Top 12 Things to Do in Las Vegas, Nevada

Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Las Vegas dazzles visitors with its glamorous hotels, casinos entertaining shows, nightlife and dining scenes. But looking beyond the Strip reveals outdoor adventures, family fun, and cultural discoveries waiting as well.

From checking world famous attractions off your bucket list to chasing thrills beyond the tables, experience all the real Las Vegas has to offer with this curated list of 12 ultimate Sin City activities. It reveals beloved icons plus some hidden gems to create your own customizable Vegas itinerary full of magic, mischief and majestic scenery!

ActivityDescription
Bellagio Fountains ShowFree water show with music and lights.
Neon MuseumHistoric neon signs display.
See a ShowVarious performances by famous artists.
Ride the High RollerObservation wheel offering city views.
Red Rock CanyonOutdoor adventure and scenic views.
Fremont Street ExperienceEntertainment and light shows.
Eat on Chinatown PlazaDiverse Asian cuisine.
Go ClubbingNightlife with famous DJs.
Love Cirque du SoleilBeatles-themed performance.
Eat DowntownDining in the Fremont East district.
Sunset Hike at Red RockNature trails with sunset views.

Fabulous Las Vegas vies for the title of world’s most famous playground for adult freedom and excess. Yet today’s Vegas offers far more than casino decadence. Outdoor thrill seekers hike red sandstone valleys minutes from the Strip while families appreciate theme parks and arcade attractions.

Adjacent Chinatown and Arts District neighborhoods teem with cuisines, galleries and entertainment completely detached from tourist tropes. From the hottest new residency shows to peaceful parks for yoga amid cacti, the real Las Vegas rewards those who take time to look deeper.

This list of top twelve quintessential Vegas experiences scratches the surface of indulgent icons, outdoor adventures and hidden neighborhood gems. It spotlights just a fraction of what makes Las Vegas an undeniably appealing destination behind the neon signs.

See the Bellagio Fountains Show

Name and Location: The Bellagio Fountains are located in front of the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

History and Significance: Since its opening in 1998, the Bellagio Fountain show has become one of Las Vegas’s most iconic attractions, combining water, music, and light to create captivating performances.

What to Expect: Spectators can enjoy a choreographed display of water jets shooting water up to 460 feet in the air, synchronized with a range of music from classical to contemporary hits.

Visitor Information: Shows run every 15 to 30 minutes in the evenings and are free to the public. Viewing areas can get crowded, so arriving early to secure a spot is recommended.

Lake Bellagio steals eyes and hearts when the majestic Bellagio Fountains begin their elegant aquatic dance. This beloved free spectacle plays out every 15-30 minutes on the half acre manmade lake fronting the Bellagio Resort.

Hundreds of fountains shoot streams choreographed to operatic, Broadway and celebratory tunes as vibrant lights illuminate timeless Vegas icon. For romance, splendor and quintessential photo ops, Bellagio’s magnificent dancing fountains captivate crowds along the Strip nightly.

Stroll the Neon Museum

Name and Location: The Neon Museum is located on Las Vegas Boulevard, north of the Strip.

History and Significance: Established in 1996, the museum preserves Las Vegas’s iconic neon signs from the 1930s onwards, offering insights into the city’s colorful and vibrant history.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore the Neon Boneyard, a collection of un-restored and restored historic signs, through guided tours that share stories of the signs and the establishments they once adorned.

Visitor Information: Tickets are required for entry, and tours often sell out, especially night tours when signs are illuminated. Booking in advance is highly recommended.

The non-profit Neon Museum stands as a glowing tribute to Las Vegas history showcasing iconic retired signs as dazzling open air art. Take a guided tour through the main Neon Boneyard to hear stories behind relics like Stardust’s 30 foot high sign and the original Aladdin’s Lamp.

The North Gallery hosts rotating installations in a refurbished La Concha Motel lobby spectacular enough for weddings and events. Photos don’t do justice to seeing these retro masterpieces fully illuminated against desert skies. By day or night, the Neon Museum’s vibrant time capsule delights.

See a Show

Name and Location: Las Vegas hosts numerous shows across various venues on the Strip, including theaters in major hotels and casinos.

History and Significance: Las Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, with a long-standing tradition of hosting some of the most spectacular and diverse live performances anywhere.

What to Expect: From Cirque du Soleil productions and magic shows to concerts and comedy acts, visitors have a wide range of entertainment options that cater to all tastes and interests.

Visitor Information: It’s advisable to purchase tickets in advance as popular shows sell out quickly. Prices vary widely depending on the show, seating, and venue.

Extraordinary resident headliner shows reach new heights in entertainment just steps off the Las Vegas Strip. Iconic pop stars like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry transform Park MGM’s Dolby Live with their ongoing concert series.

Over at Planet Hollywood, powerhouses like Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan belt beloved country hits to enraptured crowds. Even comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and musicians like Usher take up multi-year Vegas residencies lately ensuring bankable stars feature every night. With unlimited choices from pop and country to comedy, magic and beyond, Vegas shows impress.

