There are so many things to do in Las Vegas that you could spend weeks here and still not get to see everything. After visiting Sin City several times, we recently moved here, so now we’re closer than ever to some of our favorite places in Nevada, and in the entire U.S.
I can assure you that even if you aren’t into gambling, there are plenty of activities in Las Vegas. The city is an adult playground of casinos, bars, restaurants, and just about any show you can imagine. Of course, there are lots of things for families to do in Las Vegas, too, from magic shows and thrill rides to playing at the arcade or hitting the pool.
|If you plan on staying in the city for a few days and you want to take advantage of all there is to see and do, I recommend getting a Las Vegas citypass, such as the Go Las Vegas All-Inclusive Pass.|
Also, keep in mind that some of the top attractions in Las Vegas are in the surrounding areas, so I recommend renting a car in Las Vegas and getting off the beaten path.
In this guide, I’ll help you decide what to do, where to stay, and how to spend your Las Vegas trip so you have the time of your life. As they say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
1. Bellagio Fountains, the most popular attraction in Las Vegas, NV
A walk along the Strip isn’t complete without seeing the famous Bellagio Fountains show. It takes place in front of the Bellagio resort, which is inspired by Italian elegance and luxury.
This attraction was the largest fountain show in the world when it opened, and its jet sprays can shoot water as high as 460 feet. Each part of the fountain is choreographed and set to music and a variety of lighting effects, and different shows take place throughout the night, so it’s something you can watch again and again.
It’s one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas, and you can catch the nightly show every 30 minutes (every 15 minutes after 8 p.m.) Also, while you’re here, it’s worth visiting the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. It’s open year-round and has themed horticultural displays that change with the seasons.
If you’re interested in other free things to do in Las Vegas, and you like light shows, head to The Mirage resort. This hotel has a Polynesian-inspired volcano that erupts every night in a show of colorful lights, sounds, and a special “smoke” that smells like piña coladas.
2. Check out the Fremont Street Experience, a fun thing to do in Las Vegas
The Fremont Street Experience is one of the most interesting places to visit in Las Vegas, and it’s great for all ages. This downtown district is a hotspot for casinos as well as other fun attractions and restaurants.
The area is open all day and night, making it one of the best places in downtown Las Vegas. I recommend going at night so you can see Viva Vision, a free light show with over 12 million LED lights.
If you’re visiting with kids, you must check out Downtown Container Park, an outdoor shopping mall and entertainment complex made of dozens of shipping containers. There is a treehouse playground, a giant, fire-breathing praying mantis sculpture, and a variety of free concerts and shows. The park is kid-friendly until 9 p.m., so it’s a nice thing to do in Vegas during the day.
The Fremont Street Experience is also known for its Slotzilla zipline, which extends for five blocks. You can fly seated or Superman-style from 11 stories up!
3. Take a helicopter tour, an unforgettable thing to do in Las Vegas, Nevada
A helicopter tour is one of the most unique things you can do in Las Vegas, and it’s sure to make your visit unforgettable. This is such an incredible activity that we have a complete guide on the best helicopter tours from Las Vegas.
Soaring above the Strip and seeing the glitz and glamor from a birds-eye perspective is the best way to get a fresh look at the city. While there are daytime tours, I suggest taking a helicopter ride at sunset, just when the nightlife starts to rev up. This highlights flying tour over the Strip is one of the best options, and perfect if you’re planning a special date night.
While a scenic flight is a great couples activity, it’s also a fun thing to do in Las Vegas as a family. You can even book a helicopter from Vegas to the Grand Canyon. We’ve written about different tour options to the Grand Canyon, but this one is the most popular. If you have the time and the budget for it, I highly recommend it!
4. Ride the High Roller, one of the best things to do in Las Vegas with kids
The High Roller at the LINQ is the highest observation wheel in the world, making it one of the coolest attractions in Las Vegas. It’s open day and night, so it’s another great thing to do in Las Vegas with kids or as a couple.
