Las Vegas in the US is known as being one of the foremost gambling destinations in the world. People from across the globe flock to this sparkling playground in the middle of the Nevada desert to dance with Lady Luck as they spin the roulette wheel or put on their poker face.
Wondering what is there to do in Las Vegas besides gambling? I've got you covered! Below, you can find a list of fun things to do in Las Vegas that don't involve risking your money. Check it out!
- What is there to do in Las Vegas besides gambling: 29 ideas
- 1. Spend some money at the Forum Shops in Caesar's Palace
- 2. Watch the fountain show at the Bellagio
- 3. Admire the canals at The Venetian
- 4. Ride a Zipline Along Fremont Street
- 5. Experience Fremont Street at Ground Level
- 6. Go clubbing.
- 7. Become a Network Executive at CBS Television City Research Center at MGM Grand
- 8. Get flashy at the Neon Museum
- 9. Go on a day trip to the Grand Canyon
- 10. Go for a ride on the Ferris wheel
- 11. Go to see a show
- 12. Go racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- 13. Walk the Strip at night and marvel at all the lights
- 14. Check out the Seven Magic Mountains
- 15. Check out the view from the Stratosphere Tower Hotel
- 16. Learn about Organized Crime at the Mob Museum
- 17. Visit the Titanic Exhibition
- 18. Ride the rollercoaster at the New York-New York hotel
- 19. Gorge yourself on a buffet breakfast
- 20. Take photos at the Las Vegas sign
- 21. Visit a Comic Book Store
- 22. Go bowling or catch a movie at the Red Rock Resort
- 23. Visit Red Rock Canyon
- 24. Go to a Las Vegas pool party
- 25. Visit the Hoover Dam
- 26. Check out First Friday
- 27. Visit the world-famous Gold & Silver Pawn shop
- 28. Mingle with the stars at Planet Hollywood
- 29. Visit Lake Mead national recreational area
- How to get to Las Vegas
- Where to stay in Las Vegas
- Don't forget travel insurance
What is there to do in Las Vegas besides gambling: 29 ideas
1. Spend some money at the Forum Shops in Caesar's Palace
If you’re a lover of the finer things in life, then grab your credit card and head over to Caesar’s Palace. The iconic hotel and casino boasts The Forum Shops, one of the best Las Vegas’ premier shopping hubs. Here, you will find high-end designer clothing from the likes of Versace, Valentino, Gucci, Balenciaga and more.
Of course, you will need to refuel at least once during your shopping extravaganza. Fortunately, The Forum Shops is as well-stocked in the food department as it is in luxury brands.
Whether you want sushi, pizza, cheesecake, or something more obscure, you’ll find it there. There’s even an enormous aquarium full of exotic fish to stare at while you digest.
2. Watch the fountain show at the Bellagio
If you like water features, then you will love the fountain show outside the front of the magnificent Bellagio Hotel. Every half an hour during the day and every 15 minutes in the evening, the fountains come to life as they perform a choreographed routine to music of all different genres. Going to see it is probably one of the most popular things to do around Vegas after gambling.
3. Admire the canals at The Venetian
Not exactly the real thing but it's still fun to take a stroll along the canals at The Venetian hotel. When we were there, we saw a guy propose to his girlfriend in one of the gondolas. It was quite romantic :-)
4. Ride a Zipline Along Fremont Street
If you need an adrenaline rush while you’re in Las Vegas, the zip line that runs along the chaotic Fremont Street is a must. It costs $25 to ride the zip line, which seems like a lot but is actually pretty cheap by Vegas standards.
The zip line runs for 850ft at a height of 77ft. You’ll get your thrills and some of the best views while you’re at it – that’s a win-win in my books.
5. Experience Fremont Street at Ground Level
Once you’ve flown over the top of Fremont Street, go back and check it out from ground level. Before you go you should know that this street is always crazy busy and you’re not going to want to spend ages here.
