Las Vegas. Easily one of the most famous, most visited city in the whole of the United States. This city is all about its famous casino hotels, the glitzy lights of The Strip and living like a high roller.
Being so globally renowned, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll find a ton of stuff to do in Las Vegas. A lot of the activities revolve around the casinos, which are veritable destinations in themselves; there are fountain shows, hotels that look like giant pyramids, and replicas of famous city skylines, not to mention canals made to look like a mini Venice. It’s a much-touristed haven.
Getting off the tourist trail, however, can take some doing. With that in mind, we have decided to create this guide to the best off the beaten track things to do in Las Vegas. Your whole trip to Sin City doesn’t have to revolve completely around gambling, or casinos, so to make sure you don’t have a slot machine-heavy trip to Las Vegas, we’ve got you covered with a list of the city’s top activities.
- Top Things to Do in Las Vegas
- Unusual Things to Do in Las Vegas
- Safety in Las Vegas
- Things to Do in Las Vegas at Night
- Where to Stay in Las Vegas
- Romantic Things to Do in Las Vegas
- Best Free Things to Do in Las Vegas
- Things to Do with Kids in Las Vegas
- Other Things to Do in Las Vegas
- Day Trips From Las Vegas
- 3 Day Las Vegas Itinerary
Top Things to Do in Las Vegas
First and foremost amongst the unmissable things to do in Las Vegas is the Strip at night. Seeing all the neon lights and glimmering signs of The Strip is all out “wow!” inducing moment. There’s not much of a better way to get to grips with what Las Vegas is all about than seeing this spectacle.
But it’s not all about the Strip – head to the more historic Fremont Street where you can see the old neon signs in action. There’s a huge array of electric signs going on here, giving you a real taste of a Las Vegas of the past in all its retro glory. There’s other stuff to lap up too, like the Praying Mantis sculpture, and the classic cowboy sign of Vegas Vic. We bet you’ll love it; bring your camera along for the ride.
2. Ride a gondola at the Venetian
Yes, this is definitely one of the most tourist-y things to do in Las Vegas, but it’s got to be done. The casino hotels in this city are pretty awesome, to be fair, and some of them are really, really worth visiting. The Venetian has the added benefit of not just looking like a replica of Venice and its canals – but you can even get a gondola ride here.
The gondoliers here even sing to you as you pass by all the shops on either side. It’s a pretty unusual thing to do in Las Vegas, simply because of how weird it is to be able to feel like you’re in Venice, and yet be in the middle of the American desert. It’s classic, it’s a cheesy and it’s fun; just sit back and watch it all go by. Costs are about $16; open 10am to 11pm (midnight on the weekend).
Next to gambling, soaking up the nightlife in the city is one of the best things you could be doing in Las Vegas. Yes, you can create your very own Hangover sequel (probably not as crazy), with hundreds of venues for you to party the night away in, meaning that a bar crawl is very much in order. Why stay at one bar or club when there are countless others to experience?
To make it all comprehensive, less stressful and free-flowing, there is the possibility of booking yourself onto a tour; this will get you entrance into some cool bars and clubs without having to queue. Of course, you don’t have to do that. You can just take your pick and see where the night takes you!
If you’re visiting Las Vegas for the first time, there’s no better place to stay than the South Strip neighbourhood. Located, you guessed it, just south of the world-renowned Las Vegas Strip, this neighbourhood is within walking distance of the city’s most famous casinos, clubs, restaurants and attractions.
- Pick up a few treats at Hershey’s Chocolate World
- Sink your teeth into a delicious burger at Burger Bar
- Catch a performance at the legendary House of Blues Las Vegas
For more Places to Stay, check out our full Las Vegas Neighborhood Guide!
Las Vegas is all glitz and glamour and admittedly, this is a lot of fun. However, another great perk of basing yourself in this desert city is being able to see one of the natural wonders of the world: The Grand Canyon. Getting yourself over to see this spectacle of nature is easily one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, for sure.
The Grand Canyon National Park is easily reachable from the city, taking just a two hour drive. That may seem long but trust us: it’s worth it. If you don’t have your own wheels, jump on one of the many coaches or tour buses that leave from all over Las Vegas regularly. You won’t regret it, because the Grand Canyon is unreal.
