If you’ve always wanted to visit Las Vegas but don’t like to gamble or party, don’t worry! You will find plenty of things to do in Las Vegas that don’t involve gambling or partying.
I resisted going to Vegas for a long time, but when we eventually visited, I found lots of fun activities in Las Vegas to keep me occupied in and around the city for several days.
So much so that we’ve returned many times since, to enjoy the many thrilling experiences and the electric ambience of Vegas, from shows to fine dining and more.
Keep reading to discover my suggestions for the best things to do in Las Vegas!
The party capital of the world actually offers an amazing variety of activities for every type of traveler.
If you are a nature lover, or love to hike, bike or climb, you’ll find many gorgeous state and national parks within reach of Vegas.
A foodie? You’ll find a mind-boggling variety of rave-worthy gastronomic experiences to sample and savor.
If you are a photographer, the opportunities for night shots, views from above, and slices of life are all around you on the Strip.
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The BEST THINGS TO DO IN LAS VEGAS
From shows to museums, art and thrills, and shopping to culinary experiences, Vegas does everything on a grand scale.
Plus, from Red Rock Canyon to Valley of Fire, there are wonderful natural areas to enjoy near Sin City.
There are so many amazing experiences you can enjoy in Las Vegas that no single list can hope to cover them all.
But I hope you’ll find my round-up of the best things to do in Vegas a good starting point to plan your time in this amazing city.
#1 Walk the Las Vegas Strip and admire the facades
Las Vegas Boulevard, known as The Strip, is the famous street that runs through downtown Las Vegas.
It’s one of the top attractions in Vegas!
Walk along the Strip to admire the gawk-worthy exteriors of the various resort properties! It’s one of the most fun things to do in Vegas, no matter if it’s your first visit or your tenth.
From a roller coaster to a zipline, there’s so much to see and do along the Strip!
The Las Vegas Strip extends from the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and the Mandalay Bay Resort to the STRAT Hotel.
Walking south to north, some highlights you will see are the giant Sphinx at the Luxor, the castle turrets of the Excalibur, and the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty at New York New York.
Also be sure to snap a photo of Leo, the MGM lion, one of the largest bronze sculptures in the USA. You will see the lion at the entrance to the MGM Grand Resort.
Further along, you will see the gleaming facades and cutting-edge architecture of the City Center buildings, the Eiffel Tower replica soaring into the sky at The Paris, and the dancing fountains of the Bellagio.
At the north end, you’ll see Caesar’s Palace, with a replica of Rome’s Trevi Fountain.
Adventurous visitors will want to stop by The LINQ, to check out the High Roller Observation Wheel and the Fly LINQ zipline.
Everyone can enjoy the nightly Promenade light show, synchronized with the LINQ fountains and set to popular songs. It’s free!
The Venetian, with a facade that takes after the Doge’s Palace in Venice, is one of the most spectacular resorts on the Strip. Look for the replica of the Campanile, the famous bell tower from St. Mark’s Square, and the Rialto Bridge.
We generally turn around when we reach the Wynn, which has lovely fountains, but on a much smaller scale than the Bellagio.
Walking the Strip to admire the resort facades is one of our favorite things to do in Las Vegas.
Do it both by day and in the evening once the lights come on, for different but equally amazing experiences!
Nighttime offers many illuminated attractions along the Strip.
The Bellagio fountains are lit, of course, but there’s a recurring light show at the Eiffel Tower in the Paris resort and the High Roller at the LINQ also features different colored lights.
It’s a magical atmosphere!
The Strip is very well lit at night and very busy, so we feel comfortable strolling here after dark. And for photos without a lot of people, try a morning walk along the Strip!
If you’d rather not walk the full stretch at night, take the open-top Big Bus tour to see the lights of Vegas in comfort!
Pro tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes! Distances on the Strip are further than they seem, and you don’t want to end up with blisters or sore feet at the end of your walk. Bring drinking water as well, to stay hydrated as you stroll.
Pro tip: You may be cited if you are caught jaywalking, plus the traffic can be insane. Use crosswalks or pedestrian bridges to get from one side of the Strip to the other!
#2 Gawk at the opulent Vegas casino interiors
Some of the resorts on the Strip are worth visiting just for their fabulous interiors.
In our opinion, the two most magnificent interiors, all year round, are the Bellagio and the Venetian.
The Conservatory at the Bellagio, 14,000 square feet in area, is decorated afresh for each season.
We visited during the holidays last year and loved the huge polar bears, and beautiful red and green decorations everywhere.
We’ve also visited in the fall, when giant mushrooms and fairies cast a spell on visitors.
The traditional decor of Lunar New Year, cherry blossoms in spring, other colorful flowers in summer, and the colors of foliage in the fall will captivate you at other times.
