Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Las Vegas' 10 best things to do when you're not gambling

Las Vegas is known world-wide for gambling, but placing bets isn’t the only thing to do in the city. When you’ve had enough of doubling down and anting up, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Las Vegas when you’re not in the casino. There’s an abundance of choices for sightseeing, exploring and having fun.

The Strip is full of things to do and see, like the Fountains of Bellagio, the massive High Roller observation wheel and the Eiffel Tower Experience. Downtown, you can wander around the Fremont Street Experience and marvel at the Viva Vision show or visit the Mob Museum, where you can learn about the history of organized crime. You can even have a drink at a re-created speakeasy.

Off the Strip, the new AREA15 brings an innovative, new experience to Las Vegas with eye-popping immersive art, rides, food and drink. The venue is part grown-up arcade and part art installation, and all of it is wildly original.

The weather in Las Vegas tends to be moderate for most of the year (except for summer), which means outdoor activities are usually an option. Many people enjoy hiking, biking, tennis and golf. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is Las Vegas’ most popular outdoor attraction. The area offers striking red sandstone cliffs, a 13-mile scenic drive and plenty of hiking, rock climbing and nature watching opportunities.

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AREA15 defies easy description. It describes itself as an experiential entertainment district, which seems the best way to refer to its collection of immersive art, a mind-blowing design theme, bars and eateries. At the entrance, the Art Island leads guests through large artwork reminiscent of what you see at festivals. Inside, you'll find the mind-bending Museum Fiasco, zipline rides, rest areas, an arcade and ax throwing. New experiences and attractions are added regularly. Oddwood bar sits under a 25-foot-tall digital maple tree, and Todd English's The Beast serves up pizza, brisket and breakfast. Meow Wolf's Omega Mart is one of the anchor experiences at AREA15--you've never visited a 'supermarket' like this one. Admission is free into AREA15, but individual experiences may require paid entry.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: AREA15 is like a psychedelic playground with rides, entertainment, immersive experiences, food and bars.

Terrisa's expert tip: Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time for the key experiences you want to visit, and then take a little time to explore before deciding what else you want to do. There's more to the venue than you initially think!

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Eiffel Tower Experience
Photo courtesy of Paris Las Vegas

The Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas recreates one of Europe's most famous landmarks, and it's as romantic as the original. It's been the site of countless proposals over the years. The observation deck, located 46 stories above the city, offers guests a sweeping 360-degree view of Las Vegas, which is spectacular at any time of day but is even more impressive at night. Visitors take an elevator up to the deck, where an experienced ambassador greets them, points out Las Vegas landmarks and discusses interesting historical facts. After that, you're free to walk around and take photos. It's a spot that attracts couples, but you don't have to be part of a duo to enjoy the view and the recreation of this Parisian landmark.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Visiting the top of this half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower rewards you with a fantastic view of Las Vegas Strip.

Terrisa's expert tip: If you're there as part of a couple, you may want to attach a "love lock" and throw away the key at a fence leading up to the observation deck. The lock is meant to memorialize everlasting love.

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The STRAT (formerly known as Stratosphere) is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States but taking in the view isn't the only thing you can do at the top of the tower in an area called SkyPod. The thrill rides here give daredevils the chance to teeter-totter over the edge on the X-Scream, be dangled over the side and spun around on Insanity or shot skyward on the Big Shot. If those rides aren't scary enough, you can literally jump off the Strat at the SkyJump, one of the world's highest freefalls, where the controlled descent will take you over 800 feet down in a hurry. Levels 109 and 108 are the observation decks at the Strat's Skypod, and the thrill rides are on levels 109 and 112.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The STRAT's Skypod offers daring thrill rides at the top of the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States.

Terrisa's expert tip: You'll find a couple of places to eat in the Skypod, 108 Eats and the Top of the World restaurant on level 106. Top of the World is an upscale spot, while 108 Eats offers sandwiches, snacks and ice cream, and a bar, 108 Drinks.

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The Neon Museum
Photo courtesy of Neon Museum

Las Vegas is well-known for its profusion of colorful signs, especially its early neon. But where do old signs end up? If they're lucky, in the possession of the Neon Museum. Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic and cultural enrichment. The Neon Museum campus includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, another space known as the North Gallery and a visitor center. The visitor center is housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby, designed by noted architect Paul Revere Williams. The structure was rescued from demolition. Tours of the Boneyard are offered during the day and at night. Nighttime tours are quite popular, especially since some of the restored signs light up.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Neon Museum preserves a unique aspect of an unusual city, telling the story of Las Vegas through her flamboyant and colorful signs.

Terrisa's expert tip: Tours at the Neon Museum may be canceled due to inclement weather since the museum's exhibits are outside. If a tour is canceled, the museum will work with you to get you on the next tour or provide a refund.

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The Mob Museum
Photo courtesy of The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum, officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, tells the story of organized crime in America. The museum's location in Las Vegas is appropriate, considering Sin City's early history as an outpost of the Mafia. Located in a historic Downtown Las Vegas building which was originally a federal courthouse, The Mob Museum presents a rounded view of this chapter of American history throughout three floors of engaging exhibits that include high-tech theater presentations, iconic one-of-a-kind artifacts and interactive, themed environments. Visitors will see names they recognize from the movies, but The Mob Museum tells the true stories. You'll learn about Al Capone, Tony Spilotro and Whitey Bulger, among other infamous men who once played important roles in American organized crime. Visitors also learn about law enforcement agents like Joe Pistone, who went undercover as Donnie Brasco, to help bring down the Mob.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Mob Museum takes you inside the story of organized crime in America, with stories about both mobsters and cops.