The Ferris wheel is 550 feet tall, so you’ll be able to get panoramic views of the Strip, greater Las Vegas, and the valley in the distance. Each of its 28 cabins can hold up to 40 people, so it’s perfect for a group activity. Plus, it takes about 30 minutes to do a complete revolution, so you can take your time sightseeing.
Another nice thing about the High Roller is that it’s right on the LINQ Promenade, so after your ride, you can check out all the shops and restaurants. This area is full of Las Vegas entertainment and activities, so there is something for everyone.
5. Tour the Mob Museum, a cool thing to do in Las Vegas, NV
A museum day might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Sin City, but there are actually amazing institutions here where you can learn more about the city and its history. The Mob Museum is one of the best museums in Vegas, full of artifacts and exhibits that explain the history of organized crime in the U.S.
If you’re into crime shows or movies like The Godfather, you can’t miss this place. During your museum tour, you’ll learn about some of the most infamous mobsters in history, as well as the top agents who fought against the mafia.
In addition, the museum’s basement has a distillery where you can hang out and grab a drink. So, if you’re looking for something to do in Vegas besides gambling, I suggest spending a couple of hours here. The Mob Museum is included in the Go Las Vegas All-Inclusive Pass, or you can get a ticket here.
6. Ride a gondola at The Venetian, the best thing to do in Las Vegas as a couple
The Venetian resort is an incredible place to stay, but even if you aren’t a guest here, you can still explore its most popular attraction. Taking a gondola ride at this hotel is a fun thing to do in Las Vegas as a couple, or just with a group of friends.
The resort’s interior is beautifully designed and decorated to look like Venice, Italy, so as you float along the “canal,” you’ll see replicas of Italian landmarks like the Rialto Bridge, San Marcos Square, and St. Mark’s Campanile. It’s a bit of a splurge, but the price is worth it, especially if you want to treat yourself or your partner to something nice.
Moreover, the gondolas travel through the Grand Canal Shoppes, an indoor shopping mall with over 200 stores. Free live performances occur here daily, so you can watch some interesting acts while shopping for souvenirs.
7. Madame Tussauds, something to do in Las Vegas as a family
If the weather doesn’t cooperate or you’re just looking for an indoor activity in Las Vegas, head to Madame Tussauds. This wax museum is one of the most famous in the world, with the largest collection of wax figures.
You’d be surprised how convincing some of these figures look, as the wax artists put all their effort into capturing the essence of these stars, right down to the smallest detail. Plus, the museum has interactive exhibits and galleries related to specific celebrities, athletes, and fictional characters. Bring the kids along and snap a photo with Taylor Swift or Brad Pitt and pose next to Captain America or The Hulk.
This is a Las Vegas attraction that you can enjoy with teens, too, so it’s a great option for a family trip. The museum even has a virtual reality room and a bar, so it’s a fun place for adults, too. Madame Tussauds is super popular, so you should get your ticket in advance. It’s included in the Go Las Vegas All-Inclusive Pass, or you can get this combo ticket that includes Madame Tussauds and a Venetian gondola ride.
8. Visit a casino, another one of the best things to do in Las Vegas, Nevada
Visiting a casino is a must-do in Vegas, even if you’re not a gambler. Just seeing the different poker rooms and gaming areas is an experience, as each casino has a unique atmosphere. Many hotels on and off the Strip have casino floors, but there are a few that stand out.
First, Caesars Palace is a haven for those who love table games. Along with classics like blackjack and craps, you’ll also find Spanish 21, roulette, and baccarat. There are also some 1,300 slots, video poker, and keno.
If you’re a poker aficionado, head to The Venetian and press your luck. There are actually two casinos here, The Venetian and The Palazzo, so you’ll have your pick of any game you want. In addition to its wide array of slots and video poker machines, there are live tournaments as well as race and sports betting.
