Renowned around the world for its glitzy casinos, luxury themed resorts, and endless entertainment options, Las Vegas really is like no other place on Earth. Set amidst the arid and desolate confines of the Mojave Desert, the alluring sights, sounds and shows of ‘Sin City’ lie in the south of Nevada, not far from lots of incredible scenery and landscapes.
While there is certainly more to the city than just its Strip, most of the main tourist attractions in Las Vegas, massive hotels, and iconic landmarks lie along its busy boulevard. Here you can find not only the humongous High Roller but celebrity chef-run restaurants and casinos putting on unforgettable Cirque du Soleil shows and music concerts. With so many things to do all day and all night, Las Vegas certainly makes for a memorable holiday destination.
See also: Where to Stay in Las Vegas
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18. Neon Museum
As Las Vegas is famous for its bright and colorful signs that line the Strip and entice visitors into its casinos, bars, and resorts, it is well worth visiting the Neon Museum when in town. Tucked away on the edge of downtown, it offers an interesting look at the city’s history and culture through signs.
While taking a tour of its hundreds of cheery, colorful signs, you’ll learn about iconic landmarks such as Caesars Palace and the Riviera and how Las Vegas evolved into a top tourist destination. Its outdoor ‘Neon Boneyard Park’ is particularly impressive at night when all the lit-up signs stand out delightfully against the dark sky.
17. Pinball Hall of Fame
Home to hundreds of old pinball machines and classic arcade games, the Pinball Hall of Fame can be found just minutes from the Strip. Set right next to the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign, it is a very fun and family friendly place to visit that can keep you entertained for hours.
Crammed inside the unique museum are around four hundred pinball games for you to play with the earliest ones dating to the 1940s. While strolling about amidst all of its bright flashing lights, you’ll come across rare and vintage games lying alongside more modern machines and models.
16. Cirque du Soleil
If it is an absolutely unforgettable spectacle you are after in Las Vegas, then you won’t want to miss catching a Cirque du Soleil performance. The legendary entertainment troupe performs a number of incredible acrobatic acts and spellbinding shows nightly in various resorts along the Strip.
While Treasure Island’s ‘Mystere’ features dazzling dance routines and death-defying acrobatics, the Bellagio hosts ‘O’ – an artistic and aquatic tribute to the beauty of theater. Yet other superb shows in the city include the action-packed, martial arts-filled ‘Ka’, and vibrant musical and visual tributes to both Michael Jackson and the Beatles with all Cirque’s shows making for enthralling spectacles.
15. Wynn Las Vegas Casino
Widely considered to be one of the best luxury resorts in the world, the award-winning Wynn Las Vegas also has a gorgeous casino for visitors and guests to enjoy. Decadently decorated, its art and floral-filled galleries have all kinds of games for you to try in a chic and sophisticated setting.
Since opening in 2005, its countless table games, slot machines, and poker rooms have proved to be very popular with high-flyers while the casino’s incredible entrance attracts just as many people. This is because stunning waterfalls plunge into the lovely Lake of Dreams below which is backed by man-made mountains and is magically lit up at night.
14. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
One of the most popular and photographed landmarks in town, the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign has been welcoming visitors to the city since 1959. Set just to the south of the Strip and all its sights, the sign is a must-see attraction and looks particularly arresting at night time.
Designed by local artist Betty Willis, the colorful sign and its distinct lights and lettering can be found not far from Mandalay Bay and the Little Church of the West. While it already makes for some fantastic photos during the day, at night the sign’s flashing lights really epitomize the spirit of Las Vegas and its distinctive look and feel.
13. Hoover Dam
Straddling the border between Nevada and Arizona, the humongous Hoover Dam certainly makes for a striking sight. Once the largest dam in the world, it lies just forty-five minutes to the east of the city right next to Lake Mead and all its amazing recreation opportunities.
Built in 1935, the massive dam towers to over two hundred meters in height and is set in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. Besides basking in its scenic setting and enjoying fine views from atop of it, visitors can also take tours around the dam to learn about its history, how it works and the impact it had on Las Vegas.
12. High Roller
Also set on the Strip you can find the High Roller which reaches a staggering height of 167 meters and is impressively the highest observation wheel in the world. As is offers up simply spectacular views of Las Vegas, the Strip, and its surroundings, going for a ride on the giant Ferris wheel really is a must when in town.
Only opened in 2014, it lies just across the street from Caesars Palace and is beautifully illuminated by thousands of LED lights at night. While taking a spin in one of its sleek passenger cabins, audio commentary informs you all about the sights you can see below.
11. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
While it only lies twenty minutes’ drive west of the city, the stunning landscapes and scenery of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area feel a million miles away from the sights and sounds of the Strip. A treat to explore, its colorful canyons offer up all kinds of excellent outdoor activities with stupendous views and nature wherever you go.
A very popular and picturesque place, the park attracts millions of visitors each year due to its ease of access, wealth of activities and dramatic scenery. Besides hiking and biking, you can enjoy rock climbing, horseback riding and camping or scenic drives amidst its ruddy rock formations.
10. New York-New York Hotel & Casino
The Big Apple roller coaster at the New York New York Hotel & Casino definitely isn’t a ride for the faint of heart. It’s a heavenly ride for thrill seekers, however, drawing 1.4 million riders annually.
