Las Vegas has always danced to the beat of its own drum.

This is a city that seamlessly combines the extremes with the exceptions. People from all over the world pour in in an attempt to change their luck, catch a seriously over-the-top show, get drunk or hitched.

This is the kind of place where the normal social norms don’t exactly apply since Vegas basically gives you the green light to be a bit different. Okay, a lot different!

But did you know that behind the lights and glamor and those insanely popular places lie a quirky assortment of lesser-known attractions that’ll win over even the pickiest of travelers.

From hidden gem cafes to museums that lie off the beaten track, you’ll definitely find heaps of secret spots in Las Vegas to explore!

Rule #1: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

What’s Las Vegas Like?

Las Vegas needs little introduction. Las Vegas is simply… well… iconic!

From the moment you set foot on the Strip, you’re enveloped in a world where the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur. Think of the neon lights, the vibrant nightlife, world-class dining, and exhilarating shows that await around every corner. Vegas is a universe of fun!

If you really wanna experience that legendary Vegas flair? Then there’s no better destination than the world-famous Strip, an exceptionally vibrant area speckled with flashy casinos, restaurants, and hotels.

It won’t take you long to realize that Las Vegas is a city that seduces its visitors into new and exciting challenges.

If you’d like to embark on an exhilarating adventure of your own, you can always take to the skies – and I do mean that literally! This panoramic night helicopter flight is ideal for seeing the city from a whole other angle.

Speaking of helicopters, you can also check out this air tour of the Grand Canyon which, take it from me, will leave you with a feeling of sheer wonderment.

But wait, we’re here to look at the lesser-known treasures, not the super-popular ones…so let’s check them out!

1. Check out the Nevada State Museum

The Nevada State Museum is often overshadowed by the casinos and glitzier venues. But if you ask me, this is one of the best places to visit in La Vegas – especially if you’d like to learn more about the state’s rich history!

One of the 7 museums managed by the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, this Las Vegas hideaway is found in the Springs Preserve. With over 15,000 square feet of exhibit space, this museum packs plenty of treasures.  

A skeleton of a mammoth displayed at the Nevada State Museum
History sesh.

One of my favorite exhibits is the Showgirl Wall which perfectly represents that distinctive Las Vegas flair. You’ll see some of the most popular costumes that were once worn on those legendary shows on the Strip.

If you’re a history buff like me, be sure to check out the museum’s collections of maps that trace Nevada’s statehood. You’ll learn about prehistoric life in Nevada before it was discovered by humans and how the first pioneers settled in during the 19th century.

Be sure to secure a fantastic place to stay in the city and peruse the museum’s event calendar to see if there are any captivating exhibitions or events you’d like to catch during your stay.

  • Rating: 8/10 – Genuine Delight
  • Cost: $10
  • Personal Opinion: A true hidden gem, sure to make you smile.
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2. Embark on a Wine Adventure

A wine tour isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Vegas! But if you’re looking for something different, be sure to check out this tour of Death Valley with wine tastings along the way.

I know what you’re thinking: Death Valley ain’t exactly a hidden gem in Las Vegas. Heck, it’s right up there with the most popular things to do in the city!

Man admiring vast Death Valley landscape.
Always take a moment to ponder.

While most tourists tend to plan their Death Valley hike during the day, this activity takes you through the valley after dark so you can enjoy unblemished views of the night sky.

On clear nights, you can even see the Milky Way galaxy in addition to the many constellations speckled across the sky. On your way to the valley, you’ll also enjoy a wine tour in Pahrump, which just so happens to be the largest wine producer in Nevada!

You’ll find out what goes on behind the scenes at the winery and yes, tasting sessions are included!

  • Rating: 9/10 – An essential visit for anyone backpacking the US.
  • Cost: $285
  • Personal Opinion: An impressive find you’ll tell friends about.

3. Potter about the Mob Museum

As far as underrated places in Vegas are concerned, this is definitely the best addition to your Las Vegas itinerary!

Not a lot of tourists know that before all the glitzy venues popped up on the Strip, Las Vegas was actually a place riddled with strife, gangsters, and criminals. If this is something you’d like to learn more about, be sure to check out the Mob Museum, a nonprofit organization located in the downtown area.

Exterior of the Mob Museum during the night
Explore the dark history of organized crime at the Mob Museum.

This place features various types of exhibits centered around those notorious battles between the local law enforcement services and the gangs who once ruled the city.

