From the fascinating Strip to a hot-air balloon ride and the Hoover Dam; discover 10 experiences in Las Vegas to make your trip unforgettable.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – who hasn’t heard this famous saying? But what really goes on in this sleepless city of neon lights, huge hotels and world-famous casinos? A place where everything is possible and (almost) anything goes, Las Vegas begs to be visited, if nothing else to explore a place unlike any other. Located in the middle of the Mojave Desert in the state of Nevada, it’s unmissable in more ways than one – in fact its lights can be seen from miles away in the dark desert.
Whether you’re visiting for the first time or looking for inspiration for a second visit, read on to discover ten of the best things to do in Las Vegas.
1. Walk the mile-long Strip
If you want to dive right into the heart of Las Vegas, head to the Las Vegas Strip, aka the Strip. A four-mile section of Las Vegas Boulevard, it houses some of the world’s top hotels and casinos. Simply look for the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign and start what seems like a trip around the world. You can spot a pyramid (the Luxor hotel), the New York Statue of Liberty, the Paris Eiffel Tower and the canals of Venice. But if you’re looking for selfies with your favorite celebrities, pop into Madame Tussauds.
Want to admire the Strip from above? Then take a ride in the High Roller. Around 553ft high, it’s currently the largest Ferris wheel in the world. During a half-hour ride in one of the 28 glass capsules, you can enjoy views stretching out over the city and the distant surroundings. The observation deck of the 546ft high replica of the Eiffel Tower also offers up spectacular views. And if that doesn’t get your heart pumping, you can always hop onto one of the thrilling rides on top of The Strat hotel, for the perfect combination of panoramas and panicking.
2. Attend one of the spectacular Las Vegas shows
Las Vegas is not called the Entertainment Capital of the World for nothing. From cabaret to burlesque, illusionists, acrobats and over-the-top concerts, there are shows and performances for all tastes. Always wanted to go to a Cirque du Soleil show? Or a Michael Jackson tribute show? Maybe you prefer seeing a Magic Mike show for a bachelorette party? In Las Vegas you’re always in the right place. These are just a few examples of the dozens of shows that take place every day. Whether you want to attend an afternoon performance or go to a magic show in the middle of the night, it’s not a problem – shows are on 24 hours a day, every day.
3. Take a hot-air balloon ride at sunrise
Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas? Then this experience is for you, although you’ll have to get up a little early for it. For an enchanting 45 minutes or so, you’ll drift in a hot-air balloon over western Nevada and the Mojave Desert while admiring a stunning sunrise. With views of the Nopah Range, Death Valley and even California, you don’t want to forget your camera. Finally, end the experience in style with a sparkling glass of champagne.
4. Step into another world in AREA15
Looking for the best things to do in Las Vegas for the whole family? AREA15 is the new hotspot in the city with innovative experiences for young and old. This complex, with an area of no less than 200,000 sq ft, is located just a few minutes from the Strip and packed with fascinating art installations, virtual reality experiences, live performances and unique shops. Some notable attractions include Illuminarium and Omega Mart by Meow Wolf. At Illuminarium you’ll enjoy a virtual experience like never before thanks to the latest technology. From a safari on the African savannah to planets on an impressive scale, there’s plenty to capture your imagination. In Omega Mart, a seemingly ordinary supermarket where nothing is as it appears, an interactive art exhibition awaits you.
5. Travel back to the 1920s at the Mob Museum
If you’ve always been fascinated by the mafia then the Mob Museum, officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, in downtown Las Vegas might just be what you’re looking for. The museum takes you back to the 1920s, to the time of Prohibition in the US, when America’s thirst for spirits demanded a solution from the underworld. In an interactive way you’ll discover how illegal speakeasies, of which there were thousands, worked at the time. Not only the sale but also the manufacturing of alcohol was banned, which started the production of moonshine. In the museum you’ll also get the chance to taste this homemade liqueur.
6. Admire the lights in the Neon Museum
On Las Vegas Boulevard lies a museum that tells the city’s history in an illuminating way (pun intended), through historic neon billboards from casinos hotels, and shops dating from the 1930s. The bright lights show the evolution of this city and its tastes in culture, design and art over the decades. Established to save and preserve these signs, today the museum is divided into several sections: the restored signs and installations on the Boulevard, the Boneyard, a memorial park for the old neon lights, and the North Gallery. Want to take your visit to the next level? Why not accompany it with a nighttime helicopter ride over the Strip?
7. Have an adventure at the Hoover Dam
Just outside Las Vegas, less than a 40-minute drive away, is the Hoover Dam. A huge concrete structure that crosses the Colorado River and is more than 1,200 ft long, it’s the ideal destination for a family excursion in the outdoors, especially if you need a break from Las Vegas’ non-stop action. There are two ways to enjoy this impressive man-made structure and its natural environment. The first option is a tour of the dam, combining a short walk to the top of the structure with information and entertaining anecdotes from a knowledgeable guide. The second more adventurous option is kayaking through the Black Canyon. Beginners are welcome.
Las Vegas is also an excellent starting point for discovering the national parks of the US. And the Grand Canyon, the national park par excellence, is a must on any travel bucket list. The landscape here is so unusual that it feels like you’re walking on the moon. The park is divided into three separate, unconnected areas that can’t be explored in one day: South Rim, North Rim, and West Rim. The latter is probably the least known area of the park, quieter but with equally breathtaking scenery. This is where the Skywalk is located, a glass viewing platform with a see-through floor that stretches across the canyon; it’s a truly sensational walk between heaven and earth. To see the Grand Canyon from a whole new perspective, we recommend a helicopter ride to experience it from above.
9. Discover the spectacular shapes of Antelope Canyon
Located in the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park Preserve, Antelope Canyon is a must for lovers of great American parks as it’s one of the most spectacular slot canyons in the country. Due to its great beauty and popularity, Antelope Canyon is often crowded. A visit is only possible with a group led by an experienced guide.
The Canyon is mainly divided into two parts: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. The first is the most popular area. Here the canyon is slightly wider and easily accessible, plus there’s a fascinating play of light and color on the sandstone rocks. The second part is slightly less crowded but just as impressive. Our advice is to combine your visit to Antelope Canyon with a tour of Glen Canyon, where you can snap a photo of one of the most iconic viewpoints in the United States: Horseshoe Bend.
10. Get lost in the endless landscapes of Zion National Park
A 15-mile-long and 2,640 ft-deep canyon, carved by the Virgin River, with peaks of up to 8,700ft – needless to say, Zion National Park offers visitors truly spectacular scenery. Brimming with intense colors, impressive wildlife and biodiversity, these highlands are also rich in history as they’ve been inhabited for thousands of years.
Las Vegas is an excellent starting point for exploring Zion. It’s the closest major city and numerous group excursions and guided experiences leave from here daily. Unlike other major US parks, which are more well-known and have more easily accessible viewpoints, exploring Zion requires at least half a day, if not a whole day. The best way to visit is by trekking, which lets you slowly uncover the beauty of these landscapes. But there are many options to suit different needs and preferences.