When most people think of holidays in Las Vegas, they of course picture the cliché of a drink-fuelled escape where people whittle away their hard-earned savings amongst the neon and glamour of the casinos. Or you might envisage taking in a huge show from one of the many magicians, comedians and musical acts, whilst gorging on daily buffets that are as lavish as they are calorific.
However, there is another side to the original ‘Sin City’; a side that is well worth exploring, either to complement a more typical Las Vegas break or as a standalone, unique adventure that defies the norm. Here are five of the most exciting, interesting and different things to see and due on your next Las Vegas holiday.
Las Vegas may have a reputation for the gaudy, but fans of culture and history will find a number of museums in the city dedicated to a range of traditional and more unusual subjects. Perhaps one of the most fascinating is the Neon Museum, which showcases many of the famous signs that have illuminated the strip in years gone by.
Alternatively you can visit the Mob Museum, which details the long-running battle between law enforcement and organised crime over a series of exhibits and presentations. Meanwhile, the Barrick Museum is recognised as an excellent art gallery featuring modern and historic pieces.
Get out of the city and away from the glow of the strip’s lights and you’ll find some beautiful scenery to explore. Whilst many opt for helicopter rides or limousine tours to see this breathtaking part of the country in a more luxurious and ‘Vegas-esque’ style, there truly is no better feeling than hitting the trails on foot and soaking in these magnificent views.
Worthy of particular note is Red Rock Canyon, with a number of routes available for both amateurs and those with more of an interest in the challenge a hike can present. Simple walking not enough of a thrill for you? Red Rock Canyon is also well-known to climbing enthusiasts, although be wary that it is only suitable at times of the year when the rock is dry and not liable to crumble.
Las Vegas holidays are known for being bigger and more lavish, and if you want a taste of the high life whilst enjoying the freedom of your own personal escape, the various companies that offer driving experiences may be just what you’re looking for.
Of course, this being Vegas, these aren’t the supercars you’ll find at just any old race track; instead you’ll have the opportunity to hit the tarmac in some of the world’s fastest (and most expensive) cars from the world’s most prominent manufacturers. If you aren’t confident enough to take the wheel yourself, professional race drivers are on hand to take you out for a spin and show you just how far these cars can be pushed.
Nevada is mostly thought of as a desert state, but on Mount Charleston, less than 40 miles from Las Vegas, you’ll find the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort. Open throughout the year, it offers a wealth of choice with 30 different trails available, offering a refreshing change to the built-up centre of Vegas itself.
It’s the ideal attraction when you’re on a holiday in Las Vegas, with full equipment rental available; so you don’t need to worry about packing that snowboard. Tuition is available at all levels from quality coaches, whether you’re a complete ski novice, or someone who knows the slopes well but is looking for improvements in technique.
Visit Lake Mead
Staying in Las Vegas can be exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting, and at times you need to escape from it all. Lake Mead is only a short drive from the city, but this man-made reservoir is the ideal location for a peaceful moment away from the strip.
Water sports are popular on the lake and include boating and fishing, as well as the more energetic swimming and water skiing. You’ll also find botanical gardens and natural sandy beaches that are perfect for relaxing. When you’re bored of sunbathing and enjoying the scenery, you can of course visit Hoover Dam itsel– the cause of the lake–to learn more about how this impressive structure was built.
There is no harm in enjoying the classic attractions of Las Vegas, from the card tables to the cabaret, but remember to look beyond the Strip and you’ll find a plethora of captivating treasures off the beaten path.