Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Sammie
The Best Non Gambling Things to do in Vegas
This list first started out as 9 Non Gambling Things to Do in Vegas. How cute. Then it went to 17 and then to whatever number we ended up with today. There is a lot more to do in this city besides throw it on some tables. Hold on to your knickers ladies and gents because we are about to get crazy. From eating backstage during a circus show to taking a simulated flight to Iceland, there’s so much to do and so little time!!
Since moving here on and off to support myself in the circus world I’ve come to see Vegas in a new light. It was never a hot spot of a place I wanted to live but seeing as this is the entertainment capital of the USA, I gotta make it work while I’m here. And I’m slowly finding more and more things to do that do not involve any casinos whatsoever. *Prayer hands*
But first, we have an important question to answer…
Do we want to stay On the Strip?
Or Maybe take this little party Off the Strip?
I hate making decisions. You decide. I just can’t.
Non Gambling Things to do ON THE STRIP
We’ve got your shows, we’ve got your tours, we’ve got your activities. Now you may have heard of this little company called Cirque Du Soleil. Love it, awesome, but there are SOO many more shows!! Below I’ve listed a few of my favorites. I’ve also included some amazing tours, foodie things, and activities that will keep you entertained until the cows come home.
THERE ARE ALWAYS SHOWS…
Probably one of my favorite shows on the strip. It’s sexy and funny and the acts are always impressive. Think burlesque mixed with high-end circus, muddled together with some fabulously raunchy humor. It’s been dubbed “The number 1 show in Vegas” and even if you’ve seen it once, it’s worth another check because the acts are constantly changing. Every time I have a friend or family member come to town, this is the show I take them to. Make sure to buy seats further from the stage if audience participation gives you pit sweats.
2. Eat Dinner Backstage at OPIUM
Word of caution: Spaceship lighting is not the easiest for taking photos.
Recently I went to watch some friends premier on the OPIUM stage and decided to grab a drink at their restaurant/bar, Superfrico, beforehand. We were seated in the “backstage” area and I learned that this area is open to the public during OPIUM, a space-themed Spiegelworld show. You’ll get to see the magic of quick changes before the performers run on stage and witness the contortionists warm up their absurdly flexible backs before amazing the crowd. It’s a very unique experience to take part in Vegas.
WHAT TO DO: You’ll want to reserve a table backstage at the restaurant Superfrico, just make sure it’s during the hours of the show, OPIUM. Superfrico is the sister restaurant to OPIUM.
3. Cirque Du Soleil
Took this photo at “O” right after auditioning for this act!
Definitely a classic thing to do in Vegas. Even if you have seen a Cirque show before, I love seeing them multiple times because you’ll always notice something new. And if you’ve never seen a cirque show before, I highly suggest the classic that is “O”. The water show is darn right impressive. Its costuming is gorgeous, the music is beautiful, not to mention the immense amount of talent that is on that stage. Another amazing show is the martial arts-inspired stunt show, “KÀ”. You won’t see another show like it, guaranteed. I’ve seen a lot of shows, and that theatre blows me away. I also love the show “LOVE!” It’s impossible to leave that show in a bad mood.
UP YOUR KNOWLEDGE AT A MUSEUM
4. Titanic Exhibit
An impressive exhibit that feels like it comes out of nowhere located in the Luxor Hotel. Featuring over 250 recovered artifacts from the Titanic. You’ll be able to see the main staircase, the deck, recovered wallets from passengers, and recreated staterooms. At first glance, the entrance doesn’t hint at how large the exhibit is but expect to spend at least an hour or two inside exploring the corridors and reading fallen passengers’ biographies. It’s a chance to take a trip to another era and truly appreciate the severity of this shipwreck. I do warn you that it can be a bit heavy for some but I promise it is worth it to check it out on your next visit to Vegas.
5. Pinball Hall of Fame
Took this photo at “O” right after auditioning for this act!
Such wholesome fun! The Pinball Hall of Fame is exactly how it sounds, a giant collection of pinball machines from the 1950s to the 1990s. And the best part of it all?? You get to play the games! With the earlier models set to reflect earlier gaming prices at just 25 centers and new models from the 90s set to 50 cents. It’s a non-profit organization meaning that any excess profit from funds will go to non-denominational charities. It’s over 25,000 square feet of family fun, all the pinball machines are restored like new, and the building even comes with windows so you’ll know what time of day it is. A very impressive feature here in Vegas.
PARTAKE IN SOME NON GAMBLING ACTIVITIES
6. Biggest Ferris Wheel in the USA
You’ll have to go to Dubai if you want to see the biggest one in the world. But the next best thing is in good ole Las Vegas. The High Roller is an amazing way to witness the surrounding beauty of the city. Vegas sits happily in a valley. Checking out the views from the biggest Ferris wheel in the USA gives you a whole new appreciation with a bird’s eye view of the city and surrounding desert and mountains. And for those of us who want a cocktail to enjoy the views with, The High Roller offers 25-person cabins with a full bar and bartender included.
