Things to Do in Nevada
The Hoover Dam (originally known as Boulder Dam) is an inspiring symbol of American engineering, built during America’s Great Depression as the then-largest dam construction project in the world. Travelers have flocked here for decades to see picturesque views of Lake Mead and the Colorado River, and today, the dam receives more than 1 million annual visitors.
The glittering Las Vegas Strip is the city’s heart and soul. Lined with Sin City’s top hotels and largest casinos, this 4.2-mile (6.8-kilometer) thoroughfare is the United States’ biggest adult playground. A number of its iconic complexes—Treasure Island, the Venetian, the Mirage, MGM Grand, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, the Flamingo—are recognized around the world. All along the Vegas Strip, travelers can spot over-the-top architecture, revel in trendy nightclubs, take in dazzling shows and avant-garde performances, and sink forks into five-star dinners.
The Grand Canyon’s West Rim, located just outside Grand Canyon National Park, is home to the vast Hualapai Indian Reservation and includes 108 miles (173 kilometers) of picturesque canyon views. The closest section of the canyon to Las Vegas, the West Rim is famous for the lofty Grand Canyon Skywalk, Guano Point, and Eagle Point.
The area commonly known as Area 51—officially Homey Airport (KXTA) or Groom Lake—is a highly classified United States Air Force facility located in the desert of southern Nevada. The site is the focus of a lot of conspiracy theories relating to UFOs and aliens and has become a tourist attraction, despite being a restricted area.
Spanning four city blocks, the Fremont Street Experience is a massive outdoor mall and the site of Las Vegas’ very first freestanding casino building. Today, it hosts 10 different casinos with games and tables, plenty of restaurants, and free concerts and other live entertainment, with multiple performances staged each day. It’s also notable for its famous Viva Vision canopy, which projects thousands of different color combinations and images overhead.
There’s no doubt that 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) is a long way down, especially when standing on a bridge made of glass—and you’re looking down toward the Grand Canyon floor. That’s the experience visitors find at the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped, glass-bottomed bridge that juts out 70 feet (20 meters) above one of America’s most scenic sites. Travelers who step out onto the bridge are rewarded with panoramic West Rim and Colorado River views that extend 720 degrees, wrapping around, below, and behind.
Standing 1,149 feet (350 meters) above the Las Vegas Strip, Stratosphere Tower is the tallest observation tower in the United States. From the top, visitors enjoy 360-degree views of Las Vegas from an observation deck, aboard thrill rides, or over a drink or meal at one of several bars and restaurants.
The Fountains of Bellagio in front of the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip are like many Sin City attractions: an over-the-top spectacle, but in a good way. The waterworks are synchronized with a changing playlist and light show, so visitors will never see the same show twice.
Constructed in 1959, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is an icon from the era of classic Vegas. Listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, the neon landmark welcomes visitors driving into the city from the south on Las Vegas Boulevard, aka the Strip.
Downtown Las Vegas thrived as the city’s gambling district until the 1980s when new resorts and casinos pulled the crowds away from the area toward the Strip, the city’s main thoroughfare today. After a period of neglect, Downtown has seen revitalization over the past few years, transforming it into a Las Vegas cultural and entertainment hub in its own right.
More Things to Do in Nevada
The 195,819-acre (79,245-hectare) Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada comprises a network of narrow canyons, seasonal waterfalls, rock art sites, and surreal rock formations with ample opportunity for hiking, biking, rock climbing, and desert wildlife watching, all a short drive from Las Vegas.
The 550-foot rotating observation tower known as the High Roller is far from your normal carnival Ferris wheel. This Las Vegas attraction is so big that it takes a full 30 minutes to complete a 360-degree rotation and is known as the world’s largest observation wheel. Each 44,000-pound, glass-enclosed pod can hold up to 40 people, includes music and video displays, and has been decked out with thousands of LED lights. This big-time wheel serves as a sparkling focal point at the LINQ, one of Vegas’ top shopping districts.
Centrally located on the Las Vegas Strip, the LINQ Hotel and Casino provides all the requisite offerings—shows, bars, restaurants, shops, and even a comedy club—but what sets it apart are the Fly LINQ zipline and the High Roller, a 550 foot (168 meter) observation wheel opened as the world’s tallest in 2014 which offers on-board happy hour, yoga, and more.
The South Rim is the most popular area of Grand Canyon National Park, boasting easy access to the canyon, the bulk of available amenities and services, and the panoramic vistas for which the natural wonder is famous. One of the most famous attractions in the American Southwest, the area offers breathtaking views over the Colorado River and the chance to immerse yourself in Native American culture.