It’s the world’s first roller coaster with a 180-degree to twist and dive, meaning riders will be upside down part of the time, with the coaster zipping along at 67 mph. The outdoor track is less than a mile long, with the coaster taking riders up to 180 feet in the air and then drops as much as 140 feet.
9. Paris Las Vegas
Great views of Las Vegas await travelers who partake of the Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas. This half-scale replica of the real thing reaches 46 stories into the sky, ensuring it is a Vegas landmark. Once at the observation deck, visitors are treated to 360-degree views of Las Vegas.
On a clear day, one can clearly see forever. Don’t recognize any of the landmarks? Not to worry, staff will name them. The views are particularly stunning at night when the city that never sleeps is lit up like a Christmas tree.
8. Mob Museum
Want to relive the days when the mob ruled not only Las Vegas, but the rest of the United States? The Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas offers the opportunity to learn more about the mob and organized crime in this country.
This non-profit museum explores organized crime from its beginnings to today through exhibits and interactive activities. Learn about mobsters and G-men, molls and speakeasies, bootleggers and casino skimmers, and present-day mob activities. Oh, this $42 million museum was financed by government funds, not the mob.
7. The Venetian Las Vegas
Venice, Italy, is famous for its canals and singing gondoliers, but travelers won’t need a passport to ride the Grand Canal at the Venetian Casino Resort in Nevada’s largest city. The Venetian named their premier shopping mall the Grand Canal, then built a canal through it.
Gondolas, complete with costumed singing gondoliers, guide their craft under bridges and balconies, and past shops with exterior décor that mimics the real thing. Couples can share a kiss under the Rialto Bridge or any of the other bridges, for that matter. Here’s to smooth sailing!
6. Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience is an attraction no visitor to Las Vegas should miss. Located on a five-block section of Fremont Street, known as Glitter Gulch in the city’s early years, the Fremont Street Experience is a top-notch sound and light show that will wow the senses. Colorful displays of lights and loud music take place several times a night under a 90-foot high canopy.
Casinos and other businesses turn off their lights, a signal that a light show is about to begin. More than 12 million LED lights streak through the pedestrian mall located in the historic section of Las Vegas. The show can only be described as “totally awesome.”
5. The Mirage
Located on the Strip, the Mirage is a Polynesian-themed casino and hotel with 3,044 rooms. The “volcano” at the Mirage Casino may be the world’s only volcano that doesn’t stink when it erupts. This volcano, which erupts nightly from 8 p.m. to midnight, spews out a pina colada scent. This faux volcano also erupts to a soundtrack of actual volcanoes erupting.
The Mirage is full of other attractions, including a huge aquarium located behind the hotel’s front desk. The aquarium is home to 450 fish that swim around an artificial coral reef. Suited-up divers clean the tank several times weekly in the early morning, providing another unique sight to see.
4. Caesars Palace
A larger-than-life resort, Caesars Palace was dreamed up and built Jay Sarno, who worked hard building motels in the 1950’s. His love for gambling led him to Las Vegas, where he envisioned a casino much more glamorous than what the Strip had been offering. And so Caesars Palace opened in 1966 at a cost of $24 million, and was unlike anything Las Vegas had seen.
With fountains and pools and employees in Roman-themed uniforms, it was an immediate hit, and set the standard for the themed-hotels that are so common in Sin City today. The casino has made an appearance in several Hollywood movies since it opened its doors including the Academy Award-winning film Rain Main and the 2009 hit comedy The Hangover.
3. Stratosphere Tower
Major Vegas hotels center around themes or special gimmicks to draw visitors. The Stratosphere Hotel is no exception. It is home to the Stratosphere Tower, which, at 1,149 feet (350 meters) high, is the tallest freestanding tower in the United States. The observation deck is THE place to go for spectacular 360-degree views of the city and surrounding terrain.
Since the tower is open until 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends, it’s a good place to see Las Vegas at its glittering best. One of the most visited attractions in Las Vegas, the tower will appeal to daredevils and thrill seekers too who, for a fee, can sky jump off the tower at 855 feet (261 meters).
Travelers can hit a daily double when visiting the Bellagio Casino, famous for its dancing fountains, and conservatory and botanical gardens. The garden has so many plants, it takes 140 horticulturists to maintain it as well as plan holiday-themed displays. Experts also answer visitors’ gardening questions daily in the conservatory.
As impressive as the gardens are, the fountains are even more awesome. They explode in a fusion of light and music, ranging from opera to Broadway tunes, frequently throughout the day and night. It’s hard to argue with Bellagio when it refers to this show as “the most ambitious, choreographically complex water feature ever conceived.”
1. The Strip
Casinos can be found throughout Las Vegas, but the strip, a stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South, contains the most of them. It features giant mega-casino hotels, decorated with lavish care and attention to detail to create a fantasy-like atmosphere.
The casinos often have names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and far-away destination. Walking along the strip is a fun and reasonable option as the casinos are close to each other. In most cases, hotels are connected to each other either by bridge or underground or in the case of the Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay, by a complimentary rail shuttle.
Be aware that during the summer, the oppressive heat during the daylight hours may make walking a very uncomfortable activity.