Ride the High Roller

Name and Location: The High Roller is located at The LINQ Promenade in the center of the Las Vegas Strip.

History and Significance: Opened in 2014, the High Roller is the world’s second-tallest observation wheel, offering unparalleled views of Las Vegas.

What to Expect: A 30-minute ride in one of the High Roller’s air-conditioned pods provides a 360-degree view of the Strip and the surrounding desert landscape.

Visitor Information: Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the venue. Prices vary, with options for day or night rides. Special deals and packages are often available.

Soaring 550 feet above Las Vegas, the High Roller observation wheel at The LINQ caps views of the Strip and beyond from individual cabins holding up to 40. Sunset and after dark rides reveal Vegas’ full neon spectacle swirling 360 degrees during 30 minute revolutions above ballrooms, fountains and emerald green Wynn Golf Club contrasting arid mountains framing the valley. Upgrade your revolution with open bar or in-cabin chocolate tastings if desired!

Red Rock Canyon

Name and Location: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is located about 15 miles west of Las Vegas.

History and Significance: The area is known for its geological features, including towering red sandstone peaks and the Keystone Thrust Fault. It has been a protected area since 1990, offering a natural escape from the city.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy hiking, rock climbing, biking, and scenic drives. The Visitor Center provides exhibits on the area’s geology, ecology, and history.

Visitor Information: A fee is required for vehicle entry. The scenic loop is open from dawn until dusk, and the Visitor Center has specific operating hours. Check current conditions and guidelines before visiting.

Mere miles from the Vegas Strip yet worlds away, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area preserves stunning contrast between desert valley floor and Aztec sandstone formations tinged crimson tempting outdoor adventurers. Iconic sights like 3,000 ft escarpment Wall Street and Lost Creek’s waterfall come alive on scenic driving routes. Horizon spanning vistas on the 13-mile drive or hike to Calico Peak leave you breathless.

Cycle the loop or challenge world class rock climbing on this Otherworldly landscape mingling Joshua trees with canyon wrens minutes from summerlin suburbs showcasing how uniquely diverse true Vegas terrain remains.

Fremont Street Experience

Name and Location: The Fremont Street Experience is located in downtown Las Vegas, along Fremont Street.

History and Significance: This five-block entertainment district is known for its historic casinos, the Viva Vision light show canopy, and free live music. It represents the old Vegas, contrasting the Strip’s modernity.

What to Expect: An immersive urban environment with a pedestrian mall, street performers, and zip-lining. The Viva Vision canopy, the world’s largest video screen, offers spectacular light shows.

Visitor Information: Access to Fremont Street Experience is free, though some attractions may charge a fee. It’s always open, with light shows and live entertainment scheduled in the evenings.

Unlike anything else under the sun, the Fremont Street Experience in historic Downtown Las Vegas transports visitors back to classic Vegas kitsch under a four football field sized video screen canopy. Hourly light shows displayed across Viva Vision’s seven story tall screens immerse pedestrians strolling five walkable urban blocks dotted with Vegas’ oldest hotels and neon signed dive bars.

Free live music nightly keeps energy buzzing as visitors pose by peculiar street performers or zip line overhead. For vintage Vegas nostalgia and people watching at its best, the vibrant Fremont Street Experience delivers quintessential spectacle 24/7.

Eat on Chinatown Plaza

Name and Location: Chinatown Plaza is located on Spring Mountain Road, just a short drive from the Strip.

History and Significance: Las Vegas’s Chinatown was established in the 1990s and has grown into a vibrant community, featuring a diverse array of Asian cultures and cuisines.

What to Expect: A culinary adventure with a wide selection of restaurants offering Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine, among others. The plaza also hosts shops selling Asian goods.

Visitor Information: Most restaurants are open daily, with hours varying by establishment. No admission fee is required to explore Chinatown Plaza, making it an accessible dining destination.

Beyond neon excess, Las Vegas surprises foodies with Chinatown Plaza – an open air Asian food court on just a single block behind strip malls. The sidewalk fills with picnic tables for enjoying gyozas, taiyaki, ramen and boba direct from a dozen quick service shops and restaurants celebrating pan Pacific street eats.

From Korean corn dogs and takoyaki to pho, pad Thai and Filipino ube pastries, menus mix sweet, savory and intriguing fusion flavors across casual Grab n go stalls. When Vegas extravagance exhausts, this humble plaza packs an affordable culinary staycation trip without ever leaving town!

Go Clubbing

Name and Location: Las Vegas is home to some of the world’s most famous nightclubs, located primarily on the Strip within various hotels and casinos.

History and Significance: The city’s club scene has evolved over the years to include lavish venues that host world-renowned DJs and entertainers, reinforcing Vegas’s reputation as a premier nightlife destination.

What to Expect: High-energy environments with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, VIP services, and often, a celebrity or two. Expect a range of music genres and themed nights.

