Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Exploring beyond the casino: Las Vegas' 10 best things to do

Las Vegas has world-class casinos, but gambling is far from the only thing to do when you’re in town. With the city’s incredible assortment of restaurants, shopping and interesting attractions and activities, you’ll find a wealth of things to occupy your time when you’re not at the tables. There’s no shortage of choices for sightseeing, exploring and having fun.

On the Strip, you’ll find fountains, volcanoes, replicas of famous buildings, gondola rides and the High Roller, the world’s highest observation wheel. Downtown, you can stop in at the Fremont Street Experience to marvel at the Viva Vision show, or visit the Mob Museum, where you can learn about organized crime and even have a drink at a re-created speakeasy.

Off the Strip, the new AREA15 brings an entirely new experience to Las Vegas with its eye-popping immersive art, rides, food and drink. It’s an experience unlike anything previously found in Las Vegas.

The weather in Las Vegas tends to be moderate for most of the year (except for summer), which means outdoor activities are pretty much always an option. Outdoor sports like hiking, biking, tennis and golf are very popular. Take a drive out of town to see the historic Hoover Dam, or hike over the red sandstone in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Still, wondering what to do while you’re in Las Vegas? Scroll down to keep reading.


AREA15 defies easy description. It describes itself as an experiential entertainment district, which seems the best way to refer to their 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. And it's worth noting that new experiences and attractions can be expected on a regular basis. 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 brings together immersive art, entertainment, food and drink in a warehouse-sized space that feels like a psychedelic playground.

Terrisa's expert tip: The Van Gogh immersive experience is slated for April 6 through July 5, 2021, and it's exactly what the name implies. Guests can step inside Van Gogh's works in a way they've probably never imagined.

Read more about AREA15 →

Exotics Racing
Photo courtesy of Laurent Vu

Got a need for speed? Exotics Racing offers the world's largest fleet of exotic supercars, with an inventory of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Audis, McLarens, Porsches, Aston Martins, Mercedes and Corvettes. Located at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track is open 5 days a week, Friday through Tuesday. After checking in, getting technical instruction and riding as a passenger while the instructor drives, guests get to take the wheel. No special experience is required; you don't even need to worry about being able to operate a manual transmission to drive these vehicles. Five-lap packages start at $199-$399, depending on the make of the car. Guests who don't want to drive can have a ride-along experience with a professional driver at the wheel; two laps are $99.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Exotics Racing gives drivers the chance to get behind the wheel of a supercar and take it for a spin.

Terrisa's expert tip: A go-kart experience is also available at Exotics Racing and is appropriate for adults as well as for kids over 10 years of age. Each race is about 8-10 laps.

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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. You'll also find bars and restaurants on levels 107 and 108, as well as the Top of the World restaurant on the 106th.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: With a 1,149-foot-tall observation deck, thrill rides, bars and restaurants, The STRAT's SkyPod offers guests a memorable experience at a dizzying height.

Terrisa's expert tip: Although most Strip hotels have wedding chapels, the SkyPod's Chapel in the Clouds is unique for its birds-eye view, plus couples can have the ceremony outside on an observation deck or private balcony.

Read more about The STRAT Skypod →

The Neon Museum
Photo courtesy of Neon Museum

Las Vegas was once well-known for its profusion of colorful 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. In addition to an approximately two-acre Neon Museum campus, which includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, the museum also encompasses a visitors' center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby as well as several restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. If you haven't visited in a while, be sure to check out the Neon Boneyard, which now features some electrified signs as part of its permanent collection.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Las Vegas and her neon past are inseparable, and the Neon Museum preserves that connection with its collection of historic and noteworthy signs.

Terrisa's expert tip: The Museum offers Photo Walks for hobbyist photographers, which allows them to wander the Boneyard (with all their equipment) and shoot pictures for personal use only. For commercial shoots, a request must be submitted at least two weeks in advance.

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The Mob Museum
Photo courtesy of The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum 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 its three floors of engaging exhibits, including high-tech theater presentations, iconic one-of-a-kind artifacts and interactive, themed environments. These are names that many people 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 chronicles the story of organized crime in America, covering the stories of both mobsters and law enforcement.

Terrisa's expert tip: One of the Mob Museum's newest additions is The Underground and The Speakeasy. Take the basement stairs to go back in time to the Prohibition, complete with locally made moonshine as well as other cocktails (for 21+).

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Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters
Photo courtesy of Papillon Tours

Papillion has been taking people on tours since 1965, which sets it apart from the average Las Vegas tour company and tells you they must be doing something right. The bulk of Papillion's tours takes visitors into the Grand Canyon, although that's not the only place you can see on one of their helicopter, plane, rafting, or bus tours. Another popular flight is over the Strip, which is a spectacular sight at night. Grand Canyon flights from Las Vegas will take you to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, where guests can actually land at the bottom of the canyon, an experience unavailable to those exploring the South or North Rims, which are part of Grand Canyon National Park.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The view from a helicopter gives you a breath-taking perspective from above, especially when you're flying over the Strip at night.

Terrisa's expert tip: Papillon provides pick up from most Las Vegas hotels on the Strip and Downtown. When you reserve your tickets, check to confirm your hotel is included in their pick-up route.

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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 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 the United States' largest reservoir, 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 traffic has been re-routed around the dam to the Mike O'Callghan-Pat Tillman 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 available to see inside this massive structure.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The 726-foot-high Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930s and remains an impressive and historic engineering achievement.

Terrisa's expert tip: For some of the most dramatic views of Hoover Dam, take a walk on the pedestrian walkway over the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. The narrow walkway across the bridge is nearly 900 feet above the Colorado River.

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The Fremont Street Experience is mostly known 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 adult experience no matter what time you're there. Street performers, impersonators and artists congregate all along Fremont Street, which gives 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 on-going party happening on Fremont Street.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Fremont Street Experience is like an ongoing street festival with casinos and a dazzling light show overhead.

Terrisa's expert tip: One of the best things about the FSE is its proximity to the Fremont East district as well as to other nearby attractions like the Mob Museum.

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High Roller
Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

Taking a ride on the world's tallest observation wheel, 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 slowly 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 in front of you. Before or after your ride, take some time to explore the area around the High Roller, the Linq's Promenade, which is an open-air pedestrian district filled with shops, restaurants and activities.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The view of Las Vegas from one of the High Roller's pods is unmatched, and the slow-moving ride is an experience in itself.

Terrisa's expert tip: For the best view from the High Roller, take your ride at sunset. Not only will you get to see the lights coming on along the Strip, but you'll also get an amazing view of the setting sun.

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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 edge of housing developments, this chunk of the Mojave Desert is loaded with hiking, biking and nature-watching opportunities. Red Rock's spectacular scenery features sandstone cliffs, rugged red rock formations, desert vegetation and open vistas. The rare desert springs throughout the area are home to several rare and endemic species of plants and animals, as well as archaeological sites like petroglyphs, which are ancient rock art. First-time visitors shouldn't miss the interactive visitor center to learn more about the area. A 13-mile scenic drive twists and turns through the desert, with numerous spots to stop for photographs and hikes.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area attracts people from around the world for its awe-inspiring scenery.

Terrisa's expert tip: The scenic drive at Red Rock Canyon NCA became so popular that a timed entry system was instituted in 2020. Reservations are now required for entry from October through May; check online for details.

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