Aerial view of the las vegas strip

Things to Do in Las Vegas

You'll find no shortage of things to do in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world. Without doubt the most popularized opportunities are gambling, live shows, restaurants, and the endless supply of alcoholic beverages. However, there are dozens upon dozens of other sights to see and ways to spend time that many first-time visitors to Las Vegas don't know about, including nearby natural landmarks and gorgeous desert scenery to explore.

From outdoor adventures to free activities to kid-friendly exhibits, here is our top list of fun things to do in Las Vegas.

See the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

Located at the "start" of the Strip (just under a mile south of Mandalay Bay), the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is the most iconic sight in the entire city. This 25-foot-tall neon sign has been in place since 1959 and was traditionally the first notice of Californians' arrival in Vegas.

The famous diamond-shaped sign is the most popular photo opportunity when visiting the Strip and can be accessed easily via a rideshare service or even on foot. There is also a parking area for visitors with rental cars.

Fountains at the Bellagio

You won't find a movie about Las Vegas that doesn't show the Bellagio Fountains! This water show is easily the most recognizable feature of the Las Vegas Strip - and it's completely free! Just in front of the luxurious Bellagio casino lies an eight-and-a-half-acre pool where water towers burst over one thousand feet high in a choreographed performance set to classical music. Fountain shows take place:

  • Monday-Friday: every 30 minutes from 3pm - 8pm, then every 15 minutes from 8pm until midnight.
  • Saturday/Sunday: every 30 minutes from 12pm - 8pm, then every 15 minutes from 8pm until midnight

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a14,000-square-foot exhibit featuring large floral arrangements and plant life sculpted into designs within a rotating seasonal theme. Thousands upon thousands of living flowers and plants are constructed into the shapes of animals, people, and other artistic scenes. The garden also boasts an especially elaborate decorum for the Lunar New Year. This conservatory is a fantastic opportunity for photo opportunities near the massive floral structures and best of all, it's completely free to visit!

Ride The High Roller Observation Wheel

One of the world's largest observation wheels is located right here in Las Vegas. Called the High Roller, this massive ferris wheel is built with 28 cabins, some of which contain a bar onboard. A ride on the High Roller takes about 30 minutes and reaches 550 feet at the top, providing a gorgeous panoramic view of the Strip.

Stroll the Linq LINQ Promenade

The LINQ Promenade is an open-air shopping area between the Flamingo Hotel and the LINQ Casino. Here you'll find a wide variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and a popular music venue/bowling alley called the Brooklyn Bowl. There's also a zipline and of course the High Roller Observation Wheel at the very end. Near the High Roller you'll find plenty of parking for a fee.

Wildlife Talk at the Flamingo Las Vegas Wildlife Habitat

Opened by infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel in 1946, the Flamingo Las Vegas was the first luxury hotel on what would later become "The Strip". Today, the Flamingo has received a very modern makeover, including a serene outdoor wildlife enclosure containing real flamingos! Visitors to this casino can venture out into the courtyard and watch these majestic pink birds roam their 4-acre garden free of charge from 7am until 8pm. You can also attend a "Keeper Talk" to learn more about flamingos every day at 8:30am or 2pm, no tickets or reservations required.

Visit the Chandelier Bar and Lounge at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino

There is no shortage of drinking options in Las Vegas - you'll find a bar or a drink kiosk on quite literally every corner of every casino. If you're looking for a more unique and upscale experience, check out the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino. This epic establishment sits in the center of the casino, surrounded by a three-story crystal chandelier! Lounge in style with your beverage of choice with a backdrop containing millions of glistening crystals, perfect for epic photos with a real 007 vibe.

STRAT Hotel Observation Deck

Voted "Best Place to View the City" year after year by Las Vegas locals, the STRAT Hotel Observation Deck is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States at 1,149 feet tall. You'll find a 360-degree view of the Las Vegas Strip and surrounding valley, as well as the Top of the World restaurant, a find dining establishment situated over 800 feet above the city. This circular restaurant slowly rotates for an ever-changing view of the Strip, making a full rotation every 80 minutes.

The STRAT is also home of the most insane thrill rides for the most serious of adrenaline junkies. The Big Shot catapults riders over 150 feet in the air at 45mph, the Skypod spins you at 3Gs while hanging in the air, and the X-Scream roller coaster rips you over the city at 866 feet in the sky!

Take a World Tour, Vegas Style

All of the resorts and casinos in Vegas feature a specific theme, and many of them simulate particular cities and areas of the world. If you want to mimic a trip around the world, you can do so right here on the Strip!

