Welcome to the world’s longest toga party.
For 50 years, one empire has ruled the Las Vegas Strip. In a city of change, Caesars Palace has remained a pillar of extravagance; an iconic fixture in the place where implode-with-the-old, in-with-the-new is always in fashion.
How has Caesars continued its legendary reign in Las Vegas? By staying fresh, and always going big.
What began as a 680-room, 14-story resort on Aug. 5, 1966, has evolved into its current six-tower, 4,000-room masterpiece. Earlier this year, the reincarnated Julius Tower debuted its chic 587-room look at a cost of $75 million, part of a $1 billion overall re-imagination of the landmark resort.
The storied history of Caesars Palace is filled with countless unforgettable moments. Some highlights as we celebrate five decades of Las Vegas glory:
The motorcycle jumps: A little more than a year after opening its doors, Evel Knievel brought attention and fame to the lavish fountains in front of the resort by attempting a daredevil motorcycle jump on New Year’s Eve. His 141-foot aerial attempt came up short, however, crashing and sending Knievel skidding across the street into the Dunes parking lot. He suffered numerous injuries and a concussion that kept him in the hospital for a month. Twenty-two years later, Robbie Knievel, Evel’s son, successfully completed the fountain jump.
The mystique: Caesars was so far ahead of the curve, it embodied the spirit of “What happens here, stays here®,” long before that became the slogan synonymous with Las Vegas.
Prior to the days of cellphone cameras and social media, Caesars Palace would politely ask its patrons entering the casino not to take photos. It was simply an extension of the resort’s exclusive nature − if you wanted to have that look inside the coolest resort on Earth, you had to go there in person.
The mayhem: Who can forget the championship fight between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield in November 1993, interrupted by “Fan Man,” a parachutist who attempted to land in the ring during the seventh round. The lines of his paraglider got hung up in the overhead lights, causing him to land just outside the ring in the crowd. The fight was delayed for 21 minutes and, ironically, some of the best punches of the night were thrown during the delay as Fan Man was beaten unconscious at ringside
The music: From Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams and Cher to Celine Dion, Elton John and more, the biggest performers have called Caesars home over the years. Sinatra did more than just headline there. In 1981, he paid $500,000 for a background check to become the resort’s Vice President of Entertainment.
The movies: Caesars has also been a fixture in cinema, shown in such classics as History of the World, Part 1 (1981), Rocky III (1982), Rain Man (1988), Austin Powers (1997), Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and The Hangover (2009), to name a few.
The main events: Caesars also quickly became known as the home for championship boxing and other major sports and entertainment events. Over the years, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Oscar de la Hoya and others have all fought at the fabled resort. Caesars Palace also remains the only Las Vegas facility to host a Wrestlemania (IX, April 1993).
The mall: The Forum Shops at Caesars debuted in January 1992 and quickly became one of the top shopping destinations on Earth. In fact, it’s eclipsed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills as the highest grossing mall in the United States. The mall includes more than 270 retailers, gourmet restaurants and bars.
The memories: From a blonde Cleopatra in a toga welcoming guests on its grand opening, to boxing legend Joe Louis serving as a greeter to patrons in the 1970s, to the construction of The Colosseum and the more recent addition of celebrity chef-inspired restaurants, resident shows like Absinthe and the pulsating Omnia Nightclub, Caesars Palace has been creating memories since its inception.
Here’s to the next 50 years. Hail, Caesars!