5. Go and have fun at The Peppermill
The Peppermill is a must-do, one of those unmissable things to do in Vegas. Like, if you don’t go to The Peppermill while you’re in town, have you even been to Vegas? And if you don’t know what it is, The Peppermill is a neon-lit restaurant, a Vegas institution that serves up breakfast 24 hours a day, complete with reflection pool and flames.
There’s a retro casino vibe going on here, where you can sit in crescent-shaped booths and enjoy live music that calls to mind Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Who knows what this place is really: it exists in its own realm of time of space and makes for one of the very best things to do in Las Vegas.
Eat? In Las Vegas? Yes, that’s right: this city is packed full with some amazing restaurants, making it a surprise for foodies whenever they visit. You might think it’s all gambling and bars with old time-y music, but it’s much more than just that.
Eating your way around this city will give you a real insight into the history and local life of the area. If you fancy something high-end then check out Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant. For something low-key then there are the Asian eateries in the unofficial Chinatown off the west side of the Strip (hit up Ichiza for late-night Japanese small plates). You can eat pretty much anything from all over the world here – and it’s good.
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That’s right. Vegas has its very own Eiffel Tower; we mean, of course it does. It’s got its own Venice canal, so why wouldn’t it also have an Eiffel Tower? (There’s even an Arc de Triomphe). And what’s more, you can go up it too, for one of the best things to do in Las Vegas (at night, preferably).
The top of this impressive half-scale replica is reachable via a pretty speedy glass elevator (complete with views as you go up, of course), that takes you 460 feet in the air. Here you’ll have all-round views of the city, from the fountains of The Bellagio to the other sights and sounds of the city. Tip: there’s an illumination show of synchronised twinkling of the Tower ever half hour.
As far as I am aware, there are sadly no plans afoot for Vegas to build its own Blackpoool Tower.
8. Hit up the Neon Museum
With a rich history of neon signs and lights from the city’s Golden Age, of course there’s going to be a museum dedicated to them. And it’s a great place to go, one of the more off the beaten track things to do in Las Vegas.
After being stored in a neon-sign-specific boneyard for years, it was decided the city’s neon sign heritage was artistic and historically significant enough to restore them and bring them back to life in this monument to retro hedonism. There’s even the lobby of one of the city’s historic motels, La Concha, which was moved here and reconstructed; it’s very cool.
If you don’t have the funds enough to take you to the Grand Canyon itself, then a trip to Red Rock Canyon is pretty cool if what you want to do is soak up some dramatic landscapes and mountain scenery. Even better is taking a bike ride around as, obviously, you can cover more ground with two wheels than two feet.
Electric bikes, allowing you to do more without getting so pooped out (it is the desert after all), are on offer from companies like family-run EzRideLV. If you’re looking for something outdoors-y to do in Las Vegas away from all the casinos, we’d definitely recommend this one; you can even spot local wildlife like coyotes and bighorn sheep.
Nope, this isn’t an outdoors activity: Seven Magic Mountains is actually more like, well, an Instagram hotspot. This desert-based art installation consists of seven totem-like poles of rock arranged in stacks and coloured for a rainbow-like result. It creates a pretty cool colour pop in the middle of the scrubland of the Ivanpah Valley.
Sort of a cross between giant Play Doh sculptures and misshapen, outsized Lego figures, the Seven Magic Mountains does still require you to get out of the city and into the desert surroundings. It’s only a 40-minute drive from the centre of town, making for a pretty simple but very cool thing to do in Las Vegas. You can also combine the Seven Magic Mountains with the Red Rock Canyon – it’s a nice little day trip!
Unusual Things to Do in Las Vegas
Often totally overlooked by tourists more interested in fountain shows and losing hundreds of dollars on poker tables, the Arts District is where you will find the actual locals of the city – you know, the people who live here. Developed over 20 years, this district is where locals go to get creative (hence the name).
