There are few places in the world that rival the Las Vegas Strip’s sense of debauchery and never-ending fun. Despite the fact that this was my third visit, I underestimated how draining the desert heat would be, as well as how crowded the strip is in summertime.
On a previous visit in 2013, I sampled several quintessential Vegas activities: I played blackjack, devoured several plates at Ceasar’s buffet, toured all the major casinos, and even went on a gondola ride at the Venetian.
This time around, I lacked the energy and patience to spend every day on the Strip. Fortunately, I found other ways to entertain myself during my short visit with my sister. Not surprisingly, Las Vegas has a lot to offer besides The Strip and its proximity to the Grand Canyon.
For a more low-key Vegas experience, I recommend the following off-strip attractions:
Downtown Las Vegas has undergone several major revitalization efforts in recent years. After millions of dollars in renovations and improvements, the area still maintains its Old Vegas charm but with a few modern upgrades.
The vintage casinos and hotels are still downtown, but the area has reestablished itself as an entertainment hub thanks to the Viva Vision Light Show. The light canopy is the world’s largest, featuring a concert-style sound system and impressive imagery.
Shows run every hour starting at dusk. In addition to Viva Vision, live entertainment options are offered every day.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the SlotZilla zip line lets visitors zoom through Fremont Street directly under the light canopy.
Be sure to check out the Golden Nugget while you’re in the area. The resort has a $30 million shark tank, which you can pass through on their massive, transparent waterslide. The aquarium serves as a backdrop in the pool area, and throughout other sections of the hotel.
Red Rock Canyon
If you don’t have time to see the Grand Canyon, you can still take in some amazing desert vistas at Red Rock Canyon. The scenic conservation area is located only 30 minutes away from the Strip.
The easiest way to reach the canyon is by car, but there are several affordable tour option available if you don’t have wheels.
A 13-mile, one-way loop lets visitors experience panoramic views of the canyon. Pull over for a photo-op, or to gain access to one of the park’s several hiking trails. Admission is $7 per vehicle, or $3 for pedestrians and cyclists.
National Atomic Testing Museum
In the 1950’s, tourists would flock to Vegas to see mushroom clouds during atomic weapons tests in the nearby dessert. The National Atomic Testing Museum serves as a window into this time, hosting the United States’ most comprehensive public collection of nuclear history.
If you are interested in Area 51, the museum also hosts a revealing exhibit on the “top-secret” facility.
The entry price is a bit steep at $22, but it includes access to both exhibits. To fully enjoy the museum, you should allot at least two hours for your visit.
Downtown Container Park
This unique outdoor shopping center is constructed completely out of recycled shipping containers. The container park places emphasis on community growth, and only accept local vendors. This makes it an unrivaled place to find original souvenirs and unique dining options!
If you don’t want to shop, Downtown Container Park is still worthy of a visit. Aside from marveling at the creative reuse of shipping containers, or sampling some local grub, there are several non-shopping related diversions for visitors.
The shopping center frequently offers live entertainment options in its 360° projection dome, as well as in its open outdoor areas. If you still don’t feel compelled to visit, maybe the giant fire-breathing praying mantis will change your mind!
Pinball Hall of Fame
10,000 square feet of vintage, fully-operational pinball bliss! None of the games cost more than 75 cents, and 100% of the proceeds go to the Salvation Army – easily the best gaming deal in Vegas!
The Pinball Hall of Fame has machines from all eras, so cue the nostalgia if you grew up on arcade games. Amazingly, there are machines from up until the 1930’s that are still in playing condition!
You can visit the Pinball Hall of Fame every day between 11AM-11Pm. For more information on the Hall of Fame’s interesting backstory, click here.
Fortunately, there’s so much to do in Las Vegas that you really can’t go wrong!
What are your favorite things to do in Vegas on or off The Strip?