Just make sure to avoid the “dark dates” between installations.
Definitely stop by the main lobby to gaze up at the stunning Chihuly ceiling. It covers 2,100 square feet and the colors in the glass sculpture are brilliant.
There’s lots of other art to admire at the Bellagio as well.
You’ll also want to stop by the largest chocolate fountain in the world, located in the Bellagio Patisserie: if you are traveling with kids, they will love it.
At the Venetian, beautiful marble floors, the faux blue sky, and the painstaking re-creation of the Grand Canal and Saint Mark’s Square make for a great stroll through the property.
Stop to admire the stunning gold Armillary Sphere sculpture in the lobby, and pose for a photo at the LOVE sign in front of the waterfall atrium in the Palazzo Tower. The waterfall is magnificent as well.
The Grand Colonnade features a beautiful frescoed ceiling (it’s hand painted!) and a striking geometric-patterned floor with rows of columns on either side. It’s yet another fabulous photo spot in the Venetian!
Enjoy all the “street vendors” in Saint Mark’s Square. I had my face sketched by one of the artists here as a memento of our first visit to Vegas!
Be sure to catch Streetmosphere, a free show that happens in the square every 30 minutes from noon until early evening. Jugglers, trained opera singers, and other performers put on a lively show you’ll love. The costumes are gorgeous!
Caesars Palace has lots of large statues of Roman gods, a life-sized replica of Michelangelo’s David, and ornate atriums.
The Forum Shops, set around a large water feature, offer stunning architecture, with lots of stately columns.
You can also ogle a copy of the Colosseum, which functions as a theater, and stroll the gardens.
During the holidays, the Wynn puts on a fabulous display of decorations, including miniature castles and trains that move. The craftsmanship is intricate and the details exquisite.
The Wynn’s conservatory makes for a wonderful stroll any time of the year, with floral displays, mosaics on the floor, and a colorful carousel.
The extravagant resort interiors are some of the best places to see in Vegas, so allow lots to time to just walk, and gawk!
Want to stay in the heart of all the action on the famous Las Vegas Strip? Book a stay at the Bellagio! The iconic hotel offers fabulous rooms, one of the best buffets in Las Vegas, many topnotch restaurants, and a variety of entertainment options.
#3 Pose for a photo at the iconic Las Vegas sign
You cannot visit Las Vegas and not get a photo at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign!
Especially if it is the first time you’re visiting.
The sign is in the median at the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, the street also known as the Strip, and it’s one of the most beloved attractions in Las Vegas.
The most convenient time to get your photo is on your way in from the airport, or on your way out, although it looks its best when it’s lit. There’s parking available at the sign.
You may have to wait your turn for photos if you visit during the day or in the evening, unless you are okay with taking a photo from the side.
Early in the day is your best shot at no queue!
Sometimes there are people here (not other visitors) that will offer to take your photo with the sign. If you agree, note that they will expect to be tipped!
Did you know the sign has been there since 1959? It’s 25 feet tall and one of the most popular landmarks in Vegas.
The sign is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by neon artist Betty Willis.
#4 Watch the Bellagio Fountain show: One of the Best Free Things to Do in Vegas!
The Bellagio fountain show is a free Las Vegas attraction that never gets old for me, no matter how many times I see it.
It’s always the first thing I rush to see when we visit Vegas.
At our last visit, we actually stayed in a Fountain View room at the Vdara, so I was able to see the show multiple times each night with no crowds around me!
The Fountains of Bellagio is a show that combines the dance of water with music and light. It takes place in the man-made lake in front of the Bellagio, and it’s a real feast for the senses!
There are more than 1,000 fountains and close to 4,800 lights making up the attraction, with water shooting up as high as 460 feet.
Choreographed with variations such that you don’t see the exact same show too often, the Bellagio fountain show also gets music refreshers from time to time.
The show lasts only a few minutes, but in those few minutes you experience magic. And shows run through the afternoon and evening, so you can catch it more than once if you wish. Definitely plan on seeing the show at least once after dark.
On weekends and holidays, the shows start at noon and run every 30 minutes until 7 p.m. From 7 p.m. until midnight, the shows run every 15 minutes. On weekdays, they start at 3 p.m.
You can watch the show right from the Strip, or while enjoying a meal at the Lago or Scarpetta in the Bellagio. Or book a room at the Bellagio with a view of the fountains!
However you choose to enjoy this delightful free Las Vegas experience, you must definitely add it to your list of things to do in Las Vegas!
#5 Enjoy a gondola ride at the Venetian
From the costumes to the serenades, the gondoliers at the Venetian come pretty close to the real thing.
And a gondola ride inside the casino along the Grand Canal is a fun thing to do when you visit Las Vegas.
