Wynn Las Vegas
Photograph: Courtesy Wynn Las Vegas

The best things to do in Vegas right now

Whether you’re here for a wild weekend or to catch a game or a concert, we’ve got you covered with the best things to do in Vegas

Ryan Slattery
Contributor: Sarah Feldberg
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Las Vegas is like no other place on earth, full of wild spectacles, world-famous sporting events, 24/7 casinos and unparalleled nightlife, immersive experiences, and even natural wonders. With so much activity packed into a considerably small area, finding the best things to do in Las Vegas can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. What follows is a nifty guide to The Strip and beyond, including the must-see restaurants and can't-miss shows to check out, plus some off-the-beaten-path favorites to get you outdoors. Below are our picks of the best things to do in Vegas.

This guide was updated by Vegas-based writer Ryan Slattery. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

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⛲ The best attractions in Las Vegas

Best things to do in Vegas

1. Sphere

Upon opening, Sphere became one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. The exoskeleton of the massive orb (366 feet tall and 516 feet wide) lights up with LED displays ranging from yellow face emojis and a giant eyeball to a Halloween jack-o-lantern and even a snow globe. It's equally impressive inside as a concert venue, immersing concertgoers into the show. U2 opened Sphere with Phish and Dead and Company scheduled as its subsequent residencies. A 50-minute show called Postcard from Earth is also worth a visit.

2. AREA15

Not to be confused with our classified alien-holding military base up the road, AREA15 is an all-ages immersive entertainment district with mind-altering spaces, art installations, bars (be sure to find Lost Spirits Distillery for a cocktail), and other fantasy worlds. Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart and Illuminarium are two of the bigger attractions.

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While just about every casino has a dedicated buffet on-site, Caesars Palace Bacchanal Buffet is hands-down the most amazing all-you-can-eat experience you’ll have in Sin City. The food is brag-worthy, and the atmosphere is refined, perfect for date night or family reunions alike. Pack your plate with everything from gorgeous dim sum to lump crab avocado toast to oysters on the half shell. Pick up a clean plate and pace yourself. There’s a bounty to enjoy. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Attractions
  • The Strip

The first US incarnation of London's all-conquering attraction contains more than 100 wax celebs in various settings, all lots of fun. Here it tones down the British history in favor of celebrity and pop culture “encounters”: an opportunity to join the “wolf pack” from The Hangover, for example, or a chance to pose with Miley Cyrus and her wrecking ball. There’s now lots of impressive supplementary fun too, including a superb Marvel 4D film experience, and the Carnival Carnage 7D experience... quite what the seven dimensions are, we're not sure. Recommended, though.

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5. Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn and its sister property, Encore, define luxury in Las Vegas. The property has 4,748 spacious, well-appointed rooms, suites and villas, plus 20 signature dining experiences, 14 bars, two award-winning spas, nightclubs, and so much more. There is even an 18-hole championship golf course that often hosts celebrity tournaments.

6. Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil was an unconventional, risk-taking circus troupe of acrobats, contortionists and gymnasts when it arrived in Las Vegas three decades ago. Today, it’s a staple of Las Vegas entertainment and one could say you haven’t experienced Vegas if you haven’t witnessed one of their shows. Mystere opened in 1993 and is one of six Cirque shows running on The Strip.
The others are KÀ, Mad Apple, The Beatles LOVE, Michael Jackson ONE, and the water spectacular O.

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Its center Strip location is ideal and the property has everything you want out of a resort. Caesars Palace has 3,980 guest rooms, a luxury shopping center, a 4,300-seat entertainment venue, a five-acre pool complex, a spa, and one of the city’s top nightclubs. Its restaurant collection includes Bacchanal Buffet and is very celebrity chef heavy with the likes Guy Savoy, Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri and Dominique Ansel all operating there.

  • Things to do

T-Mobile was built to be the home arena for the city’s first professional sports team and it turned Las Vegas into a rabid hockey town. The Vegas Golden Knights first took the ice in 2017 and the team won the Stanley Cup in their sixth season. If you time your trip with the NHL season, be sure to catch a game. It’s quite the spectacle. T-Mobile Arena also doubles as a concert venue.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
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The Great Depression-era landmark that dammed the Colorado River and created Lake Mead, Hoover Dam looms large in Las Vegas history. The 726-foot-high curving cement facade makes for a striking view, whether you take a guided tour, walk along the bridge, or view it from a boat on Lake Mead. It took five years and 21,000 men to build the dam, which straddles the Nevada-Arizona border.

  • Attractions
  • The Strip

Bellagio’s signature dancing fountains are arguably the most popular attraction on The Strip. The geysers—more than 1,200 in all—are nestled in the eight-and-a-half-acre lake in front of the resort. Set to music, the fountain erupts every half-hour in the afternoon and every 15 minutes throughout the evening until midnight. The aquatic spectacle immortalized in Ocean’s Eleven is not just free; it is truly priceless.

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The Venetian is an ever-expanding resort and entertainment complex with indoor and outdoor gondolas and larger-than-life décor. Inside, St. Mark’s Square is replicated, with costumed characters and gelato stands under a perpetually sunny sky. Bask in lavish comfort here, as The Venetian boasts some of the roomiest suites on The Strip and has multiple pools in Italian-inspired gardens.