First of all, make a beeline for the Boulder Plaza, where you’ll see street art, then you can see behind the scenes with artists at work in the Arts Factory – a converted warehouse turned communal studio and gallery space. It’s interesting, it’s underground, and it’s one of our favourite off the beaten track things to do in Las Vegas. There’s even vintage shops here – hit up Antique Row along Main Street.
12. Pop into the Pinball Hall of Fame
When it comes to the more weird, wacky and unique things to do in Las Vegas, they don’t get much cooler than getting to play some retro pinball machines. And you can do that over at the purpose-built pinball haven, the Pinball Hall of Fame.
Run by members of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club (obviously), the machines here range from the 1950s to the 1990s for 10,000 square feet of pure pinball pleasure. It’s not for profit, too: any extra cash goes to charity. And it’s also easy on the wallet – 25 cents a pop. A much better way to have fun with a machine than staring at blankly at a one-armed-bandit.
13. Buy some art at an Art-o-mat
Cigarette machines used to be all the rage in the US. That is, of course, until they kind of fell out of favour with health warnings and all that stuff. So the question was: what do we do with all these amazing looking retro cigarette machines? The answer was, for Clark Whittington, simple: turn them into mini art vending machines, of course.
Art-0-mat, as they are now called, are places where for $5 you can get your hands on an original piece of artwork, from miniature sculptures to pocket-sized paintings and illustrations. You’ll find six at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino; tracking them down is one of the most fun, most unusual things to do in Las Vegas. And you get some art out of it, too!
Safety in Las Vegas
With all the debauchery and criminality that Las Vegas is (or was) famous for, it’s surprisingly safe. Well, of course it’s safe: so many people come here on holiday from all over the world.
It’s got a pretty low crime rate (maybe that’s down to the tough security in the casinos), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of scammers – who are very active in the city – especially with things to do with tickets and passes. Only use reputable vendors.
The Strip is where most tourists will base themselves and it’s relatively safe, being well lit (obviously) with plenty of security cameras and police presence. You should take more care on darker side streets after dark. Cars have been known to be broken into, so be careful not to leave anything on show.
Street gangs exist, but you’re unlikely to come across them. For the most part, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is not losing too much money and keeping hydrated in the desert heat. Read our tips for traveling safely before you fly and always get travel insurance. Check out our roundup of the best travel insurance.
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Things to Do in Las Vegas at Night
14. Have drinks at Frankie’s Tiki Room
Just what you want in a drinking hole in Las Vegas, this cute and very kitsch tiki bar is where you should be going for some fun drinks in the city. Sitting here for a few hours, with some crazily coloured cocktails constitutes one of the coolest things to do in Las Vegas at night.
Find your place amidst the 1950s decor, surrounded by bamboo and coconut thatch, and enjoy sipping your drink under the light of pufferfish lights (actual dried pufferfish). Tip: the menu comes with a handy “skull” system, with the number of skulls next to each drink denoting just how alcoholic it’s going to be. Don’t you just love the sound of this place?
Going around on an open-top bus in the day time in Las Vegas, let’s be real – it doesn’t sound like much fun. First of all, and mostly, it will just be hot. You’ll get sunburnt, dehydrated, and you’ll be squinting your eyes the whole time. After dark, on the other hand, is the perfect time to clamber aboard for an open-top bus.
To be honest, this will also be your best time to see the city because it’s when all the lights will be glittering and shining – which is pretty much the only time you should be doing anything like this. It looks awesome, it feels like that one scene from Austin Powers, and it’s one of the best things to do in Las Vegas at night.
One of the big-ticket things to do in Las Vegas is to go and see one of the stars in residence perform a show. There have been many over the years, from Britney Spears and Lady Gaga to Barry Manilow, Andrea Bocelli and even Mariah Carey, to name just a few. They’ll be “in residence” at one casino and one casino only, playing almost nightly shows.
Sure, it won’t be a very budget-friendly thing to do in Las Vegas, but if you’ve got the money and feel like splashing out on something special, this will definitely be a memorable way to spend your time.
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Las Vegas.
Best Hostel in Las Vegas: Sin City Hostel
The Sin City Hostel is our pick for the best hostel in Las Vegas. Set near the buzzing Arts District, this hostel is close to restaurants, shops, bars and galleries! It has clean and comfortable rooms, a social common area, a well-stock kitchen and free wifi throughout. Breakfast is also available.