You’ll float under bridges and past cafes and restaurants, with people walking along the pathways on either side, just like in Venice. A ride for two is pricey, but totally worth it!
There’s an outdoor gondola ride at the Venetian as well, if you’d rather float on a canal under the real sky, but we thought the serenade was better on the indoor ride because of the acoustics.
The outdoor ride is lovely at night if the weather is nice.
If you get a gondolier that that sings well, the gondola ride is a memorable experience, especially if you’re traveling as a couple and want to experience a little of the magic of Venice without actually going there!
#6 Take in the views of the Vegas Strip from up high
If you love rooftop views (or a view of the Strip from above), you have many choices in Vegas! The views are especially sensational after dark, when you can see the city lit up.
Take a ride on the High Roller, currently the world’s tallest Ferris wheel and one of the top Vegas attractions.
You’ll soar 550 feet above ground level when you hit the uppermost position on the wheel.
The cabins are glass-enclosed, so your photos may not be the best, but just being up there looking down upon Vegas is an awesome feeling.
Or head to the Top of the World Restaurant at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, where you can grab a drink or dine while enjoying the lights of Vegas several hundred feet below.
There’s also an observation deck at the Stratosphere. The STRAT observation deck is 1,149 dizzying feet above sea level and you will get spectacular views in every direction.
And just a few feet higher than the highest point of the High Roller is the top of the Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas.
The half-scale replica rises 540 feet from Strip level and offers panoramic views from the top. Book tickets online!
Any one of these spots can provide the thrill of seeing Vegas lit up beneath you, and taking in the views from above is one of those iconic Vegas activities you can’t miss, especially if it’s your first trip to the city.
If you want a rooftop bar with an iconic view of the Strip, head to the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay, the southernmost resort on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Located on the 63rd floor, the bar offers a view of the entire Strip. The cocktails are great, too!
Another great rooftop option is the Circa Legacy Club on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas: the 360-degree views are sensational!
#7 Catch a show: One of the Most Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas!
You have to set aside time to see at least one show when in Vegas, more if time and your pocketbook will allow.
Pick O, the Cirque d’ Soleil show at the Bellagio, if you like grand spectacles and drama. The show is set on an aquatic stage, and performers do their acts in the water, on it and above it. Book tickets!
Apart from O, there are several other Cirque d’ Soleil shows running in Vegas: we also loved KÀ, which you can catch at the MGM Grand, for its grand settings and aerial feats.
If you love the wacky, try the Blue Man Group at the Luxor.
Atomic Saloon at the Venetian is set in a Wild West saloon, with antics to match. Absinthe at Caesars Palace is a fun mix of circus acts and vaudeville. Awakening at the Wynn is a dramatic combination of dance, music, and technology.
The Mentalist at Planet Hollywood is a mix of mind-reading, magic, and comedy that gets rave reviews.
Whether it’s music, or magic, or comedy, or drama, you will find shows here that you will enjoy. Make sure you book well in advance for good seats at reasonable prices.
While you may be able to score good seats at a discount for same day shows, we recommend booking in advance for shows you really want to see instead of leaving it to chance.
The MSG Sphere, located east of the Venetian on the Strip, opened in the fall of 2023 and is currently hosting shows: U2 Live and The Sphere Experience, a film by Darren Aronofsky.
It’s a Las Vegas style over-the-top venue you will definitely want to experience!
#8 Sample a Las Vegas buffet
One of the best things to do in Las Vegas is enjoy all the culinary options available.
And sampling a Vegas buffet should head your list of foodie experiences. The variety on offer will astound you.
I have never seen such huge spreads anywhere!
Not all Vegas buffets are awesome, though, so do your research before you fork over your money.
Vegas buffets that consistently rank high for quality include the spreads at The Wynn, The Cosmopolitan, The Bellagio, and Caesars Palace.
My top choice? As a vegetarian, I love the Wynn buffet because of the breadth of offerings that aren’t just salads or steamed veggies. And their seafood dinner buffet offers crab, lobster and more.
You’ll want to try the pancake station, and order fresh crepes from the dessert station.
And if you have a sweet tooth, the dessert options at the Wicked Spoon, the Cosmopolitan Buffet, are to die for, from bourbon white chocolate bread pudding to strawberry lychee mousse. The food is good, too!
Indulging at the Wicked Spoon buffet is one of the top things to do at The Cosmopolitan!
The Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace is another highly-rated option, with several cuisines and hundreds of dishes, many of which are prepared in open kitchens right in front of you. It’s the largest buffet in Vegas.
Bacchanal features lots of vegetarian and vegan options.
We loved the desserts at the Bacchanal Buffet: the fresh-made crepes were a treat and the gelato was great as well.
The dining area is lovely, with lots of glass and stone.