With interactive exhibits and high-tech theatre presentations, the museum is also a great stop for visitors who want to learn more about notorious names like Al Capone, John Gotti, and Bugsy Siegel – among many others!

This place even has an underground speakeasy and distillery where you can conclude your tour with a handcrafted cocktail made from the Museum’s original line of spirits.

  • Rating: 7/10 – Hidden Gem Alert
  • Cost: $30
  • Personal Opinion: Well worth the detour for a unique experience.

4. Head to the Valley of Fire State Park

Las Vegas is pretty famous for its sprawling parks but if you’d like to get away from the crowds that usually swarm around more famous spots like, say, the Grand Canyon National Park, I recommend a visit to the Valley of Fire.

A great destination for travelers looking for a day trip from Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire State Park lies less than an hour’s drive from the city center, or you can stay at the North Shore Inn at Lake Mead which is 15 minutes away from the Valley.

three adventurers scaling a rugged peak
One step at a time.

After all, it’s absolutely packed full of treasures! Think 4,000-year-old petroglyphs, petrified trees, and towering sandstone formations that glow red in the sunlight (hence the name).

During your tour, you’ll also find out more about the seismic fault lines and how they helped shape the park’s rugged landscape. You’ll also learn about the Native American tribes who once called this place home. Be sure to check out the Visitor’s Center for a more fascinating insight about this area.

On the way to the Valley of Fire, keep your eyes peeled for sweeping views of the Moapa Indian Reservation and the California Mojave Desert.

  • Rating: 10/10 – Bucket list essential!
  • Cost: $120
  • Personal Opinion: Definitely don’t skip this one!

5. Take a Pole Dancing Class

Looking for unique things to do in Las Vegas? How about signing up for a pole dancing class?

Not only is this activity designed to help you lose your inhibitions and feel good about yourself, but you’ll also learn the secrets behind the most popular shows in Las Vegas.

Group of female dancers posing for a picture

A great activity for a girls’ night out, this 75-minute class is held in a private studio at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

An experienced teacher will take you through the motions and teach you those club moves, complete with real poles, chairs, and feather boas. At the end of the class, you’ll even receive a souvenir Las Vegas Stripper License.c

For obvious reasons, this class is only suitable for ladies aged 18 and older.

  • Rating: 7/10 – Hidden Gem Alert
  • Cost: $60
  • Personal Opinion: Well worth the detour for a unique experience.

6. Treat Yourself to a Secret Slice

Here’s a restaurant that’s so carefully tucked away that almost feels like a secret!

The Secret Pizza Company truly lives up to its name: it’s located on the 3rd floor of the Cosmopolitan, but unless you know where it is, you’ll probably just walk past it since there are no entrance markings or signs that indicate its presence.

Close-up of irresistible pizza slice
Yummy!

Offering scrumptious slices and traditional pinball machines, this Las Vegas hideaway is absolutely worth the detour! Since it’s a secret restaurant, I was expecting it to be on the pricier side, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s super affordable – especially by Vegas standards!

If you’re a foodie (just like me!), you must get a taste of all the culinary delights out there through these food tours in Las Vegas.

  • Rating: 7/10 – Hidden Gem Alert
  • Cost: $
  • Personal Opinion: Well worth the detour for a unique experience.

7. Hit the Container Shops

Hands down, this was one of my favorite underrated places to visit in Las Vegas!

Set in the lively downtown area, the Container Park is exactly what it sounds like shipping containers that have basically been turned into restaurants, stores, food outlets, and other businesses.

A large metal praying mantis statue in the Container Shops

Depending on when you’re visiting Las Vegas, you can even catch a free outdoor movie or a live music performance. Art fans will be glad to learn that the container park regularly hosts interactive art installations as well.

Traveling with the kids? They’ll definitely enjoy exploring the interactive playground!

Be sure to check out The Mantis, a 40-foot attraction that communicates in over 20 languages and throws massive flames that can reach up to 20 stories. In the evening, The Mantis is ‘awakened’ by a drum circle celebration that you can always participate in if you want.

  • Rating: 9/10 – Worth Bragging About
  • Cost: Depends on your shopping list… and appetite!
  • Personal Opinion: An impressive find you’ll tell friends about.

