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The Linq: A new Center Strip district fills a Vegas void with shopping, dining and more

The Linq: A new Center Strip district fills a Vegas void with shopping, dining and more
Designed to give today's Vegas trippers a unique experience, the pedestrian-friendly Linq has an energized neighborhood vibe. (Denise Truscello)

Vegas has found its center.

The Linq, a new dining, shopping and nightlife district, opens this month at the very heart of the Vegas Strip. Facing Caesars Palace, between The Quad Resort and Casino and Flamingo Las Vegas, and framed by the world's tallest observation wheel, this open-air development offers visitors a fresh view, literally and figuratively, on Las Vegas.

Designed to give today's Vegas trippers a unique experience, the pedestrian-friendly Linq has an energized neighborhood vibe with al fresco dining, live entertainment and imaginative common-area happenings.

"The Vegas market is changing. It's getting younger. People are interested in doing more than just gambling," said Jon Gray, general manager of The Linq. "It fills a void in the marketplace where before there was really no true great bar-hopping, nightlife, dining and entertainment experience all in one location."

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The Linq, which unveiled its first phase in December, features more than 30 unique venues — 70% of which are eateries and bars, and 30% of which are retail and entertainment.

The complex is home to the first Sprinkles Cupcakes in Vegas and the largest Kitson lifestyle boutique to date. Celebrated music venue Brooklyn Bowl (declared "one of the most incredible places on earth" by Rolling Stone) has opened its first U.S. location outside of its eponymous hometown at The Linq. The Purple Zebra is a fun self-serve daiquiri bar. And The Linq also holds the Polaroid Fotobar, letting customers turn their favorite snaps into unique shadowboxes, art pieces and home décor, as well as housing the Polaroid Museum.

"We wanted people to be able to explore and find new things that they don't have in their home town," Gray said.

Even household names get a twist at The Linq. The Yard House, with its massive two-level patio, is one of the most expansive incarnations of the beer-centric eatery anywhere. The much-loved O'Shea's Casino, which was imploded to make way for The Linq in 2012, has been lovingly reincarnated inside the connected Quad Resort & Casino.

All of this is situated gracefully under a 550-foot-tall observation wheel, the Las Vegas High Roller, a stunning new Strip landmark set to open later this spring. Soaring more than 100 feet higher than the legendary London Eye, the 28 cabins of this engineering masterpiece will offer a new perspective on the neon city below.

"It's a marvel; it truly is," Gray said. "It's just incredible to watch people's reactions to it as they get up close and personal with the wheel."

Behind the High Roller, a 19-acre festival space will host its debut event, the ACM Party for a Cause Festival headlined by Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban on April 4 and 5. Gray said the area could also accommodate everything from boxing matches to tailgate parties.

"You could really start your day at The Linq, spend the afternoon at The Linq, or you can end your day at The Linq," Gray said. "Or you could have all of those experiences."

Whichever part of your day you choose to spend at The Linq, it's sure to change how you view Las Vegas.

—Paul Rogers, Brand Publishing Writer