From lavish internationally-themed casinos to local bars; spellbinding entertainment to desert-based day trips, there’s something in Las Vegas for everyone. Get more out of Sin City with our guide to the best things to do in Las Vegas.
As a den of debauchery in the heart of the desert, Las Vegas is often considered a decadent dive into a world of opulence; a corrupting force sullying even the purest of minds.
In a town where you get what you want, a weekend of gambling and non-stop partying is all very achievable. But Las Vegas is what you make of it, and if you’re looking for something a whole lot more wholesome, then chances are, sin city has that as well.
Wander through lavish casinos with extravagant themes, mind-blowing architecture and world-class dining. Be entertained by some of the best acts in the country with everything from international stars to quirky ensembles. Explore the vintage side of Las Vegas with off-the-strip local joints, the city’s famous neon lights and mob memorabilia.
With so many great things to do in Las Vegas, there’s indulgence and repentance for all. To help plan your desert vacation, read our guide to the best places to stay in Las Vegas.
Booking your trip via the links on this page (or on our book page) will earn us a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support – Paul & Mark.
THINGS TO DO IN VEGAS MAP
Many of the must-visit attractions in Vegas are centred around the strip which we have divided into Central, Northern and Southern sections in this guide. All the best things to do in Vegas are on the below map.
How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.
CENTRAL LAS VEGAS STRIP
1 – CAESARS PALACE
Bang in the centre of The Strip, Caesar’s Palace is one of the grandest and most palatial casinos in Las Vegas, and one of the biggest attractions in Sin City.
During the day stroll The Forum where luxury brands rub shoulders with contemporary outlets in a Roman-inspired retail strip containing over 160 stores. Kick off your night at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden where the expert mixologists prepare concoctions while you munch on a menu of small bites. Next, head to one of Caesar’s world-class restaurants spanning everything from Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill to Japanese master, Nobu.
You can also catch a famous act in the 4,000-seat Colosseum which has housed residencies including Celine Dion, Elton John and Adele. It’s all surrounded by one of the biggest casino floors in Vegas.
2 – HELL’S KITCHEN
Inspired by the TV show of the same name, Hell’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsey feels like you’ve walked into the TV studio. Decked with memorabilia from the hit television programme, spot the red and blue kitchens and the recognisable devil’s fork on the front door.
With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Las Vegas Strip and a private dining room, Hell’s Kitchen is a great place for a fine dining experience. The signature dish is the Beef Wellington which is both mouth-watering and – at $70 – eye-watering as well. However, they also have a well-priced vegetarian menu.
Located in front of Caesars Palace, Hell’s Kitchen is an unmissable thing to do in Las Vegas. However, book well in advance or you will miss out.
3 – BELLAGIO BOTANICAL GARDENS & CONSERVATORY
Since it opened in 1998, the Bellagio has been one of the grandest spots on the strip. With a Fine Art Gallery and opulent Italian-inspired design, it’s a wonderful thing to do in Vegas.
One of the highlights is The Conservatory, just off the flower-bedecked central lobby, where a 50-foot glass ceiling houses an impressive botanical garden that is updated seasonally with fairy-tale installations.
On our visit, we saw Jungle of Dreams, a homage to the wildlife kingdom featuring 28 magnificent animal sculptures including giraffes, lions and zebras decorated in flowers.
4 – MINUS 5 ICE BAR
One of the coolest things to do in Las Vegas is the minus5 Ice Bar experience. Escape from the heat of the Mojave Desert and immerse yourself in a sub-zero world where everything is made of ice including the glasses.
Coats and gloves are provided for the experience and there are several packages available including basic entry ($24) through to a VIP Package ($75) which includes the use of a faux fur coat, 2 cocktails and a souvenir. There are also packages for kids who are welcome up to 9pm.
There’s a minus5 Ice Bar at LINQ Promenade, The Venetian and Mandalay Bay.
5 – BELLAGIO FOUNTAINS
The Bellagio Fountains entertains onlookers every night with a spectacular display of water and light from a system of 1,200 mini water cannons and nearly 5,000 lights. Set to a rotating song list, the Bellagio Fountains is one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas.
