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Grand Canal Shoppes: A Magical Venetian Marketplace on the Vegas Strip

June 30, 2023

Grand Canal Shoppes gondola

The centerpiece of this luxury destination is the Grand Canal, where visitors can window shop while taking a gondola ride.

Experiential retail is on the rise, as retailers leverage immersive installations to meet consumer demand for a memorable shopping experience. But Grand Canal Shoppes in Las Vegas has been delivering high-end retail theater for decades.

Opened in 1999, the old-world marketplace is a recreation of St. Mark’s Square in Venice and features cobblestone walkways canopied with illuminated painted ceilings of clouds in a blue sky, a replica of the Venetian Gothic style Doge’s Palace, a towering 20-foot-tall olive tree installation, and a quarter-mile-long Grand Canal with authentic Venetian gondolas and a model of the Rialto Bridge.

Drawing more than 25 million visitors annually, no visit to Grand Canal Shoppes would be complete without a romantic ride through the vibrant, reimagined Venetian streetscape as gondoliers serenade you with classic Italian songs with classic Italian songs while a cast of authentically trained vocalists, musicians and visual artists bring Venice to life as they perform daily, 365 days a year, in St. Mark’s Square.

Part of our Iconic Collection of luxury retail properties, this movie set-like shopping, dining, and entertainment destination is located inside The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas. Envisioned as a tribute to the city of Venice, the resort was built with authentic materials imported from Italy and features frescoes hand-painted by Italian artists and a life size replica of Venice’s Campanile Tower. It is among a handful of top “themed” hotels that have shaped the Las Vegas landscape and built its tourist base. In 2022, direct visitor spending in Las Vegas topped $44 billion — 24.4% higher than the previous year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Catering to affluent visitors from around the world, Grand Canal Shoppes is a mecca of luxury, boasting such brands as Louis Vuitton, Breitling, Burberry, Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Montblanc, Tory Burch, and more. “In a highly dense and competitive market such as Las Vegas, I love that our leasing teams continue to curate amazing, exclusive offerings for global visitors not found anywhere else on the famous Las Vegas Strip,” says Janet LaFevre, senior marketing director at Grand Canal Shoppes. “These exclusive and first-to-market offerings include retailers such as Stuart Weitzman, Suitsupply, Shinobi Menswear, Regis Galerie, Sugarboo & Co., Spirits & Spice, and more.”

More than just a shopping center, The Shops at La Cantera is also a local culinary destination. Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, an award-winning steakhouse known for its butcher-fresh prime meat and exceptional tableside service, has been a fixture in San Antonio since 2011. Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar — named after its signature sticky toffee cake — delivers an elevated dining experience rooted in local sourcing and sustainability. Bovinos Churrascaria offers the traditional experience of the Brazilian churrasco concept, Palenque Grill serves up Mexican cuisine accompanied by live music, and Luciano Restaurant focuses on Italian favorites, including homemade marinara and pizza cooked in authentic, Napoletana-certified wood-burning ovens.

More than just a shopping destination, Grand Canal Shoppes is home to more than a dozen world-class and award-winning dining venues, where the experience is equal to the food. At the newly opened Villa Azur, guests can feast on Dover sole meunière prepared tableside while enjoying live entertainment in a grandiose party atmosphere. At estiatorio Milos, diners are treated to an experience that’s the next best option to jet-setting to a Greek island while eating fresh fish flown in daily from the Mediterranean. At Delmonico Steakhouse, the emphasis on Creole cooking inspired by Chef Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans culinary roots builds upon traditional French techniques for an extraordinary culinary adventure. And at Cañonita, patrons enjoy elevated Mexican cuisine while watching the gondolas glide by on the canal.

Grand Canal Shoppes also boasts a wealth of exclusive entertainment venues, including Flight Club Social Darts, Madame Tussauds, KAMU Ultra Karaoke (with its secret Korean BBQ kitchen inside), PanIQ Escape Room & Lounge, Sandbox VR, TAO Asian Bistro & Nightclub and the newly expanded Beach Dayclub — which features a five-acre rooftop pool deck with luxury cabanas — and Atomic Saloon Show™, an immersive, real-life saloon spectacle that plays nightly. “I fell in love with Atomic Saloon Show when we opened them in 2019,” LaFevre adds. “It is the perfect show, period.”

Employing more than 5,000 local workers, Grand Canal Shoppes is an important community venue. It hosts the official citywide ribbon cutting ceremony and celebrations for Lunar New Year, an important cultural event that draws VIPs, dignitaries, and celebrities and features a traditional Lion Dance, Lion blessings at stores, and a Golden Dragon display. Mexican Independence celebrations at Grand Canal Shoppes are equally dynamic — from the traditional “El Grito” at midnight to kick off the festivities to colorful traditional mariachis and festive decor.

Acknowledging the growing issue of food insecurity in Southern Nevada, Grand Canal Shoppes partners with local food bank Three Square to support their critical initiatives throughout the year, including Restaurant Week, when restaurant tenants contribute money back for every restaurant meal purchased. Grand Canal Shoppes also created a custom e-cookbook featuring unpublished recipes from its celebrity restaurant chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Buddy Valastro, and more. All donations go directly to Three Square.

Since its inception, Grand Canal Shoppes has been an experiential destination, but it continues to raise the bar with next-level, fully immersive programming. “Las Vegas is known for reinvention and Grand Canal Shoppes is a master of meeting the evolving market changes,” says LaFevre. “Through dedicated teams across our company, Grand Canal Shoppes has strategically and purposefully pivoted over the years from a shopping venue into a powerhouse culinary and entertainment destination, while staying true to providing best-in-class offerings. I love that guests and visitors can luxuriate in an Italian paradise, with no passport needed. I try to walk the property every day, just to remind myself how special and unique Grand Canal Shoppes is and that I get to work here every day.”

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