The Golden Nugget is one of the oldest casinos in Las Vegas, and it’s worth visiting even if you don’t want to gamble. The historic resort has a famous shark tank waterslide and the world’s largest golden nugget, plus it’s not far from some of the best things to do in downtown Las Vegas.
The STRAT has a laid-back atmosphere where you can play progressive slots, a variety of table games, or wager a sports bet. I also suggest checking out The Wynn, which has a 111,000ft² casino with high-limit lounges. The hotel’s other facilities are just as impressive, including poolside gaming, a beach club/nightclub, and the kid-friendly Lake of Dreams show.
9. See a show, another thing you must do in Las Vegas
Another thing you must do in Las Vegas is to see a show. Sin City hosts world-class performances, from musicians and theater troupes to comedians and magicians. The roster includes something for everyone, so whether you’re looking for an adults-only show or something to see with the kids, you’ll find it here.
One of the most popular shows in Las Vegas is Cirque du Soleil, and there are different performances at several hotels. Each colorful spectacle is an incredible display of acrobatics, theater, circus acts, and storytelling, and I’m always amazed at the incredible feats.
Kà at MGM Grand is a beautiful coming-of-age story, while Mystère at Treasure Island is one of the most whimsical Cirque shows. The Bellagio hosts O, an impressive water show with aquatic acrobatics. There are even celebrity-themed shows like Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay and The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage.
There are also concerts and residency shows throughout the year. All genres and music styles are represented, with big names like Usher, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, and Keith Urban. You can check the schedule and buy tickets online here.
Finally, there are classic entertainment acts in Vegas like burlesque, variety shows, circus acts, and adult shows like The Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under. So, whether you’re visiting with family, for a bachelorette party, or something else, there is a show for you.
10. Photograph the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign, a popular thing to do in Las Vegas
The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign is one of the places you must visit in Las Vegas. This iconic sign has been greeting visitors since 1959, and it’s one of the best photo spots on the Strip.
The sign is located at 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South, next to the Bali Hai Golf Club and not far from Mandalay Bay Resort. Stopping here is the perfect way to start your trip in Sin City, and it’s free to visit day and night.
We couldn’t resist getting a photo taken here during our trip; after all, it’s one of the most famous attractions on the Vegas Strip. It’s also a cheap thing to do in Vegas, although keep in mind that you may have to wait in line. For us, it was worth it to get a romantic photo and commemorate our visit.
11. Visit The STRAT for the most thrilling attractions in Las Vegas and the best views
The STRAT hotel and casino is one of the most entertaining places to visit in Las Vegas. While the resort has a showroom and indoor shopping mall, it’s most famous for its SkyPod observation deck, where you can get some of the best views in Las Vegas.
At 1,149 feet tall, the SkyPod is the 2nd-highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. Near the top, you’ll find a revolving restaurant, cocktail lounges, and even a wedding chapel. The outdoor viewing deck on the 109th floor is among the most popular tourist attractions in Las Vegas.
If you’re seeking a thrill, it doesn’t get much better than the STRAT, especially if you go to the very top. This is where you’ll find a few extreme thrill rides, including a free-fall, bungee jumping, and an attraction that hangs over the edge of the deck. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re daring enough to try, you can use the Go Las Vegas All-Inclusive Pass, which also includes access to the SkyPod.
12. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, a romantic thing to do in Las Vegas
Earlier I mentioned the Eiffel Tower viewing deck at Paris Las Vegas, which has a nightly light show. This free show occurs every 30 minutes and bathes the structure in the colors of the French flag. While it’s a fun thing to do in Las Vegas with kids, it’s even better with your partner.
This resort brings the romance of Paris, France to Sin City, so it’s one of the best places to go as a couple. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you can go to the top of the viewing deck and gaze at the dazzling Strip below. It’s the perfect nighttime attraction in Vegas, so book your ticket in advance or use the Go Las Vegas All-Inclusive Pass.
