10 Attractions In Las Vegas Besides Gambling

July 17, 2013

It’s fun to have some bets in Las Vegas but not everyone wants to risk their money or spend time indoors at the casinos. Luckily there is so much else to do in Sin City. And I don’t mean just drinking and partying.

Have a cultural or learning experience

Many of the casinos have art galleries and exhibitions within their walls and these are changing all the time. The Venetian currently has a National Geographic photography exhibition, for example, while Bellagio is featuring the works of Andy Warhol and the sculptures of Richard MacDonald. Fascinating dissections of the human body are on display at the BODIES exhibition at Luxor as well. Unusual museums like The Mob Museum are also good for specialty interests.

caesars las vegas

Go for a ride

Amusement park style rides are permanent fixtures at a few Las Vegas casinos. Try the Adventuredome at Circus Circus or the thrill rides at the top of the nearby Stratosphere. The New York, New York roller coaster is always fun as well. If you’re after the real thing, race dream sports cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis at Exotics Racing or Dream Racing, or simply take a driving tour in one. If that’s a little too much, there are also GoKart and off-roading experiences to be had.

caesars las vegas shops

Go Shopping

Las Vegas is a shopper’s paradise with something for every budget. High-end luxury brands are on display at Bellagio, Caesar’s, Crystals, Fashion Show Mall and The Venetian. Or get designer brands for a better price at one of two outlet malls. Mid-range shopping is plentiful on Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood or perhaps you want to seek out more specific merchandise like an entire store devoted to beef jerky or the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop that is featured on the show, Pawn Stars.

las vegas guns

Do Something Unusual

If you’ve ever wanted to do something completely bizarre like safely fire a machine gun or engage in military-style training, Las Vegas is your place. After seeing one of those Cirque du Soleil shows you might want to try it yourself by heading off-strip to Shine Alternative Fitness. Or there’s the CSI Experience, a hands-on activity based off the hit TV series. Revelers should head to a pool party dayclub like WetRepublic at MGM Grand or Sunday’s Rehab party at Hard Rock for dancing in the sun.

wet republic

Wet Republic at MGM Grand

American Fish Aria

at American Fish, Aria


Every celebrity chef worth his salt has an outpost in Vegas these days. It will be hard to choose from the wide variety of amazing restaurants on offer but make sure you do. We had delicious meals at American Fish (Aria), Jaleo (The Cosmopolitan) and Nobu (Caesar’s). If you love buffets you’re in the right place. Nearly every casino has one so check the reviews and get in line.

american fish trout

at American Fish, Aria

Have an animal encounter

The MGM Grand closed its lion habitat but don’t miss the lions and other big cats at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. Of course, we might be partial to them, but the dolphins are the real stars of the show there. Be sure to try painting with dolphins or being a trainer for the day. At the other end of The Strip you have the Mandalay Bay aquarium, Shark Reef, with its amazing collection of sharks, fish, stingrays and more. For a full day out, Las Vegas Zoo is only 15 minutes away from The Strip.

mandalay bay aquarium

Shark Reef Aquarium, Mandalay Bay

Do something romantic

Watch the Bellagio fountains at night or take a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris. While the daytime glare and all the crowds don’t make Vegas what I consider a really romantic place, you can carve out your moments with a little creativity. If you want to really do something big, renew your vows at one of the many wedding chapels (or just get married on a whim!) My choice would be to book a couples treatment package at one of the many luxurious resort spas.

pop-up wedding chapel las vegas

See a show

Funny, sexy, thrilling or enchanting, Vegas shows are a must-see when you’re in town. Tickets can be pricey but it’s worth it to get up close so be sure to reserve the best seats you can afford. You’ll find comedy, popular artists, carnival-style shows, magic, exotic, dinner-mystery, cabaret, musical and variety performances here and at least five different Cirque du Soleil shows. We highly recommend ‘O’ at The Bellagio and also really enjoyed Zarkana at Aria. Las Vegas expert, Abby Tegnelia of Daydream Away recommended Absinthe and The Beatles LOVE to us. Just pick one and go.

zarkana stage

Zarkana stage at Aria

Take a day trip

There are so many things to do close to Las Vegas and it’s great to get off The Strip and out into the incredible nature of the surrounding region. Of course there are helicopter trips to the Grand Canyon (we don’t recommend the bus tours), Hoover Dam or for aerial views of The Strip. But what about state parks like the Valley of Fire, Mt. Charleston, Death Valley, Zion National Park, Hidden Valley or Red Rock Canyon. There are even Area 51 tours for the curious.


