Groggy and gazing upon the stained porcelain in your hotel bathtub you begin to question some your life choices. You attempt to piece together what exactly happened the night before that brought you to this lowly state. Sipping on a few twenty dollar cocktails turned into an all-night adventure that ended with you at a 24 hour Korean BBQ buffet bowing down before the porcelain god. In your hungover haze, you wonder if this is even your hotel room and if so how in the world did you get here! This predicament can only mean one thing, that you have arrived in the glorious city of Las Vegas my friend. A city in which going to bed at 3:30 am means you are a pathetic loser and strangers on the street inquire if you like titties and booze. To which you should respond, I only like one of those things. Keep them guessing!
Must Do Things in Vegas
We touched down in Sin City in early May and hit the streets running to the nearest slot machine! We aren’t big gamblers, but hey you are in Vegas! You can part with a penny to put in the slots because trust me that will be the cheapest thing you will do all trip! There is ton’s of sunshine so be sure to bring sunscreen during the day, especially if you are or a member in your party is bald. You can do literally anything and everything in Vegas, but however, my bank account had other plans. Therefore, here are some cool things to do in Las Vegas instead of gambling.
1.) Fountains at the Bellagio
I know, I know, out of all the things in Vegas who wants to come and see a fountain. I will tell you who, YOU! There is something memorizing and fascinating about a synchronized fountain show that instantly turns you into a wide-eyed little kid at a candy store. After seeing the show once you will secretly hope every time you walk, drive or pass the Bellagio you will see the fountains going. The fountain shows run every 1/2 hour from noon to 8 pm and 15 minutes after 8 pm to midnight.
Pro Tip: Keep your eyes open for street performers/vendors who flock around the fountain like flies on poo. They are after a few bucks, just remember if you take a picture with someone of the street to be sure to have some cash ready for them.
2.) Visit a Las Vegas Night Club
This is an experience that is one for the books, especially if you come from a city that doesn’t have a thriving night club scene. So pick out your classiest “street walker” attire, heels that will make you walk like a newborn baby deer and prepare yourself to be crammed in a room like sardines. Actually, the sardines may have more room and it likely smells better because there was enough cologne to choke an elephant. Seeing David Guetta at Club XS could best be compared to being in the pit at a concert.
Pro Tip: The main DJ you are coming to see does not show up till 1am-2am. If you are coming from a city with no major clubs this little tidbit will keep you from standing in high heels for four hours while waiting for the main attraction!
3.) Grand Canyon Day Trip
As you sit in the hotel room and ponder whether or not you want to drive out to see this natural wonder ponder no more. Don’t be a baby about the drive either, there are tons of great places to visit near Las Vegas by car. Yes, it is roughly a two-hour drive to get there, but it is the GRAND CANYON!! Unless you live within visiting distance of this national treasure peel yourself away from the roulette wheel and get behind your car wheel. Make a day trip of it and visit the Hoover Dam on your way out or back from visiting the canyon. If you are the adventurous type on your way to the canyon stop by the Hot Diggety Dog for lunch. You won’t be disappointed.
Pro Tip: You can only visit the West Rim of the Grand Canyon from Vegas and make it back on the same day. It is owned by the Hualapai tribe and they charge admission for various packages depending on what you want to do. We did the bare minimum in which they bus you to different outlook points. My advice is to skip the cheesy wild west town (unless you have kids). They offer the Skywalk which we opted out of since you couldn’t bring your camera.
4.) Visit These Unique Las Vegas Bars!!
If you are going to spend a million dollars on a drink, then by God you better enjoy that drink in style and class. Here are a few unique and fun bars that we visited.
Ghost Bar: Sitting high atop the Palms is this amazing rooftop bar that comes complete with a few glass bottom areas. You get an amazing view of the strip, however, they do charge a cover.
Chandelier Bar: In the heart of the Cosmopolitan is this bejeweled bar that commands your attention. Women are drawn to this bar like they are to diamonds….ohhh shiny!
Parasol Up/ Parasol Down Bar: Located in the Wynn this bar is a fun and serves amazing drinks. It by the Lake of Dreams and offers amazing people watching and I mean amazing.
5.) Red Rock Canyon
Not far from the strip is this gem, which provides lovely scenic hikes and for those non-hikers (ahem…me) a fantastic scenic driving trail! Both provide breathtaking views and amazing photos! Be on the lookout for wildlife!
Pro Tip: Once you are in the park there is no phone service, no water, no food so come prepared so you don’t die. Wear gym shoes or hiking shoes because I can guarantee you will want to get out an do some exploring.
6.) Pioneer Saloon
Remember how I mentioned there are amazing places to visit near Las Vegas by car? There are a few ghost towns that are near Las Vegas that are worth exploring. Stop what you are thinking about doing right now and make plans to go to the Pioneer Saloon. Off the beaten path, you will find this authentic wild west saloon in the heart of a ghost town. There are two things you must do here: Do a shot of whiskey at the bar and order one of the best hamburgers you will have in Vegas. Read more about them here.
Pro Tip: This is roughly a 30-40 minute drive from the strip, but worth the ride. Be sure to get a map at the saloon that will walk you through highlights of the old ghost town.
7.) Nelson Ghost Town
This adventure is for someone looking for something outside of the box or someone who has lost all of their money and are looking for something free and fun. As you drive for miles into the desert you will begin to wonder if this is a hoax, you start to see mirages that look like lakes. Just as you are about to turn around you finally arrive at the amazingly awesome ghost town of Nelson. This preserved piece of history takes visitors back to a simpler time and offers a photographers paradise. Be on the lookout for rattlesnakes and be sure to stop in the general store to visit the property up keepers.
Pro Tip: If you are taking professional pictures there is a fee to use the site. They also offer tours for a price.
8.) Try All The Cokes of the World
Do you love Coke? Do you like haute cuisine from far away lands? If you so then this is for you! While you are walking the strip swing by the Coca Cola Store, make your way up to the second floor and order the Tastes of the World. It is the best $8.00 you will spend and technically you are educating yourself on Cokes from afar. Fair warning: You get 16 samples so one order is perfect to share. Also some of the flavors…are…unique aka disgrossting. This is truly one of the unique things to do in Las Vegas.
9.) Fremont Street
Nothing screams classic Vegas like Fremont Street. This is the Vegas that we have seen in the movies since we were young! The beloved marquises greet you and the musical muses of Elvis echo through the streets. Street performers line the street hoping you will put that lone dollar in their bucket instead of the slot machine. You can even go zip lining down the whole street-next time!
Pro Tip: It can get crowded and can be kinda dirty. I don’t know if I would trust the $6.99 Prime Rib buffets down here either. Just remember, you get what you pay for and that may be Hepatitis A.
10.) Historic Railroad Trail
Take a step back into history with this fun unique hike. This is the only remaining section of the Hoover Dam Railroad system that is not destroyed. The tunnels that you will get to walk through are phenomenal and full of history. You can even see where the smoke of the engines has layered the walls. Not being an avid hiker I did find this trail fairly easy and it did offer some amazing view of Lake Mead. Learn more about the Historic Railroad Trail here.
Pro Tip: This is not a shady hike, wear sunscreen and bring water! It gets super hot and there is no shade, other than in the tunnels.
Looking for more adventures? Check out what other adventures we had out west!