12. The National Atomic Testing Museum

Can you believe that during the '50s, people would saunter into the streets along The Strip, still clutching their Cuban Sunsets, and watch as enormous atomic mushroom clouds appeared on the horizon and arced skyward? The history and development of America's nuclear weapons program are both hypnotic and horrifying. And strangely enough, Las Vegas was close to the heart of it. A visit to this museum should absolutely, unequivocally be on your Sin City Must Do List. 

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13. Las Vegas Springs Preserve

The whole reason Vegas is even where it is is right here. The Las Vegas Springs Preserve is built around the original water source for the city, the Las Vegas Springs. Known as the Birthplace of Las Vegas, the springs offer enough fun things to do to fill a whole day, with activities for children, bike rentals to further explore the area, the Nevada State Museum, Origen Museum, and a variety of other exhibits.

  • Museums
  • History
  • Downtown

Las Vegas has a habit of blowing things up when they get old, musty, or simply unprofitable. While the city’s vintage architecture has often been reduced to rubble, many of its iconic neon signs have been saved from that fate and set aside at the acclaimed Neon Museum. Book a tour to wander among the relics, hearing tales of eccentric billionaires, long-gone landmarks, and the characters that helped make Vegas, Vegas.

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15. Lake Las Vegas

Just 16 miles east of the Las Vegas Strip, Lake Las Vegas is an expansive complex with hotels, golf courses, and waterfront restaurants. The lake is calm and inviting, perfect for standup paddleboard sessions and kayaking, flyboarding, and rowing. Catch a dragon boat race or take a yacht cruise, then cozy up on the lawn for musical performances from spring through fall.

  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • East Las Vegas

Aficionados of old-school arcade games should make a beeline for the peculiarly beautiful Pinball Hall of Fame (which recently moved to a new location), a wonderland where you can admire—and play—more than 150 operational pinball machines, from throwback games to modern wonders. Bring your quarters.

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17. Dolby Live

Thanks to changing entertainment trends, The Strip is littered with stars as production shows have made way for resident headliners—A-list musicians and bands that set up shop in casino showrooms for extended runs. Dolby Live (previously named Park Theater) regulars have included Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Aerosmith, and Cher. The venue seats 5,200, and VIP seating includes a dedicated cocktail service. 

  • Things to do
  • Downtown

Set in a former courthouse that hosted part of the Kefauver Hearings, this brilliant museum chronicles organized crime around the globe and in Las Vegas—where the Mob used to run the joint—as well as law enforcement’s efforts to combat it. Permanent exhibitions include a vintage electric chair, a piece of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre wall, and a speakeasy display complete with a full cocktail bar. For an extra fee, you can venture into special experiences like the Crime Lab, Firearm Training Simulator, or a tour of the museum’s in-house distillery with tasting included.

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19. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Vegas visitors are often shocked to find that The Strip isn’t four miles of glitz plopped down amid open desert. Rather, the city is ringed by mountains and canyons, which offer wonderful hiking. Visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, where rock walls are dotted with climbers on world-class routes, and trails lead into lovely gullies. Not into hiking? Drive a 13-mile loop through the park for a taste of the scenery sans the sweat.

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Still one of the best things to do in town, the old Fremont Street casino district continually rebuilds itself into a thrilling entertainment zone thanks to new attractions, constant live entertainment, and budget-friendly eats. The overhead canopy light and sound show pumps out favorite songs paired with digital light accompaniment that nearly everyone stops to take in. Some folks pass through quickly, thanks to the SlotZilla zipline course. Take a stroll through old-school Vegas and pick up a beer to go in this pedestrian-friendly entertainment hub.

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21. Mandalay Bay Beach

Las Vegas pool parties are the place to beat the heat, and Mandalay Bay Beach is perfect for all ages—and even open to non-hotel guests with paid admission. Play along the 11-acre sandy shoreline, cool down in the rolling wave pool and lazy river or chill out in luxury bungalows. Three bars and a grill line the beach playground so you can soak in the desert sun all day long.

  • Shopping
  • The Strip
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This is the world’s largest observation wheel, and it sits in the very heart of the city. Take a slow-motion spin 550ft above the Las Vegas Strip for unbeatable views of the skyline and desert beyond. A single loop takes 30 minutes. If you really want to take it to the next level, book the Happy Half Hour and enjoy an open bar on your ride.

 

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23. Fremont East

Fremont East, north of the casino corridor, is Vegas’s urbane, work-in-progress neighborhood. What was once a blighted stretch of road has become home to gobs of trendy bars, restaurants, shops, and family attractions as Downtown is reinvigorated. Swill cocktails at the Downtown Cocktail Room or hit the Writer’s Block bookstore for something to read on the plane ride home. Pop into Container Park, a petite shopping and dining center made of shipping containers complete with a kids' play area and live entertainment throughout the day.

  • Things to do

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is one of the city’s great free attractions, with a not-so-secret garden that gets a top-to-bottom seasonal makeover a handful of times per year. Step inside the 24-hour gardens, and you’ll be greeted by a themed horticultural exhibit that uses thousands of flowers to form gorgeous sculptures and landscapes. It’s like a miniature Disneyland for plant fans.

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Las Vegas does nightlife the way it does everything else: big, bold, and positively over-the-top. For the all-out experience, enter the 75,000-square-foot OMNIA at Caesars Palace, where you can join the masses popping bottles and dancing to DJs like Steve Aoki and Zedd under a huge revolving chandelier.

More great things to do in Las Vegas

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