Terrisa's expert tip: Not many museums have a speakeasy, but this is Las Vegas. Take the Mob Museum's basement stairs to visit The Underground Speakeasy and Distillery and go back in time to the days of rum runners and flappers, complete with authentic, era-appropriate cocktails (check online to find the password).

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Fountains of Bellagio
Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International

The dancing waters of the Fountains of Bellagio have become one of Las Vegas's most recognizable attractions. Jets of water shoot hundreds of feet into the air, sway gracefully and race around in mesmerizing patterns on the surface of Lake Bellagio. All that aquatic movement is choreographed to popular music, some of it very Vegas-y (think Sinatra and Elvis), but you'll also hear plenty of classical, romantic and toe-tapping tunes. The fountain's elaborate show captivates audiences, plus it's a free Las Vegas attraction appropriate for all ages. Once you've seen the show, be assured that you'll want to see it again. The show is enchanting, no matter how many times you've watched it.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Fountains of Bellagio are a spellbinding nightly water show that's become an iconic feature on the Las Vegas Strip.

Terrisa's expert tip: Several Bellagio restaurants have excellent views of the Fountains of Bellagio, especially from their patio areas. Check the Bellagio website for a complete list of restaurants bordering the fountains.

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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 when it was built in the 1930s. Even today, it's not easy to pour that much concrete and divert a river. This massive dam created the United States' largest reservoir, Lake Mead, and was built during the Great Depression. Hoover Dam played a major role in the development of the Southwestern United States, a history explained in the displays at the visitor center, where you can also learn about its fascinating construction. Now that traffic has been re-routed around the dam to the Mike O'Callghan-Pat Tillman Bypass Bridge (another amazing engineering accomplishment), it's easier to walk along the top of the dam and appreciate its Art Deco details. Tours are available to see inside the dam, which houses a hydroelectric power plant.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Hoover Dam is a historic site and engineering marvel that people can visit and tour.

Terrisa's expert tip: After you pass the Hoover Dam Lodge, slow down and follow the signs for the exit to Hoover Dam. It's easy to miss the turn, and if you do, you'll have to drive across the Bypass Bridge before you can turn around.

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The Fremont Street Experience is known chiefly for its overhead light display, Viva Vision, a spectacular show that plays on the canopy at night. During the day, the FSE is a bit more sedate, although it's primarily an experience for grown-ups no matter what time you're there. Street performers, impersonators and artists congregate along Fremont Street, giving the area an adult carnival atmosphere. Pedestrians can stroll from casino to casino and check out the wares at the shopping kiosks. If you're shopping for souvenirs, several places along the FSE feature inexpensive trinkets and tee shirts. A zip line ride, SlotZilla, zooms riders under the canopy and over the heads of the people below. Live music is often featured--and free. It's all part of the ongoing party happening on Fremont Street.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Fremont Street Experience is like a street festival with plenty of drinks, music and a spectacular light show.

Terrisa's expert tip: The Fremont Street Experience has three stages and free live music every night starting at 6 p.m. Scheduled performers include a strong line-up of tribute and cover bands.

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High Roller
Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

Taking a ride on one of the world's tallest observation wheels, the 550-foot-tall High Roller, is a fun activity for all ages. Jaw-dropping views of the Strip and city open up as you gradually move toward the highest point of the ride and then slowly descend back down. The round design of the attraction's sleek pods provides a full 360 degrees of visibility. Beverages are available for sale before you board, and the pods are air-conditioned, so everyone will stay comfortable for the 30-minute ride, even during summer. A recorded narration offers some tidbits of information about Southern Nevada to give you context to the panoramic view. Before or after your ride, take some time to explore the area around the High Roller, the Linq Promenade, which is an open-air pedestrian district filled with shops, restaurants and activities.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The High Roller's futuristic pods offer unforgettable, 360-degree panoramic views of Las Vegas.

Terrisa's expert tip: If you'd like to enjoy a full bar during the High Roller's thirty-minute rotation, get tickets for the Happy Half Hour (guests must be 21+). Tickets start at $60.

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Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an easy escape from the fast pace of the Las Vegas Strip. Located west of the city, just outside the Summerlin neighborhood, this chunk of the Mojave Desert is loaded with hiking, biking and nature watching opportunities. Red Rock's spectacular scenery features sandstone cliffs, rugged multi-colored rock formations, desert vegetation and open vistas. A 13-mile, one-way scenic drive takes visitors through Red Rock, with numerous spots to stop for photographs and exploration. The rare desert springs throughout the area are home to several rare and endemic species of plants and animals, as well as archaeological sites. Petroglyphs, which are ancient rock art, are found throughout Red Rock. First-time visitors will enjoy the interactive visitor center, which features displays on Red Rock Canyon's plants, animals, geology, people, and history.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Offering an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of Southern Nevada's most treasured gems.

Terrisa's expert tip: Reservations are now required to enter the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive from November through May; check online for details. Vehicles must arrive within a reserved one-hour window.

Read more about Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area →


Meet Terrisa Meeks

Terrisa Meeks is a native born, life-long resident of Las Vegas. She's watched Las Vegas grow and change over the years, especially the ever-evolving Las Vegas Strip. She still enjoys hanging...  More About Terrisa