Whether you visit for vacation or business, you’ll quickly realize that this neon-lit desert city excites and entertains like no place else on earth. In Sin City, you’ll find everything from over-the-top shows and celebrity chef-owned restaurants to surprisingly good shopping and stunning scenery at nearby Red Rock Canyon. Oh, and if you like to gamble, you’ve come to the right place. Of the many, many things to do in Las Vegas, here’s what we love most.
Things to do in Las Vegas
When planning a trip that’s chock-full of quintessential Las Vegas activities, getting tickets to a show should be at the top of your list. Music legends Celine Dion, Elton John, Diana Ross and Cher all regularly perform in Vegas. Jennifer Lopez and Brittany Spears have both received rave reviews for their residencies in Sin City. And if you were a Wayne Newton or Donny and Marie Osmond fan back in the day, they’re here, too.
Daring to look down (while sipping Champagne and not feeling dizzy) during the 30 minutes it takes each pod on the 550-foot-tall High Roller observation wheel to complete one rotation is a cool kind of thrill. But that’s a cake walk compared to some of the other blood pressure-raising things to do in Las Vegas, particularly the three thrill rides on top of the Stratosphere Hotel. Big Shot, Insanity and X-Scream send you up and down, spinning and teetering back and forth high above the Strip. Are you brave enough to ride?
Visit quirky museums. At the Mob Museum, dedicated to the town’s organized crime past, you can get your mug shot taken and pose for a photo in the electric chair. The Neon Museum is a photographer’s playground with over 200 gaudy Vegas signs saved from the trash heap. And the Pinball Hall of Fame is another fun blast from the past, featuring row and rows of playable vintage arcade games that the whole family will enjoy.
Before you head to the shows or a casino, dine in one of the many celebrity chef-owned restaurants, including Alain Ducasse’s Rivea at the Delano and Giada from Giada De Laurentiis at the Cromwell Hotel, both of which have great food and amazing views. For something more casual, try Bobby’s Burger Palace from Food Network star Bobby Flay, located right on the Strip.
The Fountains of Bellagio at the Bellagio Las Vegas – which spout plumes of water as high as 460 feet in the air, synchronized to 30 different songs – are, amazingly, free. The water show happens every 15-30 minutes depending on the day and time. For an excellent vantage point of the fountains from above, head across the street to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel.
Despite all of its man-made glory, Las Vegas is surrounded by a gorgeous desert landscape. Appreciate it up close at Red Rock Canyon, located just 20 minutes away by car. It’s a scenic drive you’ll never forget, far from the bright lights and casinos of the strip.
More than 100,000 couples get married in Vegas annually. Some recite their vows in front of Elvis, others in gondolas at The Venetian – making bride and groom spotting a recreational sport.
Hopefully you’ll have good luck at the casinos because the Strip has some seriously good shopping – check out the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and the Shops at Crystals in the CityCenter complex.
One of Vegas’ most exciting day trips is to take a helicopter sightseeing excursion to the Grand Canyon. Seeing the canyon by air is an exciting way to appreciate America’s most famous natural wonder. If you’re heading to the Grand Canyon by car or if you just want to head out on a nearby day trip for a break from all your other typical Vegas activities, visit the Hoover Dam – one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world. Visit AAA.com/Hertz for car rental information.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Las Vegas? Tell us in the comments.