When people think of Vegas they think glitz, glam, gambling, night clubs, food, and fun. Vegas definitely is a fun place to be, and wait for it – even with kids! Gasp. I know. I know. I said it and it’s true. My family recently did a west coast adventure over the span of two weeks and we had a stopover in Vegas. When planning this trip I had to find some alternative things to do and was surprised at how many activities we could do outside of the Vegas Strip. We had a blast and it ended up being a favorite stop on our trip.
Here are the must-dos off the strip when in Vegas.
This may be the nerd in me, but combine architecture, engineering, and history – I’m sold! The Hoover Dam has always been on my list of places I wanted to see and let me tell you, it’s magnificent!
There’s a couple of ways to enjoy the Hoover Dam. You can not see it from the highway anymore as they built a pedestrian bridge blocking the view. You can park on either side of the dam for free to walk the pedestrian bridge. There is free parking on the Arizona side if you want to walk the dam, take a tour, or visit the gift shop. Parking on the Nevada side is $10. You have to go through checkpoints on either side to enter the property.
If you just want to walk the bridge it’s a great way to catch an aerial view of the dam. There are stairs and accessible paths to walk up to the bridge too. There are also portable restrooms in the parking lot. I recommend you do not go without water, especially if in the warmer months. We were there in summer and it was dangerously hot – like you feel like the sun is sitting on your shoulders hot. If you don’t stay hydrated you could put yourself at serious risk. There are warning signs everywhere on the path to make sure you have water.
If you want a tour you can do a guided or self-guided. Guided tours will run you about $30, non-guided only $10. If you have the time, I highly recommend a guided tour and walking the bridge. Hoover Dam is only a 42-minute drive from Las Vegas.
Our next stop, The Neon Museum.
This gem showcases the history of Las Vegas through neon. The museum was founded in the late 90s and preserves iconic Vegas hotel and casino signs. The museum has grown so much they recently had to purchase more surrounding land to hold their growing collection. As you walk through the rows of signage employees are around to give you background information and fun facts about the signs. The whole museum might take you about an hour to walk through.
The museum is located not far from the strip so easy to Uber or drive to. I will warn you of the heat. I mean, Vegas is in the desert and it’s always hot, but the employees warn you of extra heat radiating off the metal of the signs. It was HOT. Luckily they give you a sun umbrella and have bottled waters on hand. The Neon Museum is definitely a must-see.
Our last stop was a beautiful sight in the middle of the desert, Seven Magic Mountains.
From their site: Internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale site-specific public art installation located near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15, approximately ten miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada. Comprised of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders standing more than thirty feet high, Seven Magic Mountains is situated within the Ivanpah Valley adjacent to Sheep Mountain and the McCullough, Bird Spring, and Goodsprings ranges of mountains. A creative expression of human presence in the desert, Seven Magic Mountains punctuates the Mojave with a poetic burst of form and color.
Next to the large scale boulders, there was a small pebble replica by the parking lot which I thought was so cute! We only spent about 30 minutes there as we were on our way to Los Angeles, but I’m so glad we made the stop. The kids loved it and we got to take some pretty awesome pictures.
Aside from these, there were several kid parks near the strip, a town center, the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, and my all-time favorite west coast destination: In & Out Burger. What are your fave Vegas spots?