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The best things to do in Vegas for an amazing Las Vegas experience

Casinos, hikes, museums, professional sports and more things to do are all part of the Las Vegas experience

Written by
Sarah Feldberg
Lori A May
Krista Diamond

When you think of the typical Las Vegas experience, the city’s incredible casinos come to mind first. But there are so many other awesome things to do in the Entertainment Capital of the World, both on and off The Strip. To put it another way, no matter where your interests lie you can always find fun in Vegas. And unlike most other top-tier international leisure destinations, the clock never stops here so you can explore day and night.

The best things to do in Las Vegas run the gamut from seriously entertaining to awesomely educational. Looking for culture? Spend a day exploring Las Vegas’ best attractions and museums. Hungry? You've come to the right place because there are tons of amazing restaurants in Las Vegas that highlight the city's rich and diverse culinary landscape, not to mention some of the world’s most amazing buffets. Take in a night of world-class entertainment or spend your time lazing in the sun at a glam resort pool. Vegas is great for family, friends or even a quality solo trip. Our list will help you discover all the magic Las Vegas has to offer.

Take a look at our list of the 50 best things to do in the world right now.

Best things to do in Las Vegas

  • Attractions
  • The Strip

What is it? The dancing waters of this Las Vegas landmark are a familiar sight in Hollywood movies and they never fail to impress in person.

Why go? 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. Not just free, the aquatic spectacle immortalized in Ocean’s Eleven is truly priceless.

What is it? A 54-year-old icon of Sin City decadence, this casino resort still wows.

Why go? With one foot in the past and one in the future, Caesars is one of the last old-school properties remaining, and few Las Vegas casinos can match it in atmosphere. Come to wager a few chips on the sprawling casino floor, take a dip in the lavish Garden of the Gods pool, browse the Forum Shops, see a concert in the Colosseum, or just to wander the halls while quoting The Hangover.

  • Bars
  • The Strip

What is it? A classic diner and lounge where partiers dig into late-night omelets and gather around fire pits with fruity cocktails. 

Why go? If you haven’t been to Peppermill, you haven’t really been to Las Vegas. The front half of the building is a 24-hour diner, where velvet booths welcome guests to hearty plates of eggs and hash browns and piled-high fruit plates. The back half is the Fireside Lounge, a glorious throwback to the days when disco ruled the dance floor, drowned in blacklight, packed with fake foliage and mirrors. Gather around a cozy fire pit and order a plate of nachos and the famous 64oz Scorpion Bowl.

What is it? A showroom hosting some of the hottest resident performers on the Las Vegas Strip. 

Why go? 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. Park Theater regulars have included Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Aerosmith and Cher. The venue seats 5,200 and VIP seating includes dedicated cocktail service. 


What is it? The only place to surf and boogie board on The Strip.

Why go? You may be in the middle of the desert, but there’s no shortage of water play thanks to FlowRider—the wave simulator found at The Scene Pool Deck on Planet Hollywood’s rooftop. Serious surfers and novice boarders alike can enjoy smooth, safe waves jetting out from this technological wonder. Get your thrills during a hang ten session, or simply wade in the resort pool with a fruity cocktail in hand.

What is it? The Great Depression-era landmark that dammed the Colorado River and created Lake Mead. 

Why go? The Hoover Dam looms large in Las Vegas history and 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 mighty dam on the Colorado River, and it’s worth stopping by to see the fruits of their labor.


What is it? Proudly representing Las Vegas’s era of themed resorts, the Italianate Venetian transports visitors across the Atlantic. 

Why go? 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 complete with costumed characters and gelato stands under a perpetually sunny sky. Bask in lavish comfort here, as The Venetian boasts some of the largest suites on The Strip and has multiple pools in Italian-inspired gardens.

  • Things to do
  • Downtown

What is it? A brilliant look into the criminal underworld and how law enforcement has fought its sway.

Why go? 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 really 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 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.


What is it? The carefully engineered home of Cirque du Soleil’s most inventive Las Vegas show. 

Why go? Aerialists and acrobats and strongmen, oh my! Las Vegas has long been the stateside home of Cirque du Soleil with five resident shows filling theaters along the Boulevard. For the most definitive display of Cirque’s charms, book O at the Bellagio, a marvelous spectacle based around a stage that transforms into a pool in the blink of an eye and is stocked with astonishing acts, inventive engineering and the company’s classic clowns.

What is it? This desert park beckons visitors with canyon trails and crimson cliffs. 

Why go? Vegas visitors are often shocked to find that The Strip isn’t four miles of glitz plopped down in the midst of 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.

  • Restaurants

What is it? Dueling red and blue kitchens serving celebrity chef fare.

Why go? Ramsay’s reality TV series Hell’s Kitchen has been on the air since 2005 and now diners can partake in the open kitchen battle between red and blue teams. Actually, there’s much more unison between the two kitchens than the show portrays, as stunning apps and entrees seamlessly arrive at your table with flavor and flare. But you’ll get into the spirit and enjoy watching chefs working side by side while sampling Ramsay’s signature risotto, scallops and filet mignon.

  • Museums
  • History
  • Downtown

What is it? A refuge for the city’s old-school neon signs where visitors can walk amid Sin City history. 

Why go? Las Vegas has a habit of blowing things up when they get old, musty or simply unprofitable. But 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.

  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • The Strip

What is it? A lighting fixture that’s also a bar that’s also a landmark drinking destination.

