January 1, 2022

Fun Things To Do In Las Vegas This Weekend In & Around Sin City

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Shad Khan Zaman

Fun Things To Do In Las Vegas This Weekend In & Around Sin City

Exciting Things to Do in Las Vegas - In and Around Sin City

Las Vegas never sleeps. Sounds constantly surround the casinos - the whirring and beeping of spinning slots, the jangling and jingling of coins falling, shouts of triumph, cries of despair, curses, loud music. People crowd the sidewalks, moving in and out of the buildings through doors that are usually open.

Along the section of Las Vegas Boulevard in the unincorporated area called Paradise, there is constant motion. This is the Las Vegas Strip where the majority of hotels and casinos are concentrated. This is the heart of Sin City and this heartbeats to a wild rhythm twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year.

Everyone knows about the casinos - poker, slot machines, blackjack. But they aren't just gambling. Most of them are associated with hotels, frequently with good rates for rooms. They're known for their lavish buffets and high-end restaurants.

Retailers offer New York and Paris fashions, diamonds, emeralds, and every type of jewelry, as well as the full scale of tourist souvenirs. Entertainment is a big draw. Las Vegas shows bring in famous performers: singers, comedians, magicians, actors, bands, even sports teams.

The Strip is 4.2 miles of excitement, entertainment, and adventure. There's more to the Strip than just slots, blackjack, and poker. You can travel around the world in those four miles.

Displays on the street, such as the volcano at the Mirage and the fountains at the Bellagio are free, but admission tickets are required for rides and exhibitions. Look for tickets online. They're often cheaper. And there are lots of discounts and deals, especially for military personnel, retired and active duty, seniors, and kids.

What Can You Do for Fun in Las Vegas?

Fremont Street

Fremont Street is a couple of blocks off the infamous Las Vegas Strip, but it has a reputation all of its own. This is an after-dark experience. The lights! The lights have to be seen to be believed. It's a neon experience with brilliant colors everywhere. Surrounded by every hue imaginable, you will find everything from good food to live music to thrills. Yes, thrills.

  • The light show is free, featuring the biggest video screen in the world, 1375 feet long and 90 feet wide with 49.3 million LED lamps. The screen hangs 90 feet above the street. Music by classic and modern bands accompanies the show. Shows start at 6 PM and run on the hour through 1 AM.
  • When it comes to food, you can have anything. Top-end restaurants offer specialties such as sizzling steaks, barbecue, Mexican or Italian or Asian or Mediterranean cuisine, sushi, even chili dogs. You won't go hungry here.
  • Besides the fantastic hotels and casinos, Fremont Street offers events throughout the year. Live concerts, special events, and live entertainment fill the calendar with holiday events at the end of the year.
  • And then there's SlotZilla. There are two unique ziplines. The Zipline takes you down from seven stories flying seated under the video screen for two blocks. The Zoomline drops you eleven stories to fly through the air like Superman with lights flashing and swirling about you for five blocks. The Zipline is $29, the Zoomline is $49. What a way to experience the light show!
  • After your heart gets back to normal, you might want to check out the Neon Museum. Here you'll find the Neon Boneyard where old (and sometimes famous) neon signs retire. There are many signs from gone but still remembered, hotels and casinos.
  • Then there's the Mob Museum. The official name is the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. This is the real thing. There are artifacts and exhibits, some of which are interactive. You can see the actual wall from the service station where seven of Bugsy Moran's boys were lined up and shot during the Valentine's Day Massacre. Al Capone was suspected of being the perpetrator but never brought to trial.
  • There's a big piece of the Berlin Wall in the men's bathroom at Main Street Station, a hotel and casino known for its antiques.
  • The Shark Tank at the Golden Nugget holds 200,000 gallons of water and a lot of sharks. A huge water slide drops you three stories, then shoots you through the shark tank in a clear plastic tube and casts you off into a pool that is separated from the sharks only by a clear plastic wall. Non-guests can use the water slide for a fee.
  • You can have your photo taken for free with a million dollars. The display is inside Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel. It is one million dollars.
  • And don't forget to stop at the California Hotel and Casino to rub the belly of the Happy Buddha for luck.

Heading back to the Strip, you'll find adventure waiting. Most of the big casinos have a theme and the themes are lavish. You'll find the Grand Canal, the Eiffel Tower, an erupting volcano, and more along this fabled street. Remember you don't have to walk the whole four miles. The Las Vegas Monorail will whisk you to and fro, wherever you want to go.

Here are a few of the highlights of the Las Vegas Strip.