The buffet at the Bellagio is another one of our favorites on the Strip. They have Italian, of course, but many other cuisines, from Japanese to Chinese. Leave room for gelato!
Weekend buffets tend to have more offerings or special foods such as crab, but also tend to be more expensive.
Be warned: the buffets are not inexpensive, and the lines at peak meal times can tend to be really long.
Either eat at a non-standard time, or be prepared to pay the surcharge for “VIP” access (read: shorter line) when the regular line is long.
Some buffets now offer Freshtxt so you do not physically have to wait in line for extended periods.
Check out what you get with The Go City Las Vegas All-Inclusive Pass! The free and discounted attractions included in the card may end up saving you money, so do the math, and if it works, get the card in advance of your visit!
Get the Go City Las Vegas Pass now!
#9 Soar over the Strip
Adventurous visitors can choose the ultimate Las Vegas adventure, a helicopter ride over the Strip!
If you opt for a helicopter ride, it’s generally offered in the evening/night, so you’ll be able to see the Strip and the city all lit up. Your pilot will offer commentary as well.
The flight covers about four miles, and includes views of the Bellagio (with the lake and fountains!), the Mirage, the Stratosphere Tower, and the Fremont Street Experience.
You can see the new Vegas Sphere at the Venetian Resort as well!
Multiple departure times are offered through the evening, as well as the option for VIP pick-up and drop-off. You can also upgrade to add dinner.
For a daytime thrilling Las Vegas adventure, you can opt for a hot air balloon ride over the desert.
Hot air balloon rides are generally offered as sunrise experiences, so you’ll have to wake up early.
On this ride, you’ll float over the Pahrump Valley, about an hour from Vegas, in a colorful hot air balloon. Enjoy magnificent views of the desert and the mountains!
#10 Head over to Fremont Street for a taste of old Las Vegas
We have visited Vegas many times, but it was only on our most recent trip that we visited downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street. Now we consider exploring Old Las Vegas one of the top Vegas activities.
With its indoor zip line, lots of street performers, souvenir stalls, and eateries, Fremont Street is definitely worth placing on your list of things to do in Las Vegas.
There’s free live music, and after 6 p.m., an hourly free light show to enjoy. Viva Vision is billed as the world’s largest digital display, and the visuals (and sound!) are stunning.
Downtown Las Vegas is a great place to people watch. If you are a photographer, you will find lots of great photo ops here.
You have to get the iconic shot of the Golden Nugget Casino, lit up at night. And don’t forget to step inside to view the gigantic shark pool inside.
At Binion’s, you can get a free photo with a million dollars in cash. And foodies can get their fix of a classic Vegas dinner at Hugo’s Cellar.
A walking tour is a great way to get introduced to Old Las Vegas and its history. This highly-rated walking tour lasts two hours, and includes Fremont Street, Container Park, and the newly revitalized Fremont East.
#11 Visit a museum, or an art gallery
Did you know that Las Vegas is home to a bunch of museums, some really unique? The museums are some of the best places to visit in Vegas if you are an art or history buff.
At the Neon Museum, you can see lots of old Las Vegas signs in the outdoor Neon Main Boneyard. Some of the signs go back to the 1930s.
Many signs are functional and you can see the brilliant neon colors if you visit at night. Signs that haven’t been restored are showcased with strategic lighting.
Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the exhibits. Book in advance for a guaranteed spot on a tour.
At the Mob Museum, you can learn about the history of organized crime and law enforcement in America.
The museum is housed in a historic building that started life mainly as a post office but then gained notoriety as a courthouse.
It is where one of the Kefauver Committee hearings was held, in 1950. The hearings exposed organized crime in America, especially in Vegas.
Among the exhibits is the reconstructed brick wall that was the scene of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929.
If you love vintage autos, check out the Nostalgia Street Rods Museum. Other than a collection of vehicles from 1910 to 1965, you’ll also find lots of sports and music memorabilia here.
If you are an art lover, you can view changing exhibits at the Gallery of Fine Art at the Bellagio. Self-guided audio tours help you learn as you view.
Art enthusiasts will also want to browse the displays of the ARIA Fine Art Collection, artfully dispersed throughout the public spaces. From the bold and colorful canoe sculpture outside to the Colorado River representation in the registration area, there are many world-class pieces to see.
The Cosmopolitan, also in the City Center, features lots of striking artwork as well.
Enjoy public art? Check out the murals in the downtown core: you’ll see some colorful multi-story murals on the Plaza Hotel and more street art to admire along 7th Street.
If you are planning to spend three or four days in Vegas, sampling the many attractions, check out the Go City Las Vegas All-Inclusive Card: it may save you money, plus you’ll be able to skip waiting in lines at popular spots.
A 3 or more day pass comes with your choice of one premium attraction, from a coach tour of the Grand Canyon to a helicopter ride over the Strip.
