Burning Man meets EDC inside this mysterious arts district
Looking for a thrill this weekend? Skip the Strip and take a trip to Area 15.
Area 15 is an entertainment venue filled with striking art, immersive experiences, eclectic shops and a variety of engaging activities. Most locals by now are familiar with Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, the Van Gogh experience and even Oddwood Bar. Yet there’s a lot more interesting tidbits about this mysterious place when a keen eye takes notice.
Do we really know everything there is to know about this far-out vortex? Staying curious is the key to unlocking new tips and finding “Easter Eggs” around town. We’ve done our homework and we’ve uncovered some insider info that will level up your next visit to Area 15.
• In love with one of the art sculptures? Many of the pieces displayed on Art Island and inside the venue are purchasable.
• In case you were wondering, Area 15 and Meow Wolf are not the same. Area 15 is an arts district with many separately-owned immersive exhibitions. Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart is one of them.
• Area 15 is constantly expanding on its 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. It’s most recent attraction being an “imbibe and ride” LIFTOFF experience adjacent to Art Island.
1. Play with Oddwood’s Tree Lights
Area 15 offers many virtual reality experiences (VR), but there’s one game you’ll want to win for a unique prize – Particle Quest. For this VR quest, guests use an augmented reality device to investigate the peculiar backstory of Area 15. This wild trip includes discovering the nano-particles activated by the architecture and art in the building. But there’s something not everyone knows about.
If you win Particle Quest, you get to control the LED lighting on Oddwood’s 25-foot maple tree, which has more than 50,000 programmed lights. The tree is one of the most eye-catching art installations in Oddwood, an open-space bar.
2. Find a Hidden Bar inside Omega Mart
Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart is like “Stranger Things” meets Adult Swim. Behind the peculiar grocery store lies another dimension including a hidden bar – Datamosh. Hint: It’s on the other side of the pharmacy. The secret bar includes up to 58 seats. This Omega Mart commodity serves whimsical cocktails like The Source.
The Source is a mixed cocktail with mezcal, Lillet Blanc, shiso, tarragon syrup and citrus. The drink is served with a smoke filled bubble. When it pops, a soothing rosemary aroma is released. This smoky cocktail conjures up Instagram-worthy content.
Local Tip: If you enjoy Datamosh, check out Lost Spirits Distillery. It has been dubbed as the “Willy Wonka of Booze” by Playboy Magazine. The imaginative interior designs are full of photo-ops to add a dash of fantasy to your social media feed.
3. Shift Perspectives at Pulse Portal
Although over a quarter of a million people have seen Davis McCarty’s Pulse Portal sculpture in person, it’s likely that none of them saw it the same way. This 20-foot archway gleams iridescent light that oscillates depending on how you look at the piece. Built with dichroic filters, the Portal becomes a chameleon that has the power to assemble in 20 different ways.
Art Island also features El Scorcho, a 13-foot fire breathing dragon; Giant Disco, a jumbo mirrorball; Omah, a grandiose owl; and In Every Lifetime I Will Find You, 25-foot tall steel sculpture of a couple with mirrored exterior.
4. Check out a Giant Robot with Cryptic Messages
Speaking of art, there’s another piece that’s just as mind blowing, which is Tyler Fuqua’s creation Mechan 9. This art piece is a giant fallen robot, a puzzling desert relic, that found a home in Area 15. When visitors take a good, hard look, they will notice it is covered with an unknown language. To crack the code, first find the decoder key on the robot. Second, use the key to decipher the alien script on the robot.
Local Tip: Did you see the coordinates on the side of the property? Those aren’t as random as they may appear. They are the actual coordinates of the location of the property.
5. Accessorize at Wild Muse Boutique
Wild Muse Boutique, which recently reopened inside of Area 15, is a cute shop packed with locally-made and hand-crafted items. From vivid, fluffy coats to dazzling face chains, it is a one-stop shop for festival-goers, ravers, healing crystals and more. Were you wondering what a face chain is?
Jewelry designer and “Burner” (Burning Man Festival-goer), Ipek Goldberg, creates ornate chains that stretch across the face under the eyes. Each end of the chain is adorned with feathers, charms or crystals. They dangle like a pair of earrings as the chain falls behind the ears.
Many of these unique jewelry pieces are made with different materials each time. Don’t pass up a face chain if you see one that you like because it might not be available the next time you stop by.
6. Order The Kraken Burger
Wandering around Area 15, it’s no surprise that visitors work up an appetite. The Beast by Todd English (He is a four-time James Beard winner) serves a mouthwatering selection of BBQ, vegan and yes, burgers. But one of their burgers isn’t like the rest – The Kraken. As the name implies, this one is “The Beast.”
Come hungry because The Kraken is five beef patties layered with five slices of cheese, grilled onions, tomatoes, Te sauce (housemade sauce) topped with a mini Octo Dog.
Local Tip: Fix a sweet craving by ordering a Vanilla Bean Speck from the ice cream shop, Emack & Bolio’s. Then, head over to the retro candy shop, Rocket Fizz. Buy a bottled root beer. Combine them together to create a tasty root beer float.
7. Ride LIFTOFF For An Intoxicating View
Earlier this month, a new lounge and ride opened at Area 15 – LIFTOFF. Unlike most rides, this is one where guests may take a drink with them. The ride flies guests up 130 feet to give riders a 360-degree view of Las Vegas. At the base of the ride, there is a lounge with a full bar. Patrons may take their drink with them on the ride. It’s also a family-friendly attraction, but kids must be at least 42-inches tall to go on the ride. LIFTOFF is adjacent to Art Island at Area 15.
Local Tip: Be sure to check the weather before heading over to this attraction. During the winter time, Vegas does get chilly. The entire experience is set outside, bundle up to stay warm.
8. Take An Indoor Golf Lesson
Upstairs in Area 15, there are more attractions, including Five Iron Golf. This is an indoor golf simulator with professional teachers, a full bar and event space. Individuals or groups may book lessons to learn how to play. All of the lessons include metric and video analysis on Trackman simulators. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., golfers may reserve a lesson with a pro. They also have leagues and host tournaments.
Fun Fact: Five Iron Golf’s technology is so advanced that it can capture a player’s club head’s speed, path and face angle as they swing.
9. Battle Zombies in Las Vegas
Fans of Zack Snyder’s post-apocalyptic zombie invasion set in Las Vegas is an adventure you won’t want to miss: Army of the Dead: Viva Las Vengeance. This is a VR experience based on the Netflix movie “Army of the Dead.”
Players are transported to a military base where their mission is to save Las Vegas civilians from zombies. In the game, players ride around in a taco truck with their weapon while on a mission to rescue survivors. This VR experience lasts about 30 minutes. Do you think you will make it out alive?
10. Watch a Sexy Show in The Portal
Area 15 has adult entertainment, too. Besides the bars, there is also a steamy dance show – Rated Red. According to their website, the show features a diverse cast performing everything “from intense, edgy dance numbers to wildly powerful pole performances.”
What also makes this show different from other burlesque performances in town is that it is shown in The Portal. This space is a more intimate setting that includes 360-degree projection-mapped walls. For Rated Red, they also offer a bottle service option. Area 15 tapped into the sexy side of Vegas for this production.