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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 bachelor 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 a first order of business.
Swim with Sharks at Mandalay Bay
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. 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! 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.
Walk the Famous Strip
Most people start their trip to Vegas with a stroll down the Las Vegas Strip, and this tourist area is on one of the most popular destinations in America. It’s a great place to feel the energy of the crowds and people-watch for interesting characters from all over the globe.
Watch the Bellagio Fountains
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. The Bellagio fountains shoot water into the air every half hour between 3 pm and 8 pm and every 15 minutes until midnight. The water shoots up about 460-feet in the area and is choreographed with beautiful music by legends like Frank Sinatra.
Watch a Volcano Eruption at the Mirage
Another 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. The volcano eruption here on the strip is set to Indian-inspired music, and you can usually catch a show every half hour in the evenings.
Lounge at a Pool Party
Hotels in places all around the world have pools, but none are quite like the pools – and pool parties – in Vegas. 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. 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.
Hike at Red Rock Canyon
Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to go for a hike. Just keep in mind that the desert heat out here is brutal, so plan your hike for the morning if possible. 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.
Sample Spirits at Vom Fass
It’s certainly not a challenge to find a cocktail in Las Vegas, but if you’re looking for quality, head to Vom Fass. This place has a great selection of in-house wines and spirits, and offers tastings of bourbon, Scotch, and whiskey. This is a great experience for visitors who want to learn more about the drinks they love.
Catch Free Entertainment on Fremont Street
Freemont 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. 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.
Visit the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop
The pawn shop scene exploded in Las Vegas quite a while ago but was really made famous by the TV show, Pawn Stars. You can get a look at the shop for yourself when you visit the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in downtown Vegas. 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.
Try Out the Club Scene
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. 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. The hottest club of the moment changes frequently, but some favorite spots include LAX at the Luxor, Tao at the Venetian, Pure at Caesar’s, and Tabu at MGM. 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.
Drive at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Auto racing is a big deal in Vegas, and there’s no better place to experience this than the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 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. This is a must-see destination for all car enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies.
Recuperate at a World Renown Spa
Partying in Vegas definitely takes its toll on you, especially if you’re a few years beyond your 21st birthday. To recuperate and rejuvenate yourself after long days and even longer nights, book a treatment at one of Vegas’ spas before you leave town. 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.