If you love hostels, you should check out our list of the coolest hostels in Las Vegas!
Best Airbnb in Las Vegas: Brand New Apartment in the Center of Vegas
Just 2 minutes from the strip is this swanky apartment on the 9th floor. Features the view of the world-famous Bellagio Fountain: must-see for the first time in Vegas. With 24-hr check-in, your on your own time here. Or should we say time doesn’t exactly exist on this vacation?
If you enjoy staying in Airbnb’s, we know you’ll love these epic lodges in Las Vegas – all of which come with the privacy and comfort that you’ll find in your own home.
Best Hotel in Las Vegas: The Carriage House
The Carriage House is in a fantastic location within walking distance to Las Vegas’ best bars, clubs and restaurants – getting it our vote for the best hotel in Las Vegas. It has comfortable and spacious rooms, as well as a Jacuzzi, indoor pool, and golf course on-site.
Try out VRBOs in Las Vegas for the ultimate home away from home experience.
Romantic Things to Do in Las Vegas
Horseback riding is one of those romantic things that can only be made even better by adding even more elements of romance – like a sunset, and some dramatic nature. Luckily for you, there’s the chance for you and your partner to go horseback riding into the sunset in Las Vegas – with a hearty BBQ dinner at the end of it for you.
You’ll have to book with a company like Wild West Horseback Adventures (like, we don’t recommend going out doing this by yourselves!) but once you’ve made the necessary bookings, all you need to do is saddle up and head out together for one of the most romantic things to do in Las Vegas. For us, it’s all about that campfire dinner at the end, though.
18. Taste the wine at The Rio Wine Cellar and Tasting Room
Another romantic thing to do in Las Vegas would be to go check out the Rio Wine Cellar and Tasting Room. Conveniently situated within striking distance of The Strip , this winery is a great place to come if both you and your partner like the idea of wine, drinking together, or just enjoying something unusual. This is one place where the tourists usually don’t make their way to.
With $10 million worth of wine, that’s over 10,000 bottles, there’s a lot of wine to sample here, so you may not quite get through them all… A highlight is enjoying the international cheese selections that are expertly paired with the wine, because, well, cheese & wine.
Always Be Insured
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Best Free Things to Do in Las Vegas
19. Watch the Bellagio Fountain show
If you’re strapped for things to do in Las Vegas, partly because you’re on a shoestring budget, then you might want to consider just heading on down to The Bellagio and waiting for its fountain show to start. Yes, it’s touristy, but actually this is pretty impressive.
And it’s free. Running every half an hour for 10 minutes in the afternoon, and then from 8pm till midnight showing every 15 minutes, this light-and-sound show combined with choreographed jets of water is definitely worth it. Take pictures, be wowed, and then move on. Simple. Fun fact: it’s so vast that it would take a year to fill up the lake with a regular garden hose.
20. Watch a show in Fremont Street
Fremont Street, as we already established, is where the old heart of Las Vegas used to beat. It is home to retro facades, historic buildings and neon signs. It’s essentially an open-air mall and there is always, always something going on here. We guarantee it. And is there isn’t, then why don’t YOU do something? Maybe you could quack like a duck or run around with your pants on your head?
Anyway… for a good thing to do in Las Vegas on a budget, make a beeline for Fremont Street and hang around. There are a regular series of free concerts that happen here, completely and 100% free, and it comes complete – in true Vegas fashion – with a light show, too. Aside from that, you’ll find various street performers galore along this street, in the daytime especially. It is polite to throw them at least a few coins.
21. Take a snap with the Las Vegas sign
An unmissable thing to do in Las Vegas, having your photo snapped as you stand next to the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is a great little memory to have on film. Erected in 1959, it’s located just south of the Las Vegas Strip and is actually a slice of the city’s history, in all its Googie architecture glory.
In true US fashion, there’s a car park located right next to it, making it extra easy for you to go and take a photo. Fun fact: On the other side, which is less often photographed, it says “Drive carefully / Come back soon”.