The fountain performance takes place every 30 minutes from 3pm (12pm Sat & Sunday) to 8pm then every 15 minutes from 8pm to midnight.
The entire man-made lake that houses the Bellagio fountain show is 8.5 acres, providing plenty of access points to see the show. However, one of the best places to see the fountains is from the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, directly across the road.
6 – EIFFEL TOWER RESTAURANT, PARIS
For a dining experience with a view, it’s hard to go past the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.
The classic French menu is probably best reserved for a special occasion, but the set brunch at $59 per person, and the extensive cocktail list are good reasons to go outside the usual dinner hours.
The best time to be there, however, is during the Bellagio Fountains sound and light show. Positioned directly across the road from the Bellagio and at just the right height, enjoying a cocktail at Eifel Tower Restaurant above the dancing fountains is one of the best experiences in Las Vegas.
7 – DUELING PIANOS
For an innocent, but great fun night out in Vegas with friends, Dueling Pianos is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser with raucous singalongs, impressive musical skill and a friendly atmosphere.
Relive some of your karaoke classics – where all reasonable requests are considered – at the best Dueling Piano bars in Las Vegas.
The Piano Bar, Harrah’s // Some of the best pianists on the Strip play at Harrah’s in a lively musical competition held at the popular bar. Dueling Pianos takes place every night starting at 9pm and entrance is free.
Napoleon’s Lounge, Paris // Dueling Pianos at Napoleon’s Lounge in Paris offers a classic experience in a vintage showroom where you can sing along to your favourite hits while sipping a perfectly crafted cocktail. Dueling Pianos takes place Thu to Sun from 7pm to 2am. Entrance is free.
Times Square, New York, New York // The Bar at Times Square in New York, New York is a casual neighbourhood bar with well-priced drinks, attentive service and some of the best duelling piano acts on the circuit. Duelling Pianos takes place daily from 8pm to 2am. Entrance is $25.
8 – CIRQUE DU SOLEIL SHOW
After getting your fix on the gambling, top-quality restaurants and cutting-edge nightlight, add a Cirque du Soleil show to your Las Vegas itinerary.
The Beatles LOVE / Mirage Hotel & Casino – The psychedelic spectacle of Beatles LOVE is staged in the round against an iconic soundtrack. Witness aerial acrobatics, trampoline skills and high-energy roller skating | buy tickets
Mad Apple / Mirage Hotel & Casino – Celebrating New York City, Mad Apple is a high-flying spectacle of music, dance, magic and comedy. There’s a cool on-stage bar and a live band pumping out classic NYC hits | buy tickets
Mystère / Treasure Island – Tribal rhythms set the scene for the dramatic acrobatic and dance-based entertainment of Mystère set to a heart-pumping soundtrack. Expect colourful staging and plenty of gags | buy tickets
O / Bellagio – The romantic surrealism of O celebrates the concepts of water and infinity in a lavish submerged production. With incredible acrobatics and synchronized swimming, it’s an unforgettable experience | buy tickets
9 – SEE A SPIEGELWORLD SHOW
Spiegelworld, the home of cheeky and irreverent adult entertainment, has several different shows mixing circus acts with burlesque performances and a generous dose of comedy. Here are the current productions.
Absinthe – A foul-mouthed MC sets the scene for a mad-capped performance featuring exhibitionists, artists and the unnaturally flexible. The tiny stage overflows with raucous entertainment in one of the best nights out in Vegas. Venue – Spiegeltent on the Roman Plaza, Caesars Palace | buy tickets
OPM – Watch gravity-defying acrobats, hold-your-breath stunts, mind-blowing Hoola-hoop skills and naughty mayhem at OPM. Make a night of it by getting cocktails and ice cream delivered to your seat. Venue – The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas | buy tickets
Atomic Saloon Show – A purpose-built boozy saloon features a riotous western-themed romp by morally questionable, yet talented folk. Expect incredible acrobatic feats, mild nudity and a couple of hours of well-choreographed slapstick. Venue – Grand Canal Shoppes, The Venetian Resort | buy tickets
10 – THE VENETIAN GRAND CANAL
Another of the grand casinos, The Venetian is an opulent nod to the best of Venice’s architecture. Admire the hand-painted ceiling of the Grand Colonnade, stroll St Mark’s square, be engrossed by the Campanile Tower.