The Las Vegas Eiffel Tower is 540 feet tall, which is only half the size of the original structure. However, it provides a wonderful vantage point, and there is even a French restaurant on the 11th floor where you can dine on elegant dishes like Beef Wellington, potato gratin, and crème brulée.
13. Visit the Neon Museum, one of the best things to do in Las Vegas at night
The Neon Museum is another one of the best places to visit in Las Vegas, especially if you’re looking to get a break from the Strip. This curious attraction has all kinds of casino and business signs from years gone by, and it’s considered one of the best museums in Las Vegas.
The Visitor Center is actually the old La Concha Motel, and inside, you can learn about the museum’s origins as a simple neon sign collection. By 1996, the collection expanded into a museum where visitors can explore vintage electric and neon signage from decades past.
The museum is kid-friendly and interesting for all ages, although you should be careful that the little ones don’t scratch themselves on anything. While it’s open during the day, I think this is a cool thing to do in Las Vegas at night, when you can see the glowing colors of the signs.
14. Go to a nightclub, one of the most exciting things to do in Las Vegas, NV
Without a doubt, one of the coolest things to do in Las Vegas is to party at a nightclub. All along the Strip and in downtown Vegas, you’ll find some of the top clubs in the country.
One of the best Las Vegas nightclubs is Omnia at Caesars Palace, which has a massive stage and an incredible outdoor terrace. It’s the perfect spot to dance the night away with friends. Hakkasan Nightclub at MGM Grand is another premier destination, with five floors and a pavilion with an outdoor garden, DJ booth, and bar. It’s open until 4 a.m., so it attracts all the night owls and serious party-goers.
For a girls’ night out or bachelor party in Las Vegas, check out Drai’s Nightclub at The Cromwell. It has some of the best live music in Vegas and has hosted performers like Keyshia Cole, French Montana, and Gucci Mane.
If you can’t decide where to go, this VIP nightclub tour will take you to several hotspots in Las Vegas and let you skip the line.
15. Get married and have Elvis walk you down the aisle in a Las Vegas wedding
Sin City is a fascinating place to visit with friends, as a group, or with your sweetheart, and one of the most unique things to do in Vegas is to tie the knot. Thousands of couples, some of them celebrities, get married in Sin City every year. Be it a pretend wedding or real nuptials, it’s a couples’ activity you won’t find anywhere else.
There are several famous Las Vegas wedding chapels, but one of the best is Graceland, where Elvis walks the bride down the aisle and sings his greatest hits. Attending or participating in an Elvis wedding is an unforgettable thing to do in Las Vegas, and it’s quite popular, so be sure to book in advance.
Other nice wedding venues on the Strip include the Chapel of the Flowers and the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. So, whether it’s a legitimate wedding or simply a figurative ceremony to express your love, it’s something that can only happen in Vegas.
Best day trips from Las Vegas
While there are plenty of things to do in Las Vegas, if you’re staying in this city for a few days, be sure to check out the surrounding areas. There are so many awesome day trips from Las Vegas, so I highly recommend visiting one or two of the sites below.
Also, in our experience, renting a car in Las Vegas is the easiest way to travel in Las Vegas and beyond. However, if you don’t want to drive, there are many great tours available, so you can still enjoy the best things to do around Vegas.
Hoover Dam & Lake Mead
Less than an hour from the Strip, you’ll find the Hoover Dam, an amazing feat of human engineering. Here, you can take a self-guided tour through the Visitors Center, learn about the dam’s history and legacy, and look at models of its power systems and infrastructure. There are also a few scenic trails and overlooks.
While it’s easy to get to, there are several great Hoover Dam tours from Las Vegas. This 3-hour tour takes you to the dam and stops at Boulder City and Lake Mead along the way. You’ll walk across the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge and enjoy sweeping views of the dam, the Colorado River, and Lake Mead.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area covers nearly 1.5 million acres of shorelines, piers, wilderness areas, and the country’s largest reservoir, which was created by the Hoover Dam. If you’re looking to do some outdoor activities near Las Vegas, this place is perfect, especially for watersports and kayaking.
