Vegas, baby! The shining city in the desert that’s got more catchphrases associated with it than a sitcom star (“America’s playground,” “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” and so on). And its most famous draw is gambling. From high stakes poker rooms to nickel slots, everyone thinks of casinos and betting as the only reason to visit Las Vegas. But even if you don’t want to risk your hard-earned cash in games of chance, there’s still plenty of fun and awesome stuff to do there.
Catch a Show
There’s nothing like a Vegas show. What started as a side industry to keep high rollers around between betting jags has turned the town into arguably the capital of live entertainment. Highlights include: Cirque Du Soleil’s numerous dazzling performances, pop music legends working in resident (Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, and more), decamped Broadway musicals (like Jersey Boys and Rock of Ages), magicians (Penn & Teller, David Copperfield)…oh, and the always entertaining Blue Man Group.
Get Something to Eat
Despite its past as home to all-you-can-buffets of questionable shellfish, Las Vegas is now a foodie’s paradise. You can nosh at upscale eateries founded by famous chefs, like Wolfgang Puck’s Spago and André Rochat’s André’s, grab a bite in an atmosphere that ranges from the awe-inspiring (Top of the World) to the intimate (Omae), or just chow down on delicious barbeque at Rollin Smoke or sublime soul food at M&M Cafe.
Check Out Some Wild Animals
Yeah, yeah — it’s the middle of the desert, so the local nature isn’t exactly lush. Luckily, plenty of Las Vegas residents have brought in some exotic animals for you to see. It can be as easy as swinging by the famed Flamingo Casino’s wildlife habitat (can you guess which pink bird it features?) or the Mirage’s Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat (where you can actually sign up to be a dolphin trainer for a day). The Mandalay Bay even has an aquarium where you can feed some of the animals, and — if you’re already a certified diver — swim with the sharks.
See the Sights of Las Vegas
Shocker: A city that’s constantly filled with tourists actually has some cool destinations that you can tour. Just a few ideas: There’s the Mob Museum, the Atomic Testing Museum, and even do day trips to see the Hoover Dam and/or Grand Canyon.
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Do Something Crazy (But Not THAT Crazy)
While there are plenty of debaucheries to partake in “Sin City,” there are also a lot of fun and outrageous (yet perfectly legal and respectable) activities to try as well. You can drive a racecar on a track, play around with heavy-duty construction equipment like bulldozers and excavators, or fall down in the highest controlled free-fall in the world.
Think we missed an awesome non-gambling Las Vegas attraction or activity? Let us know in the comments!