#12 Shop till you drop, or just window shop
Las Vegas is a shopaholic’s mecca. The resorts boast high end designer stores, but the city also features outlet malls where you can get deals.
Head to the Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas for a unique shopping experience: the shops are made from recycled shipping containers! Container Park is free and has a couple of quirky attractions as well.
Here you will find local retailers rather than international or national brands, and it’s a fun stroll.
To browse exclusive brands, visit The Shops at Crystals, the most decadent of the Strip’s high end shopping complexes. From Bulgari and Cartier to Prada and Versace, the stores here are all drool-worthy.
I love the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian for the setting: cobblestone walkways, faux blue sky with clouds, and, of course, the water.
The Forum Shops, in Caesars Palace, are yet another fabulous Vegas shopping destination, with stores like Tourneau (Swiss luxury watches), Aritzia (women’s fashion), Fendi, and more.
At the LINQ Promenade, you’ll want to check out the two-story I LOVE SUGAR candy store. Kids will love the gummy bear chandelier!
The Wynn Plaza Shops are another upscale shopping choice in Vegas. From Bottega Veneta and Hermes to Breitling and Kiton, you will find lots of classy brands here.
#13 Enjoy the Volcano Show at the Mirage
The Volcano Show is a great free nightly attraction you can enjoy at the front of the Mirage, on the Strip. It’s one of the best things to see in Vegas along the Strip.
A fire, water, and sound show that features fireballs and explosions, the Volcano Show was created by the same team that designed the Fountains of Bellagio.
A highlight of the show is the accompanying percussion music, by drummer Mickey Hart and tabla great Zakir Hussain.
There are only four shows nightly, and the shows are super popular, so arrive early for a good viewing spot.
If you’re staying in the Mirage with a view of the site, you can enjoy a wonderful aerial view.
But to feel the heat and the throbbing rhythm of the drums, experience it up close!
Pro tip: The Mirage has been sold, and it’s likely the Volcano Show will be discontinued at some point, so catch it while you can!
#14 Drive (and hike) Red Rock Canyon: One of the Best Off-Strip Things to Do in Vegas!
Just 16 miles from Las Vegas is the beautiful Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Red Rock Canyon is one of the easiest and prettiest day trips from Vegas you can do. In our opinion, exploring Red Rock Canyon is one of the best things to do near Vegas.
It’s also close enough to the city that exploring Red Rock Canyon makes for the perfect outdoor Las Vegas daytime activity.
Here you can do the one-way 13-mile scenic drive through the park. You will see stunning red sandstone formations and beautiful vistas.
Stop to admire the views and to take photos at stops along the drive, have a picnic in nice weather, and just enjoy being in the peace and quiet of the lovely park.
If you’re up for an active day, you can also hike or climb at Red Rock. If you want to hike, you can choose from over two dozen trails. Keep your eyes peeled for local flora and fauna.
You can opt for a guided Red Rock hiking tour from Vegas if you do not have a car, or this super popular sunset horseback ride followed by a barbecue!
Planning a trip to the Silver State? Check out our list of the 15 most beautiful places to visit in Nevada!
#15 Do a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon
One of the most thrilling ways to see the Grand Canyon is to book a helicopter ride from Las Vegas.
You will soar over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam before traveling over desert vistas en route to the magnificent Grand Canyon. You’ll love the huge picture windows and comfy seats!
You can opt for a tour that lands on the floor of the Grand Canyon for snacks and a drink before you return to Las Vegas. How awesome is that? The helicopter rides are pricey, but totally worth it!
And this highly-rated ECO-Star helicopter tour combines a visit to the Grand Canyon with a ride over the Strip for a duo of awesome experiences.
You’ll start with panoramic views of Hoover dam, Lake Mead, and the Mojave Desert before entering the Grand Canyon, where you will fly ten miles through the canyon for up-close views of the textured canyon walls with their colorations.
You’ll land 3,500 below the rim for champagne (or other beverages) and snacks with a view of the Colorado River.
Enjoy spectacular desert vistas on the return trip and end your visit with a breathtaking sunset flight over the Las Vegas Strip, just as the lights of the city come on.
If your time is limited but you’d still like to soar over the Big Ditch, this helicopter tour soars over the canyon but doesn’t actually touch down.
You’ll still fly over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead and enjoy superb aerial views of the Grand Canyon.
If you want to visit the Grand Canyon as a day trip, consider an air and ground tour, so you’ll get a decent amount of time at the park.
Driving to the South Rim, the most magnificent part of the park, takes five hours from Vegas, so it makes for a really long and tiring day.
If you prefer a coach day tour, consider visiting the West Rim. It’s not part of the national park, but the views are still amazing, and you can do the popular Skywalk if you wish!
