An oasis of luxury and indulgence in Nevada desert, Las Vegas is no stranger to the party, the glitz, the expensive resorts, the fancy ‘see and be seen’ atmosphere. The city of sin is located in Clark County in southern Nevada and has a thumping nightlife scene that slips into day and unparalleled dining options. Geographically the city sits in a basin within the Mojave Desert and the area surrounding it is dominated by desert vegetation and it is surrounded by dry mountain ranges. But Las Vegas is not just about glamour and glitz. Here we have a list of natural and cultural attractions in the Sin City that you can add in your itinerary.
How to reach:
Nearest Airport: The McCarran International Airport is located 8 km south of downtown Las Vegas, in Paradise.
While there are no direct rail services coming into Las Vegas, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach shuttles passengers between major cities and the nearest Amtrak stations. Amtrak’s Southwest Chief operates a daily service from California, Albuquerque and Los Angeles to Kingman in Arizona which located 179 km south of Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is well-connected to other cities in the state of Nevada and also to other states in America, via bus routes. As mostly everyone makes spontaneous weekend trips to Las Vegas. Hence, there are regular buses from most cities. Tickets can be bought online, by phone or at the terminal. A few casinos also arrange bus services at discounted prices ((or free) to their casinos from some cities.
Suggestion: The desert roads to Las Vegas get dry and hot, so it is recommended to carry a bottle of water with you for the bus journey.
Best time to visit
Las Vegas doesn’t have well-defined high and low seasons as it attracts crowds year-round, but there are still there can be slight differences that can help you decide when to go. While you’ll find plenty of travel deals throughout the year, the spring and fall shoulder seasons offer the most moderate weather. So the best time to visit Las Vegas is in the spring which from March to May and from September to November. With an average high of 106°F (41°C), July is the hottest month in Vegas and December is the coldest month, with an average high of 58°F (14°C).
Places to visit:
- Lake Mead: This man-made lake lies on the Colorado River, just southeast of the city of Las Vegas. It is the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity.
- Hoover Dam: Originally known as Boulder Dam, this concrete arch-gravity dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936. Located in Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona, making it just 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
- Mount Charleston: Situated just 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Mount Charleston is part of the Spring Mountain Range and Toiyabe National Forest and ranges from 3,000 to 12,000 feet in elevation. Visit Nevada’s eighth-highest mountain peak and enjoy hiking, camping, sightseeing, and winter sports activities here.
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Lying in Nevada’s Mojave Desert, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is just 15 – 20 miles away from Las Vegas. It is known for geological features such as towering red sandstone peaks and the Keystone Thrust Fault, as well as Native American petroglyphs.
- Death Valley National Park: Known to be America’s lowest, hottest, and driest national park, Death Valley National Park straddles eastern California and Nevada. It is only about a 2-hour drive from the Strip (approximately 130 miles).
- Zion National Park: Visit the colourful landscapes of Zion National Park by taking a day trip here. Located in Utah, the park is about two and a half hours from Las Vegas and known for its unique geological features and variety of plants and animals.
- Bryce Canyon National Park: This park is close to Zion National Park, so you can visit this gorgeous destination for its crimson-coloured hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations. It is located about four hours northeast of Las Vegas.
- Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art: Experience refined side of Las Vegas at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, an extraordinary collection of works gathered from private collections and museums from around the world.
- Smith Center for the Performing Arts: Located in Downtown Las Vegas’s 61-acre Symphony Park, Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a five-acre performing arts center that features both visiting art installations and commissioned pieces from local and international artists.
- Neon Museum Boneyard: The Neon Museum was founded in 1996 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment.
- The Mob Museum: Another non-profit organisation, The Mob Museum’s mission is to advance the public understanding of organized crime’s history and impact on American society. Located in Downtown Las Vegas, this history museum offers a bold and authentic view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities and—increasingly—across the borders and networks of the entire world.
- The National Atomic Testing Museum: The National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas documents the history of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site in the desert north of Las Vegas. It houses artefacts from the Nevada Test Site through interactive modules, timelines, films and actual equipment and gadgets. Area 51 tour, maybe?
- Pinball Hall of Fame: Only opened a decade ago, this museum for pinball machines and is an attempt by the members of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club to house and display the world’s largest pinball collection, open to the public. It features over 200 different pinball games, including some classic video arcade games and other novelty machines of the past and present.
So plan your trip beyond the strip and do let us know about your experiences in the comments below!