While both casinos and gambling are synonymous with Nevada, so are a multitude of other adventures: national parks and wide, open spaces, waterfalls, historic towns and sites, arts and entertainment, top-notch restaurants, and communal events like Burning Man. Or if you're into motoring, consider taking in Nevada's spectacular scenery, attending the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, or driving down Highway 50. Here are the best things to do in Nevada.
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Hoover Dam is considered a modern civil engineering wonder and is a National Historic Landmark. The visitors center is open 363 days a year and two guided tours of the dam are available: a 30-minute Powerplant Tour and a 60-minute Dam Tour.
Tours include media presentations, exhibits, and commentary by guides that serve to educate visitors about the dam's features and operations, while the Dam Tour even includes exploring passages within the dam itself. For visitors planning to both take a tour and look around the structure, it's recommended to plan for at least 2 hours on site.
2.The Mob Museum
© The Mob Museum
Through the interactive re-telling of true stories, this unique museum covers the history of organized crime in America and the law's attempts to combat it. The museum is home to hundreds of artifacts, which are integrated into the storyline of each exhibit and which track the mob in America from the late 19th century to today.
Events such as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and mob relationships with Hollywood and politicians are explored, as is the pivotal role of the Prohibition in the mob's legacy in America. The museum provides a comprehensive look into how deeply the mob has influenced American culture, economics, and politics over the last century. Read more
300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101, Phone: 702-229-2734
3.Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
© Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
Located near the basin that served as a major stopover for settlers traveling on the Cave Valley Road, this park is named for the six historic charcoal ovens located on site. The beehive-shaped ovens were in operation between 1876 and 1879, during the silver boom period.
Once their purpose of producing charcoal ceased, they served to shelter people during bad weather and rumor has it that bandits used the ovens as a hideout. The park provides plenty of recreational resources, including picnic facilities, camping, trails (for hiking and biking during summer and for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter), fishing, and nature study. Read more
Ely, NV 89315, Phone: 775-289-1693
4.National Atomic Testing Museum
© National Atomic Testing Museum
The National Atomic Testing Museum is devoted to educating the public about the country's nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada test site in order to promote a better understanding of the role that testing plays in deterring nuclear weapons and in geo-political history.
The museum collects and preserves artifacts related to not only the Nevada test site, but also atomic testing, the Cold War, nuclear science, radiological science, and related technology. Currently, the museum's collection includes more than 16,000 artifacts, many of them rare. Aside from showcasing the collection in exhibits, the 8,000-square-foot space also features learning activities on topics such as atmospheric and underground testing, radiation, and the atomic age.
755 E. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89119, Phone: 702-794-5151
5.Wayne Newton's Casa de Shenandoah
© Wayne Newton's Casa de Shenandoah
This 52-acre estate of Mr. Las Vegas is a historic landmark and was included in CBS' 2008 profile of the top five homes in America. Wayne Newton's Casa de Shenandoah includes eight homes, two barns, three arenas, lakes and wells, and exotic animals with almost six dozen Arabian horses.
The estate has been visited by celebrities and public figures and has been used extensively as a location for television and film productions. Visitors can take tours lasting from 1 to 2 hours of various parts of the estate or spend an hour on a self-guided tour of the Wayne Newton Museum. Four shopping venues are also located on the property.
3310 E Sunset Road, Las Vegas, NV 89120, Phone: 702-547-4811
6.Wynn Las Vegas Casino
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Wynn Las Vegas casino is a spacious 110,000 square feet and houses 259 table and poker games, 2,600 branded gaming machines, a newly opened poker room, and a players lounge. Players can also wager on events using the Wynn Race & Sports Book, either onsite or from anywhere in Nevada with the Wynn Mobile Sports app.
The poker room, which opened in May 2016, features 28 poker tables with different games and limits. The 8,600-square-foot room also includes a high stakes area and a wagering window. The Encore Players Lounge offers pool and table games, and both the lounge and poker room are home to dozens of oversized HDTVs.
3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 702-770-7000
7.Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
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Located across from the front desk lobby, the 14,000-square-foot conservatory is home to 34,000 flowers, 750 shrubs, and 25 trees. The conservatory team of 120 members changes the garden exhibits each season and 90% of the horticulture used in the outgoing showcase is recycled, in a nod to ecological conservation.
Above the space, the glass ceiling's floral patterns etched in green oxidized copper complement the exhibits, and the showcases themselves are meant to highlight the seasonal touches to the resort's bridges, ponds, gazebos, and trees. The conservatory is considered a central component of the Bellagio's arrival and departure experience.
3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas NV 89109, Phone: 888-987-6667
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The 550-foot High Roller, located at the LINQ's outdoor promenade, is the world's tallest observation wheel. The wheel takes 30 minutes to make a complete revolution and offers vistas of Las Vegas from glass cabins that can hold up to 40 people.
