/Las Vegas 10Best things to do from hiking to neon signs

Las Vegas 10Best things to do from hiking to neon signs

Las Vegas and gambling go together like showgirls and feathers, but the city has an abundance of things to do beyond the casinos. If you’re done testing your luck at the tables, you’ll find no shortage of choices for sightseeing, exploring and having fun.

The Las Vegas Strip is an attraction in its own right, with a skyline recognized around the world. One of the best things to do in Las Vegas is to simply walk down the Strip and explore as you go. The Fountains of Bellagio are one of the most iconic attractions on the Las Vegas Strip, followed closely by the High Roller, the world’s highest observation wheel.

In Downtown, you can learn about the history of Las Vegas at both the Mob Museum and the Neon Museum. These unique museums are educational and entertaining. Head over to the Fremont Street Experience afterward and you can marvel at the Viva Vision light show.

The weather in Las Vegas tends to be moderate for most of the year (with the notable exception of summer), which makes outside activities like hiking and biking an option most of the year. Ruggedly beautiful Red Rock Canyon is a popular outdoor destination for both locals and visitors because of its hiking, climbing, biking and sight-seeing opportunities.

Scroll down to read more about our suggestions on the best things to do in Vegas.

Fountains of Bellagio

The iconic Fountains of Bellagio have been attracting and fascinating people since the shows began. The dancing, swaying waters draw a crowd every time they go off. Streams of water shoot into the air, dissipate into a mist and gracefully arch into curves, all while perfectly choreographed to music. The accompanying music is broadcast throughout the area, so everyone can hear Sinatra while watching the magical dancing waters. A list of songs that play during the shows is posted online, in case you’re hoping to catch a specific song. Shows begin daily at 3 p.m. (noon on Saturdays and holidays, and 11 a.m. on Sundays, just in time for brunch). Performances are totally free and are appropriate for all ages. While some of the best Fountain watching is right in front of the Bellagio, there are several excellent vantage points nearby.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The iconic Fountains of Bellagio delight audiences several times a day with their mesmerizing choreography.

Terrisa’s expert tip: If you want a clear view of the dancing waters, arrive well before the show starts to get a good spot overlooking Lake Bellagio. The shows draw sizeable crowds and it can be hard to get a good vantage point if you arrive too close to showtime.

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Pink Jeep Tours Las Vegas

The distinctive pink jeeps of this well-known tour company will carry you into the rugged desert around Las Vegas, to places you can’t see on your own. This company got its start in Sedona, Arizona, home to amazing red rocks and New Age vortexes. In Las Vegas, the company takes guests into Red Rock Canyon on a signature tour that will take you up and over the cliffs on the Rocky Gap Road. Pink Jeep Las Vegas also offers tours to the Valley of Fire, Death Valley, Zion, and to several locations at the Grand Canyon. You can also take one of their tours to Hoover Dam, or along the streets of Las Vegas. It’s easier to see the sights when someone else is driving, and the custom-made vehicle is designed just for these tours.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Pink Jeep specializes in taking people into remote, rugged areas of spectacular beauty that visitors might not discover on their own.

Terrisa’s expert tip: The custom-built enclosed tour vehicles can hold up to ten passengers and the open-air Jeeps can accommodate up to 9 people. Unless your group can buy out all the seats, you’ll likely have some company on your tour.

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Stratosphere Tower

The 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 this height. The thrill rides at the top give daredevils the chance to be dangled off the side of the building or shot skyward. If those rides are too sedate, you can literally jump off the building at the Sky Jump, one of the world’s highest freefalls where the controlled descent will take you over 800 feet down in a hurry. The Stratosphere offers four rides: the Big Shot (perhaps the most popular), Insanity, X-Scream, and the Sky Jump. The view from here is incredible, whether you’re enjoying it from the observation deck or as you’re contemplating just how sturdy the equipment is. You’ll also find bars on levels 107 and 108, as well as the Top of the World restaurant on the 106th.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Stratosphere Tower’s birds-eye views are unequaled anywhere in Las Vegas.

Terrisa’s expert tip: Visitors to the Stratosphere Tower must pay ($20-$25 for adults) to access the top of the tower. Tickets for the various thrill rides at the top are additional purchases.

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The Neon Museum

Photo courtesy of Neon Museum

Las Vegas is known for lots of things, including its wealth 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: The Neon Museum preserves a unique aspect of Las Vegas history, the city’s neon signs.

Terrisa’s expert tip: The Neon Museum is a wonderland for photographers, but the museum has strict rules about photography. If your main interest in visiting the Neon Museum is to take pictures, check ahead for restrictions and photo policies.

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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 tells the story of American’s mobsters and the men and women of law enforcement who worked to stop them.

Terrisa’s expert tip: You’ll need a secret password to get into the basement at the Mob Museum, home to The Underground and The Speakeasy (check the website or call for the password). Here guests can learn more about Prohibition and sample some locally made moonshine.

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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 that they must be doing something right. The bulk of Papillion’s tours take 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. With so much to see at the Grand Canyon, it’s a great thing to have several choices about how to see this iconic natural wonder. Papillion can take you to any of the three rims (North, South, or West) and you can choose the method of transportation you like best: plane, helicopter, or bus.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: A helicopter tour gives you an unforgettable view of attractions like the Las Vegas Strip and the Grand Canyon

Terrisa’s expert tip: Papillon provides pick up from most Las Vegas hotels. When you reserve your tickets, check to find out if your hotel is included in their route.

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Hoover Dam

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau

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 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 available to see inside the massive structure, including the power plant.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel, a piece of living history and impressive historical landmark.

Terrisa’s expert tip: As you approach Hoover Dam, slow down and keep an eye out for the exit. It’s easy to miss and there’s no place to turn around until after the Bypass Bridge.

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Fremont Street Experience

The Fremont Street Experience is mostly known for its overhead light show, Viva Vision, which is a spectacular display of lights and technology. Street performers, impersonators and artists, known as buskers, are found all along the street level on Fremont Street, making a walk up and down the few blocks under the canopy feel like an adult carnival. A zip line ride, SlotZilla, zooms riders under the canopy and over the heads of the people below. And, of course, every hour after dark the overhead canopy explodes into images and music. During the day, the FSE is a bit more sedate. 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.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Fremont Street Experience offers an adult carnival atmosphere and an amazing light show courtesy of Viva Vision.

Terrisa’s expert tip: The Viva Vision Light Show, which is regularly played on the canopy over Fremont Street, had a makeover in late 2019 and now offers an even more spectacular show than it did before.

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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 High Roller’s gradual ascent and descent give guests plenty of time to marvel at the amazing view of Las Vegas.

Terrisa’s expert tip: For an adults-only ride on the High Roller, get a ticket on the bar pod which features an open bar. Tickets are available from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. and cost $13-$15 more than a standard ticket.

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Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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 road twists and turns through the area’s desert hills, with numerous spots to stop for photographs and hikes, and returns you to the highway so you can turn back toward town (thus its nickname, “the Loop”).

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Red Rock Canyon’s stunning beauty offers the perfect place for a scenic drive, hike or watching wildlife.

Terrisa’s expert tip: If you’re hoping to have a picnic after your hike, you won’t find many picnic areas with benches in Red Rock. Along The Loop, the scenic drive that winds through Red Rock Canyon, there’s one picnic area at Lost Creek, where the Children’s Discover Loop Trail is located.

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