8. Go Behind the Scenes of the Pawn Stars Show

Sin City is well known for its incredible shows, but if you’re looking for unique things to do in Las Vegas, be sure to check out this activity that takes you behind the scenes of the hit show ‘Pawn Stars’.

The Pawn Stars bus will pick you up at Treasure Island. From there, you’ll embark on a 4-hour tour that you can customize with or without a meet and greet session.

Go Behind the Scenes of the Pawn Stars Show
Behind-the-scenes operations in action.

In addition, the activity features a tour of WelderUp which was popularized by the Hit TV Show, ‘Vegas Rat Rods’. You’ll also pass by Count’s Kustoms, Danny’s automobile company, and enjoy a stroll through his personal collection of cars.

The tour also includes a stop by the Allegiant Stadium where you can pose for pics and then continue on to the Toy Shack which is where Pawn Star expert Johnny Jimenez houses collectible toys like Transformers and Vintage Hot Wheels.

  • Rating: 10/10 – Bucket list essential!
  • Cost: $85
  • Personal Opinion: Definitely don’t skip this one!

9. Step Back in Time at the Pinball Hall of Fame

Here’s a real doozy as far as magical places in Las Vegas are concerned! If you’re a fan of retro games like me, believe me when I say you don’t want to miss a visit to the Pinball Hall of Fame.

Rows of pinball machines with two players enjoying a game at the Pinball Hall of Fame
Pinball Hall of Fame is home to the “Pinball Circus,” an extremely rare machine produced by Williams in the 1990s.
Photo: Bobak Ha’Eri (WikiCommons)

This place is actually run by a veteran arcade operator who was pretty well-known during the 80s Pacman era. Because it’s found right on the Strip (just across the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign), the Pinball Hall of Fame is often skipped in favor of glitzier destinations, but for me, this was easily one of the best places to visit in the US.

Gamers will no doubt enjoy the blend of modern and vintage machines, some of which date back to the 60s. Not only does this hands-on museum feature the world’s largest pinball collection, but you can actually play your old favorites!

Entry is free and most pinball machines cost between 25 and 50 cents per play. Talk about a real bargain, right?

  • Rating: 9/10 – Worth Bragging About
  • Cost: FREE
  • Personal Opinion: An impressive find you’ll tell friends about.
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10. Drive an Exotic Car

Who hasn’t dreamt of driving an exotic car? I know I have!

Well, the good news is that Vegas, being the extravagant city that it is, offers the ideal setting for getting behind the wheels of a racecar. If you’d like to literally venture off the beaten track, you can always sign up for this fun-filled activity that takes you to the SpeedVegas Motorsport Park, located south of the Strip.

A yellow Lamborghini Gallardo racing on a track in Las Vegas
We’re not chasing checkered flags. But hey, life’s still a wild ride!

A professional racing instructor will take you through a safety orientation that’ll take you through the various car specs, driving positions, racing lines and the technical stuff like steering techniques.

Once you’re all briefed, you’ll hop into a Porsche SUV with the instructor in the driver’s seat to ensure your safety. There are no speed limits on the track, so you can really hit the gas!

  • Rating: 9/10 – Worth Bragging About
  • Cost: $249
  • Personal Opinion: An impressive find you’ll tell friends about.

11. Spend an Afternoon at the Gilcrease Orchard

Vegas isn’t exactly known for being a family-friendly destination – at least not if you stick to the main tourist trail!

If you’re looking for ways to keep the children entertained, be sure to check out Gilcrease Orchard, a century-old farm that grows various types of fruits and vegetables. Open in fall and summer, this charming hidden gem in Las Vegas lends itself really well to families.

Two rows of apple trees at the Gilcrease Orchard Las Vegas
Somewhere peaceful in Las Vegas

Check the Gilcrease Orchard website when planning your trip since their opening hours often change according to the weather.

There are heaps of things to do there, from picking your own seasonal produce to visiting the pumpkin patch or even enjoying staff-led field trips with wagon rides!

Now, I do have to warn you that while tourists don’t usually know about this place, it’s quite popular with the locals, so pumpkin season can get pretty crowded.

If you don’t mind the crowds though, I totally recommend that you visit in the fall to try their amazing apple cider donuts – all washed down with a pint of pear or apple cider!

  • Rating: 8/10 – Genuine Delight
  • Cost: $
  • Personal Opinion: A true hidden gem, sure to make you smile.
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12. Sip on a Hot Brew at a Hidden Gem Café

I bet all that sightseeing made you hungry!