Why go? The centerpiece of the Cosmopolitan’s casino floor is a massive, three-story chandelier strung with thousands of crystals and housing three separate bars. Order the famous Verbena cocktail (the "buzz button" flower it contains will make your mouth tingle) and snap some serious selfies at this glitzy venue where it’s just as important to see than it is to be seen.

  • Hotels
  • The Strip

What is it? That giant spire jutting out of Downtown Las Vegas is a casino hotel—topped with thrill rides to get your heart racing. 

Why go? If you see a person drifting down to earth from the top of the Strat (formerly called the Stratosphere), don’t freak out. That’s just the SkyJump, a controlled free-fall that sends brave visitors hurtling toward solid ground from 829 feet up. Even if you don’t fancy throwing yourself off a perfectly good building, you can still sign on for some thrills. Follow the shrieks to the top of the Strat, the tallest building in Nevada, where rides like Big Shot, X-Scream and Insanity await. The rides are just as terrifying as they sound.


What is it? An indulgent therapeutic spa with a Himalayan salt cave.

Why go? Whether you seek rejuvenating me-time or a romantic couple’s massage session, head to Spa at The Linq for an amazing recoup from whatever Sin City threw at you the night before. You can select your own music and choose your favorite scents for aromatherapy, or let the pros pick a winning combination to ease your pains. The must-see feature here is the restorative Himalayan salt therapy cave that naturally soothes allergies and congestion.

  • Restaurants
  • East of the strip
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? A long-standing family-owned Italian eatery just off The Strip.

Why go? A favorite among LV locals, Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar has been serving up fine Italian cuisine for more than three decades. The family’s southern Italian heritage is honored with artful dishes comprised of fresh house made pasta, premium cuts of meat and seasonal produce. Paired with a stunning wine list your sommelier will decipher, Ferraro’s makes for a legendary night out on the town. 


What is it? A family-friendly pool that offers something for everyone. 

Why go? 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.

What is it? An outdoor art gallery covered with murals by artists from around the globe.

Why go? When Life Is Beautiful Festival launched in Downtown Las Vegas in 2013, the music and art fest brought with it a team of international street artists and muralists who blanketed the city’s walls with colorful, evocative paintings. That program has continued each year, with new works added and old pieces refreshed or replaced. The result? Exploring downtown feels like wandering through an epic art gallery scaled for giants.


What is it? An incredible feast that redefined what diners expect from the Vegas buffet.

Why go? 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. And that’s just your appetizer round. Pick up a clean plate and pace yourself. There’s a bounty to enjoy.

What is it? A public art project that’s become Instagram catnip.

Why go? Half an hour south of Las Vegas, a neon mirage rises from the desert. No, it’s not a casino. It’s the work of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, whose “Seven Magic Mountains” site-specific public art installation has become an Instagram landmark and a must-visit for art lovers spending the weekend. The work is comprised of seven towers of boulders drenched in bright, highlighter shades that are meant to comment on human presence in the natural environment. 

  • Shopping
  • The Strip
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? The world’s largest observation wheel in the heart of it all.

Why go? Take a slow motion spin 550 feet 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.

What is it? A bar-hopping corridor in Downtown Las Vegas where you can wander among cocktail spots, local restaurants and a shipping container shopping district.

Why go? 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 out of shipping containers complete with a kids play area and live entertainment throughout the day.

  • Things to do

What is it? Inside the Bellagio, this airy wonderland gallery fills with seasonal sculptures of flowers that elicit wide eyes and wows.

Why go? 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.

What is it? A massive nightclub where partiers in their Vegas best dance till dawn.

Why go? 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. 



What is it? A waterside resort area home to bars, eateries and water sports. 

Why go? 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 dragonboat race or take a yacht cruise, then cozy up on the lawn for musical performances spring through fall.

  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • East Las Vegas

What is it? A pinball wizard’s dream arcade, where vintage machines mingle with shiny new eye candy. 

Why go? 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.

  • Things to do

What is it? Las Vegas’s first pro sports team has made its home and its name in the middle of The Strip. 

Why go? Las Vegas has long craved a professional sports team, and the city’s wish was first fulfilled in 2017 with NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights. The team made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup in its debut year, cementing its place in the hearts of local fans and capturing the attention of hockey aficionados around the globe. If you’re in town during the NHL season, catch a game at the Strip-side T-Mobile Arena, where devoted fans cheer on the black and gold and the half-time show is known to feature Cirque du Soleil or other surprise acts. This is hockey a la Las Vegas, after all.

What is it? A pair of luxury shopping spots where the well-heeled go for a workout, a meal and to select tonight’s outfit.  

Why go? Take your plastic for a spin around the Wynn’s Promenade and Plaza shopping center. Stocked with designer boutiques from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Chloé, Chanel and Balmain, there’s also Las Vegas’s first outpost of SoulCycle and restaurants like Cipriani and Urth Caffe. 

  • Things to do
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? A revived retro district with neon signage and free entertainment.

Why go? 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.

See the neon lights on an open-air bus tour

What is it? A racetrack experience where you can drive the car of your wildest dreams.

Why go? If you’ve ever harbored fantasies about flying around the track making high-speed left turns or cruising in a sleek Porsche or Lambo, well, you’re in luck. At Dream Racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway you can get behind the wheel of some beautiful steel and hit the gas hard under the supervision of expert drivers who will teach you how to handle your steed like a pro.

Ready for a drink?

The 19 best bars in Las Vegas
  • Bars

Between the nonstop parties, top-notch attractions, luxury shopping and the thrill of gambling in Las Vegas, make some time to have a quality cocktail. 

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