The Grand Canyon is only a couple of hours from the city, so it’s no wonder why it is one of the most popular attractions near Las Vegas. There are all kinds of Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas, so you can find the one that fits your interests and budget.
I recommend taking a Grand Canyon helicopter tour so you can see the full magnitude of this natural wonder. The Grand Canyon Voyager is one of my favorites since it includes an airplane ride over the West Rim, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River, plus a below-the-rim landing by helicopter.
This tour also gives you time to explore the most popular lookouts on the West Rim, like Guano Point and Eagle Point. We loved this one and would do it again in a heartbeat. You can even upgrade the tour to include access to the famous Skywalk.
For something cheaper, this South Rim tour is an excellent choice. A bus will pick you up from your Vegas hotel, then drive along historic Route 66 to the Grand Canyon. There, you’ll visit the lookouts at Mather Point and Bright Angel and take a vista hike to see the sprawling South Rim. It’s an incredible thing to do near Las Vegas if you have time.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is less than 30 minutes from Sin City, so you can’t pass it up. Here, you can enjoy hiking trails for all fitness levels, so it’s a great place to visit near Las Vegas with kids. The Lost Creek – Children’s Discovery Trail is an awesome route with a waterfall, although it’s also worth exploring the Calico Tanks and Calico Hills trails.
Some other highlights include Ice Box Canyon and the Petroglyph Wall, so be sure to dedicate a few hours to exploring this place. It’s an excellent thing to do in Vegas during the day, and there is even a Scenic Drive that you can take if you get tired. Of course, if you aren’t renting a car, you can take a tour from Las Vegas to Red Rock Canyon, like this one.
Valley of Fire
Just 45 minutes from Las Vegas, you can discover the Valley of Fire, an impressive state park full of sandstone formations and ancient rock art. This is one of the most interesting places to visit in Las Vegas, so be sure to bring your camera.
Make your way along the scenic drive past rocky formations and some of the park’s top sights. It’s also worth hiking the trails to see stunning landscapes and natural structures like the aptly-named Pink Canyon, Arch Rock, and Elephant Rock.
You also can’t miss the Fire Wave, a striated slickrock; or the Rainbow Vista, which boasts a landscape of reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, and grays. There are different Valley of Fire tours from Vegas, although I like this guided hike, and consider it to be one of the best outdoor things to do near Las Vegas.
Area 51 is a wonderland for anyone interested in aliens and the paranormal, and it’s just a few hours from Vegas. This full-day trip is a good Area 51 tour from Las Vegas and includes a visit to the so-called “Janet Airlines” at McCarran airport and the mysterious Black Mailbox for UFO enthusiasts seeking alien contact. This bus tour also travels along the Extraterrestrial Highway and right up to the perimeter of Area 51, the world’s most top-secret military facility.
The National Atomic Testing Museum is nearby and has an Area 51 exhibit as well as all kinds of propaganda and artifacts from the Nevada Test Site. Visiting these attractions is an unusual thing to do in Las Vegas, but highly entertaining, especially if you’re fascinated by the concept of aliens.
Death Valley is my favorite place to visit in the Southwestern United States, and it’s one of the most interesting places to visit near Las Vegas. Located two hours away in the Mojave Desert, it’s the second-largest national park in the country and has the most breathtaking landscapes I’ve ever seen.
Moreover, there are several Death Valley tours from Las Vegas, although I prefer this full-day tour. You’ll see popular sites like the Mesquite Flat sand dunes and the salt flat at Badwater Basin, as well as stunning viewpoints like Zabriskie Point and Dante’s View.
You’ll also visit the Artist’s Palette, a colorful landscape caused by oxidized minerals, and the Devil’s Golf Course, an intriguing area with fabulous formations.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is full of majestic views and invigorating hikes, so if you’re outdoorsy, this is a must-see during your visit to Las Vegas. There are too many things to list here, but you should know some of the highlights of this impressive national park.