Seek thrills

Vegas seems like a natural place for adventure enthusiasts. Luckily they have an outlet with activities like the Skyjump off the Stratosphere, ziplining and skydiving (both real and indoor) ready and waiting.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Las Vegas?

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  1. Comment by Marina K. Villatoro

    Marina K. Villatoro Reply July 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Thank you! I always say that Vegas has soo much to do and everyone’s like – it’s for gamblers. What else would you go there for.

    I went to Vegas ages ago and barely gambled and had the time of my life. Now I want to go back with my family!

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      We do like to gamble so that is, I have to admit, a big reason we go. John enjoys the poker rooms especially. As much as I am promoting it here though, I have to say that if we didn’t like gambling, I think there are better places to go…

  2. Comment by Homer J

    Homer J Reply July 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Do YOU come with the machine gun?

    • Comment by John

      John July 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      Oh, you!

  3. Comment by Krista

    Krista Reply July 18, 2013 at 12:22 am

    I’ve never been drawn to Vegas, but I think I would enjoy walking around just looking at everything – and eating as much deliciousness as possible. :-)

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Plenty of deliciousness, Krista =)

  4. Comment by Christian from Arcachon/Bordeaux

    Christian from Arcachon/Bordeaux Reply July 18, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Thanks to share again your trip with us. We have planed to go to Grand Canyon, and in Vegas too. So enjoy your time, and be careful weight lol. Don t forget to visit us during your next time in SW France. Famous Oysters from Arcachon are waiting after you lol

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Definitely spend more than one day in the Grand Canyon if you can – it is just magic out there…

  5. Comment by Penny Sadler

    Penny Sadler Reply July 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I did a similar story on Vegas. There’s so much to do there! I say similar, we didn’t cover the same things, but not gambling! Good tips! Is that second photo Cesar’s Palace? I used to adore the shopping arcade there.

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      It is – The Forum shops, I believe. So beautiful in there!

  6. Comment by Freya

    Freya Reply July 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I guess most people will never think about a cultural or learning experience in Las Vegas but yes it’s possible. Great tips !

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      I think it’s a nice thing to have there as an option. So many people holiday there that it is a good opportunity to see some art on your holiday.

  7. Comment by OCDemon

    OCDemon Reply July 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I read a while back that Vegas was trying to make itself a lot more family-friendly, and they seem to have succeeded in accommodating a wider demographic than drunken gamblers. Seems like a good plan.

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      There are still plenty of the latter, haha, but yes, I think there is plenty for families to do. I still do not consider Las Vegas to be a place for children though. Yes there is a lot to do but there are so many better places you can take your kids.

  8. Comment by nicole

    nicole Reply July 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Shopping is my absolute favorite past time in Vegas (aside from craps). They have some great stores. =)

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Ahhhhh – SO many!

  9. Comment by Day Trip Dreamer

    Day Trip Dreamer Reply July 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Great post! Las Vegas is one of our favourite destinations and we usually visit once a year. So many great things to see and do as you’ve mentioned. One of my absolute favourite things to do each trip on the strip is a tour through the Bellagio Conservatory followed by some sweet treats at Jean-Phillipe Patisserie. For newbies to Vegas, we always recommend taking the Open Top Tour bus to get a feel for the strip and all it has to offer.

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      I’ve never done the Open Top Tour bus but that’s a great idea!

  10. Comment by Jarmo

    Jarmo Reply July 20, 2013 at 4:50 am

    You can do other stuff besides gamble in Las Vegas?? Mind blown! I’d probably still just stick to the poker tables ;)

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      We used to spend all our time at the casinos but this last trip we did 50/50 – plenty of fun either way!

  11. Comment by Leigh

    Leigh Reply July 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve been through Las Vegas many times but have never explored on the ground. I so love all the National Parks that are within a 2-3 hour drive that my goal is usually to get out of the city just as fast as I can.

    I wouldn’t mind catching a show and a good meal one time though.

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

      I really want to go back and explore the national parks. A dream of ours is a Western road trip just staying out in nature and ducking into the cities now and again.

  12. Comment by Cathy Sweeney

    Cathy Sweeney Reply July 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Great suggestions. I do enjoy a bit of gambling, but you’re right — there’s more to Vegas. The restaurants are incredible there — Sage at Aria, StripSteak at Mandalay Bay, Mesa Grill at Caesar’s Palace — just made myself very hungry. Glad you mentioned Red Rock Canyon — great place to take a break from the Strip.