7. Mermaid School
I wish I could’ve been a mermaid! Give the chance of a lifetime to your child or experience the magic yourself by enrolling in Mermaid school. The experience is 90 minutes long and includes swimming in an aquarium with tropical fish alongside a famed Silverton Mermaid herself! Though the price isn’t cheap at $125, it does include all of the equipment as well as a photo-op for the mermaid in training. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium and learn about the sea life within. It is suggested to be a strong swimmer. I guess if it were easy all of us would be mermaids.
8. Blackout Dining in the Dark
An exquisite sense-provoking night out, except for your sense of sight of course. Feast your palate on a multi-course meal in complete darkness. The highly trained staff in night goggles will escort you to your table and guide you through each course as it comes to your table. There is the option to add international wines and cocktails to pair to complete the experience. When you finish feasting, your server will guide you back to the light to reveal the components of the dishes you previously consumed. What a thrill! Have you ever watched those challenges on Top Chef where they blindfold the contestants and feed them peanut butter and they think it’s fish paste? I imagine this might have similar vibes but way more delicious.
9. Take a Simulated Flight to Iceland
At Flyover Las Vegas you’ll have the opportunity to experience a land much further than the strip. Using atmospheric light, sounds, and smells; from the moment you enter Flyover you’ll forget where you came from. By means of using the smells of nature, mist and wind, motion seats, and a huge wraparound screen you’ll get a little trip within your trip to Vegas with this experience. With their state-of-the-art technology, you’ll feel thousands of feet in the air soaring through either Iceland, the Wild West, or the Canadian Rockies. But if these locations don’t excite your senses, check back often because they change the “viewing” from time to time.
10. Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
If you’re looking to hit up a handful of iconic Las Vegas landmarks, Big Bus Tours Las Vegas has your back. They offer daytime and nighttime tours with knowledgeable guides that will fill you in on the history of Vegas and what’s to come for this constantly changing city. There are 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day passes depending on what suits your schedule the best. The whole tour is about 2 hours but you can “hop on” or “hop off” at any destination. It’s a classic way of seeing the city it’s hard to go wrong.
11. Adventuredome at Circus Circus
Anyone fancy a 5-acre amusement park? Oh, you didn’t notice it on the strip? That’s probably because it’s INSIDE at Circus Circus. An amazing idea for those painfully hot summer days in Vegas when you need to kill some time before your dinner reservations. Make sure you check out if your hotel offers a deal to save some dollars before arriving. Regular prices start at $30 for a Junior pass (under 48”) and $60 dollars for Regular Pass (over 48”). Wait times for lines can depend on the season you come. Winter seems to be one of the best times to experience Adventuredome because the lines are shorter and the crowds are much smaller.
12. Take the ULTIMATE Vegas Food Tour
Original Foodie Tours of Las Vegas are going to give you savory and sweet bites while also giving you the chance to do some sightseeing only the locals would know about. The guides are very knowledgeable as well as entertaining (which is a requirement in my opinion) and are more than willing to give you personalized recommendations for future sightseeing and dining in Vegas. The tour of the strip is wonderful but the food combination is what people rave about. You’ll get to sample the best from local eateries, specialized food carts, as well as fine dining. And it’s Vegas, so of course there is an option to add cocktails.
13. Go See Adele
Ugh. This concert was just so wonderful.
The ticket prices are the definition of insanity but the show will be a lasting memory for a VERY long time. She is seriously incredible and the show is so intimate it feels like you’re sitting with her at a very large piano bar. I am not a huge concert person, to be honest but this was my vibe. It was the perfect combination of screaming at the top of my lungs, sitting down and sipping a nice red, and shaking my booty. Pure perfection. Ugh. So great. Okay, rant over. This concert has all the votes from me and anyone else who has seen it.
14. Check Out the Bellagio Botanical Garden
Another iconic non gambling activity to do in Vegas. The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden is a feast for the eyes. Towering seasonal displays of plants, trees, mystical sounds, and decor envelop you in a magically transformed 14,000 square foot space. This place has over 120 gardeners. Once you visit, you’ll understand why. It’s one of my favorite places to walk through on the strip and one of my first memories of Vegas as a child. Every changing season brings a changing showcase that bursts into life through the power of props, beds of flowers, and natural elements. I highly suggest grabbing a coffee and taking some time to wander around the Garden while in Vegas.