1. Start with the Strat Hotel & Casino. The Skypod sits on top of the tallest freestanding observation tower in the USA.

  • The 1149 foot high tower has a view that will be worth seeing more than once. You need to see this both in the daylight and at night. The photo ops are amazing. The admission price is $25 per person. You should consider having dinner in the revolving Top of the World restaurant for a unique dining experience.
  • Besides the incredible view, the Strat has exhilarating rides that will make your heart pound. A ride appropriately named Insanity introduces riders to the joys of three gravities while dangling from a huge mechanical arm that juts out 64 feet from the edge of the Skypod. The ride spins you wildly 900 feet above the earth.
  • You can shoot 160 feet straight up at 45 mph on the Big Shot. It will also drop you just as fast. Then it does it again. And again. The 160 feet are along the Tower's mast from 921 feet to 1081 feet. The view is spectacular if you can concentrate enough to see it.
  • The X-Scream is a roller coaster 866 feet up in the air. It comes to a lurching stop just at the edge of nothing. It takes you over the edge and leaves you dangling in the air for a long moment.
  • The biggest thrill of all is the Sky Jump. You can jump from 829 feet in the air and land far, far below. This is not a bungee jump. This is a decelerator descent, something like a zip line. You are connected to the decelerator by cables. As you approach the ground, the machine slows you so that you land safely on the landing pad. The jump costs $130. The photo package costs $135. The wrist video package will cost you $155, but that's a video you'll treasure. You have to be at least fourteen years old and 52" tall. In addition, you cannot weigh more than 265 pounds. Children between the ages of 14 and 18 must have their parents' permission to jump. 

2. Venice and gondolas! The Grand Canal awaits. The Venetian Casino and Hotel has replicated part of the beauty that is Venice (and without the purported odors of the real Venice at low tide). The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian is a huge mall with multiple canals wandering through.

  • Pedestrians cross-bridges while gondoliers pole their decorative boats along the quarter-mile length of the Grand Canal and into the side canals. The gondola rides are $29 per person and the gondola seats four people. If you want a ride for just the two of you, you'll have to pay the four-person price, $116, tip not included, for a private jaunt. The outing is highly recommended.
  • Street performers, stilt walkers, singers, and living statues entertain the shoppers along the walks.
  • Over 160 shops line the waterways along with fine eateries. This is a shopping experience you'll never forget.
  • While you're at the Venetian, you might want to take in the other delights. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the TAO Nightclub will keep you entertained and nothing will relax you like the Canyon Ranch Spa. Ten pools are available for swimming. The Venetian offers shows that specialize in comedy and drama.

3. Across the Strip from the Venetian is the Mirage Casino and Hotel with one of the best free shows in town.

  • Every evening at 8 PM and again at 9 PM, you can watch a volcano erupt at the Polynesian-themed Mirage. The ground moves under your feet as the volcano comes to life, spitting fire into the night sky. The sounds of classic rock enhance the performance. And there's no charge to watch the show. Don't miss it.
  • After the volcano goes dormant again, you can check out the 20,000-gallon aquarium at the Mirage. And don't miss Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. For a fee, you can try your hand at training the friendly dolphins. If you've ever wanted to play with dolphins, this is your chance. You will love the experience.

4. Another free visual delight is the dancing fountains show at the Bellagio.

  • This gorgeous water display has been the background in movie scenes for years. You can see the water dance every 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Also at The Bellagio is the world-renowned Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Exhibits are changed frequently. Artists, such as Rembrandt, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Picasso are on display. Tickets cost $18, although many discounts are available.
  • The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are beyond beautiful. With the combination of lights and brilliantly hued flowers, they are breathtaking. They are changed five times a year to reflect the seasons. The Gardens are in the lobby of the hotel and the exquisite display is free. Don't pass it by.

5. The MGM Grand Casino Resort is all about entertainment. 

  • They have a variety of nightclubs with live music or comedy. One club brings in celebrity DJs to spin into the wee hours of the morning.
  • The Wet Republic Ultra Pool offers a lot more than just swimming on a hot day - or night. Parties ebb and flow around the pool constantly. Join in. Swim-up bars, music, dancing, and party cabanas make the scene perfect for fun and relaxation.
  • For golf lovers, the hotel offers a unique venue. Top Golf is like no other driving range. There are targets to aim at. Compete with your friends. You have stunning views of the Strip, along with good food and drinks. Party on.

6. You've been to Venice. Why not visit Paris? It's just down the boulevard. The Paris Las Vegas Hotel has brought the best of the City of Love to Las Vegas.

