Top ten things to do in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is so much more than just the gambling capital of the world. This towering desert city is also a foodie paradise, nightlife capital, cultural trailblazer, and an important centre of American history. The city has undergone various iterations over its 100-year span, from gold digger gulch to family-friendly resort city. These days, however, the original City of Sin might just be undergoing its most dramatic transformation yet.
Thanks to an influx of creatives and millennials drawn to the low cost of living and strong job market, Las Vegas is on its way to becoming one of the most vibrant cultural and lifestyle destinations in America. If you want to see what lies beyond the Strip, read on to find out the top ten things you absolutely need to experience in Las Vegas, NV.
Explore the best modern art scene in the South West
Few people think of modern art when they think of Las Vegas, but thanks to the dedicated curators at the Metropolitan Gallery Las Vegas, the city is now a frontrunner in the national arts scene. Head here to see works from some of the most cutting edge established and up-and-coming artists in the world, alongside some very Instagram-friendly interactive art displays.
Visit the atomic testing museum
A major draw for tourists back in the 1950s and 60s was the chance to see real-life mushroom clouds from the nearby Nevada Test Site, where 100 nuclear bombs were detonated by the US military. Although you can no longer watch a detonation from a rooftop bar, you can explore this eccentric and unnerving aspect of Cold War history at the fascinating Atomic Testing Museum.
Drink in an ice bar in the middle of the desert
Of the many hundreds of cool bars in Vegas, this one is quite literally the coolest. Located inside the Mandalay Bay resort, Minus5 ice bar allows you to cool your jets in subzero temperatures, with every piece of furniture and glassware being sculpted out of ice. There are few better ways to escape the searing Las Vegas heat.
Join the mob
Las Vegas got its start as a gambling mecca thanks to the American mafia, who controlled much of the city back in the 1930s. Experience the glamour, violence, and drama for yourself at the American Mob Museum, where you can don authentic gangster suits and recline inside a bulletproof convertible from the 1930s. It’s a museum that manages to be truly fascinating and a whole lot of fun in equal measure.
Race a real NASCAR driver
You don’t have to be a pro to put yourself in the shoes of a real-life NASCAR driver for the day. The Richard Petty Driving Experience allows you to ride alongside a real-life professional driver and roar along the iconic Las Vegas Speedway at 140 miles per hour. You’ll almost definitely need a stiff drink after this white-knuckle ride.
See some stunning natural beauty
When the temperatures are a little more tolerable, make sure to step out of the city and explore the very best of the local nature. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area feels like the surface of Mars, with haunting rock cliffsides that are just begging to be explored. If you’re particularly lucky, you might even stumble across some of the many dinosaur fossils which still litter the area.
Visit the graveyard of Old Vegas
Las Vegas has always been quick to embrace whirlwind change, sometimes brutally so. There’s no better place to get a feel for the many past incarnations of this ever-changing city than at the Neon Graveyard, a sprawling junkyard which is home to hundreds of the old neon signs which once adorned the entrances of casinos, bordellos, concert venues, and restaurants that are no longer with us.
Hit up the hoover dam
Almost eight decades later, the Hoover Dam remains one of the engineering marvels of the modern world. This formidable piece of infrastructure still provides much of the water that keeps Las Vegas alive and can be explored via a riveting guided tour. You can also top it off with an idyllic cruise around Lake Mead.
Climb the tallest observation tower in America
The Stratosphere at the northern end of the Vegas Strip may look like something of a relic from the 1960s, but the views from the top remain undefeated. Take the super fast elevator to the summit of the tallest observation tower in America and marvel at the vast desert expanse before you. Those who are feeling particularly brave can even bungee jump off the top.
Head to the hottest place on earth
A short drive from the centre of Las Vegas will take you to the one and only Death Valley, a place which regularly records the hottest temperatures on Earth and where the mercury frequently surpasses 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t get much hotter than this.
Las Vegas is truly like nowhere else on Earth, as these attraction demonstrate. Make sure to add these to your bucket list to ensure your next visit to Las Vegas is the trip of a lifetime.
The editorial unit