#16 Check out the most iconic casual eateries in Vegas
Las Vegas is home to many “best of class” casual eateries, and you’ll want to try some of them when you visit Vegas.
If you’re in the mood for a high quality, reasonably priced burger in Vegas, try Chef Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar in the Mandalay Bay Resort. For vegetarians, there’s an excellent veggie burger here. And don’t forget to order a milkshake! (Note: Burger Bar has been replaced by Wahlburgers, also good.)
If you are a pizza lover, head to Pizza Rock, which offers six styles of pizza by Tony Genignani, a 12-time world pizza champion. Choose the award-winning Margherita pizza if it hasn’t run out when you go…only 73 are made each day!
If you enjoy Mexican cuisine, try the super popular Nacho Daddy, where you’ll find several different takes on nachos, from filet mignon to Thai. They have a location on the Strip, at the Miracle Mile Shops.
If you want to experience an over-the-top shake, don’t miss a visit to Black Tap at the Venetian. Order a crazy shake: it will wake up your Instagram account!
In Las Vegas, you can try casual fare from your favorite celebrity chefs as well.
Giada at the Cromwell is a must for great Italian cuisine and possibly a photo with Giada. This is one of our favorite brunch places in Vegas!
Off the Strip, Cafe Breizh is a great place for a leisurely France-inspired brunch, whether you’re in the mood for a crepe or a savory galette. The sweet treats here are delicious as well.
If you enjoy pastries, head to Bouchon Bakery at the Venetian (the chocolate chunk cookies are decadent!). Carlo’s Bakery, also in the Venetian has insanely good cannolis. For macarons, try the Bellagio Patisserie.
#17 Spend a day driving through the Valley of Fire
Just an hour away from Sin City, you’ll find a world that’s as different from the neon lights of Vegas as chalk from cheese.
Drive through the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada’s oldest state park, and prepare to be amazed by the size and color of the red rock formations. In bright sunshine, you’ll think the rocks are actually on fire.
The 10-mile road through the park is listed as a Nevada Scenic Byway, and it’s one of the best scenic drives near Vegas.
You’ll see cool petroglyphs and stunning rock shapes, from a beehive to an elephant. And you can get epic road photos here as well.
So if you love scenic drives, put a visit to the Valley of Fire at the top of your list of things to do in Las Vegas.
Valley of Fire is also a great place to go hiking. The Fire Wave is a popular trail, as is the White Domes Trail.
If you do not want to rent a car, join this popular 5-hour guided hiking trip from Vegas! The group is limited to about a dozen people, and you can pick an easy, moderate, or challenging hike.
#18 Be pampered at a spa
Like everything else in Vegas, the spa options are grand and endless, and you will have a difficult time deciding which ultra-pampering experience to choose.
But a spa experience should definitely feature in your list of things to do in Vegas!
For decadence at its best, splurge on the Moroccan Journey at the Sahra Spa & Hammam in the Cosmopolitan. The experience is not easy on your pocketbook, but it’s worth every single penny.
Or try one of many extravagant treatment options at the Aria Spa, where a daily facility fee allows you to be transported to Japan, with Ganbanyoku heated stone beds and the Shio Salt Room.
At the Canyon Ranch Spa, attached to the Venetian and the Palazzo, the Aquavana, with its amazing array of hydrothermal options, comes as a complimentary add-on when you get a treatment or a day pass.
Enjoy a deep tissue massage here: Canyon Ranch is renowned for the quality of its therapies.
A spa day with your significant other is one of the most romantic things to do in Vegas!
#19 Photograph the Strip at night
As an amateur photographer, I loved the breadth of photo opportunities in Las Vegas!
From the fancy facades of the resorts to the rich interior elements and from up-high views to close-up shots on the Strip, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
But the quintessential Las Vegas photos you need to come away with are night captures of the Las Vegas Strip.
For those iconic poster-worthy Strip photos at night, shoot from the Eiffel Tower Experience looking both north and south.
Sadly, tripods aren’t allowed, so steady yourself and take lots of photos so you get at least a few good ones.
You can also shoot from the top of one of the walkways that punctuate Las Vegas Boulevard. Hold your lens close to the glass to minimize reflections.
Not into night photography but still want to enjoy the lights of Vegas? Consider the Big Bus Las Vegas Open Top Night Tour! You’ll travel past the Strip, taking in all the sights, and then visit Old Las Vegas for a short walking tour.
#20 Drive an Exotic car on a Race Track!
If you are a supercar geek that wants to take a Ferrari or a Lamborghini for a spin around a race track, Exotics Racing has just the Vegas car racing experience for you!
Located just a few minutes from the Strip, the race track is the fastest in Vegas, and the company has over 50 exotic cars from which to pick.