The main thing to see is the light and sound show, which happens on the hour every hour from 6 pm. The music is cool and the lights are spectacular and it only lasts for six minutes so you won’t need to stand with your neck craned to the heavens for too long.
6. Go clubbing.
As a girl, you can easily find places with free entry. Just walk around the Strip and there will be dozens of guys trying to convince you to come to club A or B that night
Be aware, though. Some of them tell you it's custom to tip them to get on the guest list, but they are actually paid by the clubs. They will get a certain amount of commission per person they bring in.
7. Become a Network Executive at CBS Television City Research Center at MGM Grand
If you’ve ever wanted to work in television, this could be your first taste of what your future career might be like. Unlike most things in Las Vegas, being a participant at the CBS Research Centre is completely free. All you have to do is watch TV and let the powers that be know what you think.
Participating is easy. Simply pick up tickets in front of the Research Centre and then queue up around ten minutes before your scheduled screening time. You won’t know what you’re going to watch, but the anticipation is all part of it.
You’ll then sit through a pilot episode of a new TV series. It might be great, it might be terrible. Either way, it is a fun experience and it costs you nothing. At the end of it, you use a touchpad to communicate your feedback to the real execs.
8. Get flashy at the Neon Museum
The Neon Museum displays around 150 old neon signs from casinos and other kinds of businesses. Each of these signs has its own story that contribute to telling the history of Las Vegas. It's possible to visit the Neon Museum independently or to join a guided tour.
9. Go on a day trip to the Grand Canyon
Ok, the Grand Canyon is not actually in downtown Las Vegas but when you’re a mere five hours away you would be insane to miss the opportunity to see it. The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most iconic natural features. You’ve seen it in photos and films, but nothing compares to actually being there in person.
There are loads of ways of going to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. Most people book themselves onto tours, which include transport, entry, a guide, and food. Check out this full-day tour if you are keen to have everything organised for you and want to get the views from the Skywalk.
If you’re not keen on that and would rather do it yourself, there are shuttle buses that will simply take you there and back and nothing more. Alternatively, you can hire your own car and drive yourself there. For those with cash to play with, you could always fly over in a helicopter.
10. Go for a ride on the Ferris wheel
The High Roller is a gigantic Ferris Wheel right on the Las Vegas Strip. With a height of 550 feet (167.6 m) and a diameter of 520 feet (158.5 m), it's the world's largest Ferris Wheel. A ride takes about 30 minutes and gives you some of the best views of the Las Vegas Valley and the Strip.
11. Go to see a show
You can’t go on vacation to Las Vegas and not see at least one show while you’re there. The selection of shows on offer in Vegas is vast and covers pretty much every genre of entertainment you could think of. Music, theatre, comedy, magic, ventriloquism, dance – you name, they’ve got it.
Some of the most popular shows in Las Vegas include Cirque du Soleil, the Blue Man Group, and Michael Jackson One (also by Cirque du Soleil). While tickets to the shows can be pricey, they are well worth it in my opinion. You’ll only ever do it once anyway.
If you're tight on cash, why not try the free daily shows at the Circus Circus Hotel and Treasure Island. Just watch out for pickpockets, especially at Treasure Island.
12. Go racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
If you’re into cars and have always dreamed of racing around a track in a supercar, now is your chance to live out that fantasy. The track offers a fleet of top-of-the-range vehicles for you to choose from, including Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, and Porsches. Simply take your pick and hit the gas.
There are loads of different experiences on offer at the racetrack. If you’d rather drive a Nascar car than a supercar there are options for this and there is a 3D racing simulator as well if you’re not confident enough yet to go out on the tarmac.
Even if you’re not a full-blown petrol head, this is seriously good fun.
13. Walk the Strip at night and marvel at all the lights
The Strip is a street you definitely want to walk once the sun has set and the blazing heat has made way for a more pleasant temperature. It's also when the hotels flaunt their lights like a peacock does his feathers and they're at their most spectacular.
