Las Vegas is a city of abundance. Between the bright lights, innumerable restaurants, and the plethora of shows, attractions, and activities available on the Strip and throughout the city, there is no shortage of adventure available to the intrepid travellers who visit Sin City. But with all those options, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly what you want to see and do while you’re in Vegas.
To help you decide, we asked 15 travel bloggers about their favorite things to see or in Las Vegas. Here are their recommendations:
1. A warm welcome at an iconic landmark
One of the most iconic landmarks on the Las Vegas strip is a historic neon sign which famously reads “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” on the front and “Drive Carefully and Come Back Soon” on the back. Situated just south of Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, this bright lights, big city, welcome sign cost $4,000 to manufacture and install back in 1959. On May 1, 2009, the sign rose to significant fame when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, there is a 12-car parking lot on site which improves pedestrian safety by making it easier for tourists to stop and snap pictures.
– Jett & Kathryn Britnell, The Nomadic Tribes
2. The circus is always in town
There are plenty of obvious ways to spend your money in Las Vegas – the city is basically built for it – but if you’re looking for a fun, free activity right in the thick of things, I recommend stopping by Circus Circus Hotel and Casino. While it’s not my favorite hotel/casino in Las Vegas, it does have a free circus! The show is around 15 minutes long, and serves as a nice break from all the poker tables and one-armed bandits.
– Jennifer Miner, The Vacation Gals
3. Red Rock Canyon State Park
When visiting Vegas, get out of the city and hit the desert. Just 20 minutes outside of Vegas is the beautiful Red Rock Canyon State Park. Go for a hike here and take in the 3000 foot high cliffs that attract rock climbers from around the world. Make sure to bring plenty of water and take your time exploring the many trails. Or you can simply drive through the 13 mile scenic loop.
– Dave and Deb, The Planet D
Interested in visiting Red Rock Canyon? Check out our Red Rock Canyon tours.
4. Get spooky in Nelson, Nevada
About 40 minutes outside of Las Vegas lies an entirely different world! Nelson, Nevada is perhaps one of the most picturesque places if you’re interested in capturing a look at what life was like in the sleepy desert before all of the casinos moved to town. Now a “ghost town,” Nelson used to be a mining town. Today, visitors can tour the mine, learn about the history of this tiny town (population 37!) or explore the nearby Colorado River.
– Diana, D Travels ‘Round
5. Visit the Container Park
My favorite thing to do in Vegas is visit “The Container Park” in Downtown Vegas. This part of town was the original Vegas “Strip” and is home to the Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel, as well as other older casinos like the El Cortez that give better odds than the hotels on the modern Strip. Over the years it went into economic downturn and disrepair but now the area is again on the up and up, with the addition of the colourful “Freemont Experience” (a 6 minute vision and light show run on the hour between dusk and 1 AM) together with zip line, new bars and shops, and the Container Park. As the name suggests, the park is 40 or so boutique shops made of shipping containers that surround a square with a great playground for both adults and children. At the far end of the park is a small concert stage where rock music performances are held regularly. You need to show ID to enter the park in the evenings and it is adults only after 9 PM. At the entrance to the park is a huge mechanical Praying Mantis that shoots fire balls from it’s antennae in time to music at set times in the evening. The Preying Mantis was originally featured at a Burning Man Festival and was procured by the park. It is a big drawcard. The Container Park has a great vibe and I’m sure you will enjoy it too.
– Kate, 30 Traveler
6. Swim with dolphins
There’s something for everyone in Vegas. If you’re a lover of the ocean, training a dolphin may be just the thrill that you’re looking for. The Mirage has partnered up with Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat to provide dolphin training for a day. The program gives you an up close look into the lives of dolphins including their health and behavioral traits. You get to spend hours swimming with dolphins and learning how to train these incredible creatures to perform all kinds of tricks.
– Kendra Thorton via Elaine Schoch at Carpe Travel
7. Mount Charleston
I love a mix of both urban and rural activities and Las Vegas’s location certainly delivers both. From world-class casinos (and food) to accompany your trip, one can be pampered to no end while in the city. However, day trips abound and that is also part of the appeal of visiting Las Vegas. Within an hour drive or less one can be at the great Hoover Dam – one of America’s national treasures, Red Rock Canyon for some quiet and solitude of the natural high desert world accompanied by scenic colorful reddish tinged rocks (especially beautiful at sunset) or Mt. Charleston for a high elevation escape from the heat in the summer or for snow in the winter.