15. Watch Some Medieval Jousting at Tournament of Kings
Photo courtesy of Fox5 Vegas “Tournament of Kings” at Excalibur(Erik Kabik via MGM Resorts International))
Huzzah! The ultimate dinner show experience in Vegas! The food is okay, the show is entertaining, and for some reason the combination of the two keeps the people comin’ and comin’ back for more. Tournament of Kings is based on the tale of King Arthur and takes place in a 900-seat arena. It’s basically the Medieval Times of Vegas. It’s a cute night out that many absolutely LOVE. Kids will definitely appreciate the spectacle and if you’re an adult who’s willing to get into the corniness of it all you will enjoy yourself. Cheer on your section with pride but don’t expect Ireland to win much…
Non Gambling Things to do OFF THE STRIP
There are these weird people in Vegas called locals. And we locals don’t live in the hotels and spend our off days roaming casinos (well most of us). These activities are certified by these odd folk.
16. Lost Spirits Distillery
My friend and I, on the hunt for a job. Going to shows is homework for us!
I’ve only recently been here and am shocked I didn’t hear about it sooner. It’s a very unique experience off the strip. Located in a distillery (shocking), when you enter you will receive a punch card to try 4 different rums. The “theatre” is a combination of vintage circus and vaudeville decor that is set in a maze-like atmosphere. The idea is to get “lost” and find your way to different acts and shows that are constantly going on. So if you come once and want to come again you will never see the same show twice. I love the concept of the show and find it very different from anything you can find on the strip. And if you like rum, this place’s free samples will knock your socks off. Boy oh boy, I think it killed any and all germs taking refuge in my body.
17. First Friday
“The Future is Here” by Cameron Grant. Photo found on Flickr HERE
This was a fun find that was only revealed to me once I moved to Vegas. It’s a free community festival that is put on in the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas every first Friday of the month starting at 5 pm. The festival features locals in every way; from live music to food, artisans, and makers of all things. You can spend hours perusing local products and goodies. It’s a really good time and the booths and bands change out often so every time is a fun new experience. If you happen to catch it while in town, enjoy spending the afternoon with the locals of Vegas.
18. Arts Districts
Without a doubt, this is my favorite neighborhood in Vegas and was the first place I visited that made me think, “okay, I could live here.” It’s eclectic and fun and you really feel the artsy vibe. There are fun breweries (which I’ll mention more about below), amazing restaurants, vintage clothing stores, art stores, I can easily keep going. It’s completely different than anything you’ll find on the strip which makes it a fun place to visit for those who have visited Vegas a few times. Definitely an option for someone looking for something a bit more out of the ordinary.
19. Fremont Street
Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street is an experience worth having. I was taken here by a local friend before I was living here myself and I loved it. It’s like a little quirky Vegas world tucked away from Vegas. There is live entertainment, street dancers, shows, and of course lots of bars and restaurants. Make sure you look up to watch the zipliners soaring above you while you wander. And check out the adult playground, Gold Spike. You’ll be in gaming heaven with beer pong, GIANT legos, cornhole, and ridiculous eats such as grilled rainbow cheese. I wish I could explain it better but it’s rainbow cheese…made into grilled cheese. It’s Vegas baby, we get wild.
20. Neon Boulevard/Neon Museum
About a 15 minutes walk from Freemont Street, come explore the most interesting “junkyard” in the world. You won’t find something like this anywhere else, that’s for sure. The Neon Museum, previously known as the Neon Boulevard, is a fenced-in yard that started as a storage site for retired or displaced neon signs from iconic casinos and businesses. They are displayed outside on just over 2.5 acres of land. It’s a nonprofit organization that wanted to preserve the city’s main art form, the neon sign. It’s a classic outing for Vegas and is a perfect evening time activity (because you’ll see them in their neon-lit-up glory). Just remember to buy your tickets in advance as they often sell out!
21. Brewery Hopping
My favorite brewery, Able Baker Brewing. If you get a beer flight you get a rubber ducky! Photo courtesy of Able Baker Brewing Facebook Page
I love all of these craft breweries in the Arts District. There are many others around Las Vegas but I’ve put together this little brewery hop because all of these places are within walking distance of one another.
Stop # 1- Able Baker
My favorite spot. If you get a beer flight they give you a little rubber ducky. Plus they have really good food.
Stop # 2- Nevada Brew Works
A bit smaller than Able Baker but still has good vibes with lots of outdoor seating.
Stop # 3- HUDL Brewing Company
Right next door to Nevada Brew Works, also has an outdoor patio. I like HUDL and Nevada Brew works the same, one does not outshine the other in my opinion.
Stop # 4- Neon Desert Brewing
Votes as one of the best breweries in Las Vegas, also check their Facebook page because they sometimes have awesome comedy nights!
Stop # 5- Banger Brewing
Finish off strong with a great place with an offbeat variety of ales. And if you’re still with it by the time you hit up this brewery, they offer tours! This is the only one a bit further out, about a 22-minute walk from Neon Desert Brewing.
