* Las Vegas has a wide variety of destinations other than the 21+ entertainment circuit
* The outskirts of Vegas are home to some of the best nature destinations in the world
* Activities suitable for the whole family just outside the strip
Las Vegas has long been known as the “city of sin,” and has endured as one of the biggest travel destinations for bachelorette parties, gambling and other 21+ entertainment since its rise to popularity in the 1950s.
Full of kitschy hotels, gilded casinos, crowded streets and pulpy glamour, Vegas is often referred to as the “Disneyland for adults.” And while the strip is one of the liveliest places to visit in America, Las Vegas also houses a variety of other surprising destinations — including some pretty sublime outdoor sights and museums for antique and history lovers. Just outside of Las Vegas, there is a whole different world that is a sharp contrast to the neon jungle of the strip.
If you’re looking for a unique vacation experience, consider giving Las Vegas another chance. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Here are 5 unexpected things to do in Sin City.
1. The Neon Museum
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum features an outdoor exhibition space called the “neon boneyard,” composed of a vast collection of neon signs and structural elements from casinos, hotels and other businesses through Vegas’s colorful history. Daytime and nighttime guided tours are available seven days a week. This all-inclusive tour also takes guests to the Las Vegas Mob museum with lunch on Downtown Las Vegas’ famous Fremont Street.
2. Container Park
Container Park is one of downtown Las Vegas’s newest additions. Just seven minutes from the strip, Container Park offers tourists a unique space for dining, shopping and entertainment. The quirky building was constructed using re-purposed shipping containers and Xtreme cubes, making for a visually pleasing experience that’s fun for visitors of all ages. In addition to their vast array of boutique shops and fine dining, Container Park also has an interactive kid’s zone for the youngsters, complete with a tree house, 33-foot-tall slide, NEOS play system and over sized foam building blocks. This guided tour takes you to the dynamic Container Park as well through the famous Fremont Street, known as “casino row” to locals.
3. Lake Mead Dinner Cruise
Lake Mead is one of Nevada’s most under-rated destinations. The stunning national park is located just 30 miles Southeast of Las Vegas, and is home to one of the best views in Nevada. This package provides transportation to and from hotels on the strip in an air-conditioned coach bus. Once you arrive, you’ll board the luxurious Desert Princess — a Mississippi-style paddle-wheel boat — and begin the night with sunset cocktails overlooking the breathtaking view of the desert and glowing lake. As you make your way through the calm waters of Lake Mead, you’ll pass famous sights including the Hoover Dam and the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. An upscale dining experience to be remembered, menu items include Grilled Garlic & Herb Chicken Breast and Sirloin Steak.
4. Red Rocks Canyon
Located just 15 miles west of Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a stunning must-see destination for nature-loving tourists who want to escape the city’s “neon jungle.” The sublime landscape is home to the Keystone Thrust, The Wilson Cliffs, and of course, the red-hued rock formation that it was named after. Red Rocks Canyon is one of the biggest and most-loved rock climbing and hiking destinations in the world, making it a great destination for those who love outdoor adventures and fitness. This half-day guided tour offers all the best spots for sight-seeing and photo-ops including touring the petroglyphs at Willow Springs and the fossilized sand dunes of Calico Hills.
5. Dig This Theme Park
One of the newest additions to the Vegas entertainment circuit, Dig This is an “adult-sized theme park,” which allows visitors (after a brief training session, of course) to dig through dirt using actual tractors and bulldozers to excavate acres of “prime” Vegas real estate. The theme park offers multiple packages including a “Skid Steer Loader Experience,” for children and teens, and an “Aggression Session,” which will allow you to demolish a car and spray paint graffiti over areas in the premise. This one-a-kind experience is one adrenaline junkies will not want to miss.
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