Las Vegas. First thing most of us think about is gambling. Then the shows. Then the buffet. Yes, it’s all that but a little bit more, too, when it comes to things to do in Las Vegas.
So we’re going to tell you about a few surprising and not-so-surprising activities (none of them involve gambling!) the next time you’re in “Sin City” that will appeal to all ages.
The Go to Travel Gal team has compiled some of the top activities in town.
32 Incredible Things to Do in Las Vegas
First of all, Las Vegas is a popular destination for our favorite airline, Southwest, which offers the AMAZING Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly free with you for up to two years!
Download Your FREE Guide & Start Flying FREE on Southwest!
So flying Southwest is definitely an option, though obviously many other airlines fly there also.
Free Things to Do in Las Vegas
1. Watch the Mirage Volcano Erupt
I bet you didn’t know that there’s an erupting volcano in Las Vegas, did you? As a matter of fact, you can set your watch by its nightly explosions at 7, 8 or 9 p.m. right outside the Mirage on the Strip. Though please verify the schedule, as it CAN be canceled due to high winds.
It’s totally free to stroll on over and watch the excitement before heading off on your next Vegas adventure.
2. Stand in Awe of the Fountains of Bellagio
Another free outdoor feature you can take in while walking down the Strip is the Fountains of Bellagio. These shows of water choreographed to music begin every half-hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. After 7 p.m., you’ll only have to wait 15 minutes for the next show, which run until midnight. Weekend schedules are a little different, which you can check here.
Pretend like you’re the cast of “Ocean’s Eleven” minus all the stolen money 😊.
3. See the Trevi Fountain and Fall of Atlantis Show at Caesars Palace
Can’t make it to Rome this year (don’t miss our 50 magical things to do in Rome if you can!)? Why not head to the Vegas version of Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain at Caesars Palace instead?
It’ll be a lot cheaper and way less crowded than the one in Italy! You’ll find it outside the Forum Shops on the Las Vegas Boulevard side.
While there, also be sure to watch the free Fall of Atlantis show, which is performed every hour on the hour, and features animatronics, laser, fire and water effects. It’s located inside the Forum Shops as well.
4. Snap a Selfie at the Las Vegas Sign
There’s nothing quite as iconic as the famous Las Vegas sign, which is in the futuristic, space-age “Googie” style of architecture and dates to 1959. You’ll find it south of Mandalay Bay on Las Vegas Boulevard.
If you want to snap a selfie, as pretty much everyone does, try to get there early in the day for a shot without hordes of tourists included. There’s also a parking lot and crosswalk to help you access the sign more safely.
FUN FACT: Did you know there’s something written on the back of the sign, as well? It says “Drive carefully, Come back soon.”
5. Wander the Canals at the Venetian
While we’re sure they’re not nearly as incredible as the real canals in Venice, they are still a pretty amazing feat to create inside a resort.
It’s quite fun to wander among the canals at the Venetian Resort & Casino, located right on the Strip, and even take a gondola ride, complete with singing gondolier.
6. Ride the Free Resort Trams and Monorail
Many Las Vegas resorts have free connecting trams to help you get from one location to another without killing your feet or dying of a heat stroke during summer’s heat. And it’s an entertaining way to see many different resorts (which is a good bit of the fun of Vegas!) in a shorter amount of time.
For example, you can catch a tram between Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur (which lets you off right next to New York-New York), between Park MGM, Aria and Bellagio and one between Treasure Island and The Mirage.
These are free and fun and save you a TON of walking!!
There’s also the Las Vegas Monorail, which costs $5 per ride or about $12 for a day pass, and it runs BEHIND some resorts on the Strip and past the Convention Center.
7. See Seven Magic Mountains Outdoor Sculpture Park
For a quirky activity, check out this funky and colorful outdoor art installation 10 miles south of Las Vegas on Interstate 15. The sculptures are seven towers standing more than 30 feet tall each comprised of massive boulders.
Commissioned by the Nevada Museum of Art, “Seven Magic Mountains” by Ugo Rondinone was only supposed to be on display for two years, but due to its popularity remains on display indefinitely.
Top Las Vegas Attractions
8. Discover the Fremont Street Experience
Want a taste of old Las Vegas? Head to the Fremont Street Experience, where you can stroll through the neon signs from some of Vegas’ oldest hotels. This attraction is a five-block entertainment district, which offers nightly light shows, as well as concerts and other performances in downtown Las Vegas. Check the schedule for the latest.
9. Get a Bird’s Eye View on the High Roller Observation Wheel at the LINQ Promenade
10. Ride the Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York Hotel & Casino
Lyn’s family enjoyed a ride on the Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York, which is not only a regular roller coaster but a virtual reality experience, where it appears as though you’re chasing aliens above the Strip. Tickets cost about $20 per person for the virtual reality version.
Afterward, you can take a stroll and hang out in the Big Apple Arcade inside the resort.
11. Explore Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
A great activity for families is the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, where you can see all sorts of undersea creatures and even feed stingrays, sea turtles and sharks!
Walk through underwater tunnels as sharks, octopus and giant fish swim overhead. There are even land animals like Komodo dragons and crocodiles.
