The City of Lights, Sin City, the Entertainment Capital of the world — whatever you want to call it, there’s no doubt that Las Vegas is a definite bucket list city for tourists all from over the world. Gambling, big fight nights, incredible hotels, and the biggest shows outside of Madison Square Garden, Las Vegas has it all and then some.
But the truth is that the majority of tourists that hit the Neon City will only spend a few nights or perhaps a week at most in Vegas. And anyone who has spent any time in the city will know that cramming everything the city has to offer into such a short amount of time is pretty much impossible.
So if you’re planning a trip to the Gambling Capital of the World, here are the top 10 must see attractions to add to your itinerary.
10. THE MOB MUSEUM
The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement is known to most folks as The Mob Museum and even if you have no interest in the mafia or gangster activity in the US, it’s still a fascinating way to spend a few hours.
Located in a 1933 building that was once the US Post Office and Courthouse for the city, even the location on its own is steeped in local history. It was the venue for the famous Kefauver Committee hearings that delved into the murky world of organized crime in 1950s Vegas.
The museum exhibits tell the true story of the role that organized crime played in the establishment of some of the most successful casinos in the city. It’s an eye-opener that tells far more about the history of the city than any Hollywood flick ever will.
9. NEON MUSEUM
As you may well know, one of Las Vegas’ nicknames is The City of Neon and with good reason. There are neon signs everywhere you can imagine and they’re as much an integral part of the city’s history as the businesses they represent.
The Neon Museum brings all those old iconic signs that we’ve seen in movies throughout the years and puts them all in one place. There are signs from old hotels, restaurants, and yes, even casinos too and it’s a photographers dream.
As the museum is an ongoing project, you’ll find that not all of the signs have been restored to their former glory, but in truth, that just adds to the appeal of the place.
8. THE STRAT TOWER
Since it opened in 1996, The Strat Hotel, Casino & Skypod has become an integral part of the city’s skyline. Well, the tower has at least. Standing at 1,149 feet it’s claim to fame is that it’s the tallest freestanding observation tower in the USA. But even if it wasn’t, it’s still a hell of a place to visit.
Now, you’re not just heading up there for the view, because this tower has so much more to offer than photo ops. At various levels of the Skypod, there are some of the most adrenaline pumping rides you’ll find anywhere in the world. The Sky Jump, Big Shot, and the very aptly named Insanity are not for the faint of heart but if you can manage them, you’ll have an unforgettable experience.
If rides aren’t your thing, you can dine at the Top of the World Restaurant with the most amazing views of the city. If you can, try to book an evening meal so you can see all those lights.
7. FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE
Fremont Street is a pedestrianized area in the old downtown area of Las Vegas. It encompasses five blocks and it’s where you’ll find the Fremont Street Experience.
Now this may not sound all that exciting for a city that is a hub of entertainment, but it’s a fantastic experience with street performers and live bands playing regularly. There’s great food in the area and a real friendly and extremely relaxed atmosphere that makes it a nice change from the fast-paced action of the strip and the casinos.
If you’re staying at one of the larger hotels, then you may be able to book a tour through the hotel or at the very least they’ll have transport organized at set times. If not, then it’s best to take a taxi as it’s a little far from the strip especially in the warmth of Nevada.
6. MADAME TUSSAURDS
Some think that once you’ve been to one Madame Tussauds, you’ve been to them all, but that’s not true at all. Here in Las Vegas, the waxworks museum focuses on characters and personalities that are tied closely to the city.
The thing about Madame Tussauds in Vegas is that it’s more geared towards adults than families meaning that it’s a little more risque which also means it’s lots of fun. For example, you can hang with Snoop Dogg while he partakes of his favorite pastime or you can climb onto a wrecking ball with Miley Cyrus. You can even hang out with the guys from the Hangover.
It’s located in The Venetian Las Vegas and yes, Elvis is in the building.
5. NEW YORK-NEW YORK HOTEL
Located right across the street from the MGM Grand and the Excalibur, New York-New York Hotel & Casino brings everything that’s great about the Big Apple and sticks it all in one plot on the Las Vegas Strip.
So you might be wondering why you’d want to visit a hotel especially if you’re staying at another one, but hotels in Vegas aren’t like anything you’ll find anywhere else in the world. In fact, this is only the first of a few hotels we recommend you go to see while in Vegas.
The reason this place is so great though is because the hotel is designed to resemble the New York City skyline. Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty — the whole lot. There’s even a roller coaster that you can ride around the hotel called the Big Apple Coaster.
4. CEASAR’S PALACE AND THE COLOSSEUM
So we weren’t joking when we said that hotels are a thing in Vegas and Caesars Palace is perhaps one the most iconic of them all.
Slap bang in the middle of the Strip, Caesar’s Palace is as well known for its entertainment as its Roman aesthetics. Celine Dion, Usher, Elton John, Rod Stewart — all past performers at the Palace. So if you’re looking for a show while in town, this is certainly the place to be.
Of course, it also helps that the hotel has an amazing casino too, but this is Vegas so that’s a given, right?
3. THE VENETIAN HOTEL AND GONDOLA GUIDES
A gondola ride in the middle of the Nevada desert? We imagine that back in the 1950s, the city planners had never imagined that this would be a possibility, but then along came The Venetian.
The hotel itself is amazing and everything about it is impressive. But there really is nothing quite like the shopping arcade built to resemble the city of Venice. Complete with gondolas, canals with crystal clear waters, and recreations of the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs, this is one of the most enjoyable shopping experiences you’ll ever have.
Even if you have no plans to shop at the arcade’s many top-end stores and boutiques, the ride on the canals is well worth the trip.
2. FOUNTAINS OF BELLAGIO
There’s just something about the Fountains of Bellagio that is just so Vegas. Perhaps it’s because they’ve appeared in countless movies or maybe it’s the sheer magic of that much water dancing through the sky. Whatever the reason, the Fountains of Bellagio have been wowing crowds for years.
Incredibly, each performance is unique (or so the people at the Bellagio say) and takes place every 30 minutes from 3pm to 8pm and every 15 minutes from 8pm to midnight Monday to Friday. At the weekend and on public holidays, the show happens every 30 minutes from noon to 8pm and every 15 minutes from 8pm to midnight.
1. THE STRIP
Last but by no means least, we come to the iconic Las Vegas Strip. It’s a stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that stretches for 2.5 miles and it’s where you’ll find the city’s most popular hotels and casinos.
It’s not a stretch that you’d walk along during the day as it’s simply too hot, but many of the hotels and casinos are linked so you can walk along some of the strip in the comfort of air conditioning.
So what’s so great about the Strip? Well, the Strip is Vegas. So many of the most popular attractions can be found here and even just taking a stroll along and seeing all the sights is a must-do in itself.
Of course, there are so many other things to do in Las Vegas that we didn’t include such as helicopter rides, indoor skydiving, and a visit to the Hoover Dam. That said, if you can make it to all of the attractions we’ve listed above, then you’ll see more than most visitors do on their trip to Sin City.