Experience French cuisine and a mock Eiffel Tower at Paris, or wander replica New York City streets at the New York New York in search of a slice of authentic Brooklyn-style pizza. You can visit the Venetian casino and find a remarkable reproduction of St. Mark's Square, complete with an indoor river and gondola rides! You can even venture back in time at Caesar's Palace, a casino fully designed to replicate Ancient Roman Empire.

Visit Aquariums and Mermaid Shows

The Mandalay Bay is a resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip that features a mystical aquatic theme - most notably the stunning Shark Reef Aquarium containing a wide variety of fish, stingrays, octopi, jellyfish, and of course the incredibly popular shark reef. The shark reef's glass hallway allows you to literally walk through the ocean surrounded by several species of sharks. This aquarium is a fantastic activity for the whole family!

Another exciting aquarium exhibit is located in the off-Strip casino called the Silverton. Here a 117,000-gallon aquarium is home to thousands of tropical fish and is free to visit. The Silverton offers interactive stingray feedings daily at 1:30pm and 4:30pm, but the most unique feature of the Silverton aquarium are the mermaid shows that take place every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - where beautiful mermaids swim inside the aquarium amongst the colorful fish. Of the many things to do in Las Vegas with kids, this mermaid show will surely bring the biggest smiles to their faces!

Kids can even join a 90-minute Mermaid School to learn more about the wildlife in the aquarium and practice swimming with a mermaid tail. Classes are $175 per child and available on Saturdays and Sundays. Googles, mermaid tail, and all other equipment is included - just bring a swimsuit and towel.

Visit Pawn Stars Location

The History Channel hit show Pawn Stars is a Las Vegas institution. The world-famous Gold & Silver Pawn shop is a must-stop during your next trip to Las Vegas. Located on Las Vegas Boulevard, near downtown Las Vegas, at 713 Las Vegas Blvd, the shop is free to enter and also offers free parking if you can find it. The shop is open to visitors and customers every day from 10am-5:30pm.

Take A Helicopter Tour Over The Las Vegas Strip

There is no more exciting way to experience the most impressive sights of Las Vegas than aboard a helicopter tour!

A Las Vegas Strip Helicopter Tour is a breathtaking way to experience the magnificence of the casinos' architecture, lights, and signs. You'll see aerial sights of the Luxor space beam, the New York New York Skyline, the Bellagio fountains, Caesar's Palace, the Eiffel Tower of Paris, the Stratosphere, and more. You can even book nighttime VIP helicopter tours to see the neon lights at their brightest.

For an even more upscale experience, choose the Fly & Dine Luxury Night Out package, where you can enjoy a four-course tasting menu in the fabulous Venetian Resort before boarding a nighttime luxury Las Vegas Strip helicopter tour.

Walk the Fremont Street Experience

Located in historic Downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience is a five-block area lined with casinos, restaurants, and bars on both sides. Overhead is a massive LED screen canopy that not only offers some shade from the raging Vegas sun, but it also displays a stunning light show with music every hour! Fremont Street also offers features live music from top-notch cover bands, local street performances, and dozens of shops and dining options. Most exciting of all, here you'll find the incredible SlotZilla Zipline!

The Fremont Street Experience is free to enter and blocked off from traffic, so you can enjoy a leisurely walk through the city's oldest casinos. Find more information in our guide to visiting Downtown Las Vegas.

Visit Downtown Las Vegas Container Park

The Downtown Las Vegas Container Park is an open-air shopping center built from stacked up shipping containers. The containers serve as restaurants, bars, and shops of all variety. The containers are arranged in a circle, and in the center is a large lawn and stage for outdoor music performances. There's also a massive treehouse and playground for children. Container Park is free to enter and family-friendly during the day. At night, entry is for adults 21+ only and the playground and two-story slides can also be enjoyed by adults!

Visit the Mob Museum

When you mention classic Las Vegas, the next thought in your mind will likely be "the mafia". Movies and tv shows aren't exaggerating - this city really was built by the mob! You can learn everything about the history of organized crime in the United States at the Mob Museum, located in Downtown Las Vegas.

The Museum offers a provocative, contemporary look at this era of American history through hundreds of artifacts and immersive exhibits. The museum also offers interactive experiences like a crime lab, a firearms training simulator, a mock courtroom, and a distillery tour that offers tastings.

Visit The National Atomic Testing Museum

At the National Atomic Testing Museum, you'll find a number of fascinating exhibits about the role of the Nevada Test Site in the development of nuclear weapons. This museum is an affiliate partner of the Smithsonian Institution and offers educational programs to support the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation.

