When you think about Caesars Palace Las Vegas, the last part of the massive casino and resort complex that comes to mind is the attached mall. However, the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is a surprisingly good place to eat, drink and be merry. The shops are also one of the best free attractions and places to shop on the Vegas Strip.
A Little History
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is a 636,000-square-foot shopping mall that was built as an extension of the property in 1992. The initial version of the Forum Shops was much smaller than the mall you’ll find today. When it first opened the Forum Shops were only 280,000 square feet. In 1997 the mall almost doubled in size as it expanded by 500,000 square feet. The most recent expansion in 2002 added another 200,000 square feet to the Forum Shops.
Today’s Forum Shops has a massive mall which features a spiral escalator, fountains, water features, one of three Apple stores on Las Vegas Boulevard and plenty more retail outlets, restaurants and bars. You can see a full list of stores currently at the Forum Shops on Simon.com (the actual operator of the mall). (Full list of Forum Shops – pdf file)
Why Visit The Caesars Palace Forum Shops
The Forum Shops are always crowded. There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost, the mall is large and free. The attractions like the new Fall of Atlantis animatronic show and giant 50,000-gallon aquarium (and air conditioning) are available the everyone at no charge. Further, the architecture in the Forum Shops is unlike anything you’ll find in Las Vegas.
All of this comes in appealing to all people and especially families. People under 21 aren’t allowed on the casino floor or bars so there are only a limited number of free attractions for families on the Vegas Strip. Since older teens and those close to the gambling age can take care of themselves you’ll often see a ton of children at the Forum Shops. Like, a ton of children. Las Vegas might be a Disney for adults but there are still a lot of people who bring children.
Personally, this is probably why I often forget about how great the The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace can be for an adult. A recent trip to Caesars Palace brought me to the Forum Shops. I was reminded of how many good and enjoyable businesses there are here.
The first stop took me to one of my favorite bars in the mall. My first legit cigars (not Swisher Sweets) were all smoked at Casa Fuente. This cigar bar in the far north end of the mall has a great selection of cigars. They also offer great mojitos, underrated sangria, excellent espresso and has recently expanded their whiskey line.
Casa Fuente actually has some exclusive whiskey blends that are created just for them. Since I’m always looking for something different, I tried their special blend of Kavalan whiskey from Taiwan. I loved this sherry cask whiskey almost as much as a glass of Macallan (also from a sherry cask). You can’t find this whiskey anywhere else in the world, let alone elsewhere in Las Vegas. Besides great smokes, this specific blend of Kavalan (it’s significantly better than the traditional blend) is worth wading through slow moving tourists and families to enjoy.
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant
The trip to the Forum Shops wasn’t finished after having a few drinks at Casa Fuente. The next stop was for Happy Hour/lunch at Carmine’s Italian restaurant. This is a small chain of restaurants that originated in New York City and has a handful of locations outside of the original. I go way back with Carmines. I’ve enjoyed many good times at the Times Square location. That location is one of the best places to dine with a large party in midtown Manhattan. The food is consistent across every outlet of the restaurant.
The Las Vegas location for Carmine’s is massive with multiple levels and private rooms. The family style dishes are as good as they are in the New York locations. However, this visit was for Happy Hour, so the portions should have been dialed back. They weren’t.
When entering Carmine’s you see a large and beautiful bar. This is home to their excellent Happy Hour(s). From 2pm-6pm and 9:30-close you can enjoy discounts on “small” plates and drinks. This is a family style restaurant, so the plates may not be so small.
Check out that massive pile of fried zucchini which was $8. The plate of meatball sliders was also $8 and the focaccia was so delicious that we ordered a second. Other Happy Hour dishes are between $6 and $10 (see menu here). A variety of drinks are $5 or $7 (see menu here). A single Peroni beer was enough after what was probably too much whiskey at Casa Fuente.
A Vegassy Day
This was a typical day in Las Vegas. Afternoon cocktails turned into an early happy hour which (I think) became dinner. This afternoon flowed into an epic evening of Pai Gow and Scotch at The Cromwell. If I remembered everything it would be a story for another time.
Special days like this happen every day in Las Vegas. However, my special days in Las Vegas don’t often start at a mall. Sometimes some of the most popular attractions in Las Vegas become popular for a reason. The Forum Shops aren’t just a place to bring the kids because there’s nothing else to do with them. It really does have something for everyone.
Header Photo: Caesars Entertainment other photographs ©2016 Marc Meltzer
More about Caesars Palace:
My First Visit To Montecristo Vegas Cigar Bar At Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace Is Celebrating Its 50th Anniversary All Year Long
Finding A Classic: Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace
Caesars Total Rewards | Seven Stars Insider: Here’s What You Can Learn
FoundersCard Benefits | Caesars Total Rewards Diamond Status
Hotel Review | Deluxe King Nobu Hotel At Caesars Palace
Hotel Review | The Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace
Preview | The Julius Tower at Caesars Palace