I’m in Las Vegas for a few days working on my investment property here and visiting with my parents. I have extended family who live in the area, as well as real estate, and it’s an easy flight from the Bay Area, so I’m in Las Vegas a lot. In the past four years I’ve visited Vegas over two dozen times, for work and play.
Las Vegas is world famous for its casinos and restaurants that line Las Vegas Boulevard on The Strip. I’ve spent time there too, whenever there’s a show or band in town that I want to see. I admit, its a lot of fun to walk around the casinos on the Boulevard, and when first timers come to visit, I always take them to the Bellagio to see the lobby and fountains, and for a walk around The Venetian, two of my favorites.
However there is so much more to Las Vegas than the casinos on The Strip. Over the weekend, I went up to the snow on Mt. Charleston with my parents and shared a few pictures on my Instagram stories. There is so much to do here, these are a few of the places I recommend, plus some tips from parents and cousins who are residents.
Lake Mead is a 30 minute drive from Las Vegas and a great place to go in summer. Rent boats at the harbor for a day of fun.
One of the greatest engineering spectacles, the Hoover Dam was built during the Depression and stretches over the Colorado river on the border of Arizona and Nevada. Definitely worth the day trip to see it! Stop in cute Boulder City, Nevada on the way, but before you go, look up their festivals and jamborees, they’re always having a good time out there.
Red Rock Canyon
I love to hike up at Red Rock Canyon, you can see beautiful rock formations and desert foliage (I love the Joshua trees) and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll have a wild burro encounter. :)
Just beyond Red Rock Canyon, take a trip to the Old West by visiting Old Town Bonnie Springs, there’s horseback riding, a saloon, and live performance shootouts, it’s fun for the family.
Head up to Mt. Charleston resort area to get that alpine feeling, it’s a 35 minute drive. There’s a lodge at the top with cabins to rent, a resort just below, and also campgrounds and skiing at Lee Canyon. Yes you can play in the snow in winter in Vegas!
Container Park & Old Downtown Vegas
Container Park is a small shopping and dining center crafted of shipping containers and it’s worth a visit for a bite to eat before you stroll down Freemont Street and old Downtown Vegas, the site of the city’s original casinos before The Strip became the hot spot that it is.
Ethel M Chocolates & Cactus Garden
If you’ve ever wanted to see how chocolates are made, visit Ethel M, don’t leave without assembling a custom box of selections. They also have the most beautiful cactus garden you can stroll through.
Honorable Mention: Drive 3 hours to Williams and take the Train to see the Grand Canyon. Don’t be surprised when the train gets robbed on the return trip, it’s part of the entertainment. :)
One final tip, when in Vegas keep your eyes open for Elvises, you never know where they will pop up for a photo opp!
This is not an exhaustive list, there really is so much to do here, you need only research sites that offer the “best of” to find great restaurants and events.
Locals, let me know if there’s anything I missed! What are your favorite things to do in Las Vegas off the Strip?