Las Vegas, Nevada, is an entertaining vacation destination with a great deal to do and see. Many vacationers stick to the Las Vegas Strip as there are casinos, shopping, restaurants, performances, and world-class entertainment.
However, if you venture off the Las Vegas Strip, you’ll be amazed at what else Nevada has to offer. This list is perfect for those looking for something to do in and around Vegas besides gamble.
From NASCAR rides and skydiving to beautiful lakes and famous landmarks– there are many adventures to be had! Check out our favorite places to visit and things to do in Vegas off the strip!
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1. Neon Museum
Recommended by Candice of CSGinger.com
If you are looking for a walk down the Las Vegas memory lane, visiting the Neon Museum is a really fun place to go in Las Vegas off the Strip. The Neon Museum is where some of the old neon Las Vegas signs go after they are no longer used on the Strip!
It was founded in 1996 with the mission of preserving and exhibiting the iconic Las Vegas neon signs. There are about 200 signs on display in what the Neon Museum calls the Boneyard. It is fun to walk around the signs to see which ones you remember and read about the history. The Ugly Duckling Car Sales, La Concha, and letters from Moulin Rouge signs are all on display.
The best time to visit the museum is about 30 minutes before sunset. This is the best time to take pictures as you get to watch the signs light up against the darkening sky. Plus, if you visit at this time, you can easily attend the Brilliant! Experience, a 25-minute light show. The Neon Museum is easily one of the top things to do off the Las Vegas strip!
2. Seven Magic Mountains
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If you are looking for an Instagram worthy spot off the Las Vegas Strip, look no further than the Seven Magic Mountains. The large bright boulders are set against a dark landscape, making it the perfect place to get a beautiful photo.
Just a quick 20-minute drive away from the strip, this popular tourist destination is the perfect place to get away from the madness. Although it’s a well-known spot for tourists, you can beat the crowds by visiting in the morning or early afternoon.
The Seven Magic Mountains are an artistic expression of human existence in the Mojave desert by disrupting the mundane view with a burst of bright colors. You can’t beat the peacefulness that this place brings you away from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip.
For a moment, you can escape the madness and enjoy being in the desert surrounded by open-air and nature that’s been used to create art.
Note: There may be snakes in the area, so watch where you step.
3. Fremont Street
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In downtown Las Vegas, there is a smaller mini-strip that has its own personality. The Fremont Street Experience is an all-encompassing Vegas experience – casinos, shows, live music, street performers, and even a zipline! It’s one of the top places to go and things to do off the Las Vegas Strip!
Fremont Street fulfills all of your senses as soon as you enter. Viva Vision is a 1,476-foot long tunnel with over 12 million LED lights that lights up hourly from 6 pm to 1 am. The 6 minute light show is accompanied by music and is hard to keep your eyes off of the ceiling. It’s one of the best free things to do in Vegas!
Explore the historic Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, dating back to the early 1900’s or the famous Golden Nugget Hotel. If you prefer to get your heart racing, you can go ziplining off of the world’s largest slot machine! You’ll zoom through the street for an experience unlike any other.
Fremont Street is also a lot cheaper than the Strip. So if you’re not ready to spend a lot of money gambling, you can often find $3-5 table games in Fremont Street! It’s the perfect way to practice your gambling skills.
4. Valley of Fire
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When you’re sick of all the free things Las Vegas has to offer and the bustle of the Las Vegas strip, consider taking a day trip to Valley of Fire State Park.
Just about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park is a 40,000-acre wonderland of beautiful Aztec sandstone and limestone. The valley also features petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back 2,000 years.
The must-see highlights of the park include Elephant Rock, the Beehives, and Atlatl Rock, where you can see the best examples of petroglyphs in the park. However, the top attraction is the Fire Wave.
Visitors must complete a 1.5-mile roundtrip out and back hike to reach the Fire Wave, but once there you’re greeted with gorgeous red and tan stripes in the sandstone that resemble a wave. Valley of Fire is open sunrise to sunset year-round, and visitors can gain entrance for $10 or $15 for non-residents. The park also features two campgrounds for campers and RVers alike, day-use/picnicking areas, a visitor center, and plenty of hiking and biking opportunities.
Just be cognizant of the time of year you’re visiting and prepare accordingly. Temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees in the summer. Spring and fall are generally the best times to visit for outdoor activities.
5. Las Vegas Lake
Recommended by JJ of The MiniVanBucketList.com
Lake Las Vegas is a large artificial lake on the outskirts of Las Vegas, a little over 30 minutes east of the Strip on the way to Lake Mead. While Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States and ideal for water sports, Lake Las Vegas is much smaller and does not allow speed boats. Instead, it is perfect for electric boats, kayaks, and paddleboards. And with the golf courses and luxury homes dotting its shores, it truly feels like a desert oasis.
You’ll also find a giant inflatable water park and wakeboard cable park at the marina. But the best part of Lake Las Vegas is the little European-style village next to the marina. There are several shops and quaint restaurants overlooking the lake and there’s even a hotel over the water, with archways spanning from one side of the lake to the other, reminiscent of Chateau Chenonceau in France.
Spend the day at the lake playing at the waterpark and paddling around, then have a meal at one of the bistros overlooking the water. It’s a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Strip. Whether you’re visiting for the day or taking an extended stay, Lake Las Vegas is quite the hidden off-strip gem!
And in case you’re looking for something less relaxing and more adventurous, consider a day trip to hike Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park – one of the best places to visit in Utah and just a two hour drive north of Las Vegas.