Visitors looking to do more than take in the spectacular view can book an hour-long yoga session with a professional instructor (High Roller Yoga), a 30-minute chocolate tasting (A Chocolate Experience), or a 30-minute happy hour ride (Happiest Half Hour in Vegas). The wheel is also available for school trips, weddings, and private events. Places to Visit in Nevada
3535 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 800-634-6441
9.National Automobile Museum
© National Automobile Museum
The mission of the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM) is to safeguard automobile artifacts and educate the public about the effect the car has had on American society. The Harrah Collection exhibits more than 200 cars, including rare, vintage, classic, celebrity, race, and one-of-a-kind models, which were owned by casino magnate Bill Hurrah.
Exhibits set against each car showcase street scenes from the given car's era, starting with the early 20th century. Aside from exhibits and galleries, which visitors can explore through either audio or daily guided tours, the museum features storyboards, theatrical presentations, and a gift shop. The museum receives approximately two million visitors a year and is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
The Harrah Collection, 10 South Lake Street, Reno, NV 89501, Phone: 775-333-9300
Next read: Nevada Historical Society, The Discovery, Sierra Safari Zoo
10.Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
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With a base elevation of 8,260 feet, the lodges at Mt. Rose are the highest base elevation you'll find in Lake Tahoe. Covering 2,100+ acres, the resort offers vertical drops of 1,800 feet, 60+ trails, and three terrain parks. The trails include a beginner terrain, the slide bowl, and the chutes. The terrain parks include the Badlands, Double Down, and Pondo Park.
The parks are regularly redesigned and Mt. Rose ensures that a number of terrain park options are available to guests. The resort's terrain split is 20% beginner, 30% intermediate, 40% advanced, and 10% expert. Both private and group lessons are available for all ages and levels.
22222 Mt Rose Hwy, Reno, NV 89511, Phone: 775-849-0704
More Nevada ideas: Reno, Boulder City, Carson City, Las Vegas lunch, Laughlin, Henderson
11.Eiffel Tower, Paris Las Vegas
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Paris Las Vegas features a replica Eiffel Tower that is half the scale of the Parisian original and has an observation deck at 460 feet. The hotel carries the Paris theme throughout the property, with facades of famous Parisian landmarks. The casino has table games like craps, poker, baccarat, and roulette, along with 1,700+ slot machines and betting courtesy of Paris Las Vegas Race & Sports Book.
The hotel boasts 13 restaurants and six bars/night spots. The 2-acre Soleil Pool and the Mandara Spa are also available for a spot of rest and relaxation, as are the Cascat & Rio Secco golf courses, two shopping avenues, and a variety of shows from the hotel's entertainment calendar. Read more
3655 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 877-796-2096
12.Fremont Street Experience
© Fremont Street Experience
A pedestrian mall located in downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience is an entertainment district with casinos, restaurants, bars, and a ton of neon. The Experience is home to Viva Vision, a 1,500-foot-long, 90-foot wide television screen that hangs above the area and provides 6-minute-long free music and light shows nightly on the hour.
Visitors can also enjoy free concerts and entertainment on one of the Experience's three stages. The Experience is also home to Slotzilla, the world's largest slot machine, and patrons can either zip-line from the lower level halfway down the Experience's length or from the upper level, which carries patrons the entire length of the Experience. Waterfalls in Nevada
Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101, Phone: 702-678-5600
© Peppermill Reno
Peppermill is a huge Tuscan-themed casino hotel in Reno with 1,621 rooms, including 600 suites in the Tuscany Tower. The luxury resort is located a short walk to Virginia Lake and about 2 miles from Reno Airport. All rooms are elegant and sophisticated, with mahogany furnishing, lavish marble bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Suites have separate living areas, and some have four-poster beds, artwork, and whirlpool tubs. Guests enjoy access to 11 restaurants and bars, the Edge nightclub, a casino, two outdoor pools, the 9,900-square-foot fitness center, the three-story, 33,000-square-foot Spa & Salon Toscana, and three heated outdoor jetted spas. More Things to Do in Reno
2707 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89502, Phone: 866-821-9996
14.Pinball Hall of Fame
© Pinball Hall of Fame
This 10,000-square-foot museum is the brainchild of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club and houses the largest collection of pinball machines in the world open to the public. The machines are from the 1950s to the late 2000s, with most being from when the game was at its height of popularity (1960s–1980s), and belong to club member Tim Arnold.
The machines, while not new, have been restored to a like-new condition, with games costing 25 or 50 cents a play. Pinball enthusiasts can enjoy playing on authentic 1950s wood rail, 1960s wedgehead, and multiplayer 1970s machines. As a non-profit, the museum distributes any excess revenue to charity. Read more
1610 E. Tropicana, Las Vegas, NV 89119, Phone: 702-597-2627
15.New York-New York
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New York-New York features 12 skyscrapers representing the New York skyline plus replicas of both the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. The hotel has both daily and weekly entertainment, including Cirque Du Soleil's Zumanity show. New York-New York has 11 bars/night spots and 15 restaurants (plus an in-house Starbucks cafe), and offers both dinner and show packages and happy hour specials.
