Las Vegas: Must-See-Places
You might think of cheesy hotels, bad hangovers, and money lost when it comes to Las Vegas, but if you look below the surface, there’s gourmet food, incredible entertainment, and stunning nature. Go beyond the bright lights and discover there’s so much more than slot machines and nightclubs when it comes to Las Vegas.
There’s a reason most people stay on Las Vegas Boulevard aka “The Strip” when they come to Vegas. With many of the city’s best hotels, restaurants and entertainment, you can spend your whole trip never leaving it. If you’re looking for some gems within the chaos, stop by the Bellagio for the fountain show happening every 30 minutes. If you want a better view, make reservations and watch at one of the restaurants overlooking the man-made lake like at famed Chef Julian Serrano’s Lago , or his famous but more pricey (and we think worth it) Picasso (pro tip: Don’t be shy about roaming around the restaurant to admire all the real Picasso paintings on the wall). Other great stand-out spots on The Strip include The Chandelier bar at Cosmopolitan, shopping at Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops and/or The Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes , and for thrillseekers, either riding The Big Apple Coaster at New York, New York or the Big Shot at The Stratosphere.
Downtown Las Vegas
Continue north on The Strip and you’ll end up in Downtown Las Vegas, or as it’s sometimes lovingly referred to as Old Las Vegas. Admire all the old, refurbished neon lights before grabbing a rooftop drink at Commonwealth . Check out the famous LED canopy of the Fremont Street Experience and wait for a show (running 6pm-2am on the hour, lasting 6-8 minutes). For an even cooler view, ride the SlotZilla Zipline down it. A little further south of here is the Arts District and we love Esther's Kitchen for its incredible food and warm, welcoming space that’s sure to make you forget you’re in Vegas and Velveteen Rabbit's cocktails.
Vegas is a sprawling city and there’s even more to see if you’re willing to venture further south. Love country music or just want to learn some line dancing? Check out Stoney's Rockin' Country which has live music and even lessons earlier in the night. Looking for incredible sushi? There are some incredible spots on W. Spring Mountain Road, like Sushi Kaya (that also does private karaoke rooms) and afterward, enjoy a tropical drink at the awesome tiki bar The Golden Tiki . Why not visit one of the city’s off-the-beaten-path breweries, like Bad Beat Brewing ?
Even though it’s often overlooked for the nightlife, Las Vegas has some incredible nature. Take a hike in Red Rock Canyon to see the famed, well, red rocks (or you can simply drive the loop). If you want to see snow or even some trees (it’s true!) drive up the beautiful Mount Charleston (and you can even camp there). A little outside of town, we have to mention Hoover Dam because it really is an impressive sight to behold. If you like impressive, drive to Seven Magic Mountains to see this wondrous art installation in the desert. If you really don’t want to venture that far from the city, you can see some beautiful nature at the Springs Preserve .
Las Vegas has some seriously underrated museums. Find yourself fascinated with Vegas’s darker history and a lesson on the omertà at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas’s old City Hall. Another way to see the history of Vegas is through its most treasured relics--its neon signs--at the Neon Museum (pro tip: do a night tour to see them lit up). Are you into the supernatural? Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum might be a pricey ticket but well worth it if you don’t get too spooked. Learn about the nuclear weapons testing in Nevada at the National Atomic Testing Museum , a Smithsonian Affiliate museum.
What trip to Las Vegas isn’t complete without catching a show? All of the Cirque du Soleil shows are incredible and you can’t go wrong if you pick any of them. (Note: Performances resume this June starting with O and Mystere. Check the website for updated show information). There are also the fantastic residencies from famous acts that run for a while. Carrie Underwood, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Bruno Mars, Keith Urban and more all have residencies in 2021/2022. If you’re looking for musicals, some of the hotels will have ones running for a while, or you might want to look at what’s coming through town at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts . There’s also great comedy acts, some of the biggest acts coming in for a few nights, while you can always find great comics at Brad Garrett's Comedy Club at the MGM Grand.