Don’t let the city’s reputation fool you, there are things to do in Vegas besides gambling or drinking. Whether you are looking for excitement, romance, adventure, or even a touch of nature, Vegas is a city that has it all. From kids to seniors, it’s a town appealing to just about anyone with an ounce of adventure in their veins.
Just the name Las Vegas conjures up an image of an adult’s playground. Bright lights, big city, gambling, drinking, bachelor parties, spontaneous weddings to strangers. Okay, possibly I went a bit too far with the last one. Perhaps lavish fun with a wild side might do better.
However, I formed my first memories of Las Vegas as a young tween. It was a stopover on a massive USA road trip. Presented as almost a gift to my sister and me, we were registered into an overnight camp for visiting kids (this camp no longer exists).
As a result, our parents had plenty of time to enjoy Las Vegas as a couple.
Years passed, and the city really grew up. Today, one can easily do all the wild partying and casino hopping, but there are also plenty of fun things to do in Vegas besides gambling.
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Our favorite things to do in Vegas (besides gambling or partying)
Enjoy a view from the top
So many ways to overlook Las Vegas. No matter which you choose, you will discover a city rising from the desert. From a gentle sunrise balloon ride to a zipline, there is something for every level of adventure. Check out these options, and whichever you choose, be sure to bring your camera!
- Stratosphere Tower
An elevator ride to the observation deck in the Stratosphere Tower is probably the easiest way to get spectacular views of the city. Standing proud at 1,149 ft (350 meters), it is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. Reserve your observation deck entry here
- Ride the High Roller
The world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity offering fabulous 360º views along with the fun. Reserve your High Roller here
- Zip over the strip
Here’s your chance to soar 12 stories above The LINQ Promenade on the Las Vegas Strip’s only zipline experience. Get your fast-track ticket here
- Take a helicopter ride over the Las Vegas Strip
15-minutes may not sound long, but from a helicopter, you can see an enormous amount in that time. Reserve your flight here
- Fly in a hot air balloon ride
Enjoy views of the desert and mountains as you float as high as 10,000 feet—one of the highest flights available in the area. Reserve your hot air balloon ride here.
Check out a Las Vegas Museum
Vegas is filled with tourist-attracting museums. That aside, there are some really unique and interesting options too.
- Neon Museum
If you are enjoying the bright lights out on the strip, you won’t want to miss this one. Discover nearly all the retired iconic Las Vegas signs since the 1930s. See more at their official page.
- The Mob Museum
You have heard the stories, now get the facts of how organized crime impacted the world and shaped this city. Reserve your Mob Museum entry tickets here
- Madame Tussauds
If you have never been inside Madame Tussauds, you are actually missing out on a fun experience. Las Vegas is home to the first Madame Tussauds to open in the USA. Reserve your Madame Tussauds tickets here.
- National Atomic Testing Museum
An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, this museum documents the history of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site in the desert north of Las Vegas. See more at their official page
Explore some of the non-gambling amazing things to do at the hotels
At the Bellagio …
- Bellagio Fountain Show
Completely free and not to be missed, the impressive fountains dance to music every 15 to 30 minutes from 3pm to midnight (weather dependent). Best of all, each show is unique, so stay a while and watch it over and over. Check the current schedule.
- World’s largest chocolate fountain
Where else can you see a floor-to-ceiling sculpture circulating over 2,100 pounds of melted chocolate (white, milk, and dark) thru 500 feet of pipes 24 hours a day? There’s even a document confirming it to be the world’s largest chocolate fountain.
- Chihuly Glass exhibit
Entitled “Fiori di Como” this colorful glass ceiling sculpture is impressive enough to make an effort to see it. Master glassblower Dale Chihuly created more than 2,000 pieces to complete this lobby project. (If you love his work as much as I do, don’t miss the Chihuly Museum in Seattle)
At other hotels …
- Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition (Luxor)
View over 250 authentic artifacts recovered from the wreck site of the Titanic. Plus, enjoy recreations of some of the most famous rooms from the Ship.
- Tournament of Kings Show (Excalibur)
This time travel to the days of King Arthur is so much fun that we try to do it every time we visit Vegas. Enjoy dinner while watching live entertainment highlighted by knights jousting on horseback. Book in advance here
- Cirque du Soleil (Bellagio)
The world-famous Cirque du Soleil is at the Bellagio complete with world-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and divers. Reserve your Cirque du Soleil tickets here
- Ride a gondola (Venetian)
Mirroring the look and feel of Venice, you can ride a gondola in a canal running through the Venetian Hotel. Check for a deal with Madame Tussauds entry
- Ride the Big Apple Coaster (New York New York Hotel and Casino)
I’m not brave enough for a rollercoaster that travels over 67mph and dives 144 feet (44m). If you are, avoid the long ticket line with advance tickets.
More things to do in Vegas besides gamble
- Fremont Street
A pedestrian-only street, known to locals as Glitter Gulch. The bright lights shine 24 hours a day. It’s easy to explore on your own, but if you want more, this Fremont Street walking tour is well rated.
- First Friday’s Food & Art Festival
Aptly named, this festival takes place on the first Friday of every month and features emerging artists, and inspires creativity. We have heard it’s loads of fun.
- Bullets and Burgers
If shooting a machine gun is on your bucket list, here is your opportunity. Starting from Vegas, you will travel out to a military-style outdoor range in the Mohave Dessert. You will learn and shoot a variety of weapons alongside your expert instructor. There is even an optional 3-hour ATV tour available. Reserve your outdoor shooting range experience here
We stopped at Bullets and Burgers many years ago when it was still attached to what was then called Uranus Gas. I even had the opportunity to hold (not fire) the actual M60 that Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) was holding in Rambo – First Blood Part 2 as he walked out of the swamp.
- Take a day trip to …
Hoover Dam, Seven Sisters Mountains, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, the Valley of Fire, or one of several other exciting spots in Nevada and Arizona. Or check out some of the weirdest things to see in Nevada.
A few of the obvious things to do in Vegas besides gambling
- Swim in your hotel pool.
- Eat at one of the super cheap yet massive buffets.
- Walk the strip and absorb some of the excitement.
- Take your photo under the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign” which has been standing since 1959, although I am fairly sure they moved it at one time to its current location.
- Shop till you drop. Vegas is home to a number of high-end malls, as well as three major premium outlet centers.
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What are your favorite things to do in Vegas (besides gamble or party)?
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