One of the hottest experiences in the Venetian is the Grand Canal Shoppes. As the premier destination for luxury brands in Vegas, give your credit card a battering at Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors or Burberry.
Ceilings painted with drifting clouds, cobbled laneways and the thoroughly believable canal transport you back to the heart of Venice. Coast down the canals on a Gondola Ride – one of the cheesier but excellent things to do in Las Vegas. As you float beneath bridges and alongside cafes, it’s hard not to be seduced by the romanticism of the Venetian.
SOUTHERN LAS VEGAS STRIP
11 – WAVE POOL AT MANDALAY BAY
Voted as one of the best pools in the US, Beach at Mandalay Bay is the perfect thing to do in Las Vegas when you have a few hours of downtime during the heat of the day. There are several different pools at Mandalay Bay.
Moorea Beach Club // An upscale pool experience with a great selection of cabanas and day beds in a beautiful setting, Moorea Beach Club is open to adults 21 and older.
Wave Pool // Hire a surfboard or a boogie board and take to the waves on the 1.6 million gallons of water that make up the Mandalay Bay Wave Pool. The waves are around 6 – 8 feet so it’s perfect for different levels of experience.
Daylight Beach Club // For a beach club experience, Daylight Beach Club has a 4,400 square foot main pool with two additional private pools and resident DJs to ramp up the party mode. Cocktails and snacks are available to order.
Lazy River // If you’re feeling completely lazy, hire a tube and float around Lazy River, a quarter-mile circular course with cabanas on either side.
12 – PINBALL HALL OF FAME
Embrace the offbeat side of Las Vegas at the Pinball Hall of Fame. Located just near the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign, the Pinball Museum is the world’s largest pinball collection.
It’s pure old-school fun with machines from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – the heyday of American pinball.
Over a 25,000 square foot space, visitors can play any of the reconditioned, but still utterly authentic, pinball games. Some of the classics include King of Diamonds from 1967, Big Casino from 1981 and Quick Draw from 1971.
The Pinball Hall of Fame is a fantastic antidote to the regular things to do in Las Vegas and with such a vast collection, it’s ideal for pinheads and novices alike.
13 – LITTLE CHURCH OF THE WEST
The oldest and original wedding chapel in Vegas, The Little Church of the West has been churning out happy marriages since 1942. This charming, elegant chapel just off the quiet end of the strip near the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign is a great photo spot in Vegas, even if you’re not intending to make use of their services.
If you do want to get married, you can have the ceremony performed by Johnny Cash, Elvis or – if your budget doesn’t stretch too far – Little Elvis.
Weddings can be performed in the chapel, under the Las Vegas Sign or in the Harley-Davidson store.
14 – WELCOME TO FABULOUS LAS VEGAS SIGN
The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was designed by graphic designer Betty Willis who is credited with giving the city its visual aesthetic.
She created a sign that was unique at the time incorporating elements of both the state and the city with the word “welcome” in silver coins a nod to the city’s gambling habit, and Nevada’s nickname, the Silver State.
Since Betty’s design has become a popular thing to do in Las Vegas, improvements have been made to make the sign more accessible to visitors. There are now dedicated parking spaces for cars, buses and limousines, and a paved walkway to the sign, which is in the middle of the road.
NORTHERN LAS VEGAS STRIP
15 – FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE
Located in Downtown Las Vegas, Fremont Street is the birthplace of the city. The oldest and most iconic casinos are here including The Four Queens, the Golden Nugget and Binion’s Horseshoe.