Guests can also relax at the spa or at the pool, which includes both cabanas and hot tubs on the pool deck. Guests looking for more of a rush can visit the Big Apple Coaster & Arcade, home of the first rollercoaster to boast a 180-degree twist and dive in its track.
3790 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 702-740-6969
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Thrill-seekers can try their hand at this tower's daring rides. There's Skyjump, a Guinness World Record entry for the highest controlled descent at 829 feet and with free-fall speeds of 40+ mph. Big Shot blasts riders 160 feet up in the air in a straight line, while Insanity holds guests 900 feet up before spinning 64 feet over the tower's edge.
X-Scream sends riders headfirst 27 feet over the tower's edge before dangling them 109 stories up and snapping them back to the tower. The observation deck, pools, shopping, spa, and casino are also on hand to offer tamer entertainment.
2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89104, Phone: 702-380-7777
Next read: NV wedding venues
17.The Neon Museum
© The Neon Museum
The Neon Museum covers a 2-acre campus that includes the Boneyard, which is an outdoor exhibition space with 200+ signs, the Neon Boneyard North Gallery, which houses 60 more signs and operates as a photography and event venue, and the visitors center located in the lobby of the La Concha Motel. One-hour guided tours of the Boneyard are offered daily.
The museum has nine signs available as public art so that the public can take a self-guided tour of them any time of day or night. All signs have been donated or loaned, and each sign has a story and is a piece of Las Vegas history.
770 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89101, Phone: 702-387-6366
18.Cirque du Soleil
© Cirque du Soleil
Over 300 people, including 80 performers, are involved in making this Cirque du Soleil production happen. Kà contains a total of 14 scenes and tells the coming-of-age saga of imperial twins who embark on a dangerous journey. As with all Cirque du Soleil productions, Kà is lavish and replete with acrobatics, martial arts, pyrotechnics, and aerial performances.
Unlike other productions though, Kà has four pre-shows: Ticket holders are greeted by Kà villagers as they enter the theater; 20 minutes before curtain, musicians play; 10 minutes before, actors leap and flip into the audience using ropes; and 5 minutes before, a troupe informs the audience that the use of cameras or cell phones is prohibited
Ka Theater, MGM Grand, 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 877-880-0880
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The Bellagio Casino is referred to by many professional gamblers as "The Office," and consists of a slot floor with 2,300 machines, a poker room with 40 tables and two high-limit sections, a high stakes poker lounge with two tables (Bobby's Room), and table games like craps and baccarat, plus live entertainment. The Bellagio holds slot tournaments that feature live entertainment and food on top of prizes starting at $100,000.
The poker room, which operates as one of the locations used on the World Poker Tour, offers guests amenities such as tableside dining and free beverage service, safety deposit boxes, a full-service cashier cage, and 19 television monitors.
3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 888-987-6667
20.The Venetian Casino
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The Venetian features over 140 table games, two floors of slots, a poker room with daily tournaments, a sports lounge, and a high limit salon. The high limit salon includes four parlors and 20 table games where the betting limit is up to $5,000. The salon also includes branded slot machines. Poker tournaments happen twice daily at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. and the buy-in is between $125 and $300.
The Venetian hosts a popular poker tournament event called DeepStack Extravaganza five times annually. Guests can take free gaming lessons on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in craps, blackjack, or roulette before trying their luck at paid games.
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 702-414-1000
21.Lion Habitat Ranch
© Lion Habitat Ranch
This 8.5-acre ranch is located less than 15 miles from the strip and is home to approximately 40 lions. This proximity is appropriate, given that the ranch's lions previously called the MGM Grand home. Groups of up to 20 people can book a "behind the scenes" tour, and the ranch provides "experiences."
In the 2-hour Feast with the Beasts, guests are accompanied by the big cats as the guests move about the property and eat a provided meal. Feed the Animals allows guests to perform private feedings with either a lion or a giraffe. Visitors can also book a 3 or 4-hour training session with the lions.
382 Bruner Ave, Henderson, NV 89044, Phone: 702-595-6666
22.Reno Aces Ballpark (Greater Nevada Field)
© Reno Aces Ballpark (Greater Nevada Field)
Opened in 2009, Reno Aces Ballpark is a minor league baseball venue with an official capacity of 9,100. The ballpark is home field for the Triple-A Reno Aces, a Pacific Coast League team, as well as professional soccer team Reno 1868 football club (FC). The park includes an ice rink and two party zones. The party zones offer picnic tables, 22 luxury skyboxes, a club suite, and two luxury dugout suites.