6. Area 15
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Drive a mile west of the Las Vegas strip and you’ll find Area 15, an experimental retail and entertainment complex. This immersive futuristic playground is rolled into a vast and vibrant space where you can throw an axe, wander through a bamboo volcano, race on a zipline or explore other mesmerizing realms. Area 15 is definitely one of the more unique places to go and things to do off the Las Vegas strip.
Admission to Area 15 is free but you do need to reserve a ticket. Think of it as a shopping mall but filled with experiences like arcades, VR, art installations and restaurants.
Free admission allows you to walk around the complex and enjoy the art on display and gain access to the activities inside like Omega Mart, The Van Gogh, and Klimt Immersive Experiences, Dueling Axes, Emporium Arcade, and Bar, 5 Iron Golf and Wink World. Dining options include Emack and Bolios Ice Cream, Oddwood Cocktails, The Beast Restaurant and Rocket Fizz Candy Store.
Area 15 is open to visitors of all ages from opening until 10 PM. After 10 PM, visitors must be 21 years or older with a valid driver’s license or ID to enter. There is ample free parking and a ride share drop off point.
7. Skydiving Vegas
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There is no bigger thrill or adrenaline rush than jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. If you are looking for the best way to add some epic to your Las Vegas trip, Skydiving in Vegas will make the trip one that you talk about for years to come. When it comes to skydiving, what happens in Vegas does not have to stay in Vegas!
Your experience begins with a lesson on how to position your body as you fall out of the plane. You are then suited up and ready to take to the skies.
As you fall out of the plane, look behind you to see the airplane flying away. The pressure on your breathing will be intense momentarily; cheering in excitement helps to relieve the pressure from the wind.
It does not feel like you are falling as fast as you are. You will be in awe as you are overcome with an incredible feeling as you look down on your slice of the world.
8. Vegas Nascar Ride Along
Recommended by Debbie from WorldAdventurists.com
If you are looking for a great adrenaline rush off the Vegas strip, driving a NASCAR race car or taking a NASCAR Ride Along in Vegas at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a thrill of a lifetime. It is an experience that you will never forget!
The Las Vegas Speedway welcomes two annual NASCAR Cup race weekends and is the year-round home to the NASCAR Racing Experience, Richard Petty Driving Experience, and Mario Andretti Racing Experience.
Feel yourself fly around the track at 160 mph as your adrenaline soars. The track is a 1.5-mile tri-oval racetrack with 12 to 20 degrees of banking in the turns.
There is no graceful way to get into a NASCAR, even with help. There are no doors, so you must hop in through the ‘window’ with a roll cage making it a tighter squeeze, and a giant helmet on. Inside you wear the usual five-point harness and a foam collar for your neck. Being inside a NASCAR, you will gain a huge respect for the skill level of professional NASCAR drivers.
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is located 7 miles outside of the Las Vegas Strip.
9. Red Rock Canyon
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Located about 25 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip by car, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (or just Red Rock Canyon) is one of the best places to visit if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and explore a beautiful desert habitat with multiple trails and scenic overlooks.
Make sure to arrive early, especially if you are traveling on weekends, as Red Rock is one of the most popular scenic areas near Las Vegas. Weekends tend to be especially busy, as many travelers head here to hike and explore. If you need help planning your trip to Red Rock and choosing the best trail, check out this article.
Unfortunately, Red Rock Canyon is not serviced by public transportation, so you will have to rent a car to get here. To get into Red Rock, visitors are required to pay a $15 fee at the entrance.
A great alternative to that is to purchase America The Beautiful National Parks Pass for $80, allowing you to enter most parks in the national parks system for one year. It’s an excellent option for travelers looking to explore the area around Las Vegas and visit Grand Canyon and Death Valley National Parks.
10. Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
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When you visit Las Vegas, you are within reach of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s seven natural wonders. It’s a long way if you take a bus tour or drive on your own, so consider doing a helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon so that you don’t waste time in transit to this famous landmark.
If you travel by helicopter, you will not only get aerial views of the Grand Canyon, but also the Las Vegas Strip, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and more. When you land, you have the opportunity to explore a bit of the floor of the canyon.
There are all kinds of Grand Canyon tour packages from Las Vegas, and many will pick you up at your hotel. Couples may want to do a helicopter tour with a champagne picnic. Those seeking a bit of adventure could do a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon that includes white-water rafting.
Whichever option you choose, it will be an unforgettable experience that is worth the splurge.
11. Hoover Dam
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Hoover Dam is an extraordinary attraction just about 45 minutes off the Las Vegas Strip. Visiting is well worth it, not only will you witness an iconic marvel of engineering, the views are stunning.
It’s one of those attractions you need to see at least once; Hoover Dam is massive and holds a lot of history in its story. The drive there is also quite scenic; you will see some deserts and mountains in the background. There is a lot to do and see at this attraction, and the sheer size of it is completely breathtaking.
The tours you can book for Hoover Dam vary from guided bus tours, power plant tours, to water and helicopter tours. The closeness to the strip makes this a great choice for a half day tour, you can explore the area and still make it back to the strip in the afternoon for shows and your dinner reservations.
Entertainment Off the Las Vegas Strip
While the Las Vegas Strip is world-renowned for its casinos, hotels, and nightlife, there is plenty to see and do away from the bright lights of the Strip. Just a short drive from the city, visitors can find themselves in the beautiful Mojave Desert. Here, you can take a scenic hike through Red Rock Canyon or enjoy a leisurely afternoon picnicking and stargazing at Valley of Fire State Park.
For those looking for a more urban experience, nearby downtown Las Vegas offers a revitalized art scene, trendy restaurants, and lively bars. With so much to see and do just minutes from the strip, it’s easy to get away from the hustle and bustle and find something unique off the Las Vegas Strip.
This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Image Credit: [@email@example.com/Depositphotos.com]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.