Feeling fancy? Why not take a helicopter ride to see the Strip from a whole new perspective.
14. Check out the Seven Magic Mountains
The Seven Magic Mountains are seven towers made of colorfully painted boulders on South Las Vegas Boulevard. They're an art installation by the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone who chose their location right between “the artificial” that is Las Vegas and “the nature” represented by the surrounding mountains and desert.
The piece was put up in 2016 and meant to only be exhibited for two years but because of its popularity, that has already been prolonged until 2021 included.
15. Check out the view from the Stratosphere Tower Hotel
At a staggering 1,149 feet, the Stratosphere Observation Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. From the top of the tower, you will have panoramic views of the entirety of Las Vegas and beyond. Going up during the day and ascending in the evening are two completely different experiences.
While the sun is still out there are sensational vistas of the city and its surrounding desert. However, if you go up at night, the whole area is lit up, which is pretty spectacular to behold. If you’re feeling lavish and you have the time, you could even go up twice so you have the best views in the daytime and after dark.
And if you want to do something a bit more thrilling, think about trying a ride on the Stratosphere's rollercoaster!
16. Learn about Organized Crime at the Mob Museum
Forget about ancient artifacts and historical relics, the Mob Museum is all about America’s history of gangs, mobs, and organized criminals. You learn all about speakeasies, the Prohibition Era, made men, massacres and so much more.
You’ll also get to look around a facsimile crime lab as you learn about mobs from the law enforcement side of things. It’s a morbid but strangely fascinating experience and I fully recommend it.
17. Visit the Titanic Exhibition
If you loved the movie, this is your chance to go back in time while learning everything about the ship. The exhibit has replicas of some of the rooms from inside the ship and displays artifacts salvaged from the wreck.
In the huge 25,000-square-foot exhibition you will see original items such as tiles from the floors of the ship, whistles, luggage, and even an unopened bottle of champagne.
Entry costs $32 and you can find the exhibition on the Atrium level of the Luxor Hotel.
18. Ride the rollercoaster at the New York-New York hotel
Thrill-seekers, this one is for you. This enormous rollercoaster, which often goes by the name “the Big Apple Coaster”, sits just outside the hotel and comes complete with loops, drops, and a fun New York theme. The rollercoaster costs $14 to ride, but if you want to go on it more than once you get bulk tickets for a cheaper price. I recommend riding on an empty stomach.
19. Gorge yourself on a buffet breakfast
You'll need to fill that empty stomach after the rollercoaster so why not enjoy a gourmet breakfast at one of the many hotels offering all you can eat brunches.
One of the best places to experience a Las Vegas brunch is at The Grand Luxe Café at the Venetian. During the week they offer an extensive breakfast menu and on the weekends an all you can eat, champagne brunch. Get excited by the menu.
20. Take photos at the Las Vegas sign
At the official Southern end of the Las Vegas Strip stands the infamous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas' sign. Erected in 1959 it stands at 25ft (7.6m) and is hard to miss! It is inevitably one of the most popular photo spots in town.
You can get a cab straight there or take a free tram from the Excalibur Hotel to Mandalay Bay, the sign is then 15 minutes by foot.
Fun fact: the 7 silver circles behind the WELCOME letters represent dollar coins.
21. Visit a Comic Book Store
Even if comic books aren't your thing, visiting one of the numerous shops in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to them makes for a great experience.
Alternate Reality Comics and MaximuM Comics are two of the most popular stores to check out.
22. Go bowling or catch a movie at the Red Rock Resort
If you want to venture a bit further from the Strip, just on the edge of it you'll find the Red Rock Resort. Here you can partake in just about any leisure activity imaginable.
It has a luxury bowling alley and cinema, giving you more opportunities to do something which is not gambling!
23. Visit Red Rock Canyon
Just 25 miles from the main Strip, this protected conservation area makes for a nice half-day excursion from “Sin City”. You can do some hiking in the park and get great views over Las Vegas.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous you can go rock climbing, mountain biking, or horseback riding.