  • The most prominent feature is the half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower. Standing 540 feet or 46 stories high, the vista from the viewing deck is incredible. At night, light shows start every half hour, giving the Tower a dazzling fairy mystique. You can arrange for special occasions to be celebrated there. You can even be married on top of the Eiffel Tower. Tickets cost $22.
  • In addition to Paris' most notable icon, the hotel has also reproduced the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Hotel de Ville, and the Paris Opera House.
  • There are many themed nightclubs and the casino, as well as spas for relaxation.
  • The Soleil Las Vegas Pool covers an incredible two acres on the rooftop, set in a lovely garden. Cabanas are available for rental, with excellent food and drinks and servers who come to you as you lounge in the sunlight.

7. Another wonderful city lies not far from Paris Las Vegas. You can't miss it. The iconic skyline has been reproduced with the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty, front and center.

  • The big draw at New York-New York is the heart-stopping Big Apple Roller Coaster. You can scream your way through the reproduced New York City at 67 mph, experience a 180-degree twist and dive maneuver, and then - wait for it - drop 203 feet like a rock. As long as you are 54" or taller. Rides start at less than $20.
  • Like its namesake, this hotel/casino provides plenty of entertainment in the form of shows, pools, spas, and fantastic restaurants. Don't miss the NY-style Pizzeria.
  • The Chocolate Bar lives up to its name with the chocolate Martini getting rave reviews.
  • Speaking of chocolate, stop by Hershey's Chocolate World.
  • Stupidiotic (try saying that out loud) is a store that sells all things - you guessed it - idiotic. Some are great gifts. A few are useful. Most are funny.
  • The T Mobile Arena is associated with New York-New York and offers concerts, sports events, live entertainment of all sorts.

8. Another city, another time. Caesars Palace is one of the oldest casinos, built-in 1966. The Roman Empire theme is reflected in the huge statues like the twenty-foot statue of Augustus Caesar at the entrance.

9. If you want activity more thrilling than golf, there are two more zip lines besides Slotzilla.

  • The first is the Voodoo Zipline at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, which is just off the Strip on Flamingo Road. You start high atop the Rio's Masquerade Tower at the Voodoo Lounge. You're 50 stories above the Strip here. Two of you go together, seated, and soar down 800 feet to the top of the Ipanema Tower. But you don't get off there. Back you go, up, up to the Voodoo Lounge again. The 1 minute and 10-second ride cover about 1/3 of a mile for a little less than $30 in the daylight and a little more than $40 at night. Save your ticket and you can get into the Voodoo Lounge for free (if you're over 21).

10. Then head on over to the Linq Hotel and Casino for more excitement.

  • Start with the High Roller. Standing 550 feet above the Strip, the Observation Wheel is the world's tallest Ferris wheel. With twenty-eight private cabins, you can experience spectacular views in isolation from the rest of the world as the wheel turns slowly through its cycle. Or you can have a party with a bar and bartender. Half an hour later you will return to the earth. Oh, and by the way, you can get married on the High Roller for an unforgettable wedding in the sky. High Roller tickets start around $20 for adults during the day, over $30 after dark.
  • The Linq Promenade offers lots of other attractions, as well as shopping and restaurants.
  • The other big draw is the Fly Linq Zipline. This adventure starts at the top of the 114 foot (14 stories high) launch tower and sends you at 35 mph straight into the heart of the High Roller. Fly seated forwards or backward or fly like Superman. An adrenaline rush for less than $25. You have to weigh between 60 and 300 pounds to qualify though.

11. If you have time, Excalibur Hotel & Casino is another themed hotel with a casino that has a photogenic theme. The castle is delightful. Their Fantasy Fair offers magic rides and carnival-style games, great for kids.

12. Right next door is Luxor Hotel & Casino, a huge pyramid, dark against the sunset with the Sphinx beside it. While you're at the Luxor, stop by to see the internationally acclaimed Blue Man Group.

13. Purple Reign, The Prince Tribute Show is at the Tropicana Las Vegas Casino & Hotel. This presentation of Prince's songs has been critically acclaimed. Prince fans love it, rate it as the best show on the Strip.

14. Speaking of shows, from comedy at Carrot Top to a girl's night out at Australia's Thunder from Down Under, to a boy's night out at Fantasy, to the tribute artist show, Legends in Concert, the entertainment is fantastic. Don't forget the Jabbawockeez.

15. Finally, Cirque du Soleil doesn't just put on shows, they put on experiences. In Las Vegas, the incomparable Cirque du Soleil presents six different, extravagant spectacles at six different venues.

