The Entertainment Capital of the World can be pretty overwhelming for the first-timer. Award-winning performances, nightclubs, amusement parks, art exhibits, concerts, magic shows, aquariums, circuses, outdoor adventures, and gambling only touch the surface when it comes to your options. Where do you even start with so many things to do in Las Vegas?
While the answer depends entirely on your interests, don’t forget to try something new! After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Or so they say.
Below you’ll find a list of things to do: on the Strip, off the Strip, with your family, outdoors, and for thrill-seekers.
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Things To Do On the Las Vegas Strip
While there’s an endless list of things to do on the Vegas Strip, here are a few of the more popular tourist attractions.
Although it looks like a Ferris wheel, the High Roller is technically an observation wheel. The High Roller consists of large, air-conditioned pods holding up to 40 people each. Guests of appropriate age may purchase an alcoholic beverage to take on board or choose to ride in a party pod. Party pods come equipped with a bar and a bartender.
At 550-feet tall, passengers enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the Las Vegas strip, the city, mountains are more. All ages are welcome aboard, and children under four can ride for free. The entire ride takes roughly 30-minutes.
The STRAT, formerly known as the Stratosphere, is an observation tower 1,149 feet tall. It is currently the tallest observation tower in the United States. Visitors take a ride up to the SkyPod and enjoy various activities located on different levels.
You’ll find the Top of the World revolving restaurant, a fine dining experience requiring upscale attire. Above that, you can find a café, a bar, and the SkyJump attraction, where you can jump from 829-feet in the air. And, if you’re looking for more adrenaline-pumping attractions, you can also ride a roller coaster, spin at 3 Gs, or ride the Big Shot, which shoots you straight up in the air.
Fountains of Bellagio
Perhaps one of the top free things to do in Las Vegas, the Fountains of Bellagio are a magical sight. Spanning across 1000 feet and 640 feet high, these dancing fountains are a must-see.
Other things to do at the Bellagio include shopping, dining, a Cirque du Soleil show, the Conservatory and Botanical Garden, the Gallery of Fine Art, and the Mayfair Supper Club. The Bellagio is a hotel of elegance and style and should be on your list of things to do in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Nightclubs
If you’re over the age of twenty-one and looking to go dancing at a Las Vegas, Nevada nightclub, you’re in luck! Many of the hotels have rooftops and multi-level nightclubs for partygoers to experience. Come dressed to impress because most nightclubs have a dress code. That means no sneakers, white t-shirts, holey jeans, jerseys, baseball caps, etc.
Several Las Vegas nightclubs on the Strip include:
- The Hakkasan Nightclub in the MGM Grand
- The Chateau Rooftop in Paris Las Vegas
- OMNIA Nightclub in Ceasars Palace
- XS Nightclub in the Wynn Las Vegas
- Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub in the Cromwell
Things To Do Off the Las Vegas Strip
Venture off the Las Vegas strip, and you’ll find just as many fun things to do. Check out these highly-rated off-the-strip attractions.
Fremont Street Experience
Freemont Street, also known as the old Strip, was Las Vegas’ first paved road and home to its first hotel. Today, Freemont Street is a pedestrian mall featuring many Las Vegas attractions.
The SlotZilla zip line sits 12 stories high and will let you fly through the entire length of the mall. The world’s largest digital display, Viva Vision, is a free light show every night at 6 PM. And, you can usually find a free concert at one of the three Freemont Street stages if you’re looking for some tunes.
Area15, in downtown Las Vegas, is an immersive experience venue filled with unique things to do. There are numerous virtual reality experiences, an ax-throwing lounge, an arcade bar, indoor golf simulators, ziplining, a distillery, etc. Omega Mart is a famous interactive art experience that sends you into the unknown and the unexpected. You have no idea what’s going to happen next!
Visitors, including children, can enter Area15 for free, with an access pass, until 10 PM. After 10 PM, you must pay to enter, and you must be at least twenty-one years old.
The Mob Museum formally called the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, takes you through the past and present-day dealings with the Mob. The museum has four stories of exhibits and resides in a former U.S. Post Office and Courthouse built in the 1930s. There’s a crime lab, firearm training simulator, and an operating Speakeasy. Visitors can opt for a guided tour, a distillery tour, or join a group scavenger hunt.
A non-profit organization, the Neon Museum’s mission is to collect and preserve the city’s retired neon signs. While many of the signs still function, the Neon Boneyard houses the signs that cannot be restored. The Neon Museum is open day and night, but the optimal viewing time is at night. There’s a lot of history behind those neon signs, so many people enjoy the guided tour option.
Kid-Friendly Attractions in Las Vegas
Las Vegas isn’t just for adults! There are lots of things to do in Las Vegas with kids.
SeaQuest Las Vegas
SeaQuest is an interactive aquarium with hands-on opportunities that the entire family can enjoy. Visitors can snorkel with stingrays, feed otters, experience fishy kisses, pet a wallaby, etc. The facility also functions as a rehabilitation center for injured animals. SeaQuest is a fun and educational Las Vegas attraction perfect for families traveling with children.
DISCOVERY Children’s Museum
The DISCOVERY Children’s Museum provides educational experiences for kids up to twelve in an entertaining way. Experiences cover the topics of science, technology, engineering, art, and math, also known as STEAM education.
These engaging exhibits inspire the imagination, stimulate the brain, and cultivate creativity. Parents, come prepared! Kids can easily spend several hours enjoying these interactive and hands-on exhibits.
Marvel Avenger S.T.A.T.I.O.N.
The Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is an interactive experience showcasing original props from the Marvel movies. Learn all about Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man as you move through the exhibit. Walk through Bruce Banner’s Lab, inspect Captain America’s shield and check out Iron Man’s suit. The exhibition is about an hour long and perfect for Avenger fans of all ages!
The Adventuredome is an indoor theme park located in the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino on the Strip. This kid-friendly amusement park has rollercoasters, bumper cars, swings, virtual reality rooms, an arcade, a theatre, a rock-climbing wall, indoor golf, etc.
While you’re at the Circus Circus property, check out their other entertainment options! Head to the Midway to play carnival games and watch a free circus act. There’s also a Splash Zone with swimming pools, whirlpools, and a 50-foot waterslide.
Outdoor Attractions Near Las Vegas
Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Las Vegas will appreciate the natural beauty that Nevada has to offer.
Red Rock Canyon
The Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area is the perfect day trip for anyone looking to get outdoors while visiting Las Vegas. Red Rock Canyon is in the Mojave Desert, about a 20-minute drive from Las Vegas. Guided tours on electric bikes, scooters, trikes, and even helicopters are available.
Once you arrive, you’ll embark on a 13-mile scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon. Along the way, there are numerous stops and trailheads for you to check out. There is lots of great hiking in Red Rock Canyon! And, if you enjoy rock climbing and have your gear with you, there are several opportunities for you to climb.
Valley of Fire
Another excellent day trip from Las Vegas is to the Valley of Fire State Park. The Valley of Fire is approximately 45 minutes from Las Vegas and resides in the Mojave Desert.
The Valley of Fire’s name is from red sandstone formations called the Aztec Sandstone. Millions of years ago, the shifting of sand dunes caused these formations to take shape. You’ll also stumble upon petrified trees and petroglyphs (rock carvings) from thousands of years ago.
Be sure to stop by the visitor’s center to learn more about the hiking trails before embarking. The trails are of various lengths and difficulty, so choose the one you’re comfortable completing. That is especially true during the summer when temperatures can reach the 100s.
7 Magic Mountains
The Seven Magic Mountains is an art exhibit located in Nevada’s desert, free and open to the public. The popular installation is approximately a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas. The exhibition features seven totems made up of colorfully painted boulders.
Installed in 2016, the Seven Magic Mountains were originally only to stay in Nevada for two years. However, due to its popularity, the exhibit is still around today. Of course, with most art, its symbology is up for interpretation. However, the official website states the installation symbolizes the natural and the artificial meeting.
The Hoover Dam, an incredible engineering feat, is the second-largest dam in the United States. Completed in the 1930s, the dam’s construction also created America’s largest man-made reservoir, Lake Mead. Today, the dam provides electricity for many in Nevada, Arizona, and California. Views from the Hoover Dam are breathtaking, and its history fascinating.
There are quite a few tours that you can take from Las Vegas, including bus tours, boat tours, and even helicopter tours. It takes about 40 minutes to get to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas by car. If you are interested in a power plant tour when you arrive, be sure to stop by the Visitor’s Center.
Las Vegas has some of the world’s best golf courses. When you are tired off the casinos and have seen the other sights, make you way over to one of Las Vegas’ golf courses.
Las Vegas Activities for the Adventurous
If you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping activities in Las Vegas, you won’t be disappointed!
Las Vegas Helicopter Tour
Take a Las Vegas helicopter tour if you’re looking to take in all the views. Flying over the Las Vegas Strip at night is simply magnificent! Imagine flying over the Strip, at night, with all those elaborate neon signs. Most tours are around 10-15 minutes long and are reasonably priced.
Another popular option? Take a helicopter ride from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon! You may even pass over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, depending on your tour. This ride typically takes around 40 minutes. If you’re visiting Las Vegas from across the country and have never been to the Grand Canyon, this is your chance!
Skydiving in Las Vegas
Vacationers looking for adrenaline-pumping fun can experience Las Vegas falling from above. Those daring enough to jump out of a plane can do so at several locations in and around Las Vegas, including the Las Vegas Skydiving Company, Skydive Las Vegas, and Sin City Skydiving.
Some facilities allow children of a certain weight and height to fly, while others require a certain age, so be sure to call ahead. And for those who aren’t ready to free-fall, you can experience indoor skydiving at the Vegas Indoor Skydiving center.
Racing Experiences in Las Vegas
If you’re a NASCAR fan, you’ll want to check out the Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR experience. You can either choose to drive a car yourself or go on a NASCAR ride-along with a professional driver. Imagine flying around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 170 mph!
There are lots of options to drive an exotic car around the speedway. So if you’ve ever wanted to drive a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mclaren, or another type of race car, this is the experience for you. With this option, you typically pay by the number of laps taken. However, if you’re a more seasoned driver, you can opt to take a few lessons from an instructor and have your drive analyzed!
Las Vegas ATV Tour
If taking an ATV ride out on the dunes of the Mojave Desert is more your speed, try a Las Vegas ATV tour! Other options include a tour of Lake Mead National Park, the Valley of Fire State Park, or the Spring Mountains. And if you aren’t comfortable driving an ATV, some tour companies offer an ATV ride-along. Either way, you’ll enjoy a thrilling ride and gorgeous views of Nevada’s outdoors.
Getting to Las Vegas
Southwest Airlines has the most flights to and from Las Vegas. Fly in and skip the slot machines in the airport and lounge areas. Go straight to your hotel and relax.
It’s a common misconception that you should only go to Vegas if you like casinos. With so many things to do in Las Vegas, you can easily see why it is referred to as the Entertainment Capital of the World! Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or as a family, Las Vegas is a vacation destination that will accommodate just about anyone.
This post by Alexandrea Sumuel of Wander with Alex originally appeared on Savoteur, and was republished with permission.
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