Lamborghinis. Ferraris. Porsches. McLarens. And many more!
Arrive with your driver’s license for this thrilling experience and you’ll receive a technical briefing, after which you will sit beside a pro driver for a couple of “discovery laps” as he drives around the track to give you a feel for the experience.
Then you’ll get behind the wheel and race around the track for the number of laps you’ve purchased, with a pro driver sitting beside you to offer support.
There are no speed limits, so you can push the car to its limits…even up to 130 miles per hour!
For an extra fee, you can bring a guest or two along on the discovery laps, but no guests are allowed on your actual drive.
This is a very popular experience, so book your drive in advance of your Vegas trip.
#21 Visit the succulent garden at Springs Preserve
If you are a plant lover, you’ll find a beautiful sanctuary right in the heart of Las Vegas at the Springs Preserve Botanical Garden.
At this award-winning desert garden, you can view the renowned Mojave Succulent and Cactus Collection, with many of the plants grown from seed or local cuttings.
The garden features thousands of plants. Some specimens were rescued from local lands that were being developed.
Spend a couple of hours strolling through the garden, and emerge recharged and refreshed!
Springs Preserve features other things to do apart from the botanical gardens. You will find more than 180 acres of walking trails, museums, and more here to explore.
Don’t want to walk? Ride the train through the preserve as you view native habitats and archaeological areas. Keep an eye out for birds and wildlife as you explore!
Visiting the preserve is one of the kid-friendly things to do in Vegas.
#22 Dine at a celebrity chef restaurant
For another fabulous Vegas foodie experience, book a table at one of the many celebrity chef restaurants in town.
From Wolfgang Puck to Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsey to Bobby Flay, many celebrity chefs own eateries on Las Vegas Boulevard, and dining at one (or more!) of these places should definitely be on your list of the best things to do in Las Vegas.
We like Giada (at The Cromwell) for Italian with a pinch of California, and Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen (at Caesar’s Palace) for his signature Beef Wellington and his Sticky Toffee Pudding.
For French and Italian inspired cuisine at its best, book a table at Rivea at the Delano. You’ll find the most flavorful seasonal west coast ingredients showcased in delightful preparations.
Bobby Flay’s Amalfi, at Caesar’s Palace, is another great spot for Italian. Be sure to leave room for dessert: we love the decadent dark chocolate hazelnut cake and the creamy pistachio sundae.
For a unique way to sample dishes at celebrity restaurants, consider this highly-rated walking tasting tour with Secret Food Tours! Learn about the food culture and history of Vegas as you stroll the Strip, sampling dishes at several spots.
The 3-hour tour includes plentiful great food, from pizza to chocolates, plus a glass of wine for 21-and-older guests. Wear comfortable shoes, because you’ll be doing a fair amount of walking.
#23 Eat at a Vegas Food Hall
Food halls are the latest trend in Vegas, with many existing resorts transitioning to food halls from buffets (or adding a food hall). New resorts are putting in food halls instead of buffets.
An upscale spin on food courts, food halls in Vegas feature multiple trendy food purveyors, with plenty of seating and take-out options.
Try Proper Eats, the food hall at the Aria, which is located in what used to be their buffet. It has vendors such as Lola’s Burgers, Seoul Bird (Korean spin on fried chicken), and Shalom Y’All for flavorful Mediterranean food.
The Sundry is located off the Strip at UnCommons in the Southwest Valley. It’s worth the Uber ride to sample the fun eats here, from Filipino bites at Petite Peso to pasta at Barzotto.
#24 Visit Seven Magic Mountains
Located just under a 30-minute drive from downtown Las Vegas, the Seven Magic Mountains art installation in the desert is a must-visit if you enjoy art, or to pose for a photo for Instagram!
Created by famous Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, the large installation features seven stacks of brightly-colored boulders.
The totems are 30 to 35 feet high and make for a dramatic presentation with their neon glow colors.
Seven Magic Mountains lights up the desert landscape a few miles from Jean Dry Lake, near the 1960s art works of Michael Heizer and Jean Tinquely. (You can view Heizer’s megasculpture, City, about 70 miles northeast of Vegas).
Free and always open to the public, Seven Magic Mountains is easy to access from Interstate 15. The suggested visiting hours are sunrise to sunset.
There is interpretive signage you can read, to learn more about the art and the artist.
There is a walking path from the parking lot you can use to get to the sculptures. They are located in the open desert, so watch for snakes and other creatures and be alert to your surroundings as you view the art and snap photos.
Seven Magic Mountains is a popular Vegas attraction, so if you want to have photos without too many people, visit early or late in the day. The light tends to be better for photos at those times of day as well.
Wear sun protection and bring plenty of drinking water! There are no restrooms at the site.