– Dave, Dave’s Travel Corner
8. A second vote for Red Rock Canyon!
For those seeking outdoor adventure and a break from the hyper lights of the Vegas strip, we highly recommend making a day trip to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This is Nevada’s most scenic drive; a network of impressive red canyons and surreal rock formations which will loom ahead as you travel the 13-mile scenic route. You wouldn’t normally expect such breathtaking natural scenery next to a major metropolitan city.
This is a spectacular desert landscape unlike anything you are likely to have seen, and there are ample opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploring as you make the drive; everything from hiking, biking, to rock climbing will present itself along the way, with easy access via strategically placed pull offs and parking areas. This is one of the top 5 climbing attractions in the United States.
– Megan, Mapping Megan
The best of Vegas is just outside in the national parks, but if you’re looking for a party there’s nowhere else like it in the States! Dance the night away at XS, Omnia, Marquee or TAO, brunch at the Bellagio and walk it off in the gardens, sip slowly on cocktails at the gorgeous Aria + Cosmopolitan. Get lost at Caesar’s, see a show or trek out to the Neon Boneyard for an adventure off-the-beaten path. Vegas is a playground!
– Christina, Currently Exploring
10. Check out the dancing fountains at the Bellagio
My experience in Las Vegas was nothing short of absolutely astounding. However, the one thing that brought the whole trip together was the Fountains at Bellagio. Watching them is like seeing a magnificent art piece in motion, an unforgettable experience and one that may even bring a tear to your eye depending on which performance you happen to catch. Easily the most awe inspiring man-made spectacle I’ve ever seen!
– Ken, Traveling Ken
11. Explore the casinos and take in a show
Las Vegas isn’t all about the gambling. There is plenty to do if, like us, luck never seems to strike! There are so many amazing hotels to explore that one of our favourite things to do is to wander down the strip, ducking into hotels checking out their special features. The Bellagio fountains, the erupting volcano at the Mirage or the gorgeous waterfall at Wynn are not to be missed. Of course no visit is complete without watching a show – Blue Man Group will blow your mind. And for those who want to venture away from the strip, get your heart rate pumping at the gun range!
– Barry and Stef, Barry and Stef’s Blog
12. Explore the strip on foot
Las Vegas is a city we love and one we keep coming back to. I love just walking the strip and taking in all the sights & sounds. The strip is the perfect place for some really good people watching! On our last trip to Vegas, we did it sober. We were looking for sober things to do in Las Vegas and walking the strip was not only a sober thing but free!”
– Hannah and Adam, Getting Stamped
13. Pool party!
My favourite thing to do in Las Vegas is attend a pool party in the summer. The pool party at MGM – Wet Republic – is always lots of fun and attracts great DJs like Steve Aoki or David Guetta. There’s nothing better than dancing in the pool under the scorching Vegas sun with a cocktail in hand!
– Victoria, Pommie Travels
14. Explore history at the Neon Boneyard
One of the coolest things to do in Las Vegas is pay a visit the Neon Museum to soak up some vintage Vegas nostalgia. First you can check out the signs displayed on the scenic byway including the Hacienda Horse and Rider or the iconic Silver Slipper. Once inside the Neon Boneyard an hour-long guided tour features over 150 retro neon signs. A local guide tells the stories of the hotels, bars and casinos they once graced weaved through with tales of The Mob and The Rat Pack. Afterwards head to the Mob Museum nearby for more intriguing snippets of Vegas’ colourful past.
– Suzanne, The Travel Bunny
15. Get nostalgic at the Fremont Historical District
While there’s plenty of excitement along the Strip, we recommend visitors to Las Vegas consider the classic nostalgia which can be found in the Fremont Historical District, the Atomic Museum and the Neon Museum. Restoration efforts in Fremont include an interactive urban art experience which features classic neon evocative of the Rat Pack glory days. Fremont’s restaurant scene revolves around the historic district’s nod to the early days of Las Vegas. The Atomic Museum’s cold war vibe and the Neon Museum’s boneyard will send you back in time as well.
– Betsy & Pete, Passing Thru
Next Stop, Vegas!
There are so many things to do in and around Las Vegas that deciding which attractions to hit can feel more difficult than landing triple sevens at your favorite casino. We hope these expert recommendations help you plan your perfect Vegas adventure!
For even more Las Vegas adventure, check out our Las Vegas tours. Fly over the Strip at night or even take a photo tour of Sin City with a professional photographer!