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 21, 2013 at 10:44 am

      And there are so many new restaurants opening all the time. Our favs from four years ago weren’t even there this time anymore!

  13. Comment by Andi

    Andi Reply July 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    This post is going to come in handy for soooo many people! Love these pics!!!

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 21, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Thanks babe!

  14. Comment by Shanna Schultz

    Shanna Schultz Reply July 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I have always wanted to take a pole dancing class while in Las Vegas, but haven’t made it there yet. We had a wonderful experience at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill…LOVE that place! Yum! One of the most expensive meals that we have ever eaten, but completely worth every penny!

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 21, 2013 at 10:44 am

      I have yet to eat at a Bobby Flay restaurant but I know the one in AC has a gluten-free menu, which is awesome!

  15. Comment by Daniel McBane

    Daniel McBane Reply July 21, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I actually lived in Vegas for almost a year, but I don’t gamble, so I had to discover things to keep me busy apart from losing money. My favorite aspect of living in the area was the surrounding landscape, since it was so foreign to me at the time, so I definitely second your day-trip recommendations. Red Rock Canyon was one of my favorites, since it was so close to the city and easy to get to.

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 21, 2013 at 10:45 am

      I’ve visited a friend there once a long time ago and it was interesting to see the contrast between the suburbs and the strip. Still couldn’t get over the casinos in the grocery stores though!

    • Comment by Leslie

      Leslie July 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      I just did a podcast about this topic! But I emphasized getting away from the strip.

      I also lived in Vegas for about a year and don’t gamble, so I had to look for other things to do. I eventually found the arts district (which is just north of the Stratosphere) and spent a lot of my time hanging out in one of the theaters and creating events for the First Friday art walk.

      My other favorite thing to do was to go to Sky Mania, which is a giant room made of trampolines. Great workout and really fun way to play dodgeball!

      But most of the time, my friends and I spent our time at one of the local bars or playing touch football on the weekends.

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 29, 2013 at 6:17 am

      Those sound like such fun activities, Leslie! thanks for sharing =)

  16. Comment by Cheryl

    Cheryl Reply July 21, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Love this list of things to do! People are always so focused on the casinos. :)

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 21, 2013 at 10:45 am

      They are definitely worth a look and some bets, but I like to mix it up when we go =)

  17. Comment by Sophie

    Sophie Reply July 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I’d like to see the Hoover Dam What about London Bridge? Is that within day trip distance?

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      London Bridge is about 2 and a half hours away – I just looked it up – thanks for the tip!

  18. Comment by Jennifer

    Jennifer Reply July 22, 2013 at 8:14 am

    We lived in Vegas for 6 years, so perfected a list of non-casino related things to do. We’d practically drag our visitors out of the casino kicking and screaming to show them things like Red Rock Canyon or Lake Mead.

  19. Comment by Ali

    Ali Reply July 22, 2013 at 10:18 am

    My best friend lives in Vegas near Red Rock Canyon, so she’s there all the time hiking or riding her bike. Definitely a lot more to the city than gambling.

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    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers July 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Haha – it is hard, isn’t it?

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  22. Comment by TammyOnTheMove

    TammyOnTheMove Reply August 1, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Las Vegas is one of those places I never really had the urge to visit. However reading about all these whacky things you can do, it does look like quite a fun place to go actually. Would love to try the military style training. Am I weird?

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers August 1, 2013 at 8:18 am

      No, haha – I think Vegas is the perfect place to let loose your inner weirdo! =)

  23. Comment by Mike Carlson

    Mike Carlson Reply August 10, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    When I hear Vegas, the first thing that comes to my mind are the casinos. I didn’t know there are a lot of wonderful and exciting activities you could do rather than gambling.

  24. Comment by Michelle

    Michelle Reply August 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Love this post! I’ve been to Vegas 4 times and have never gambled while there. I am usually at Red Rock Canyon climbing and on rest days we head to the strip for a break. The food is fantastic and the entertainment is unparalleled.

  25. Comment by Abby

    Abby Reply October 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I can’t believe I am just seeing this now, but wonderful picks. And it was so good to see you!!

    • Comment by inspiringtravellers

      inspiringtravellers October 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      Funny, I was just thinking about you today. Great to see you too and we will definitely be visiting you in NoCali!! xx

  26. Comment by Olielo

    Olielo Reply August 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    The helicopter tour is a good idea. Did it to go to the Grand Canyon and then back to Las Vegas where the helicopter goes over the Strip for few minutes, it was really nice. I love your pictures, reminding good memories to me :)

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