Better known for cheap thrills and over-the-top aesthetics than fine-art sensibilities, Las Vegas defines creativity in its own way. From outlandish resort architecture and neon signs to burlesque feathers and high-flying circus acts, here’s how to tap into the off-beat art of Sin City.
The 18b Las Vegas Arts District
This eclectic creative space in downtown Las Vegas is home to a small but thriving community of local artists. Gallery hop among more than a dozen studios and exhibition spaces at the Arts Factory, or check local event listings to see what's showing at the Cockroach Theater next door at the Art Square complex.
HeadzUP Trick Art Museum
Put yourself in the picture at this new, interactive museum featuring the biggest collection of 3D art in the US. Tailor-made for the Instagram age, more than 50 large-scale 3D pieces invite viewers to climb, crouch, sit, and reach into images ranging from a troop of elephants to Albert Einstein. Make a day of it at the HeadzUP complex, which also features escape rooms, DIY art workshops, and a mashup gamed dubbed “archery tag.”
Shop the Resort Galleries
Some of Las Vegas’ most impressive art is built into the supersized lobbies and malls of the Strip’s high-end resorts. Take a break from the casinos and go on an artsy scavenger hunt among the giant, blown-glass sculptures at the Gallery at Aria, faux-Roman temples of the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, or trompe l'oeil canals at the Venetian. For art you can take home, dream about your next living-room piece at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art.
Metropolitan Gallery Las Vegas (Formerly Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art)
Tucked out of sight in the Neonopolis shopping complex on downtown Las Vegas’ Fremont Street, this small museum offers a reflective respite from the bright lights and noise of the Strip. The carefully curated space holds rotating exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, and prints by local Nevada artists plus international and thematic collections.
Clark County Museum
Venture just outside the grit and glitz of Vegas to this cultural complex in Henderson, NV, for a retrospective of Western life and architecture throughout the 20th century. Step inside a mining ghost town, Union Pacific engine, turn-of-the-20th-century newspaper shop, vintage mobile home, or restored barn, and learn about Native American history with exhibits on the Pueblo and Paiute people.