Visitor Information: Admission fees and dress codes vary by club. Table reservations and bottle service are available but can be pricey. It’s recommended to check event schedules and purchase tickets or secure guest list spots in advance.

World famous DJ residencies, infinity edge pools, sparkler filled champagne spray celebrations – Vegas clubs remain legendary for lavish Bacchanalian revelry into dawn’s early light. Marquee’s three story party playground draws crowds with acrobatics and aerialists between sets from EDM icons like Tiesto and Zedd at The Cosmopolitan.

Over at Ayu Dayclub, sunrise beach vibes against skyscraper views provide relief from throbbing club warehouse scenes across equally hot open air pool party options. Wherever your clubbing dreams lead, Vegas delivers debaucherous dance floor diversions all night long.

See Love Cirque du Soleil

Name and Location: “Love” by Cirque du Soleil is performed at The Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip.

History and Significance: This show is a tribute to the Beatles, featuring their music in a multimedia theatrical production that combines Cirque du Soleil’s signature acrobatic performances with a psychedelic 60s theme.

What to Expect: An immersive experience with stunning visuals, aerial acrobatics, and a soundtrack of Beatles classics remixed specifically for the show. It’s a celebration of the band’s legacy and its impact on music.

Visitor Information: Tickets should be purchased in advance as shows can sell out. There are multiple performances weekly, and pricing varies by seating area.

Cirque du Soleil pioneered family friendly acrobatics with its first Vegas creation Mystére in the 90s at TI. But for romance and breathtaking beauty, the Love show at The Mirage transfixes audiences by reinventing Beatles discography as dance, magic and aerial spectacle.

Through stunning interludes stretching iconic Fab Four tunes, Love immerses you inside kaleidoscopic dreamscapes flush with psychedelic color and joyful bliss. Even casual Beatles fans fall in love with the show and one another on date nights at this brilliant Las Vegas honor perfect for proposals.

Eat Downtown

Name and Location: Downtown Las Vegas offers a variety of dining options, particularly around the Fremont East District.

History and Significance: The area has experienced a renaissance, with new restaurants and bars opening alongside established favorites, contributing to a vibrant food scene that complements the historic charm of downtown.

What to Expect: An eclectic mix of culinary experiences, from casual eateries and food trucks to upscale dining. Options include American, Italian, Asian, and fusion cuisines, catering to all tastes and budgets.

Visitor Information: Hours and availability may vary, with many restaurants offering late-night dining to accommodate the downtown nightlife. It’s advisable to check individual restaurant websites or call ahead for reservations.

Downtown’s resurgent Fremont East district brings hip dining and liquid libations to vintage Vegas backdrops. Park on Fremont makes globally inspired small plates Instagram worthy against jungle vibes and graffiti walls in a converted garage. Funky art installations permeate Le Thai’s exotic aromas and flavors too on the very same block.

But nothing beats Esther’s Kitchen’s warm Italian hospitality located in a former Greyhound bus depot. Charming patio string lights twinkle welcoming loyal locals for weekend brunch bruschetta loaded with farmers market finds paired beautifully with limoncellos for that nostalgic Dolce Vita elegance done Vegas style.

Sunset Hike at Red Rock

Name and Location: Sunset hikes are popular at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, west of Las Vegas.

History and Significance: Red Rock Canyon offers more than 30 miles of hiking trails, providing opportunities to experience the area’s natural beauty, particularly the vibrant colors of the rocks at sunset.

What to Expect: Breathtaking views as the setting sun illuminates the canyon walls, creating a spectacular display of colors. Trails vary in difficulty, offering options for casual walkers and experienced hikers alike.

Visitor Information: Entrance fees apply. It’s recommended to check the weather and sunset times, bring plenty of water, and wear appropriate footwear. Some trails may be more popular during sunset, so consider arriving early to find parking and enjoy the hike.

Though slot machines and stage spectacles entertain tourists along the Strip, sublime sunsets viewed from Red Rock’s Wilson Cliffs Trail reward outdoor travelers venturing minutes off route 159 as desert vistas erupt in watercolor hues.

The easy, gradual trail traverses otherworldly landscapes past views of the Las Vegas valley, sandstone Calico Hills and peeks of Lake Mead’s blue waters that amplify in beauty during golden hour’s radiant closure across red rock walls, arid brush and Joshua trees unique to America’s Southwest.

Conclusion

Quintessential only begins describing adventures awaiting in this legendary neon playground. Beyond casino floors and cabaret theaters, authentic Las Vegas delights from Chinatown’s humble cuisines to Red Rock’s humbling natural wonders that both uplift and anchor this desert community.

Vegas icons like dancing fountains to Fremont’s glitter dome never fail exciting first-timers. But repeating visitors fall ever deeper in love unmasking vibrant cultural spirit thriving beyond the Strip. This list reveals just a glimpse of what captivates our hearts and keeps imaginations returning long after initial magic fades.

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