Books to Read in Las Vegas
The Backpacker Bible – Get it for free! Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building a life of long-term travel with an online income. To inspire and help the next generation of Broke Backpackers, you can now grab ‘How to Travel the World on $10 a Day’ for free! Get your copy here.
Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas – The story of the man who started a casino empire in Las Vegas and paved the way for future developments. In essence: this man is responsible for all of those neon lights and racy posters.
Citizen Hughes –A biographical book about the legendary aviator Howard Hughes and his years in Las Vegas. A fascinating look at the man’s eccentric life.
Sun, Sin, and Suburbia –A look at the non-transient communities in Las Vegas – those who have to deal with all of the debaucherous out-of-towners on a daily basis. An interesting look at Vegas as an actual city and not just a resort.
Things to Do with Kids in Las Vegas
The aptly named High Roller ferris wheel is a 550 foot “observation wheel”. It is currently the tallest ferris wheel in the world (though by 2020, it will be the Dubai Eye – over 100 feet taller than the High Roller).
It’s all about family fun on this ride though, making it a pretty cool thing to do in Las Vegas with kids in tow. Grab your spot in one of the pods and be prepared to be amazed at the sights of the city below from above. It’s open day or night, so if you’ve got smaller children you can take them in the day, but older children will be suitably wowed by the night vista of the city.
The family-friendly pool at Mandalay Beach is part of th 43-storey Luxor Resort and makes for one of the best things to do in Las Vegas with kids. Suitable for all ages and all the family, this swimming pool is more than just a pool – more like a waterpark, with 11 acres of fun to be had.
We’re talking bobbing around in the wave pool, floating in a tube on the lazy river, and lounging around the lagoon; there are even themed beach bars and grills to enjoy. Open from 9am to 6pm, this is an awesome thing to do in Las Vegas when it’s hot – we can’t think of a better way to cool down in this desert city! Fun fact: there are 2,700 tons of real sand here.
Other Things to Do in Las Vegas
24. Go and see The Volcano Show
There’s the fountains at the Bellagio, there’s the canals at the Venetian, there’s the crazy pyramid that is the Luxor, and then there’s The Volcano. That’s at the Mirage. It’s suitably insane. Definitely one of the most quintessential things to do in Las Vegas.
Right outside the casino hotel complex itself, the Volcano literally “erupts” every night with fire and smoke for a surprisingly real-looking simulation of lava spewing out of an angrily erupting volcano. There’s this visual side, then there’s the epic music to go with it, and lights, too (you can even feel the heat of the flames). And it’s free! Tip: it takes place every hour, on the hour in the evenings.
For most people, this will be the closest you ever get to watching a a volcano erupt. That’s probably for the best.
25. Visit Hoover Dam
Part of the period of great public works constructions in 1930s, mid-to-post-Depression USA, the Hoover Dam is an icon of American history. And if you feel like seeing this feat of engineering in all its concrete glory, no sweat: it’s just a 40 minute drive from Las Vegas to the dam itself.
Still in action today, visiting the dam offers up views not only of the construction itself, but also of Lake Mead – one of the largest man-made lakes in the world (apparently). Tip: head to the Visitors Center to get yourself on a tour of the interior of the dam and the power plant itself, which is pretty cool. Easily one of the best day trips from Las Vegas.
26. Spend some time at Springs Preserve Botanical Garden
Home to the largest collection of Mojave Desert cacti and other succulents (hello, hipsters and Instagram fans) in the actual world, the Springs Preserve Botanical Garden is one of our favourite outdoors-y things to do in Las Vegas – and a nice way to take a break from the neon madness and fake volcanoes of it all.
Aiming to maintain a large swathe of the natural habitat here, you get to wander along a series of boardwalks, walking trails and even some wetlands – but don’t forget your camera because you’ll be wanting a slice of this millennial-worthy greenery. And all of this for less than $20.
Another of the best outdoors-y and adventurous things to do in Las Vegas, is paying a visit to Horse Shoe Bend. It’s a must-do if you’re staying in the city and you love being active more than you love gambling.
It’s quite a long journey to get there, to be fair, but if you really like nature and hiking, and seeing some spectacular landscapes, then you won’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn to make the most of this place. Otherworldly slot canyons, dramatically meandering rivers and canyons, and stark desert scenery. It doesn’t get much better than this.
