Thursday, February 8, 2024

THE SPHERE ....................


Everything you need to know about Sphere Las Vegas, from best seats to concessions

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Sphere Las Vegas looks out over Sin City
Sphere Las Vegas looks out over Sin City

For a city that’s constantly reinventing itself, Las Vegas is never without a new attraction. From the Bellagio dancing fountains to a replica of the Eiffel Tower and incredible live shows and performances up and down the Strip, the place has a lock on entertainment. Sphere Las Vegas, one of the newest must-see sights and concert venues, encapsulates all that in one giant orb.

Attached to The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, everything about Sphere Las Vegas is mind-blowing. Touted as the world’s largest spherical structure, the electrified ball measures 516 feet wide and 366 feet tall. Covered in a wraparound, high-resolution screen, the exterior transforms into everything from a massive yellow emoji to a giant jack-o’-lantern, basketball, or blinking eyeball, thanks to 1.2 million LEDs.

It’s incredible to see from various points around the Strip (though not really from the Strip; more on that later) or when you fly into Harry Reid International Airport. Inside Sphere Las Vegas is just as astonishing. It's like a Disneyland ride meets the greatest show on Earth — a spectacle for concerts like U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere or high-def films like "Postcard From Earth."

If you’re considering a visit — and you should — here’s everything you need to know about the attraction, from getting Sphere Las Vegas tickets to where to sit for shows.

Where is Sphere located?

It's fun to see what Sphere Las Vegas turns into next from many vantage points
It's fun to see what Sphere Las Vegas turns into next from many vantage points

Sphere Las Vegas is located behind The Venetian Resort, one long block off the Strip. You can get to Sphere via a pedestrian bridge from The Venetian or access it via Sands Avenue or Westchester Drive or from the Plaza Entry on the east side of the building.

There is a parking lot, but you’ll have to buy parking with your tickets via Ticketmaster. The lot also has designated ride-share areas.

No matter how you get to it, plan on doing a lot of walking. Like everything in Las Vegas, it might look close on a map or even out your window. But once you start walking, it’s exponentially farther than you thought. If you’re staying at one of the resorts, ask hotel staff for the best way to get there.

Where can you find the best views of Sphere Las Vegas?

Someone's always watching Sphere Las Vegas
Someone's always watching Sphere Las Vegas

Because Sphere is east of the Strip, it’s become almost a sport to find the best and most unique views of the orb. You get great views when you land at the airport. If you’re driving in, you can see it from 1-215. You’ll also get a good view of Sphere Las Vegas from the Las Vegas Monorail and the High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ.

Anyone playing through at the Wynn Golf Club has prime spotting. The upper level at the Wynn's parking structure is said to be one of the best places to see it, too. You can even see it from the McDonald’s drive-thru on Paradise Road.

If you’re walking on the Strip, the towering resort buildings obstruct your view. However, if you’re staying at The Venetian or The Palazzo, you can book rooms that have stunning views of Sphere. Just remember: Like Vegas itself, Sphere never turns off. Make sure to bring those sleep eye masks!

What’s it like inside Sphere Las Vegas?

These robots hold conversations with guests in Sphere's atrium
These robots hold conversations with guests in Sphere's atrium

Watching the screen morph and change outside Sphere is one thing; seeing a show inside is another.

There are nine levels to Sphere, including a basement with a VIP lounge. In addition to the venue bowl, there’s a very cool atrium with holographic art installations, interactive robots to chat with, and a 360-degree avatar capture for the ultimate Las Vegas keepsake.

The main venue has four levels of seats, a general admission floor for concerts, plus high-dollar suites for groups. It seats 17,500 people and holds even more with standing room on the floor. What makes this a concert or movie venue like no other: Sphere's fully immersive environment and the 16K resolution LED screen — supposedly the largest in the world — that wraps up and around the audience. That equates to incredible backdrops and visuals to anything you see there.

The sound is impeccable from every seat — like wearing headphones without wearing headphones. For some events, seats have movement sensations to really “feel” the experience. You also may experience flashing lights, intense lighting, visual effects, and atmospheric simulations, like fog, scent, and wind. If any of that’s a problem, this might not be the experience for you.

How much does it cost to go to Sphere Las Vegas?

A view from "Postcards from Earth" inside Sphere Las Vegas
A view from "Postcards from Earth" inside Sphere Las Vegas

You need tickets to enter Sphere and prices vary. The Sphere Experience, which features 50 minutes of access to the atrium and the 60-minute immersive film, Darren Aronofsky’s “Postcard from Earth,” is the best way to see what it’s all about.

Tickets start at $69 per person and go up to $249 for the “Director’s Seats,” a package that includes the best seats in the house (section 306), expedited entry, a pre-show drink and snacks, and a T-shirt.

Concert tickets, like most these days, are set by the band and promoter — and they aren’t cheap. When U2 launched its U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere residency in September 2023, the cheapest tickets went for $140. Tickets for the final February and March 2024 shows start around $466, and those are for seats with an obstructed view. Resale tickets are in the thousands.

All Sphere tickets are available via Ticketmaster. You also can try resale sites like StubHub, VividSeats, and SeatGeek for the big concerts that sell out faster than you can say, “Achtung Baby.”

What are the best seats inside Sphere Las Vegas?

U2 playing inside Sphere Las Vegas is both intimate and larger than life
U2 playing inside Sphere Las Vegas is both intimate and larger than life

Almost every seat is amazing at Sphere Las Vegas. However, some have obstructed views of the screen, due to the overhang of upper levels.

If you want to get the full experience of the movie or band and the towering high-def screen, you'll want to avoid certain seats in very far right and far left sections at the 100 level. From rows 22 and higher, you'll see the stage and a large portion of the screen in front of you; the screen directly above will be obstructed. Rows 30 and higher are completely obstructed by the overhang; you'll see the stage and only a small sliver of the screen.

Seats in the 200, 300, and 400 levels are the best, and even better if you stick with sections that end in five, six, and seven. For instance, section 306, which Sphere touts as the best for “Postcards from Earth.”

Note: The seats are narrow and it gets pretty steep in the upper levels. If you’re prone to vertigo or uncomfortable walking along steep stairs, consider getting seats in the lower levels.

Can you eat and drink in Sphere Las Vegas?

Lots of food and drink options around the futuristic bars in Sphere
Lots of food and drink options around the futuristic bars in Sphere

Like any other concert or sports venue, you can't bring in outside food or beverages to Sphere. Once inside, there are plenty of beverage options, including nonalcoholic drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails. Prices range from $7 for bottled water to $20 for wine and $30 for specialty cocktails.

If you’re on a budget, do a little pre-show gambling and get free drinks at The Venetian, a USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Award winner for Best Las Vegas Casino. Not interested in buying water? Bring a clear, soft-plastic empty bottle with you and fill it up at the water fountains inside Sphere.

Food options at Sphere include typical concert fare, like chicken strips, burgers, pizza, and poke bowls. But this is Vegas — there are so many amazing restaurants to enjoy before or after the show.

Who will play at Sphere after U2?

Concerts are almost otherworldly at Sphere Las Vegas
Concerts are almost otherworldly at Sphere Las Vegas

U2 ends its residency on March 2. After that, jam band Phish plays four shows in four days in April, and Dead & Company announced a 24-show residency beginning in May. Given everything we’ve told you about Sphere Las Vegas, either show undoubtedly will deliver one of the trippiest Las Vegas experiences ever.


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