A shopping spree at the Forum Shops is one of those events you’d see in the movies, after the hero has beat the house and wants to spend his casino winnings. He steps off the carpeted casino floor through the 48-foot Roman archway and onto the bright, cold, marble floor, surrounded by enormous columns and stone carvings, a painted blue sky on the domed ceiling. A statue of the goddess Fortuna smiles down at our hero, welcoming him and his money. Cue the montage of luxury brand storefronts: John Varvatos, Gucci, Louboutin, Fendi, Henri Bendel, Ferragamo.
For those of us who haven’t hit the Megamillions progressive, it’s still easy to appreciate the glory of the Forum Shops, the 675,000 square feet of retail space that set the tone for the Vegas shopping experience when it opened in 1992. It’s not just high-end stores, but also an elaborate maze with fantastic details. Many just walk through to see the sights.
And those sights are pretty swell. The three-story annex with an entrance directly on Las Vegas Boulevard features arched, cathedral ceilings with frescos painted on them, acres of marble columns, and one of the few spiral escalators in the world. Look for the silly but fun “Fall of Atlantis,” a fountain display in the Roman Great Hall with animatronic statues of gods that spring to life for 11 minutes every hour, on the hour. The show got an upgrade in 2013, so gone are Bacchus, Apollo and Venus, replaced with more lifelike (sort of) statues than the previous ones and an updated story that pits the children of Atlas, Gadrius and Alia, against each other. The multi-sensory experience is completed with 14 LED screens playing video elements relevant to the story, pyrotechnics, and 40
speakers in a surround sound system so powerful it reverberates in your chest as you feel the gods’ wrath.
Even if you don’t have Ferragamo money, there are still plenty of middle-of-the road retail options to enact your own shopping spree, like the largest H&M in the United States, Banana Republic, All Saints, and Diesel.
If all this window-shopping makes you peckish, you have the choice of Vegas-classic Spago, old-school steak house The Palm, or modern sushi from Sushi Roku.
The majority of the shops are open Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 11pm, and Friday and Saturday from 10am to midnight.
- Grace Bascos