Well, in my opinion, there’s no better spot to unwind over a hot brew than the Tea and Whisk, located on Spring Mountain Road.

Steaming kettle pouring freshly brewed tea into a cup
An absolute haven for tea aficionados.

This secret spot has an actual tea bar where you can learn more about the tea-making process while sipping on a freshly steeped cup. This is also the only place in the city where you can sign up for a private tea-tasting experience – perfect for travelers looking for unique things to do in Las Vegas!

During the 2-hour experience, a tea expert will tell you more about how this centuries-old drink has evolved into six main categories. You’ll also learn how to recognize the different grades of teas before sampling products from Japan, China, and Taiwan.

  • Rating: 6/10 – Worth a Deeper Look
  • Cost: Depends on your order.
  • Personal Opinion: There’s substance under the surface.

13. Explore the Neon Boneyard

We can’t talk about Las Vegas hideaways without mentioning the Neon Boneyard, a non-profit museum that stands as a tribute to the city’s glitzy history.

Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum features a nostalgic collection of over 200 iconic Las Vegas signs. Once beacons of Vegas, the signs now represent various bygone establishments, including classic diners and casinos.

the Neon Boneyard during the night
Straight out of a timeless era!
Photo: Jeremy Thompson (Flickr)

You’ll definitely feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you mosey around the place, witnessing Vegas’ transformation through the shifts in design and trends. I suggest that you plan your visit at sunset to see the signs lit up with ground lighting.

In addition to its collection of unrestored signs, the museum regularly hosts events and talks.  

  • Rating: 7/10 – Hidden Gem Alert
  • Cost: Admission fee for entry
  • Personal Opinion: Well worth the detour for a unique experience.

14. Summit Lone Mountain

Fans of the great outdoors, this one’s for you!

Offering amazing views of the city (without the touristy crowds!), this magical place in Las Vegas lies just a quick drive from the Strip, but it definitely feels like a whole other world. On a good day, you can even see Mt. Charleston in the distance.

An aerial view of Las Vegas
Vegas from a peak point.

Locals usually go there in the afternoon for a hike or to walk their dogs. If you’d like to enjoy near-complete isolation in this picturesque place, you can always plan your hike early in the morning. I recommend that you head there before sunrise for the best views and conditions.

There are a couple of trail options leading up to the summit, including an easy one for beginners. As you move higher up, the city skyline gradually reveals itself to you against the stark desert landscape. 360-degree views await at the top so you may wish to bring a pair of binoculars along!

15. Discover the Vegas Fossils

Vegas is usually synonymous with shows, fine dining, and casinos. But if you feel like doing something different, you can step back in time at the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument!

Originally established to protect the Ice Age discoveries, this seriously underrated place is an absolute treasure trove for history buffs.

A rusty Las Vegas street sign with red paint arrow pointing right.
You know the way to go!

In contrast to the Vegas Strip’s ultra-modern vibe, this park is centered around the area’s prehistoric past. You’ll even see how over 570,000 years of water erosion shaped the landscape.

Often described as a ‘paleontological gold mine’, the park still contains fossils of camels, mammoths, and prehistoric lions that roamed Nevada over 200,000 years ago. Because of its desert flora and massive open spaces, this is the ideal place for escaping the noise of the city.

  • Rating: 9/10 – Worth Bragging About
  • Cost: FREE
  • Personal Opinion: An impressive find you’ll tell friends about.

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One thing’s for sure: Vegas ain’t cheap. So if something doesn’t go to plan, having the right travel insurance for The USA can save you a small fortune.

Month to month payments, no lock-in contracts, and no itineraries required: that’s the exact kind of insurance digital nomads and long-term traveller types need. Cover yo’ pretty little self while you live the DREAM!

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FAQs About Hidden Gems in Las Vegas

There’s still more to come. Here are more hidden treasures in Las Vegas to put on your map.

Final Thoughts on Las Vegas’ Hidden Gems

There you have it: some of my favorite secret places in Las Vegas that you can consider adding to your city itinerary, especially if you plan to go off the beaten track.

You know what would be even more fabulous? An epic backpacking trip that’ll take you through every nook and cranny in Vegas! Be sure to check out our Las Vegas travel guide to find out how to properly plan and prep for your backpacking adventure!

A replica of the back of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign with the message "Drive Carefully Come Back Soon"
You definitely WILL!
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