  • At the MGM Grand, "KA" explores the beauty and horror of battle in a wild tour de force that will leave you shaking.
  • At Mandalay Bay, the brilliant performers present one of the greatest tribute shows ever - "Michael Jackson ONE", drawing you into the world of Michael's music with song, dance, and acrobatics.
  • Adding the element of water, "O" by Cirque du Soleil is an aquatic display, an accolade to theatre and theatrical romance at the Bellagio.
  • A testimonial to the Fab Four, "The Beatles LOVE", is performed at the Mirage, brilliantly portraying the magic that was the Beatles.
  • At Treasure Island, Cirque du Soleil shows its humorous side with absurdity, goofy gags, and wild acrobatics by their superlative artists in “Mystere”.

You must see at least one of these spectacles. You will never forget the performance. Tickets start at $99.

16. That's not everything on the Las Vegas Strip, not by a long shot. There's a lot more to see and do. The Titanic Artifact Exhibition at the Luxor Hotel & Casino affords glimpses into the past and the lives of the passengers on the doomed ship. This exhibit has gathered many items from the wreckage of the Titanic, such as luggage, an unopened bottle of champagne, floor tiles, and a piece of the hull.

The list goes on and on. See our list of Free Things To Do In Las Vegas Here.

But there's more to Vegas than the Strip and Fremont Street.

‍Venture out from the area of the Strip and see what you will find.

1. Wet'n'Wild Las Vegas is an exciting water park with twelve attractions. The thrill levels range from mild (for little ones) to max (heart-stopping). General admission tickets are $35 for the whole day, $20 if you enter after 4 PM. There are many discounts and deals available.

In the mild category, appropriate for families and kids:

  • Kiddie Cove is perfect for introducing little ones to the water. There are three slides, one of which is a group slide so the child won't feel all alone.
  • Paradise Falls is great for families to play together with eleven slides, geysers, spray guns, and a huge bucket that drops water on kids and parents alike.
  • The Lazy River circles the park. In the Colorado Cooler, youtube down the river, lazing back, catching some rays. This is appropriate for children four and over with supervision.
  • Zipp Zapp Zoom is a 300-foot water slide. The multi-person rafts allow parents to enjoy the thrills with their children as they careen through turns and twists along the way.

The moderate class, stepping up the wildness factor a little:

  • Red Rock Bay is a wave pool with four-foot swells for body surfing or riding in a tube. Children must wear life jackets and be supervised.
  • Royal Flush Extreme sends riders through a covered tube down to a circular bowl that whirls them around and around until they are "flushed" down into the pool below them. The total drop is four stories.
  • A 57-foot drop is the first part of the Hoover Half-Pipe, followed by an ascent up a vertical wall and then down, down again.

Thrills max is a class by itself.

  • Twisting and turning in a four-person raft, you drop more than 360 feet, four stories, as the Rattler shakes and rattles in two sections.
  • Sliding on a racing mat at more than 20 feet per second, the Desert Racers will drop you from a tower six stories high. Six lanes allow for races. Gather your friends and see who wins.
  • Another six-story tower at the Canyon Cliffs shoots you down almost vertically. This one reaches speeds up to 33 feet per second. No one with heart conditions allowed.
  • The Constrictor is a water slide with narrower curves that puts you through corkscrew turns as it drops you four stories.
  • From six stories up, a four-person raft shoots through a 110-foot tunnel into a huge funnel that spins you up and down the walls of the Tornado before finally letting you drop into the pool.

2. Only a few blocks away from the Strip is Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum. This 11,000 square foot house with more than 30 rooms was built by a successful businessman with a tragic life. Rumors of ghosts and inimical spirits roaming the halls, as well as tales of evil rituals in the past, are the basis for the house's reputation.

Zak Bagans is the host of the Travel Channel's series "Ghost Adventures". A myriad of strange items resides in the museum, many with rather bad reputations. Children under the age of 16 are not permitted to enter the museum. Tickets cost $48 for general admission with an extended tour ticket (The RIP-All Access) costing $79. There are some discounts.

3. On the first Friday of every month the streets of downtown are lined with art. Called First Friday Las Vegas, the art festival is free. Besides visual art, paintings, sculpture, you will find music, dance, and food. Lots of food. If you're in Vegas on the first Friday of the month, check it out. You may go home with an incredible sculpture or painting.

4. For an experience that you'll never forget, or as a gift for someone who's always yearned for a Porsche, check out Exotics Racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. You can drive an exotic car of your choice. From a Mustang to a Ferrari, from a Corvette to a McLaren, you can drive the car of your dreams.

