You could spend every night of your Vegas vacation amid the bright lights of the Strip, but you’d be missing out on some of the coolest locales in town. Branch out to experience vintage Las Vegas, tick off top attractions, swim in a desert lake, and get a taste of the city’s creative cutting edge.
Las Vegas Strip
Lined with towering casinos, flashing lights, and buzzy nightclubs, the Las Vegas Strip is the heart of the action—and it’s an essential stop even if you’re not in the city to gamble. This is where you’ll find Paris Las Vegas, the Luxor Hotel, and the Bellagio fountains. It’s extra dramatic from above: Get the big views on the High Roller observation wheel or a nighttime helicopter ride that swoops over the memorable scene.
Downtown Las Vegas
If you’re yearning for vintage Las Vegas, you’ll find it at the Fremont Street Experience, a 5-block stretch of shops, restaurants, and casinos covered by a vaulted canopy that serves as a giant projection screen. This is Glitter Gulch, home of that giant neon cowboy you’ve seen in the movies; it was also the site of historic casinos such as the Golden Nugget and the Horseshoe.
With a cool, young vibe that’s a world away from the party life on the Strip, the Arts District is the place to go for edgy galleries, boutique shopping, and murals in fabulous colors. If your trip to Las Vegas coincides with the first Friday of the month, join in the neighborhood’s open-air festival, which draws food vendors, artists, and more.
Strictly speaking a separate city, Henderson is roughly 20 minutes from downtown Las Vegas, and it’s a popular spot to visit on a day trip. Beat the desert heat by swimming in nearby Lake Las Vegas, where you can enjoy boating, water sports, and gorgeous sunsets. If you’re hoping to go farther afield, use Henderson as a jumping-off point for trips to Lake Mead, Valley of Fire State Park, and the Hoover Dam.