22. National Atomic Testing Museum
“National Atomic Testing Museum” by Jeremy Thompson. Photo found on Flickr HERE
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another spot to check out such an extensive display of artifacts in relation to the nation’s atomic testing program. It really is a unique museum. Privately owned, you’ll have the opportunity to see a large nuclear reactor that was used in the development of the nuclear weapon. That’s a rare find, my friend! There’s also the first air-to-air missile and a display of personal atomic weapons that were created to replace conventional weapons. Oh, dear. The museum is built in a way to cater to a variety of ages and wants to promote understanding of the effect and extent of nuclear testing worldwide. I didn’t realize it until moving here but there was a HUGE underground nuclear testing site in Nevada. You’ll get to learn all about that too. We love education!
23. Throw Axes and Break Stuff at Axehole
Slightly less educational than a museum but oh so much fun! Had a bad day and need to break something? Come to Axehole to smash stuff and make yourself feel better. And if you’d rather throw than destroy, you can relax over the meditative practice of throwing an axe, people swear by it. Oh, and do you think that it stops there? Think again because this place offers you the chance to throw not only axes but ninja stars, spears, metal throwing cards, and shovels. It’s a vibe, a very Viking vibe.
24. Check Out an Exotic Pet Shop
You could go home with a Bearded Dragon…
Personally, I love passing some time in a pet shop. It’s always a fun challenge to see if I can walk away without a new friend. Scales n’ Tales is the go-to spot in Vegas for reptile enthusiasts and exotic animal lovers. If you’re in the market for a new scaley pal or you’re just curious and want to learn more about proper care for a bearded dragon, this place is a good stop. The customer service is amazing, Vince and Michael are extremely patient and willing to answer any and all questions you have. It might not be a usual touristed spot but I like to add some random options here and there because you never know what your weekend may bring!
25. Explore Area 15
Photos courtesy of Meow_wolf Instagram
It’s a bit difficult to properly explain Area 15 but here we go. Let’s say, it’s an immersive mysterious windowless bunker-esque building, maybe as elusive as Area 51. An interactive bazaar of sorts that has art installations to experience, virtual reality that takes you out of this world, out-of-the-ordinary dining, and weird and exciting shopping options. Everything here is supposed to be a next-level oddly satisfying thrill. One of the main attractions is Omega Mart, an immersive maze-like art installation set up like a grocery store. Area 15 offers general admission tickets but will charge extra for experience-specific experiences within, which is a little annoying but just how they do it. The otherworldly have to make rent too I guess!
26. Operate Heavy Machinery at “Dig This” Las Vegas
Isn’t it everyone’s dream to operate a bulldozer?
Have you ever dreamt of operating heavy machinery? I went to school in the middle of Iowa so this has been a dream for quite some time. At Dig This in Las Vegas you’ll have the option to operate bulldozers, excavators, a skid steer, or a mini excavator for the kiddos. Each machine has different exercises but I do know that if you plan to “play”( can I say that?) with the excavator you have the chance to play bucket basketball like a real-life transformer. Dig This offers customizable team challenges and accommodates all ages 3 and up! But watch out if you’re coming from a mimosa-laden brunch because you won’t be able to join in on the fun. They will breathalyze you before you get your signature neon yellow vest. Safety first!
27. Go on a Ghost Tour
Did you know that the Las Vegas strip is supposedly haunted? I’d believe it with the amount of shenanigans that happens in this place. Las Vegas Ghosts offer tours of the strip that entice you of tails of long-fallen but not forgotten mobsters and their victims, those who lost their lives in tragic accidents, and the famed that weren’t so fortunate. Buckle up for just a short one-mile walking tour that covers 8 spots on the strip in about a 60-minute span. Tours are covered by locals so you know you’re getting the real deal.
28. Catch a Golden Knights Game
Las Vegas was awarded an NHL team in 2016 and the locals went nuts. You can catch one of their hockey games right downtown in the T Mobile Arena which was built to seat 17,000 people specifically for the Golden Knights as well as UFC matches (another non gambling thing to do in Vegas!!). And when I say downtown I mean the location is perfectly situated behind the New York, New York, and MGM Grand Hotels. There isn’t a bad seat in the house so don’t worry if all the wallet can afford is nosebleed seats. You’ll get better views of the entire game anyway ;). Or save even more with standing-room seats. These can go for around $40 and up and are a great option for a day-of, game-time decision (see what I did there), to see some hockey while in town.
Las Vegas is filled with things to do. It might be known for its casinos and gambling but these elaborate hotels have a LOT to offer. And if you’re in the mood to get away from it all, rest assured the locals have a few ideas to keep you entertained.
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Definitely want to put a couple of these things on my bucket list for next trip to Vegas!