualis free-roaming VR, OZ Ride seated VR game, Birdly avian flight simulator (birdly.com), and the Particle Quest smartphone-based scavenger hunt. More physical attractions to be found include Dueling Axes, where non-lumberjacks can enjoy flinging forestry tools at wooden targets with no flannel required; Five Iron Golf, an indoor driving range and clubfitter with alcohol; and Haley’s Comet, an electric-powered “rollglider” zipline that—at its blistering top speed of 6.8 miles per hour—only takes about 1 minute to circumnavigate its track around the ceiling of the complex’s central spine.
If the only body part you want to give a workout is your imagination, Wink World is a modern-day funhouse featuring six trippy kinetic sculptures, made of stretching Slinkys, glowing plasma globes, infinity mirrors, and the like.
Created by Blue Man Group co-founder Chris Wink, the percussive original music and pseudo-philosophical narration that accompanies each diorama makes this 15-minute walk-through experience strongly resemble a Reader’s Digest version of his former gig, minus the live performers.
Right next door is Museum Fiasco, a mirrored room filled with intense strobe lights and pounding techno music that’s probably best appreciated with chemical enhancement; epileptics (and anyone who cherishes their sensory organs) should avoid.
The Portal, in the rear of the complex, is a multiuse event space with floor-to-ceiling projections (similar to the Illuminarium) used to present immersive exhibitions of artwork by Vincent van Gogh and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Area15 is open Monday, noon-1 a.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, noon-midnight; Friday, noon-2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.-midnight; hours for individual attractions may vary. It is open to all ages during the day but restricted to guests age 21 and older after 10 p.m.; there is a $15 entry fee ($10 if purchased in advance) after 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays only, which is waived with a pre-booked experience or event ticket. Admission to each individual attraction is separately ticketed, but there are various combination passes that include 4-9 selected experiences for $49-$139; the bundle that includes Omega Mart is only valid after after 7 p.m.
Expect to spend at least 2–3 hours here; double that if exploring Meow Wolf. Parking is free at the complex, off I-5 at Desert Inn Road, with the “locals” lot near the west entrance providing easy access. Note that this location is out of walking range of the Strip and navigating by car is tricky, so you’ll want to hail a cab or ride share.
For all there is to see and do in Las Vegas, check out The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas by Bob Sehlinger and Seth Kubersky. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.