The Entertainment Capital of the World, Sin City and the Marriage Capital of the World – all these nicknames refer to Las Vegas, to most probably the most exciting city in the United States of America. Another nickname and one that is very apt is the City That Never Sleeps because the city really comes to life once the lights go on, and the casinos stay open around the clock.
But there is much more to do in Las Vegas than hanging out in casinos and bars; The city is home to a number of unconventional museums worth a visit, spas where you can go to recharge and sports and experiences that will take your breath away.
In no particular order of importance, this list will give you a good idea of what to expect and to plan your visit to the largest city in the Mojave Desert in the State of Nevada.
1. Las Vegas Strip
If you want to know where to go, start your Las Vegas experience by exploring the famous Strip, also known as the heart and soul of the city.
The 4.2-mile stretch called the Vegas Strip is part of South Las Vegas Boulevard and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. When strolling or driving along with it, you will feel the excitement building when you see what is in store in this mesmerizing city.
It is home to the Adventuredome, an indoor amusement park, shops and malls, theatres and nightclubs and The Park, a fairly new addition to the Strip, with brick walkways leading to the T-Mobile Arena.
You will see the water fountains at Bellagio, the volcano at The Mirage and other famous casinos like Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, and The Venetian.
It is exceptionally beautiful at night when the millions of neon signs light up the city, but whenever you go do not forget to take a picture under the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada neon sign!
2. Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street used to be a typical Las Vegas street with plenty of well-known neon signs and grand casino entrances until it was turned into a pedestrian mall in 1966.
It became known as the Fremont Street Experience and was covered in 2004 with what is called a Viva Vision canopy. The canopy features nearly 12 million LED lights and stretches over four blocks. From dusk and on the hour light and sound shows to entertain visitors, but the music never stops; In-between these shows music plays continuously on a powerful sound system that covers the whole area.
See the world’s largest slot machine called Slotzilla, and if you are adventurous enough fly the zip-line from the 12-story tower at its top through the Fremont Street Experience.
Visit the massive shark aquarium inside the Golden Nugget Casino and the Neon Museum where more than 200 iconic Las Vegas neon signs are preserved and stored.
3. The Stratosphere Hotel, Casino and Skypod
Both a hotel and casino the Strat features an observation tower which is the tallest structure in Las Vegas, the State of Nevada and second tallest in the Western-Hemisphere.
Take a ride to the top of the tower, called the Sky Pod, with its two observation decks, a revolving restaurant, and rides which promise to cause the adrenaline rush of a lifetime, 800 – 1000 feet above the Strip!
Thrill-seekers can choose between the Big Shot which shoots you 160 feet up in the air at 45 mph, Insanity on which you spin and dangle from the tower or take the X-scream roller-coaster ride like no other, 866 feet high.
4. Hoover Dam, Nevada
Get out of the busy city for a while and visit Hoover Dam, an impressive structure in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River only 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
This 700-hundred-foot-tall Hoover Dam is an arch-gravity dam, which means that it is thicker at the bottom and thinner on top.
If you don’t mind heights, take a walk across the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge from where you can take beautiful photographs of the dam and the Black Canyon below.
If you’d like to see and learn more about the dam, join the fun and interactive Hoover Dam Guided Tour. It includes an hour-long guided tour of the powerplant and passageways within the dam area. Both tours include admission to the Visitor Center.
5. Bellagio Resort and Gallery of Fine Arts
Like most of the other casinos in Las Vegas, the Bellagio is more than just a hotel and casino, and worth a visit, especially for art lovers. It features a 9-hectare lake that stretches from the Strip to the building with beautiful musical, dancing water fountains.
Stunning works of art can be seen throughout the resort, but in the Gallery of Fine Arts, it features special displays of artwork from museums and private collections around the globe.
Feast your eyes on the lobby ceiling of this opulent hotel which is covered by over 2000 hand-blown glass flowers and visit the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
6. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Take time to look around and you will notice that the glamorous, glitzy city is circled by mountains and canyons where hiking is a big thing. If you are the outdoor type and nature lover, Red Rock Canyon should definitely be on your must-do list.
Situated only 15 miles west of Las Vegas it can be seen from the Strip and offers an amazing one-way scenic drive. It is the place to go if you want to work on some hiking or camping. Red Rock Canyon offers 26 numbered hikes and trails, an array of wildlife and plants and a welcome escape from the city.
7. Bootleg Canyon LightLinez
Thrill-seekers: Enjoy a bird’s eye view and take a zip from the top of Red Mountain with a 1.5-mile descent, but be prepared that you may reach a speed of up to 60 miles per hour!
Offering the only manual zip line in the Las Vegas area, Bootleg Canyon FLightlinez is located on Red Mountain near the historic Boulder City, only 26 miles southeast of Las Vegas. You will experience an unforgettable airborne tour of the desert outside the city of Las Vegas.
8. Boomtown 1905 in Springs Preserve
Get a feeling of what Las Vegas used to be like in the early 1900s and visit Boomtown 1905 in Springs Reserve. It takes a short 15-minute drive from the Strip to this oasis in the desert which houses a botanical garden, butterfly habitat, a series of walking trails and Boomtown 1905.
By visiting this exhibition you will be transported back in time to the year in which Las Vegas was founded. The outdoor exhibition called Boomtown 1905 includes a bank, mercantile shop, saloon, railroad cottages and arched train station with lots of fun things to do.
From the entrance of Springs Preserve you can either stroll and admire the surroundings to reach Boomtown 1905 or otherwise take the small steam-driven train to take you there.
9. Grand Canyon Skywalk Day Tour
From Las Vegas, you have the opportunity to see and experience the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. You can choose to take one of several tours offered by different operators in the city, and choose whether you want to fly over it in a helicopter, take a bus tour or even board an executive-style airplane to view it from the air.
The Grand Canyon West Rim, 128 miles from Las Vegas, is the closest entry point and the spot where you can walk across the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The horse-shoe shaped glass-bottomed bridge was opened to the public in 2007 and is a must-do for adrenaline seekers.
10. Emerald Cave Kayak Tour
If you’d like to get wet and experience the Colorado River, a kayak expedition to Emerald Cave is one of the most pleasant things to do. The magical Emerald Cave is in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, an hour and a half outside Las Vegas. It got its name because of its green waters that glitter like the gems after which it was named when it catches the sun.
Take one of many tours to Willow Beach in Arizona, from where the expeditions start. There you get on a 2-mile long kayak trip to reach the magical cave. Have a picnic and use the opportunity to take pictures inside before you head back after your adventure.
11. Pinball Hall of Fame
Treat yourself to gaming of a different kind in the gaming city and take a trip back in time to when pinball machines were a major attraction at games arcades. The Pinball Hall of Fame is home to the world’s largest pinball collection, housing about 200 colorful, glowing and pleasantly noisy pinball machines.
It is a totally different gaming experience, inexpensive and nostalgic. Take the kids to show them what arcade art used to be like.
12. Downtown Container Park
You can certainly find it all in Las Vegas. From the most luxurious, glamorous and glitzy shopping centers to the delightful, completely different Container Park. Located on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, the shopping center is built entirely from colorfully painted shipping containers.
The huge, 55-foot tall fire-spewing praying mantis that greets you at the entrance indicates that you are entering a shopping experience with a difference.
It is built around a park with a playground featuring interactive games in the middle, complete with a container-themed treehouse. Besides the shops and quaint restaurants, it also houses a stage for entertainment and the Catalyst Dome, a 360-degree video projection theater.
13. The High Roller At The Linq
For unforgettable views of Las Vegas Valley and the Strip, you have to take a ride on the High Roller, said to be the tallest observation wheel in the world. During the 30-minute ride you have 360-degree views of the city and the best photo opportunities without having to board a helicopter.
It is definitely not your average Ferris wheel; It consists of 28 air-conditioned compartments with a full bar, so if you time your ride right you can sip a cocktail at sunset while admiring the incredible sights from high. And, typically Vegas, at a price, you can even rent a bartender to serve your drinks!
14. The Venetian Hotel & Resort Complex
Jaw-dropping gorgeous. The Venetian Hotel and Resort Complex on the Strip is not just a hotel and casino, it is a piece of Venice replicated on the Strip complete with canals and bridges, St Mark’s Square, a shopping center, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, games and more.
Take a gondola ride with a singing gondolier that will take you floating on the Grand Canal beneath bridges and under balconies, past cafes and through the lively streetscape for the romantic ride of a lifetime. You can also play virtual games in the Void, stroll down the impressive Grand Canal Shopping Mall with its painted ceiling or take in a world-class show.
15. The Mirage Hotel
The Polynesian themed Mirage Hotel on the Strip is an ideal place to take the kids. Not only does it have a volcano right in front of the resort that shoots fire, smoke and lava into the sky every night, but you can also take them to visit the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.
The Secret Garden resembles a jungle and is home to white and striped tigers, lions, leopards, and panthers. At the Dolphin Habitat they can watch the charming bottlenose dolphins swim in a huge tank surrounded by palm trees.
16. Big Apple Roller Coaster, New York Hotel
Get in a yellow New York taxicab when you ride the Big Apple Coaster for a unique virtual reality experience. That’s right, you can now chase aliens above the Las Vegas strip on the ride which is 1456 meters long and 203 meters high. At one point it takes you on a 180-degree twist and dive and reaches almost 70 miles an hour.
Not the thrill-seeking type? Try your skills at the Big Apple Games Arcade which offers some of the latest video and arcade games.
17. The Mob Museum
Organized crime is featured in the unique Mob museum which is situated in the former Las Vegas Post office and Courthouse located on Stewart Avenue, close to Fremont Street.
In this interactive museum, officially named the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, you will get an insight into the impact of organized crime on Las Vegas and its influence in America and the world. It features the actual courtroom where the first mob-related event which was televised was held, a wire-tapping station where you can listen to actual conversations, and the brick wall from Chicago’s Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929.
Go to the theater room to view clips from gangster movies or take the stairs to The Underground where you can sip a Prohibition-era cocktail in an authentic speakeasy.
18. The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandala Bay
A visit to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandala Bay Hotel and Resort on the Strip is well worth a visit. Its 1,300,000 gallons (4,900,000 Liters) shipwreck tank is one of the largest in America and home to a large variety of endangered marine species including green sea turtles, sand tiger sharks, Blacktip Reef sharks, Galapagos sharks and green sawfish.
Walkthrough an indoor rainforest where you will spot a komodo dragon, python, golden crocodile and more on your way to the shark tunnel before you get to the huge shipwreck tank.
19. Hyperx Esports Arena, Luxor Hotel
For gaming of a different kind and the ultimate video gameplay experience, you have to visit the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel. The arena covers an area of 30,000 square foot and provides top-notch gaming experiences for both amateurs and professionals alike.
It boasts a 50-foot LED video wall, telescopic seating, vintage video and game cocktail bar, gaming stations and competition stage. You will find the Luxor hotel on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, situated between Mandalay Bay and Excalibur. The three properties are connected by trams and walkways.
20. Attend Cirque Du Soleil Show
Theatre lovers will have more than enough shows to choose from in Las Vegas, but a Cirque du Soleil show is always a winner. There are seven different ones to choose from, but O by Cirque du Soleil at The Bellagio comes highly recommended.
Described as an Aquatic Masterpiece the show features world-class swimmers, divers and acrobats perform in, on or above water.