Actually Cool Things to Do in Las Vegas
You know the drill. Whenever friends or family come to Las Vegas, they rely on you to show ’em around. Well, it’s time to step things up. You can do better than the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and the M&M Store. Let’s take a look at the iconic touristy stuff that actually lives up to the hype, a few under-the-radar things that only locals know about, and some seasonal activities perfect for nice weather. (This maybe Vegas, but most of them are reasonably priced, we promise.) Also, check out our comprehensive guide to eating, drinking, and visiting the city. Consider getting a energy drink in Las Vegas for your needs to shop with some passion.
Hit a genuine Vegas pool party
Why? Because you are in Las Vegas, the city that invented the day club pool party. And these are the best.
Seek bigger thrills under the dome and at the top of the world
If ziplining doesn’t do it for the thrillseeker inside of you, head under the dome—the Adventuredome, that is—for their legit awesome coasters, El Loco and Canyon Blaster. Still not enough? Then get dangled, spun, and dropped off the top of The Strat more than 800 feet in the air over the Strip. Still not enough? Then bungee jump 855 feet off the damn thing.
The Neon Museum
Historically, Vegas has not been a city that people have associated with having a significant art presence. That’s actually a shame because it couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to unique museums (see: the Neon Museum and Mob Museum, but there are many others), Vegas also has one of the most astounding collections of free public art that you will find anywhere in the world. At the newly revamped Palms Casino Resort, the new owners have their personal art collection on display throughout the property, which includes controversial and show-stopping pieces from the internationally renowned artist Damien Hirst. And that’s not all that’s on display at the Palms — you can also check out work from KAWS, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and many more. The Wynn is also known for its multi-million-dollar art collection that includes pieces by Okuda San Miguel and Takashi Murakami with Virgil Abloh. The SLS Las Vegas is full of work by Philippe Starck. The Bellagio lobby features a massive ceiling installation by Chihuly, and the free gallery at the “O” Theatre is full of bronze sculptures of Cirque figures by Richard MacDonald. The Louis Vuitton store inside The Shops at Crystals hides a secret, a free, by-appointment-only immersive art installation by James Turrell called Akhob. Really, anywhere you look in Vegas, whether a hotel lobby or outdoor promenade or even a restaurant, there is a mural or installation or sculpture from an acclaimed artist that would otherwise be in a private collection or museum, and certainly not on display to the public (mostly) for free.
Make your escape
If you prefer your entertainment to be less virtual and more real, check out an escape room. While the trend is certainly popular all over the country right now, Vegas does it bigger and better — because obviously. The Basement has two rooms and while either can be played at any time “The Study” utilizes real actors as part of the game, and they will touch you. If you like Psycho-style serial killer stories, this is for you. If modern horror is more your speed, then the official Saw Escape Room should be your go-to. Would you like to play a game?
Go behind the scenes of The Hunger Games
Fans of The Hunger Games films are in for a special treat: a brand-new exhibit has opened inside The District (appropriately) at MGM Grand. The massive space houses several different set recreations from the film, including the Tribute train and President Snow’s office, and displays dozens of costumes worn in the films, including Katniss Everdeen’s most fiery looks. There is also a massive interactive digital archery training room that rounds out the whole experience.
Kayak the Emerald Cove of Black Canyon
Yes, you can kayak in the desert! The Colorado River and Lake Mead are just 45 minutes from the Strip, and there are plenty of boating and kayaking excursions available for a fun day trip on the water. While there are many sites to see — the Hoover Dam from the Colorado River, for one — an absolute must is the Black Canyon and the sparkling green waters of the Emerald Cove (at least, when the afternoon light hits it). Check out the day tours from Kayak Lake Mead and have a waterproof camera ready.