At one time, Las Vegas was primarily known as a party town – the ultimate destination for gambling, drinking, showgirls, and dubious behavior. Throughout the 1990s, the city shifted towards a family destination. Theme hotels were constructed, family-friendly shows were created, and theme-park style rides and waterparks were built. But it soon became apparent that turning Vegas into a desert version of Orlando distracted from the city’s roots. Though the region tried to return to its former notoriety with the catchphrase What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas, a blending of PG and R-rated attractions is where it all landed. And due to the vast variety of attractions and tours that now exist, there’s something for everyone that visits the region. Here are the Top 10 Things to do in Las Vegas in alphabetical order.
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If you like extreme or adventure sports, Vegas has several options. For spectacular views and wildlife, hike and zipline through the scenic Bootleg Canyon with Flightlinez. Take an ATV tour in the desert, develop your axe throwing skills at Dueling Axes, or go off-roading with a variety of different vehicles and tours.
If you love heights, try a hot air balloon ride or a helicopter tour, go skydiving, or indulge in an intense bungee jump from the top of the Stratosphere. Kayak Tours are available in Black Canyon with views of Hoover Dam, Emerald Cave, and more along the way. If you want more watersports, Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers boating and jet skiing across the lake.
Amusement Park Rides
For amusement park lovers, Vegas has several attractions that fit the bill. Thrillseekers should head to the top of the Stratosphere for a handful of heart-stopping rides at extreme heights. For more aerial views, try the LINQ’s High Roller Observation Wheel for a 3-minute ride at 550 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. Ride the Big Apple Rollercoaster located at New York, New York. It’s a steel hyper roller coaster with a New York City taxicab theme, with tracks that circle the massive hotel complex. For a massive arcade plus rides, you can’t beat Adventuredome at Circus Circus.
Animal Attractions / Wildlife Viewing Areas
Animal lovers can tour Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, for marine life that includes sharks, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, and piranha. Visit the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo Hotel for a stroll through four acres of waterfalls and gardens with exotic birds, turtles, and fish. For a truly unique experience, take a shuttle to Cannacamels for a safari that blends cannabis and camels. Find paradise at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat which features bottlenose dolphins, leopards, and white tigers and lions. For more big cats, travel 20 minutes to Henderson for the non-profit Lion Habitat Ranch sanctuary.
To see regional wildlife, consider Springs Preserve, a 180-acre nature park with reptiles, amphibians, and some mammals. Clark County Wetlands Park is home to beautiful landscapes along with 70 species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, and over 310 species of birds. Bighorn Sheep can be seen in the cliffs around Red Rock Canyon, in crags along Highway 93 near Hoover Dam, and at Hemenway Park in Boulder City. Wild horses and burros can be seen in the desert and around Red Rock Canyon. And, of course, a road trip to the Grand Canyon can provide glimpses of mule deer, elk, mountain lions, coyotes, wolves and foxes, and a large variety of reptiles and birds, including eagles. Click HERE for the Grand Canyon’s best viewing areas.
Fremont Street is located in downtown Las Vegas. It is known for its high energy and is considered to be the most famous street in the area.
Fremont is lined with famous casinos, such as the Golden Nugget, Binion’s Horseshoe, Four Queens, and The Mint, and features a rowdy atmosphere due to street performers (many of which are barely clothed), free live shows including rock concerts, and nightly digital light show.
For those who dare, there’s also the SlotZilla Zipline which travels the length of the entertainment complex.
To save money, enjoy the free shows along the strip starting with the Dancing Fountains at the Bellagio Hotel. This is a beautiful 30-minute display of water fountains choreographed to music. Afterward, venture inside the hotel to see the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens for colorful and inspiring displays that change with each season. Further down the strip, stop by the Mirage to watch the outdoor water feature turn into a dramatic volcanic eruption. The volcano fires on the hour every hour between 8 and 11 pm nightly. Stroll The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and stay for the Fall of Atlantis show which takes place inside the mall. Or, for something completely different, head to Circus Circus for live performances.
Not many people associate Las Vegas with museums, but there are several in the area for visitors that enjoy historic and educational experiences. One of the most popular is the Neon Boneyard that houses an array of Vegas signage from days gone by. The museum can be toured during the day or at night when the signs are lit up. The Mob Museum takes visitors back to the 1950s when there was a surge of mob influence in Las Vegas, with famous names like Bugsy Siegel. The mob no longer runs Vegas but the memories remain. Travelers can also experience the National Atomic Testing Museum, Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, and the Titanic Exhibit located at the Luxor Hotel. The immersive exhibit features over 250 artifacts recovered from the Titanic shipwreck.
Select Vegas hotels have become known for their wild pool parties, which take place in adults-only pools. They are not the place to go for peace and quiet — this is strictly a party environment. The scheduled events attract a young crowd (aged 21 and up) and usually feature well-known DJs, large cabanas, bottle service, bikini contests, and a raucous atmosphere. Some are topless or cater to the LGBTQ community. The best pool parties on the Vegas strip include Bare (Mirage Hotel – topless pool), Daylight (Mandalay Bay), Drai’s Beachclub (Cromwell), Encore Beach Club (Wynn/Encore), Liquid (Aria), Moorea Beach Club (Mandalay Bay), Temptation Sundays – (Luxor – LGBTQ focused), Venus (Caesar’s Palace), and WET Republic (MGM Grand). For a complete list of scheduled events, click HERE.
For auto racing fans, Las Vegas is ideal. Start off with a small but fast indoor go-kart experience at Pole Position Raceway, which houses memorabilia from several professional drivers that have experienced the track. Or, head to Las Vegas Speedway to learn to race exotic cars on the track. Watch a NASCAR race if one is on the schedule, or participate in the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Climb into a NASCAR race car for a ride-along at 160 mph, or drive one yourself on the 1.5-mile tri-oval track with 12 to 20-degree banking in the turns. For open-wheel racing, the Mario Andretti Racing Experience provides the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an Indy car. If you’re still in the mood for speed, turn your eyes to the sky because Nellis Air Force Base can be seen from the track and so can the fighter jets as they break the sound barrier during daily training and maneuvers.
If you are a sports fan, they are a pretty big deal in Vegas. The city has 3 national teams — the Las Vegas Golden Knights (National Hockey League), the Las Vegas Raiders (National Football League), and the Las Vegas Aces (Women’s National Basketball Association). Plus, the city has a soccer team, the NBA summer league, and AAA baseball. Not to mention that Vegas is home to Boxing and Ultimate Fighting Championship events. So, depending on what season it is, there are usually plenty of games to watch around the city. If you’re a golf fan, you can enjoy Top Golf, plus there are 39 gorgeous golf courses in the region, including 9 public, 3 municipal, and 7 private courses.
There are plenty of side trips that can be taken from Vegas because no matter which direction you travel, points of interest are plentiful. Most of these can be experienced with a rental car and good directions, or with a tour company. Between 20 and 40 minutes from the Vegas strip, visitors can explore the stunning landscapes of Red Rock Canyon or the rock formations of the Valley of Fire. Take a tour of Hoover Dam, which is only 42 minutes from Vegas. For outstanding views of the city, desert, and surrounding mountains, venture to Mount Charleston which stands at 11,916 feet high and is only 50 minutes from the Vegas strip. Consider a 2.5-hour drive to Grand Canyon West for the Skywalk, or go all the way to Grand Canyon National Park on the east rim with a 4-hour drive. Go a bit further for the awe-inspiring geological formations of Antelope Canyon. To change things up with a water view, take a 1.5-hour drive to Laughlin, where you can take a boat tour on the Colorado River.
The fact is, you can do all of these things and much, much more with a trip to Las Vegas. So, even if you’re not a gambler, don’t rule out this destination. It makes an excellent home base for so many attractions and excursions, with a variety of hotels and restaurants at your disposal.
Lead — Las Vegas Strip via GoodFon Wallpaper
Adventure Sports — Flightlinez photo via Flightlinez
Amusement Park Rides — Linq High Roller via Pixabay
Animal Attractions / Wildlife Viewing — Pixabay
Fremont Street — via Visit Las Vegas
Free Shows — Bellagio Dancing Fountains via Pixabay
Museums — Neon Boneyard (Stardust sign) via Justine Jablonska on Flikr, Licensed by CC 2.0
Pool Parties — Pixabay
Racing — Las Vegas Motor Speedway via Go GlobeHopper
Sports — Raiders Stadium via Las Vegas Sun
Side Trips — Pixabay