The Fremont Street Experience is a 6-block pedestrianised street and one of the main tourist attractions in Las Vegas. The highlight is Visa Vision, the world’s largest digital display. Covering the pedestrian mall for 1375 feet, light shows take place from 6pm to 2pm every night on a massive overhead canvas.
Along the buzzing thoroughfare, there are open-air bars, plenty of cheap eats, street performers and live bands every night on 3 stages.
Freemont is also home to some of the most famous neon signs in Vegas including Glitter Gulch and Vegas Vicky. Catch more memorabilia at the Neon Museum and the Mob Museum, both near Fremont Street.
16 – SKYPOD AT THE STRAT
Get a high-altitude adrenaline rush at SkyPod, the 1,149-foot-tall observation tower at the Strat Casino. With unbeatable views across the Las Vegas valley and a host of entertainment options, it’s a great alternative to gambling when you’re looking for something different to do in Vegas.
Observation Deck // Occupying levels 108 and 109, the indoor/outdoor observation deck has sweeping views of the Vegas skyline and a bar to grab a cocktail and a bite to eat while you watch the sun go down | buy Observation Deck tickets.
Thrill Rides // The SkyPod thrill rides (level 109 and 112) include Big Shot, where you’ll be shot into the air at 45 miles per hour; Insanity, where you’re dangled 900 feet above the ground and spun at high speed; and X-Scream, a roller coaster teetering over the edge of the tower | buy Thrill Ride Tickets.
Top Of The World Restaurant // For something more sedate, you can try the Top of the World restaurant on level 106 which might be a great place for your reception after you get married in the chapel on level 103.
OUTSIDE LAS VEGAS
17 – SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS
Seven Magic Mountains is an art installation in the desert around 10 miles south of Las Vegas comprising 7 brightly painted stacked boulders. The work was created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone who envisaged the work as the symbolic midway point between the natural environment of the desert and the artificial construct of Las Vegas.
It acts as a giant colourful cairn, indicating the way to a very unnatural Las Vegas along Interstate 15.
It’s a striking display which feels strangely remote given that it’s so close to the city. The installation is free to the public and open year-round. There are no facilities or toilets at the site so bring everything you’ll need with you.
Day Trip // 7 Magic Mountains + Mojave Desert
18 – HOOVER DAM
The Hoover Dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression. The arc of concrete towering 726 feet high and 1200 feet long is a testament to the determination of the American people.
Located on the border between Nevada and Arizona around 20 minutes from Las Vegas, it makes a great day trip from sin city. Even if you’re not a fan of engineering you’ll love the natural beauty of the place.
Bus tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon will cross the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge offering a superb view of this engineering masterpiece. This Grand Canyon West tour from Las Vegas includes a brief stop at the Hoover Dam for a photo opportunity.
19 – FLY OVER THE GRAND CANYON
One of the best activities to do from Las Vegas is to take in the scenic majesty of the Grand Canyon via a helicopter tour. There are several different tours available where you can fly to the Grand Canyon, get out and look around and others which include a landing on the valley floor.
The most cost-effective way to see the Grand Canyon from the skies is on an air-only tour from Las Vegas.
This Grand Canyon Helicopter tour includes pick up from most Las Vegas hotels, the flight out to the Grand Canyon West including a flyover of the Hoover Dam, the Mojave Desert and the Grapevine Mesa. You’ll fly below the rim for breathtaking views of the canyon.
20 – RED ROCK CANYON NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA
Red Rock Canyon, located in the Mojave Desert, is a beautiful nature area featuring red sandstone peaks, desert wildlife, the Keystone Fault line and Native American petroglyphs.
The best way to see it is on the 13-mile scenic drive which includes the main highlights in the conservation area, but there are also 26 hiking trails if you are feeling more active. Each hike covers a different part of the park across various lengths and levels of difficulty. Directions and downloadable maps are available on the Red Rock website.
Red Rock Canyon is 17 miles from Las Vegas. If you don’t have your own car, this Red Rock Canyon tour from Las Vegas includes hotel pick-up and a stop at the Visitor Centre.
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