Known as the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is a city famous for its high concentration of casinos, resorts, and nightlife. Surrounded by huge natural canyons and the Mojave desert, Las Vegas is a great place to soak up performances from famous performers such as Celine Dion and Carrot Top, as well as do some high-end shopping and fine dining.
Among the endless list of things to do in Las Vegas, you’ll find some of the world’s highest thrill rides, exciting outdoor activities, unusual museums, exotic hotels, and most elaborate water fountains. If you visit Las Vegas, you’ll also get the chance to visit several television and film sets as the famous Freemont Street has been home to many Hollywood productions. The bright lights of the city are also very close to many natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, so the list of best places to visit in Las Vegas has something for everyone!
1. The Strip
The 4.2-mile-long stretch that runs just south of the Las Vegas city limit is known as The Strip. The Strip is lined with some of the world’s largest hotels and casinos and is regarded as one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. The first casino resort to be built on The Strip was opened in 1941 and slowly led to the high concentration of skyscrapers and bright lights of the current day location.
2. Venetian Hotel, Paris Hotel, and the Eiffel Tower
The Venetian Hotel is the second largest hotel in the world, inspired by the design of Venice in Italy. The hotel includes many small-scale replicas of iconic Venetian trademarks such as the Rialto Bridge and gondola rides. The Paris Hotel is known for a similar reason, only this time replicating the appearance of Paris, France. The landmarks at the Paris Hotel include a half-size Eiffel Tower and a two-thirds size Arc de Triomphe.
3. Bellagio Fountains
Out the front of the Hotel Bellagio is a water feature that comes to life regularly throughout the day in Las Vegas. Every 30 minutes during the afternoon and every 15 minutes during the hours of 8 pm to midnight, a choreographed fountain display emerges, set to music and lighting. There were 16 new jets that were added in 2005 that are able to shoot water up to 460 feet into the air.
4. Fremont Street
The first street was paved in Las Vegas in 1925 and was known as Fremont Street. Although the most famous street in the Las Vegas area is now The Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), Fremont Street was the original hub of hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, being the site of many film and television sets depicting the bright lights of Las Vegas.
5. Caesar’s Palace
One of Las Vegas’ largest and most recognizable landmarks is the Roman-themed Caesar’s Palace. The architecture is full of Roman iconography, most notably the 20-foot statue of Augustus Caesar, standing out the front of the hotel. The on-site casino is aimed at high rollers, known as where many of the wealthy gamblers meet to play cards and other games. Caesar’s Palace has also been a hub of local entertainment, famously hosting acts such as Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, and even heavyweight boxing!
6. Linq High Roller
The second highest Ferris wheel—the Linq High Roller—can be found right in the heart of Las Vegas Boulevard. The wheel is 550 feet tall and opened in March 2014. Tickets for a single ride, which lasts for 30 minutes range from $24.95 and $34.95, depending on the time of day. The peak of the wheel offers a panoramic view of the area surrounding Caesar’s Palace and all the neighboring hotels.
7. Luxor Hotel
The Luxor Hotel is a pyramid-shaped, 30 story hotel, named after the city of Luxor in ancient Egypt. The pyramid, made of metal and glass, is one of the largest projects using those materials ever completed. The hotel is famously the home of Carrot Top and The Blue Man Group, where visitors can expect to catch regular performances from these acts.
8. Nellis Dunes
Fifteen miles northeast of Las Vegas, you’ll find the Nellis Dunes, is a 10,000-acre recreation area known for all-terrain vehicle tours. Whilst you ride the dunes and desert trails, there’s a good chance you’ll catch fighter planes from the neighboring Nellis Air Force Base soaring overhead. Despite the huge amount of open space, the dunes are only 15 minutes away from The Strip.
9. Hoover Dam
From 1931 to 1936, right in the middle of the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam was built to provide energy and water to the Las Vegas region. The dam itself has become a very popular tourist destination, attracting around one million visitors a year. It was listed as a national historic landmark in 1985, due to the engineering involved in its construction, making it a very important stop for engineering and design enthusiasts.
