Ah, Las Vegas: the most fun place on earth! A lot of the stories we see and hear about Las Vegas focus on its most important output, casinos. People head to Vegas from far and wide to gamble for fun, for Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, and to be part of all the glitz and glam Vegas is known for. All that aside, there are tons of things to do in Las Vegas that rarely need to involve a casino. From buffets to shows and stunning landscapes, there’s more to Sin City than meets the bullseye.
Most people go to Venice if they want to hop on a gondola, but you don't need to. Instead, you can do so in Vegas. Pretty much everything in the city was made for entertainment, and The Venetian Resort is one of the most fabulous. Offering guests a romantic and authentic gondola experience, The Venetian takes you down the Grand Canal, allowing you choice opportunities to kiss underneath one of the streetscape's stunning bridges. Furthermore, if you're one of a lucky nine people per day, you can even learn to become a gondolier yourself.
There are wine cellars, and then there's the wine cellar at the Rio. Tucked away at the bottom of a spiral staircase in the Tuscan-themed streets of Masquerade Village, you'll find one of Las Vegas's best known hidden gems. As the door opens, you'll find couches, stunning decor, and the ambient atmosphere of long-since-gone speakeasies. Attentive staff are present to aid your every desire, from seating to recommendations. When you're there, you can do wine tastings of expensive wines, pair them with scrumptious cheeses, and complimentary bread. Can you say win/win?
As well as being home to replicas of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, Vegas also boasts an array of impressive murals and street art. These epic displays of public art were initially brought to the city with the first instance of the now-annual Life is Beautiful festival. There's simply nothing like exploring the street art of a city when you're there, and Vegas is clearly no exception. Simply take the day to wander around the streets downtown to snap photos, admire the pieces, and maybe even find yourself inspired.
Opened in 1972, The Peppermill Restaurant is a retro diner with a difference. As well as simply being open all night, unlike a lot of diners out there, the food is delicious. Generous portions for even more generous prices, it's also perhaps just half of the Peppermill's charm. The other half lies in its clientele, both local and from afar. At the Peppermill, everyone is there for the same reason: to eat, drink, and be merry. Whether you choose to tuck into some pancakes or eggs and bacon, you never know what you'll overhear late night at the diner. Oh, and by the way, that difference we mentioned? Everything is neon!
Las Vegas is literally a shining, neon, golden city in the middle of a desert. That landscape, however, has tons of secrets and adventures of its own. Rural Nevada, in general, is steeped in folklore and history; from aliens to skinwalkers. Lore aside, Red Rock Canyon and places like it are vast, stunning areas of natural beauty that can bring a tear to the most unassuming eye. Just a short drive from Las Vegas, you can spend a day wandering the conservation area you've been seeing in the distance for your entire time in Vegas. As well as ample parking opportunities and hiking paths, this is a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime. Whether you're looking for things to do in Las Vegas or not.
You've probably seen the Hoover Dam plenty of times before, in movies and photographs. However, there's very little that compares to seeing the man-made wonder in person. Holding back the mighty Colorado River, the dam is only a 30-mile drive south of Vegas. Take the day to drive down there. Whether you go on one of the award-winning reclamation tours or simply want to walk the dam's breadth to take in the unmissable views, it's nothing short of worth your weight in concrete.
Where better on earth to have a neon museum than the city that seems constructed with it, itself? Neon and Vegas go hand-in-hand, and at the neon museum, it's literal brightly colored history lives on to this day. With the neon museum around, no neon sign will ever go unremembered. Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum has been astounding its visitors for almost 14 years and counting. If you want to learn anything about the history of the Las Vegas Strip, this is the place you have to go. Don't expect to take photos, but in ways, that just makes the museum all the more worth the visit.
Avoiding casinos doesn't mean you need to avoid gaming. Las Vegas has a pinball museum and, attached, the Pinball Hall of Fame. Surprisingly a gem for budget travelers, you can even take the family for less than a fraction of the price of arcades around the country. What started in the 70s as a rundown place with a few pinball machines has now become the pinnacle of the game itself. Pun intended! For ten bucks, you can spend the whole day there hopping from Pacman pinball to Addams Family and beyond. Bursting with nostalgia and joy, you'd be remiss to miss such a glorious day out.
Whether you're intrigued by art or searching for a fab background for your new Instagram shot, Seven Magic Mountains might just be where it's at. Seven Magic Mountains is a controversial public art piece by renowned Swiss artist, Ugo Rondinone. As well as being awash with controversy, these towering, 35-feet pillars of rainbow-colored stone are only 25 miles south of the Strip. Although it's become a tourist-haven in recent years, its original tenancy was supposed to be only two years. It's now been slated to be there until 2021. So, if you're in Vegas, you might as well go marvel.
For the best buffet in town, you're going to have to dip into Caesars Palace. However, even if you're not spending time on the slots, you should head to Caesars anyway. You know what they say: When in Vegas! The Bacchanal Buffet is a great reason to not just visit, but to make the best of your visit there, too. In place of usual buffets, the Bacchanal lives up to its namesake Roman God, offering nine different kitchens and all the food you can find it in yourself to eat. Whether you're looking for crab cakes or linguini; calamari or gnocchi, you'll find it right there, ripe for the choosing.
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