24. Go to a Las Vegas pool party
Vegas pool parties are infamous and take place every day of the week. If you enjoy partying and are looking for a great time you should check out one of these events. Well renowned pool parties include Wet Republic at the MGM Grand and Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay
25. Visit the Hoover Dam
The man-made Hoover Dam was built in 1931. It produces hydroelectric power, acts as flood control, and provides irrigation water. The Hoover Dam is a 40-minute drive from downtown Las Vegas and is definitely worth a visit. Marvel at this man-made wonder with a self-guided tour of the visitor center ($10) or a fully guided tour of the dam ($30).
If you are keen to take a fully guided tour with transport included check out this highly rated one from Get Your Guide.
If you are organizing your own way there, you can buy tickets on arrival but you can also purchase them in advance on the official website. The Hoover Dam is open daily from 5 a.m. – 9.00 p.m.
26. Check out First Friday
This event, on the first Friday of every month in the Las Vegas Arts District, showcases local artists and musicians. It was created to support emerging artists and celebrate the creativity of the local community. To find out more about what's happening when you are in Vegas check the official website.
27. Visit the world-famous Gold & Silver Pawn shop
This shop of curiosities became well renowned through the reality TV show Pawn Stars and has now become a hot destination for tourists and visitors to Las Vegas. You can browse the unique items on sale, book a VIP tour, or have an item you own valued. It's a random but very unique experience!
28. Mingle with the stars at Planet Hollywood
Ok, so maybe it's just pictures of the stars but still, the Hollywood themed bars, restaurants, and mall in this huge complex are a feast for the senses. If you don't feel like eating or shopping you can check out who has the entertainment residency and watch their evening show.
29. Visit Lake Mead national recreational area
If you feel like you've exhausted the Las Vegas Strip take some time to recharge at Lake Mead. You can hike, swim, cycle, or take a boat ride on the lake. You can even see the Hoover Dam from the waters of the lake.
The entrance to this area of natural beauty is a 30-minute drive from downtown Vegas.
And that's it! Now that you have some ideas of things to do in Las Vegas besides gambling, what do you want to try first?
How to get to Las Vegas
The easiest way to Las Vegas is to fly to its international airport. Check flights from your location.
If you're coming from Europe, make sure to fill out the ESTA application form online before your trip to receive your ESTA. It's obligatory if you want to enter the States.
Where to stay in Las Vegas
Now that you know what things to do in Vegas besides gambling, it's time to pick a place to stay. Some hotels with great reviews on Booking.com include:
Budget Option: Polo Towers By Diamond Resorts
This hotel is low key compared to many of the options in Vegas. However, it is rated highly for its location (right on the Strip) and rooms are kitted out with a kitchenette which includes a microwave and fridge.
Aparthotel: Palms Place – 27th Floor Strip View Studio
This studio apartment gives a little more privacy than a normal hotel. It is fully serviced and has a balcony with views over the Strip, as well as access to the onsite fitness center. Previous guests really rate this place!
Chain Option: Marriott's Grand Chateau
If you want to stay away from gambling then this is the option for you! It's a “no-gaming” and “no-smoking” hotel with a Sky bar with sunset views, fitness center and 2 pools.
If you are traveling with friends and are looking to rent a house within walking distance of the Strip this one has great reviews and can sleep up to 8 people. The price works out at around $140 a night.
Don't forget travel insurance
No matter how well you plan your trip to Vegas, there's always something that can happen that's beyond your control. A reservation can be canceled, you can be sick or you can drop and break that expensive camera. In all of these cases, good travel insurance has you covered.
I've had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I'm covered for every trip I go on but if you travel just a few times a year, you can get insured for each trip separately too.
Don't have travel insurance yet? Check out SafetyWing. They offer super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip. On top of that, they were the first travel insurance to cover COVID, and when I got COVID, they reimbursed all of my expenses without making a fuss. Their customer support team is great and I can personally recommend them.
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