28. Play a game at a Kiss-themed mini golf course
KISS by Monster Mini Golf is a mini golf course with a difference: it’s all themed on the iconic hair metal band, um, Kiss. It’s crazy, just crazy enough for this over-the-top city, but pretty fun, making for a more unusual thing to do in Las Vegas.
You can expect white make-up and red tongues galore, amidst a mix of black and fluorescent paint and details that make up this very eccentric mini golf course. It’s a tribute to the band themselves: think a giant Gene Simmons head as one of the holes (you have to get the ball up his tongue). Open from 10am to midnight. Recommended for Kiss fans, golf fans or drunk people.
Historically, wherever gambling goes, organised crime follows; that’s exactly the story of Las Vegas (and many other parts of the States, as well to be fair). The “mob” as the gangsters here are referred to, have had a big impact on the city and it’s development and certainly warrant a museum dedicated to their inner workings.
This history museum in Downtown Las Vegas tells the story of the mob and their influence on politics and wider society – not just in Las Vegas but in other parts of the US, as well. You’ll get to learn about their role and rise during the Prohibition era as well as famous happenings, like the Valentines Day Massacre. Tip: Swing by the speakeasy in the museum for a post-education drink.
Do aliens exist? Don’t ask us: we literally have no idea. But if you’re at all curious, or even excited, about the prospect of little green (or grey) men having a home somewhere out there amongst the stars, then somewhere like Area 51 is really going to capture your imagination.
Unfortunately, but probably best for your safety, Area 51 is off-limits to the public. However, there are plenty of tours available in relatively nearby Las Vegas that can offer you some kooky insight into the world of aliens, and how the CIA and FBI have a role in keeping it all under wraps. Allegedly. Note that if you do actually try to enter Area 51 you risk been arrested or possibly shot.
31. Go where the locals go
If you want to get away from all the tourists on the Strip and in the tiki bars in town, and see where locals like to go and drink, then look no further than Huntridge Tavern. It’s a classic dive bar that feels completely untouched by time and is where local people come to drink.
The beer is cheap, the seats are worn down and sometimes there’s live music. There’s also an eclectic jukebox which is a great addition. The crowd is a mixed bunch. Needless to say this is easily one of the best, off the beaten track things to do in Las Vegas to find a different side to the city.
Day Trips From Las Vegas
If you’re spending more than three days in Las Vegas, a day trip can be a fun way to experience areas outside of the crowded casinos and busy streets. These day trips are a great addition to your Las Vegas itinerary, and there are lots of fun options to choose from!
On this fifteen-hour tour, you’ll travel to the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park! En route to the canyon, you’ll stop at the historic Hoover Dam for a quick photo opportunity. Enjoy scenic views of the spectacular southwest desert as you travel by comfortable coach.
You’ll pass through Seligman, the town mimicked in the movie “Cars”. After lunch, you’ll enter into the Grand Canyon where you’ll spend approximately three-hours. If you’re spending four days in Las Vegas, this trip is a wonderful addition to your itinerary!
This four and a half hour tour takes you all the way to the bottom floor of the Grand Canyon! Enjoy a thrilling helicopter ride that descends 3,500 feet below the canyon’s rim. Admire the breath-taking views of Nevada and Arizona’s vast landscape as you travel from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.
Once you land at the bottom of the canyon, you’ll be served champagne and refreshments while overlooking the Colorado River. You’ll spend thirty minutes on the floor of the canyon before returning back to Las Vegas. For thrill seekers, this is one of the most exciting day trips from Las Vegas you can take!
On this fourteen-hour tour, you’ll visit Antelope Canyon, the most famous slot canyon in the world! The small group setting of this tour will provide you with a more personalized experience. You’ll be led by an experienced driver as well as a Navajo guide!
Take in the stunning views of Horseshoe Bend, a unique incisor-shaped bend in the Colorado River. See Glen Canyon Dam, an arch-gravity dam, as you travel off the beaten path. Learn about the history and unique geology of this iconic sight. For nature lovers, this tour perfectly compliments a multi-day itinerary in Las Vegas!