#25 Do a day trip to Death Valley National Park
We actually took two days out of our Las Vegas holiday to enjoy the sights at Death Valley National Park at a somewhat relaxed pace.
But if you’re up for it, and prepared to leave early and return late, you can do it as a day trip.
For many outdoor enthusiasts, a trip to Death Valley is the highlight of a trip to Vegas.
And when you see the breathtaking otherworldly desert vistas at the park, you’ll understand why it’s one of the best national parks near Vegas to definitely put on your itinerary for Sin City.
Most of the major sights at the park are relatively close together, considering the park is over 3 million acres.
Don’t miss Artist’s Drive with its colorful canyons, Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and Zabriskie Point, one of the most amazing scenic viewpoints I have seen anywhere.
If you visit in the cooler months of the year, you can hike in Death Valley National Park.
Consider the Mosaic Canyon hike to admire the natural marble and mosaic on the canyon walls, or the Golden Canyon hike for up-close views of the badlands.
In the warmer months, you’ll want to pick high elevation hikes, but these are, of course, challenging for the most part.
#26 Or Do a day trip to Zion National Park
If you are up for the three hours of driving to get from Vegas to Zion National Park, you must do a day trip to Utah’s first national park when in Vegas.
Of course, you can also do an overnight trip for a more relaxed visit.
Once in the park, you can ride the free shuttle in season, generally March to November.
The Zion Canyon shuttle stops at several points along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and loops back to the Visitor Center.
Short walks from the shuttle stops lead to scenic viewpoints for great photo ops.
The Riverside Walk is an easy 2-mile walk along the Virgin River, and easily doable as part of your day trip.
Or you can drive the scenic route from Zion to Mt. Carmel for more breathtaking scenery.
#27 Explore Hoover Dam and Lake Mead
Set aside a day to visit the amazing Hoover Dam and the Lake Mead National Recreational Area.
Visiting the Hoover Dam is one of the most popular things to do near Vegas.
Located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam is an amazing piece of engineering. When you do a tour of the power plant or the dam, you’ll find it difficult to believe that the dam was built way back in the 1930s.
Make sure to visit the Observation Deck on the top floor of the Visitor Center, from where you can get spectacular views.
The Lake Mead recreational area is huge, and you could spend days here enjoying the wilderness.
On your day trip from Las Vegas, drive along Lakeshore Road and/or Northshore Road to take in the scenery. You get lovely views of the lake and the drives are both very scenic.
Or get out on to the water! Take a cruise or go boating.
Check out this highly rated Hoover Dam tour from Las Vegas!
#28 Tour a ghost town!
Touring an old Gold Rush town is a fun thing to do in the desert outside Vegas.
We walked around Rhyolite, a ghost town near Death Valley. It was fascinating to see the old buildings.
Rhyolite was a bustling gold boom town in its heyday, with hotels, casinos, a school, and a bank. But once the boom was over, its citizens fled.
Much closer to Las Vegas you can tour Nelson, Nevada. Nelson is just a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas.
Nelson is one of the first places in Nevada where gold was discovered. Called Eldorado by the Spanish that first settled here, the town became Nelson after a mine was built here.
A true lawless wild west town in days gone by, Nelson makes for a fascinating visit. Take a tour of the Techatticup Mine to see the quartz rock through which the gold ran.
Where to Stay in Vegas
If you are a first-time visitor, or you are in Vegas for a brief getaway, you’ll want to stay right on The Strip, so you are close to all the attractions, restaurants, and nightlife.
It’s the best way to experience the excitement of being in the city that never sleeps!
Plus, unless you plan to do day trips, you can get by without a car if you stay on Las Vegas Boulevard: walk, take the monorail, or use a cab or rideshare.
For a central location and wonderful rooms, look no further than the Bellagio, where you can opt for a room with a view of the famous fountains.
The City Center, right in the middle of the Strip, features several topnotch options, from the Cosmopolitan to the Aria. Vdara is a non-casino option in the complex, where you can opt for a fountain view room as well.
Excalibur is one of the more modest options along the Strip, and the hotel has a facade that looks like a medieval castle.
And if you are planning a romantic getaway, consider NoMad Las Vegas, a boutique experience within Park MGM. The standard king comes with plush Italian linens on the bed to Carrara marble in the shower. And if you want to splurge, try a suite!
So there you have it: my list of the best things to do in (and around) Las Vegas (that aren’t gambling)!
We also have a Vegas travel guide with several helpful tips for planning your first visit to Las Vegas!
And if you are visiting for a longer time, we have a guide to the very best weekend trips from Vegas to add to your itinerary!
What’s at the top of your list of things to do in Las Vegas? Tell me in the comments below!
Have I missed a Sin City experience you love? I’d love to know if you have a great addition to my list!
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