What makes this different than your typical aquarium experience, which if you’re anything like us, you’ve seen a million, is the theming, as it appears as though you’re walking through the ruins of a lost city like Atlantis.
12. Hang Out at the Fundungeon Arcade at Excalibur
Simply checking out all the resorts is enough of an activity to fill your entire Las Vegas vacation 😃. Excalibur is really cool on the outside, as it looks like Merlin’s Castle, though it’s less exciting on the inside. Excalibur is between Luxor and New York-New York on the Strip with a tram running between these resorts.
One of the best things to do, however, at this resort is hang out in the Excalibur Fundungeon, which is a game center and arcade. When Cami and her girls were there, they won her husband a Viking helmet with horns that he wore at each daughter’s wedding rehearsal as he walked them down the aisle!
13. Climb the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas
Can’t climb the real Eiffel Tower in Paris? Well, how about climbing a replica in Vegas for fantastic Vegas Strip views?
As part of the Eiffel Tower Experience you can visit the viewing deck 46 stories high on this half-scale replica of the actual tower. Tickets are $50 for a family of four (kids 3 and younger are always free); otherwise it going to run you around $25-$35 per person.
Lyn loves wandering around Paris Las Vegas, because it reminds her of one of her favorite cities in the world!
14. Splash Around at Mandalay Bay Beach at Mandalay Bay
Mandalay Bay has a truly AMAZING water park called Mandalay Bay Beach complete with wave pool, real sand beach, lazy river and plenty of bars.
Lyn says she only had a couple hours to spend here, but that her family could have easily hung out for the entire day! The park is free for guests of the resort, but costs about $20 for adults and about $10 for kids 4 to 16, available only Monday through Thursday if you’re not a resort guest.
15. Pal Around the Adventuredome at Circus Circus
At Circus Circus, a circus-themed resort on the Strip, you’ll find a full-fledged 5-acre theme park inside at the Adventuredome. It features full roller coasters, an arcade, bumper cars, carnival rides, laser tag and a 4D theater, among other rides. Tickets start at about $48 for a day-pass for those 48 inches and taller.
16. Get a Thrill on the X-Scream Coaster at the STRAT
Formerly the Stratosphere, and now known as The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod, this is an iconic property on the Las Vegas skyline and features the tallest freestanding observation tower in the U.S.
The STRAT has numerous thrill rides, including the X-Scream coaster more than 800 feet above the ground, which plummets riders off the side of the structure to hang over the Strip, as you can see in the image above. We’ll leave this one to the thrill seekers 😉.
17. Wander Through Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
If you love dolphins, be sure to stop by The Mirage. Here you’ll find a habitat not only for dolphins, but white tigers, lions and leopards, that you can watch safely from afar in this walk-through experience. Admission costs about $25 for adults and $19 for children ages 4 to 12.
Before or after you explore the habitat, take a free walking tour of Las Vegas. Nomad Tours and Rentals offers a free introductory walking tour of the city, which starts right in front of the Mirage volcano, and asks you to pay what you think the tour is worth at the end of the tour. Tours are offered at either 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. depending on the time of year.
18. Go High End at The Shops at Crystals
If you need a little retail therapy while visiting Vegas, there are lots of options along The Strip/Las Vegas Boulevard. For an upscale treat (and air conditioning in the summer months!), head to The Shops at Crystals, which has been described as the “Rodeo Drive” of Vegas.
You’ll find more than 50 luxury stores, including Gucci, Prada and Tiffany & Co. Even if you can’t afford to buy, it’s still fun to look (and to get out of the sun)!
Tip: Hidden behind Louis Vuitton is the James Turrell’s Akhob exhibit, which immerses you in different colored lights for 20 minutes, which is supposed to refresh you and help you feel more rested! Then, you can be ready for more walking on the Strip!
19. Step Back to Ancient Rome in the Forum Shops at Caesars
In addition to its hotel, gaming and dining, Caesars Palace also has a massive shopping area called the Forum Shops at Caesars.
Called the “shopping wonder of the world,” you’ll find more than 160 stores and restaurants — all designed to look like you’re shopping along a street in ancient Rome with the ceiling painted bright blue and filled with clouds. It’s uber cool even if you’re not a big shopper!
Brands include Apple, Bath & Body Works, Chanel, Gap, H&M, lululemon and Nike to name a few.
20. Make Like You’re in Venice at the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian
If you’d rather feel like you’re shopping along the canals of Venice in Italy, head to the Venetian, which offers its own shopping mall, the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Here you’ll also find more than 160 stores and restaurants, including Banana Republic, Burberry, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, Sephora and Tommy Bahama.
TIP: When you’re ready for a break, enjoy a performance in St. Mark’s Square from Streetmosphere, a group of actors, musicians and singers, who perform more than 30 times a day. We also highly recommend stopping for a gelato in St. Mark’s Square!
21. Snag Some Sweet Treats at M&M’s World
M&M’s World is a four-story dream for lovers of the candy right on Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the action.
22. Sip a Soda at the Coca-Cola Store
Las Vegas Museums
23. Get Some Culture at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
After you check out the famous dancing fountains, head inside the high-end Bellagio for a look at some fine art.