The Colorado River is a spectacular sight to see, meandering for 1,447 miles (2,330 kilometers) with red rocks and canyons framing it on both sides, leading up to the Hoover Dam. The Colorado River is one of the major water sources for California and Nevada, and, not surprisingly, it's a major recreational destination—activities on the river include hiking, biking, rafting, and boating.
For many travelers, Planet Hollywood Las Vegas offers the best of several worlds. Its mid-Strip location makes it an ideal hub for those who want to explore a little bit of everything on Las Vegas Boulevard, and the vibe of the mid-range hotel and casino—which celebrates the glitz of Hollywood—attracts a high-energy crowd without offending multigenerational families looking for a less-raucous stay.
The grand dame of the Strip, the Bellagio still seems new compared to the vintage hotels of downtown Las Vegas. The hotel and casino has been one of the city's top resorts since 1998, when it was the most expensive hotel ever built. Named after the Italian town on Lake Como, Bellagio is known for luxury in a city where over-the-top is the norm.
It’s hard to believe that Sin City is only a few hours away from Lake Mead National Recreation Area, with dramatic and often surreal scenery of sharp craggy mountains, deep canyons, and desert basins. Coboldmprising the areas around Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, this recreation area attracts water sports enthusiasts, boaters, and nonboaters alike.
The Las Vegas location of the popular Madame Tussauds franchise is more than just a museum, it’s an attraction that allows you to interact with its wax figures in different settings, as well as take part in a 4D theater experience with Marvel super heroes. There’s also a bar inspired by the movieThe Hangover where you can grab a drink.
The tiny Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum tells the story behind the development of Boulder City amid the hostile desert and the monumental undertaking of the construction of the Hoover Dam during the Great Depression. Located on the second floor of the historic white brick Boulder Dam Hotel itself created to house visiting VIPs—the museum is a popular stop for visitors from Las Vegas en route to the dam.
An experiential museum with a focus on people – the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum is filled with dioramas, diary pages, documents and oral histories that tell the tales of the intrepid workers who traveled from all over the United States with their families to build what was then the world’s largest dam. Soundscapes of construction and era video immerse visitors in the experience of dam construction. Around 21,000 people helped to build the dam and the amount of concrete poured during its construction could pave a transcontinental highway from New York to LA.
Visitors to the museum will also appreciate that the dam wasn’t the worker’s only feat. First they transformed Ragtown—a slew of tent dwellings inhabited by wishful workers along the Colorado River—into the town of Boulder City, Nevada. The community, planned with federal oversight, was designed to be a temporary model town, but it continues to thrive today.
Carved over time by the Virgin River, Zion National Park is a remarkable 148,000-acre (59,893-hectare) stretch of white, pink, and red rock formations in southern Utah's canyon country. The state's first national park draws hikers, birders, and nature lovers with its cliffs and mesas, waterfalls and wildflowers, and varied wildlife from jackrabbits to condors.
The Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldest state park, covers 34,880 acres (14,115 hectares) of red rock formations, sandstone cliffs, dramatic canyons, and peaceful valleys. Some of the park’s most famous features include the ancient Moapa petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock and the three-mile (4.8 km) Fire Canyon hike, which shows off the colorful sandstone that gives the park its name. In addition to being one of the most popular hiking destinations near Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire also attracts picnickers, campers, and photographers.
Rhyolite was once a booming gold rush town in Nevada, but today it's a ghost town – and, consequently, a tourist attraction.
The town grew almost overnight to be one of the largest settlements after gold was discovered nearby in 1904. By 1911, that mine was closed, and in 1916 when power was shut off in the town some of the buildings were moved or simply torn down. What remains has become an incredibly popular ghost town for tourists to visit and photograph.
All but one of the buildings in Rhyolite are in a serious state of disrepair – the exception was a house renovated in 1925 as a movie set. Buildings that are left include a schoolhouse, a jail, a train station, a barn, and a train caboose that used to be a gas station.
The Venetian Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip recreates the romantic experience of a gondola ride on the Grand Canal of Venice in Italy. Travelers can glide down the replica canals under graceful bridges, passing striking architectural structures and the hotel's Grand Canal Shoppes in the duplicated Venetian streetscape.
- Things to do in Las Vegas
- Things to do in California
- Things to do in Arizona
- Things to do in Utah
- Things to do in Yosemite National Park
- Things to do in Paso Robles
- Things to do in San Luis Obispo
- Things to do in Pismo Beach
- Things to do in Napa & Sonoma
- Things to do in Oregon
- Things to do in Colorado
- Things to do in New Mexico
- Things to do in Washington
- Things to do in British Columbia
- Things to do in Baja California Sur