3 Day Las Vegas Itinerary
So there you have it: a ton of cool things to do in Las Vegas. But with so many things you could be doing in this fun city, you might have some trouble creating an itinerary that you can stick to without feeling like you’re everywhere all at once. Don’t worry though: we’re here to help with a 3 day Las Vegas itinerary that’s going to pack your schedule with only the best of the best.
Day 1 – Viva Las Vegas!
Start your day off by hitting up the obvious: the Las Vegas sign. Get your photo taken here, then continue to the Strip. Here you can explore all the crazy casino hotels of this area, maybe see if you can’t win some money, but most of all you should go full Las Vegas and have a gondola ride around the canals at The Venetian. For lunch, it has to be a classic Vegas buffet.
Head to The Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace. Pay on entrance and it’s all you can eat affair; great value for money, surprisingly. Then again, the Wicked Spoon buffet at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a more modern, elegant option. Follow-up by hunting for one of the Art-o-mat machines inside the hallowed halls of the hotel (tip: head to the second floor).
Enjoy the retro vibes of getting mini art from a vintage cigarette machine, then it’s on to see the Strip at night and onward to Fremont Street. Catch a free show and enjoy the neon lights of classic Las Vegas. Head back to the Strip, drive 9 minutes up the road and catch a fountain show at the Bellagio. Just another 10 minutes from there is The Peppermill: drinks, dinner, entertainment. It’s all here.
Day 2 – Quirky Vegas
Head out early, when it won’t be so hot, and drive into the desert to see the Seven Magic Mountains. Marvel at these kooky, towering sculptures and then head back into town (40 minutes) and go for a swim at The Mandalay. It’s a good idea to spend the hottest part of the day here, swimming, splashing around, and eating and drinking and the “beach” bars and grills they have going on here.
Dry off, get dressed and make your way to the Neon Museum, 11 minutes’ drive from The Mandalay. This is one for anybody with an interest in the retro Googie designs that Las Vegas in its heyday was famous for. Soak it all up, take some snaps, then move on to another great collection as evening begins to fall: The Pinball Hall of Fame. Pinball your way into nightfall and then it’s time to eat.
It’s a 9 minute drive from here to Chinatown – an unofficial collection of strip malls filled with Asian delights, from Korean BBQ to Vietnamese pho and a whole lot of other treats. We think Ichiza – a Japanese place where you can get small dishes and drinks – is a good option. For more late-night thrills and spills, head back to the Strip and see a pop star in residence. It’ll cost you, but it’s worth it.
Day 3 – Authentic Vegas
First of all, you’ll be hungry. That calls for a diner – that’s right, we’re going full Americana. Make a very hungry beeline for Vickie’s Diner; set on the Strip, this 24/7 spot is an old-school soda fountain where breakfast is served all day. When you’re fully satisfied with the amount you’ve eaten, it’s just a 7 minute drive north along the Strip to the Mob Museum.
Here is where you can learn all about the gangsters who practically controlled the city back in the day. After you feel educated enough, head to the Arts District. You may be hungry for a (Mexican) lunch, so go to family-owned restaurant Casa Don Juan and get your fill. Walk around the Arts District and soak up the local vibes here. Make sure stop off at the Arts Factory to see some local masterpieces.
Art Square is another good option; here you’ll get to see a whole bunch of street art. Also in this district is Mingo Kitchen & Lounge, for some Latin fare – complete happy hour. If that happy hour wasn’t happy enough for you, don’t worry: your evening spot is pretty much sorted out since Frankie’s Tiki Room is just a three minute drive away. Enjoy the cocktails and “exotic” vibes of this mad, kitsch place.
Las Vegas is so famous that it feels as though you wouldn’t really be able to get off the tourist trail here. But this town is zany and offbeat enough to offer up a whole plethora of interesting sights to see that easily make up some of the best off the beaten path things to do in Las Vegas. There’s almost no end to the number of oddities you can discover in this town.
Our guide, then, suitably has a great mixture of some of the most quintessential, must-do things and a lot of the more unique, unusual things this city has to offer. Yep, it’s more than just gambling in this mad, mad city.
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