The racetrack is 1.2 miles long with seven turns and a long straight-a-way to push the car to the max. There are five-lap, seven-lap, nine-lap deals, starting at over $200 and going up from there. You drive with a professional race driver in the passenger seat.

You can also spend a full day with a professional instructor, who will tune your driving skills way up for slightly less than $2000.

Pricey, but what a rush. And for that special person who always wanted to drive a Lamborghini, well, what a wild gift idea!

5. Dig This Vegas. If your yearnings are for bigger machines, you can spend an afternoon driving a bulldozer or an excavator. For about $270 at Dig This, you can take the controls of a huge bulldozer, after a safety and orientation session. With a pro beside you for guidance, you get to play in the biggest sandbox of your life.

There are dozens of other exciting things to do in Las Vegas. Another adventure just a few blocks away from the casinos is Vegas Indoor Skydiving, where you and your family can learn to fly like Peter Pan. But if you want to get out of the city, you'll find a completely different world.

Things to Do Near Las Vegas

1. The Grand Canyon is a few hours away by car, about three hours to the west side, five hours to the South Rim. There is nothing like this place of rock and color, twisting canyons and terrifying depths, this place of majesty, in the entire world. Take the time. You must see the Grand Canyon.

  • If you want the tour of a lifetime, fixed-wing airplane and helicopter tours are available. Imagine flying over all that grandeur.
  • Even more exciting, rafting the Colorado River through the Canyon brings you up close and personal with the magnificent walls of rock and the river.

2. If there's not enough time for the Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon is only 17 miles from Las Vegas. You can view the brilliant red cliffs from an SUV while a guide tells you about the history. Spend some time hiking up the canyons - exercise and beauty combined.

3. A little-known, but out-of-this-world experience, is the Valley of Fire State Park. Only 50 miles northeast of Vegas, this land of towering rock and zigzag canyons is the perfect place to spend a day hiking. Atlatl Rock is a huge boulder balanced on a pinnacle. Rainbow Vista overlooks multi-colored sandstone cliffs. You'll see petroglyphs, ancient pictures drawn on rocks centuries ago. The scenery is unbelievable. Drive yourself or take a tour. It's worth it.

4. Hoover Dam is one of the world's engineering wonders. Standing 726 feet high and 1244 feet wide, it blocks Black Canyon, creating Lake Mead, the country's biggest reservoir.

  • The Hoover Dam is only about a 30-minute drive from Las Vegas, easy to get to.
  • The Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is another engineering feat. It spans the Colorado River just below the Hoover Dam. Driving across is a thrill by itself. You can park on the Arizona side for free. It costs $10 to park in Nevada.
  • You can take a bus-helicopter tour of the dam and Lake Mead. The views are marvelous.
  • Or you can take a bus-cruise tour. Get off the bus and step onto a cruise boat for a tour of Lake Mead.
  • And for the engineers and the curious, there are tours of the inside of Hoover Dam. See the hydroelectric generators and travel deep into the body of the dam itself.

5. Spend a morning with your family on a journey to El Dorado Canyon to explore the old gold mine, pan for gold, and ride an ATV through the desert. The tour takes five hours. The scenery is spectacular. You have to be 16 years old at least and have a driver's license to drive an ATV.

Children under six are not allowed on the tour. But for older kids, this is paradise. They get to run around, play in the water, and ride on an ATV. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing and closed-toed shoes or boots. The tour costs $199 per person and is worth it.

6. The last day or two of a vacation is often a letdown. You think you've done everything, so you spend the evening packing. But there's more.

  • Spend your last evening in Vegas by taking a helicopter tour of Las Vegas. See the incredible light show that is the Strip from the air. What a way to end your last night in Vegas. They'll give you the traditional champagne toast at the end of the tour. The tour costs $84 per person. And you will remember it forever.
  • And on your last day, top off the trip with a hot air balloon ride. Spend an hour riding the breeze high above the Strip and then out to the Red Rock Canyon area, the Pahrump Mountains, and the desert. You will spend between five and six hours on the trip, about one hour in the air, depending on the weather. Children under age six are not permitted. The trip costs around $200 per person (discounts for children). And you get the champagne toast at the end. This is an adventure you must have before you leave. Say goodbye to Vegas from the air.

Las Vegas is like no other place in the world. It is a land of slightly tawdry magic and glitz. Yet it is beautiful, even dazzling. And there is fun to be had here. Fun, adventures, thrills. From Slotzilla to hot air balloon rides, the High Roller to the Haunted Museum, Red Rock Canyon to the Grand Canyon, the days and nights you spend in Vegas may be the best vacation you ever had.

See our list of Things To Do In Las Vegas With Kids & Families Here

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