First, The Narrows is a magnificent water-carved gorge that you can trek through and a great alternative if you can’t get a permit to see The Subway (another area of the park in which visitors are chosen by lottery).
The hike to Angels Landing is tricky, but worth it for the 360° views. However, if you’re traveling with kids, the Emerald Pools trail is also very nice. You also can’t miss the imposing formations here, like the three peaks of the Court of the Patriarchs.
Ideally, visiting Zion is something to do during a weekend in Las Vegas, but if you don’t have that time and still want to go, you can take this excursion. It’s one of the best Zion tours from Las Vegas and includes a stop at nearby Bryce Canyon, which is known for its hoodoos, which are intriguing geological formations that look otherworldly.
Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend
Hands down, Antelope Canyon is one of the best places to visit near Las Vegas and a photographer’s dream. This slot canyon is made of water-carved sandstone and is known for its unique formations. Walking through this place is a magical experience, especially when the beams of sunlight poke through the walls and illuminate the canyon floor.
You’ll get the best photos at Upper Antelope Canyon, but Lower Antelope Canyon is just as gorgeous. Plus, it tends to be less crowded, so you’ll enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. We have a guide to the best Antelope Canyon tours from Vegas, but I’ll tell you now that this small-group tour is an excellent option, and it includes nearby Horseshoe Bend.
Horseshoe Bend is just 15 minutes from Antelope Canyon and a must-see for its dramatic viewpoint. Located in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, this incised meander along the Colorado River creates a unique horseshoe shape, which you can see from the 1,000-foot-tall cliff next to it.
Where to stay in Las Vegas
On the Strip, off the Strip, in downtown Las Vegas…there are lots of options if you want to spend the night. You can find hotels for all budgets, as well as kid-friendly resorts and luxury accommodations for a romantic getaway.
We have a full list of the best places to stay in Vegas, but these are a few of my top recommendations:
- Luxury: The Bellagio is one of the best hotels in Las Vegas, not only for the Bellagio Fountains show but for its glamorous suites and facilities.
- Mid-price: Mandalay Bay is an affordable place to stay with family, and along with having one of the best pools in Las Vegas, it has premier performance venues, a casino, a nightclub, and a spa.
- Budget: Excalibur is proof that you can stay in a beautiful resort without breaking the bank. This cheap hotel in Las Vegas has an arcade, a pool complex, and several residency shows.
Best restaurants in Las Vegas
Eating at some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas will ensure that you stay satisfied and energized throughout your trip. There are several awesome places to eat here with all kinds of cuisines and at varying price points.
First, Sin City has some amazing fine restaurants to enjoy a gourmet meal. The meats at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Bazaar Meat by José Andrés are divine, and both restaurants are ideal for a special date night.
If you prefer hearty Italian food, check out La Strega for traditional pastas and delicious seafood paired with wine. For something more casual, I recommend Soulbelly BBQ, which serves mouth-watering brisket, ribs, and wings, as well as soul food favorites like mac n cheese.
Of course, going out for drinks is part of the Las Vegas experience, so be sure to visit one of the best rooftop bars in Sin City. We loved the Foundation Room, a sophisticated lounge at Mandalay Bay with expert mixologists and dancing.
The VooDoo Lounge at the Rio Hotel is also very fun, and it’s on the 51st floor, so the views are great. The patio has a dance floor where you can listen to live DJs and mingle. If you’re on the northern end of the Strip, check out the 108 Drinks Lounge at The STRAT for happy hour and panoramic views.
Map of Las Vegas
I hope this guide helps you plan your visit to Las Vegas! Don’t forget to download this map with all the Las Vegas attractions, hotels, and restaurants I mentioned. We also have other Las Vegas tourist maps if you’d like to see specific parts of the city.
If you have any questions, or you’d like to share your favorite things to do in Las Vegas, leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you! Have an incredible trip to Sin City!