The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art features rotating exhibits with works from many of the masters, such as Van Gogh, Degas and others.
24. Learn About Gangsters at The Mob Museum
For something a bit more off the beaten path of buffets, casinos and shows, head to Vegas’ Mob Museum. Sopranos fan? Godfather fan? You’ll be heaven.
Just off of Fremont Street, the Mob Museum, designed by the folks who created the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., features artifacts, interactive exhibits, stories of real-life mobsters and more. See items from Al Capone, John Gotti, Whitey Bulger and many more.
Other Things to Do in Las Vegas
25. Sample a Craft Brew at Beerhaus, The Park Vegas
If you’re staying at Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur or New York-New York, be sure to stop for lunch or dinner at Beerhaus at The Park, close to New York-New York and easily accessible by tram from the other resorts.
This fun restaurant offers some creative craft brews (including one that tastes just like coffee!), along with games to entertain you while you wait for your food. Enjoy piled-high sandwiches, delicious fries and top-notch brats.
26. Cool Down With Some Frozen Custard
While other cities, like St. Louis and Milwaukee, might make a claim for the best frozen custard, Las Vegas offers some pretty good versions. And it’s a good thing, too; frozen dessert is very welcome in the desert with 100-degree+ temperatures the norm in summer.
Go to Travel Gal team member Nancy recommends Luv-It Frozen Custard. It’s a Vegas institution and always worth a trip when you’re in town. Located just a block east of Las Vegas Boulevard, it’s a little out of the way, so you’ll need a car or Uber to get there.
It has a walk-up window but no place to sit and enjoy (the neighborhood is a little sketchy, Nancy says, but it’s not a huge deal). As you can imagine, there are so many different options, but when it comes to local institutions, she says she opts for whatever “classic” is listed on the menu. You’ll see the banana split, the Western Special, Scotch Jimmie Treat and the Sprinkle Special for example.
Nancy opted for their Luv-It Special: custard, strawberries, salted pecans and a cherry on top. The combination of salty and sweet? DELICIOUS! She says, “My life’s goal is try all of those specials.”
27. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the City
See the Las Vegas area from on high while enjoying an incredible hot air balloon ride. It’s truly amazing to see how the “pilots” control these balloons, especially the landing!
Vegas Balloon Rides offers 45 to 60-minute rides over the Pahrump Valley.
28. Go Swimming!
We don’t think there’s anywhere on earth that has the incredible pools you’ll find in Las Vegas, and it’s the perfect activity when temperatures climb over 100 degrees in summer.
These resort pools are works of art! You’ll find some with underwater checkers, plunge pools, swanky cabanas, the hottest DJs, floaties, swim-up pool bars … you name it!
Las Vegas Day Trips
29. Check Out Hoover Dam
Situated on the border of Nevada and Arizona, Hoover Dam is a feat of engineering marvel and worth a drive out of town from Las Vegas.
Built during the Great Depression, thousands of men and their families moved to the area to tame the Colorado River, which became one of the world’s largest hydroelectric installations of its time. Tours are available daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and include the power plant and/or the dam tour.
30. Visit Lake Mead National Recreation Area
On your way to Hoover Dam, stop at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, a vast freshwater lake surrounded by desert with landscapes including canyons, mountains, plateaus and more.
Head to the concession stand at the marina to buy some popcorn to throw to the fish off the dock and watch the feeding frenzy begin! Striped bass and carp jump over each other to grab the tasty morsels and delight kids of all ages.
There’s also lots of other things to do at Lake Mead like kayaking, jet-skiing, sport fishing and more. You can even scuba dive!
31. Explore Valley of Fire State Park
After watching the Mirage “volcano” blow its top, you can drive about 50 miles and discover real rock formations to amaze.
Valley of Fire is made up of brilliant Aztec sandstone that is at once red, orange and pink. Take a scenic drive around the State Park and explore notable areas like Elephant Rock, Arch Rock and Fire Wave shown in the image above.
Take Mouse’s Tank Trail to see 3,000-year-old petroglyphs, representing animals and geometric shapes. Bicycling, rock climbing and rappelling are other options. Stop by the Visitor Center for more information and tips on this beautiful wilderness area within one hour of the city.
32. Discover Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Located about 2o miles from the Strip, Red Rock Canyon is a great place to visit when you want to get away from the bright lights of the city and get closer to nature.
Named after the red Aztec sandstone you’ll find here, Red Rock Canyon has a top-notch Visitor Center to help you get oriented and better understand the local flora and fauna. Learn about the sand dunes that used to cover the southwestern United States that formed into rock, the desert tortoise habitat and the Mojave yucca found everywhere here. Or just pick up a T-shirt from the gift store. The Visitor Center is also the start a 13-mile, one-way scenic drive.
There are plenty of hiking trails, ranging from an easy 2-mile hike near the Visitor Center to more difficult 14-mile hikes. But be safe. You’re in a desert, which is prone to flash flooding, high heat and little water, so make sure you plan ahead.
What are your favorite things to do in Las Vegas? Please share in the comments below.
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