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Las Vegas truly is unlike any other place on the planet. It’s best known for its gambling culture and earned the nickname “Sin City,” but it’s also one of the most fun and affordable places to spend a few days. If you’re sticking to the party scene, usually a few days is all you need to experience the best of Las Vegas. But if you’re the outdoorsy type and interested in checking out the surrounding areas as well, you can easily spend a week or more exploring all that Nevada has to offer.
For some people, visiting Las Vegas is an annual tradition or a place to celebrate big events like bachelorette parties and birthday bashes. But regardless of what brings you to Vegas, these are some of the most unforgettable experiences to have on your trip. And of course, finding an ideal place to stay to suit your Vegas travel style also is the first order of business.
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What Is It? Fremont Street is a great place to catch a live performance if you love music and are trying to save some money for other attractions in town.
Why Do It? This is one of the best places to explore off the Strip, home to a LED-lit canopy that plays light shows above the street.
Good to Know: While you’re in this area, you might also want to try ziplining at SlotZilla. The SlotZilla zip line is nothing short of thrilling, and both SlotZilla’s lower “Zipline” (77 feet) and upper “Zoomline” (114 feet) are open for adventure.
What Is It? Partying in Vegas definitely takes its toll on you, especially if you’re a few years beyond your 21st birthday.
Why Do It? To recuperate and rejuvenate yourself after long days and even longer nights, book a treatment at one of Vegas’ spas before you leave town.
Good to Know: Vegas is a top spa destination in America, and a couple of the best ones to visit are Canyon Ranch at the Venetian and the Spa at the Bellagio.
What Is It? A fun show to catch is in front of the Mirage, and you might think something has been blown up when you hear the eruption for the first time.
Why Do It? The volcano eruption here on the strip is set to a soundtrack from The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Indian tabla sensation Zakir Hussain.
Good to Know: The Volcano is located outside the Las Vegas Boulevard Main Entrance and fires nightly on the hour at 8pm, 9pm, 10pm and 11pm.
What Is It? Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the best places to go for a hike in Nevada.
Why Do It? There are easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes here that range from less than a mile to over six miles, so there is really something here for every type of hiker.
Good to Know: Just keep in mind that the desert heat out here is brutal, so plan your hike for the morning if possible.
What Is It? There are few aquariums in the world that allow people to actually swim with its residents, but you can do that in an extreme way at Mandalay Bay.
Why Do It? Check out the Shark Reef if you’re SCUBA certified and are feeling particularly adventurous. This hotel will allow visitors to swim in the tank with actual sharks!
Good to Know: Of course, if you prefer to keep a safe distance from sharks with a strong layer of glass in between you and them, you can simply visit the aquarium to view them behind glass, as well as turtles, crocodiles, and other fascinating creatures.
What Is It? Hotels in places all around the world have pools, but none are quite like the pools – and pool parties – in Vegas.
Why Do It? If you’re looking to relax and read a book by a pool, Vegas’ pool parties may not be for you. These are parties with scantily clad dancers and spring break-style spectacles that can cost around $50 just to get in on a weekend.
Good to Know: However, some pools have a more laid-back vibe and rent out cabanas to get a little privacy if you need a break from the party scene. Just keep in mind that some pools encourage going topless and don’t allow kids in for obvious reasons.
What Is It? Most people start their trip to Vegas with a stroll down the Las Vegas Strip, and this tourist area is one of the most popular destinations in America.
Why Do It? It’s a great place to feel the energy of the crowds and people-watch for interesting characters from all over the globe.
Good to Know: Make sure to see the much-photographed “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign, the pyramid-shaped Luxor, elaborately themed Treasure Island and glamorous Caesars Palace. Hit the shops in the casino galleries and visit renowned restaurants.
What Is It? Auto racing is a big deal in Vegas, and there’s no better place to experience this than the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Why Do It? You can hop into the driver’s seat to take the wheel of a NASCAR stock car or even a Lamborghini if you feel the need for speed. If you’d rather leave high-speed driving to the professionals, you can ride as a passenger next to an instructor who will take you around the course while doing laps.
Good to Know: This is a must-see destination for all car enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies.
What Is It? Going clubbing in Las Vegas is a rite of passage, and although not for everyone, it’s an experience that’s worth trying while in the city.
Why Do It? Vegas’ nightlife scene is second to none, and this is an ideal area to mix, mingle, dance, and drink. You should know that it’s not cheap to go clubbing in Vegas and you’d better be dressed to the nines to get in.
Good to Know: The hottest club of the moment changes frequently, but some favorite spots include LAX at the Luxor, Tao at the Venetian and Omnia at Caesar’s. There are also tons of strip clubs, like Crazy Horse Too and Spearmint Rhino, if you’re really looking to get a taste of the Vegas nightlife scene.
What Is It? Lots of the hotels in Vegas have free shows outside to entice visitors to come inside to gamble, eat, and drink, but the Bellagio has a special show that’s definitely worth seeing.
Why Do It? More than a thousand fountains create the show and is enhanced by music and light. The display spans more than 1,000 feet with water soaring as high as 460 feet into the air. A wide range of musical works is incorporated, from classical and operatic pieces to popular music and songs from Broadway.
Good to Know: The show is every 30 minutes from 3pm to 8pm Monday through Friday and every 15 minutes from 8 pm to midnight. On weekends and holidays, it starts at noon every 30 minutes and change to every 15 minutes from 8pm to midnight.
What Is It? The pawnshop scene exploded in Las Vegas quite a while ago but was really made famous by the TV show, Pawn Stars.
Why Do It? Take some time to browse the art, coins, toys, rare books, sports memorabilia, musical instruments and more, or even try to haggle with some of the guys that know the pawn business better than anyone else.
Good to Know: You can get a look at the shop for yourself when you visit the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in downtown Vegas.
What Is It? It’s certainly not a challenge to find a cocktail in Las Vegas, but if you’re looking for quality, head to Spirits & Spice.
Why Do It? This place has a great selection of in-house wines and spirits and offers tastings of bourbon, Scotch, and whiskey.
Good to Know: This is a great experience for visitors who want to learn more about the drinks they love.