Tour the Neon Museum

Over the decades, many Las Vegas hotels and casinos have changed ownership and received a new name. The Neon Museum is home to over 250 historic neon signs (some dating back to the 1930s) that once adorned the rooftops of iconic casinos. Visitors to the Neon Museum in Downtown Las Vegas can join a 45-minute guided tour to learn about the artists who designed these legendary signs and technology behind the modern casinos' signs.

If you want a truly top-to-bottom experience of the glittering lights and signs that make Vegas famous, book the Neon Night Flight Spectacular package: this Las Vegas helicopter tour shows you an aerial view of the Strip as you fly over the most recognizable casinos illuminated against the night sky. This package also includes entry into the Neon Museum.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

Chosen by Desert Companion magazine as the best place in Las Vegas to teach history to children, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum is a great diversion from the chaos of the Strip activities. Here you can find exhibits on paleontology, archaeology, Ancient Egypt, and even marine biology. The museum is located in Downtown Las Vegas and features rotating exhibits and activities for kids and families.

Take A Drive to Red Rock Canyon

Just 17 miles West of the Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a colorful desert recreation area accessible via a 13-mile roadway offering a scenic drive. You can spend a day at Red Rock mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, or hiking your choice of 20 trails of varying difficulty. Hiking Red Rock Canyon will lead you through towering striped canyon walls, over sandstone hills, and even to seasonal waterfalls.

Take a Trip to the Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most famous sites in the United States - and just a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas! Built in five years during the Great Depression, Hoover Dam stands over 700 feet high and 1,200 feet long, surrounded by the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. This architectural marvel is available for tours daily, and the Hoover Dam Visitors Center is open to the public every day from 5am - 9pm.

Visit Lake Las Vegas

Just 15 miles East of the Vegas Strip is Lake Las Vegas, a veritable oasis in the Mojave Desert. This resort complex/community contains waterfront restaurants, luxury hotels, golf courses, hiking trails, boat rentals, and much more. You can paddleboard the calm lake in the morning and catch a live music performance at night.

Kayak Black Canyon

Black Canyon is the region of the Colorado River that houses Hoover Dam. Here outdoor enthusiasts can join kayak tours for a full or half day through local operators. Glide between narrow volcanic rock walls, through slot canyons, and even past waterfalls. You may even see a variety of wildlife including bighorn sheep, coyotes, and bald eagles! Guided tours depart from the base of Hoover Dam, from Willow Beach Arizona, or in Eldorado Canyon Nevada.

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Las Vegas Springs Preserve is a 180-acre region that once served as a primary water source for ancient Native Americans in the area. Today, you can explore the land on a variety of hiking trails, attend outdoor events, visit a world-class desert botanical garden, or take a trip to the Nevada State Museum here.

Aerial Sightseeing: Grand Canyon and Other National Parks

Many visitors to Las Vegas may not be aware of how many awe-inspiring natural wonders exist just outside of the city. The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Antelope Canyon are all about an hour flight from Las Vegas and you can visit them easily on a sightseeing airplane or helicopter tour from Vegas!

Papillon is the world's longest running air tour operator with a home base in Las Vegas. Papillon offers day trips to the Grand Canyon, including helicopter flights that land at the very bottom! Tour options also include the Grand Celebration With Las Vegas Strip Tour, airplane tours to the Grand Canyon West and the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk, and combination tours to the South Rim like the Grand Canyon Hummer Tour package.

Aside from the Grand Canyon, Papillon also provides trips to Antelope Canyon and to Bryce Canyon Utah's most unique national park.

Tour group boarding a papillon helicopter for one of the best day trips from las vegas
Best Day Trips from Las Vegas

 When it comes to bucket list items on your travel agenda, Grand Canyon National Park is probably near the top of the list. 

The 277-mile-long Colorado River cuts a majestic, geological marvel through ancient layers of the Colorado Plateau. Every year, millions of visitors travel to view the eighth wonder of the world.

With multiple vistas and tons of activities to experience at the Grand Canyon, we’ve assembled this guide for both first-time visitors and returning adventurers alike to help you travel most efficiently to America’s most majestic National Park.

hoover dam
Guide To Visit Hoover Dam

This engineering marvel built during the Great Depression is situated in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, one of the most wild topographical areas in all of the West. At more than 700 feet high and 1,200 feet long, this National Historic Landmark is one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders, and is a must-see destination on your next visit to Las Vegas.