10. Grand Canyon
Around five million people a year make their way to the Grand Canyon, making it one of the most popular natural attractions in the world. The one-mile depth of the canyon can be observed by viewing from the south rim, hiking or riding down to the depths or even helicopter tours overhead. The large elevation change in the Grand Canyon National Park allows a great variety of plants and animals to grow in the area, with nearly 2000 different species of plants to be found through the canyon.
11. Shark Reef Aquarium
The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is where you can find the Shark Reef Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in North America. The 95,000 square foot space is full of many species of sharks, fish, and reptiles. You’ll also be able to find a few endangered species of marine life, such as the Galapagos Shark and Green Sawfish. They have just over 2,000 animals in the aquarium, so you’re bound to discover a few creatures you’ve never come across before.
12. Madame Tussauds
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There are several Madame Tussauds around the world, but the one located within the Venetian displays a very specific collection. They have a whole wax exhibition dedicated to the stars of Las Vegas so you can step back in time and experience the old Las Vegas as you stand beside Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and much more. They also have a specific display dedicated to the Hangover film that was shot in Las Vegas, so you can feel like you’ve stepped onto the set!
13. Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Hotel
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First founded in Quebec in Canada, Cirque du Soleil is the world’s largest contemporary circus producer. The Cirque du Soleil company that performs at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas is one of the most famous and popular. The productions they put on consist of high-energy acrobatics and dramatic dance, that is right at home within the luxurious backdrop of The Strip in Las Vegas. There are various performances throughout the year, so there is bound to be a Cirque du Soleil performance in Las Vegas when you are in town.
14. Las Vegas sign
About 4 miles south of the actual city limits of Las Vegas, you can find the infamous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. It is widely considered the southern limit of the Las Vegas Strip, making it the perfect place to begin an adventure through the Las Vegas area. It was originally built in 1959 and is a classic example of the bright light signs used throughout the city. The welcome to Las Vegas sign is one of the quintessential places to visit in Las Vegas whenever you make the trip.
15. Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a motorsports racing precinct located just 15 miles northeast of The Strip. The 1,200-acre complex has multiple tracks that cater to different abilities and experiences. One of the unique offerings here is the NASCAR racing experience, where visitors can drive a real NASCAR, with a professional spotter around the real NASCAR track. There’s even a free shuttle from the Westgate Hotel and Casino, making it easy to get there from The Strip.
16. Seven Magic Mountains
Down in Henderson, Nevada, just south of Las Vegas Boulevard, is a colorful outdoor art installation known as the Seven Magic Mountains. The installation consists of seven towers of brightly colored rocks that form a stark contrast with the surrounding desert landscape. The mountains stand thirty feet high and are open and free to the public. It’s one of the best places to visit in Las Vegas for those traveling on a budget.
17. Valley of Fire
Open all year round, the Valley of Fire is a 40,000-acre area of red Aztec sandstone. You’ll be able to find 2,000-year-old petroglyphs carved into the stone as you follow many of the winding trails and hikes you can do through the valley. There’s also a visitor center that holds several exhibits that display the history of the park, explaining how it formed and changed over time. There are two campsites within the park, allowing the extra adventurous to explore the valley overnight.
18. Stratosphere Tower
Stratosphere tower, part of the hotel known as The Strat, is the tallest observation tower in the United States, measuring 1,149 feet high. The top of the tower is home to a revolving restaurant for those wanting dinner with a view of the Las Vegas cityscape. There are also various adrenaline-pumping rides located at the top of the tower, such as The Big Shot, which travels up and down the tower’s needle. The Big Shot used to be the highest thrill ride in the world until it was recently overtaken by the Canton Tower in Guangzhou.
19. Mob Museum
Housed in an old Las Vegas courtroom, you’ll find the Mob Museum, officially known as the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. The museum exposes the criminal side of Las Vegas with exhibits on casino corruption and mob violence throughout the city. One of the most interesting objects is the brick wall where the Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred in 1929, one of the most significant events in organized crime within the United States.
20. Black Canyon
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Forming around 15 million years ago, the Black Canyon gets its name from the black volcanic rock that lines its walls. It’s found on the Colorado River, where the Hoover Dam is built. There is a 30-mile water trail that winds its way through the canyon, which is best explored aboard a kayak. Aside from the historic stone of Black Canyon, you’ll also spot wildlife on the surrounding cliffs, as well as caves, hot springs, and artifacts from the construction of the Hoover Dam.
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