The upper level of the Freight House District area is open during home games and features four bars and a concert stage. The lower level contains the Arroyo Mexican Grill. Parking is extremely limited, although there is abundant paid parking by the stadium.
250 Evans Avenue Reno, NV 89501, Phone: 775-3340-4700
23.Tonopah Historic Mining Park
© Tonopah Historic Mining Park
Tonopah Historic Mining Park's mission is to preserve the mining heritage of the region and the park covers more than 100 acres, including part of the area worked by four of the original mining companies. The park's buildings are open to visitors and represent the mining buildings of yesteryear. The park also displays mining equipment, video presentations, exhibits, and special events.
The visitors center includes a bookstore. Aside from self-guided tours, visitors can perform a walk down the mine tunnel (Burro Tunnel) during the Underground Adventure. Along with historical reenactments and events such as the Nevada State Mining Championships, which are held onsite, visitors can learn to blacksmith by signing up for introductory classes.
110 Burro Street, Tonopah, NV 89049, Phone: 775-482-9274
24.Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
© Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
At Shark Reef Aquarium, visitors can encounter more than 2,000 aquatic animals through 14 exhibits, including a touch pool and two walkthrough tunnels where they can experience a 360-degree diver's view of underwater life. The exhibits are centered around different habitats – a shipwreck, jungle, temple, and so on.
The shark exhibit contains over 100 sharks from 15 different shark species and shark lovers can also book a 3 to 4-hour Dive with Sharks experience, which includes a dive and tour of the aquarium. Other interactive options include a 1-hour stingray feeding or a 45-minute turtle feeding experience.
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV, Phone: 702-632-4555
25.Westgate Las Vegas
© Westgate Las Vegas
The Westgate's optional concierge lounge service provides guests with daily perks such as a full hot breakfast, snacks, nightly alcoholic beverages and hot finger food as well as free internet, computers, concierge service, and more. The Westgate is a stop on the Las Vegas Monorail, which provides visitors with easy access to the strip.
Other features include a golf course next door at the Las Vegas Country Club, a pool with cabanas and daybeds, a casino, events and entertainment, bars and restaurants, onsite boutiques, a comprehensive business center, and top-rated tennis courts. The Westgate even has an onsite wedding chapel, for those wishing to elope or renew their vows.
3000 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 702-732-5111
25 Best Things to Do in Nevada
- Hoover Dam, Photo: Courtesy of robert cicchetti - Fotolia.com
- The Mob Museum, Photo: The Mob Museum
- Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, Photo: Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
- National Atomic Testing Museum, Photo: National Atomic Testing Museum
- Wayne Newton's Casa de Shenandoah, Photo: Wayne Newton's Casa de Shenandoah
- Wynn Las Vegas Casino, Photo: Courtesy of edan - Fotolia.com
- Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of Isaac Wan - Fotolia.com
- High Roller, Photo: Courtesy of Eric BVD - Fotolia.com
- National Automobile Museum, Photo: National Automobile Museum
- Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Photo: Courtesy of Anja - Fotolia.com
- Eiffel Tower, Paris Las Vegas, Photo: Courtesy of JonRob - Fotolia.com
- Fremont Street Experience, Photo: Fremont Street Experience
- Peppermill Reno, Photo: Peppermill Reno
- Pinball Hall of Fame, Photo: Pinball Hall of Fame
- New York-New York, Photo: Courtesy of Elnur - Fotolia.com
- Stratosphere Tower, Photo: Courtesy of Aneese - Fotolia.com
- The Neon Museum, Photo: The Neon Museum
- Cirque du Soleil, Photo: Cirque du Soleil
- Bellagio Casino, Photo: Courtesy of Thomas SCREVE - Fotolia.com
- The Venetian Casino, Photo: Courtesy of korkorkusung - Fotolia.com
- Lion Habitat Ranch, Photo: Lion Habitat Ranch
- Reno Aces Ballpark (Greater Nevada Field), Photo: Reno Aces Ballpark (Greater Nevada Field)
- Tonopah Historic Mining Park, Photo: Tonopah Historic Mining Park
- Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Photo: Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
- Westgate Las Vegas, Photo: Westgate Las Vegas
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of AK-DigiArt - Fotolia.com
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Located at the Luxor resort and visited by over 25 million people, the 25,000-square-foot Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is the best attended in the world. The exhibition contains more than 250 authentic, haunting artifacts recovered from the Titanic's wreckage, located 2.5 miles below the ocean's surface.
View the whistles used on board, the floor tiles that lay in the first-class smoking room, an unopened bottle of 1900 vintage champagne, luggage, and more. The exhibition also has recreations of the vessel's most famous rooms and features, like the Grand Staircase and the Promenade Deck and even includes a part of the Titanic's hull.
3900 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV 89119, Phone: 702-262-4400