By Tess Eyrich | April 8, 2016 | Lifestyle
Just in time for the grand opening of MGM’s new T-Mobile Arena, we tapped Rick Arpin, senior vice president of entertainment and development at MGM Resorts International, to share 10 insider tips for getting the most out of your visit.
1. How early should I plan on arriving?
“Plan ahead, come early, and stay late,” Arpin advises. It’s best to arrive at least an hour before your event to take care of parking, entering the arena, and finding your seat.
2. How do I get to T-Mobile Arena?
If you’re walking from any of the resorts on the Strip, use the New York-New York’s Big Apple Coaster as a reference point. If you’re driving, the best way to get to the arena and its parking garages is via Frank Sinatra Drive, but Arpin also recommends accessing the arena using the free Aria Express Tram that connects to Bellagio, the Shops at Crystals/Aria, and the Monte Carlo. “The arena is very centrally located, so if you were to park at Bellagio, you can just take the tram from Bellagio to the Monte Carlo,” Arpin adds. “It’s about a 10-minute trip from Bellagio, and most of it doesn’t even involve walking because you’re on a tram.”
3. Where do I park?
There are two places to park on site—the New York-New York garage and the Monte Carlo/Aria garage—and both are accessible via Frank Sinatra Drive. To park in either garage, you’ll have to reserve a spot in advance for $10, or pay $20 on the day of the event. Prefer to valet? Plan on heading to a neighboring resort for that. “We do offer VIP drop-off options—one on each side—but those are for limos, resort shuttles, and people who have reserved suites in the arena,” Arpin says. “We’re also really encouraging using taxis, Uber, and Lyft.”
4. Is there anything to do while I wait for my event to start?
“I think locals owe it to themselves to come over early just to wander around and check everything out,” Arpin says. Outside the arena, explore MGM’s new Park and grab a bite at nearby eateries Beerhaus, Bruxie, California Pizza Kitchen, or Sake Rok. Also look out for pre-show live entertainment and street performers in Toshiba Plaza, the sprawling open space in front of the arena’s main entrance. “For something like the Professional Bull Riders World Finals, we’ll also do a fan village in Toshiba Plaza with interactive stations and merchandise to enjoy a few hours before the show,” Arpin adds.
5. What’s the most over-the-top experience I can have at the arena?
Picture this: After entering the arena through a private entrance, you’d be whisked away to one of eight $1-million-a-year Event Level Suites, which feature private bars and two-way mirrors that provide glimpses of performers just before they take the stage—that is, if all eight suites weren’t already sold out for the year. Take consolation in the fact that the next class of Luxury Suites comes with in-room kitchenettes, banquette-style seating for 16 guests, and 12 tickets for every T-Mobile Arena event, at a cost of $200,000 a year.
6. What if I’m a T-Mobile user?
Be sure to take advantage of perks including a fast-pass entrance line and dedicated charging stations. Say Arpin, “We eventually also hope to build some app functionality to order food and beverages.”
7. What if I get hungry inside the arena?
Your options won’t be limited. “There are plenty of food and beverage options on the concourses,” Arpin says, “including a Shake Shack, Pizza Forte by our friends at Ferraro’s, and several concepts from Levy Restaurants, like a wok station and a poke bar.” Also available to the public are hand-carved sandwiches, herb-roasted sausages, and the usual hot dogs and popcorn. Suite holders, meanwhile, have access to custom catering menus that’ll be periodically updated.
8. Where can I get a drink?
Most of the arena’s standard concession stands offer curated beer selections and the building’s signature cocktail, the magenta-hued Atomic Fizz (vodka, Aperol orange liqueur, agave nectar, and prickly pear purée). Suite guests are treated to luxe amenities like a mojito cart, while Event Level Suite holders actually get to meet with property mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim to design their own custom cocktail programs (all suite classes also enjoy private lounges sponsored by Bud Light, Jack Daniel’s, and Patrón, among others). For a more club-like experience, head upstairs to Hyde Lounge, where all ticket holders can take advantage of the space’s top-floor views, bottle service, and two spectacular triangular lounges that jut out over the bowl, the Grey Goose Nest and Stella Artois Loft.
9. Is there anything to do after my event ends?
Much like its sister location inside the Staples Center, T-Mobile Arena’s 18,000-square-foot Hyde Lounge will stay open hours after most events end to accommodate guests who aren’t quite ready to ditch the action. “Hyde has a DJ booth and its own curtain up there, so it’ll have its own post-event music when the guys are cleaning up down on the main stage,” Arpin says. “You’ll be able to skip most of the lines at other clubs on the Strip by heading over to Hyde right after the show.” Need some fresh air? The Park is technically open all night, and many of the restaurants surrounding it plan to tailor their hours to make sure they’re still open after events end, too.
10. Where can I snap the best selfie?
In Arpin’s expert opinion: “The triangular Tower Clubs on either side of Hyde, and in front of the glass wall that faces the Strip so you can get all the city lights behind you.”
PHOTOGRAPHY VIA MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL