Best Attractions & Activities: What's appealing about a gigantic wedge of concrete in a remote desert canyon? As it turns out, quite a lot. Hoover Dam was a groundbreaking engineering feat in the 1930s when it was built--even today, it's not easy to pour that much concrete and divert a river. This massive dam created one of North America's largest reservoirs, Lake Mead, and was built during the Great Depression. Hoover Dam played a major role in development throughout much of the Southwest United States, a history that's explained in the displays at the Visitor Center, where you can also learn about its fascinating construction. Now that regular traffic has been re-routed around the dam to the bypass bridge (also an amazing engineering accomplishment), it's easier to wander along the top of the dam and appreciate its Art Deco details. Tours are also available to see inside the massive structure.
Tours and Excursions: An excursion to Hoover Dam is one of the most popular day trips for Las Vegas visitors. Several companies offer tours to Hoover Dam, which allows you to give up the driving and logistics to someone else. Bus tours offer the more sedate option, although the view from a helicopter is a sight you'll long remember. No matter what method you choose to get to Hoover Dam, you'll want to take a tour inside the massive structure. Two tours are available. One allows visitors to see the power plant, and the more extensive tour takes visitors into the passageways of the dam. Visitors must purchase tickets to enter the Visitor Center, although if you purchase a tour it includes admission to the Visitor Center.
Local Expert Terrisa Meeks Says:
Best Attractions & Activities: "Watch for the turn off to Hoover Dam since the highway has been re-routed over the by-pass bridge, and if you miss the exit it's not easy to get turned back around."
Tours and Excursions: "You can stand in two states at one time--Arizona and Nevada--on top of Hoover Dam."
Recommended as Best Attractions & Activities Because: Hoover Dam is both a historic landmark and an engineering marvel.