Las Vegas is known for its big-name entertainment and glittery casinos, but there’s a lot for visitors to see and do beyond the Strip. That variety is a big reason why the city consistently ranks among the nation’s top vacation destinations in Travel Leaders Group surveys.
It’s a good bet that you’ll find a Las Vegas museum to capture your interest. One of the most popular is the Mob Museum, which examines the connection between organized crime and law enforcement. View a rogue’s gallery of the most notorious figures from more than a century of Mob history, get an up-close look at the work of a crime laboratory and explore the Prohibition era at a Roaring Twenties distillery and speakeasy. Las Vegas is famous for its bright lights, and the Neon Museum displays more than 200 signs from casinos and other businesses dating to the 1930s. Tour the Neon Boneyard’s two-acre lot stuffed with 150 original neon signs, and take a hot yoga class while you’re there – bring your own mat!
Big FestivalsA highlight of the fall calendar in Las Vegas is the Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival, which takes place September 20-23. Activities are spread across downtown and the lineup includes dozens of musical acts, comedians, art installations, food and speakers designed to spark the imagination. Scheduled performers include The Black Keys, Post Malone and Billie Eilish. Other fall events include the Las Vegas Food & Wine Festival, October 4th and 5th, and the Downtown Brew Festival on October 20th, with 200+ craft beers, local chefs and live music. In November, it’s time for the only private event to shut down the Las Vegas Strip, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon. If you’re not up to the full 26.2 miles, there’s also a half marathon, as well as 10K and 5K races. The weekend also includes a Health and Fitness Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Explore Beyond the City
You don’t have to go far from Las Vegas to enjoy Nevada’s rugged natural beauty. Within a short drive, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, or you can simply admire the view. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, about a half-hour drive from Las Vegas, features towering sandstone peaks, trails for hiking and bicycling and a 13-mile scenic drive. Organized hikes are offered, during which you can explore topics like the area’s wildflowers and wildlife. Less than an hour’s drive southeast of the city is Hoover Dam, built during the Great Depression to control flooding on the Colorado River. Take a tour of the dam and power plant, where you can learn about this engineering marvel. About 20 minutes from Las Vegas, in Henderson, is the Clark County Heritage Museum. On display are buildings and exhibits that depict life in Nevada going back a century – highlights include its ghost town roots, an old mining trail, a print shop and the 1918 Union Pacific steam engine. The Grand Canyon is a mere 45-minute flight from Las Vegas. Consider going at daybreak, which will give you time to head back with extra time for some shopping and a show. Various companies offer helicopter trips to the Grand Canyon; opt for one of the three-hour tours, which will land inside the canyon, on a bluff 3,200 feet below the West Rim.
The Shops at Crystals at the Aria is not your average luxury mall – Balenciaga, Prada, D&G and Jimmy Choo are among the residents – it’s also a living art gallery, with installations throughout. A throwback to Vegas’ glamorous independent stores of the past, Patina in the Arts District has a phenomenal collection of upscale vintage furniture and clothes, with a focus on couture from the 1960s and 70s.
Relax at the Palazzo’s Canyon Ranch spa, a haven from the melée of the Strip. The menu includes seasonal treatments as well as alternative therapies like acupuncture. If you enjoy golf, you don’t have to travel off-Strip to tee off in Vegas. The 18-hole, 70-par course at the Wynn was designed by Tom Fazio to resemble the rolling Georgia countryside.
You can’t beat the Eiffel Tower for a photo op: cantilevered 460 feet above ground, the observation deck has impressive views of the Bellagio Fountains and the central Strip. The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on Las Vegas Boulevard is another iconic photo spot for your social media feed.
For food with a view, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at the Palazzo serves fantastic food (including a “cheese and charcuterie bar”) on a Strip-side patio. Book a dinner at Cleo in the new SLS Hotel & Casino Las Vegas (formerly the Sahara) for its veggie-heavy menu based on Mediterranean cuisines – from Italian and Greek to Lebanese and Israeli.
Learn more about the 'bleisure' travel trend of extending business trips into leisure time, check out Bleisure Travel: What is it and how will it impact your travelers (and your bottom line)?
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