The Sober Guide to Las Vegas
I've been to Las Vegas. Quite a few times. The land where... there's gambling? Hangovers? Also known as "Sin City"? Despite the reasons why I would avoid Las Vegas, I was pretty determined to make my Vegas experience everything good, sober and without gambling. And I have a fun and memorable time every time. ;)
Thus, The Sober Guide to Las Vegas*:
The Neon Museum (day and night tours available)
The Mob Museum
Walking through the hotels including the Bellagio (just look at the air-blown glass ceiling and be amazed) and Caesar's Palace
Dancing fountains at the Bellagio
Rides at the Stratosphere
Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity
Bonus (places that are more of a drive):
*This is a list I'll continue to add onto. I mean, the shows in Las Vegas alone some people travel to see specifically (Beatles Love show is definitely on my list...and Blue Man Group). We also tried to go to the aquarium one visit but the line was too long, among other places — including food. Food is everywhere. Just watch out for the price of everything. It seems exponentially greater in Las Vegas.
Read below for more information about my experiences in Vegas...
The "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign
The "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign is a well-known Vegas icon and photo-op spot. You'll know this just be visiting and waiting in line for a parking spot. We were lucky enough to witness a wedding take place from a wedding on wheels service that will come to wherever you are to initiate. #theVegasway
Neon Museum (night & day event)
This is actually my favorite thing in Las Vegas — a graveyard/archive for all the old Las Vegas signs that provide a history of Vegas. I love this tour and have done both the day and the night tour. I love both. Although the night tour is especially cool with the lighting.
You can read more about my experience in my post here.
Sidenote: this was featured on the most recent season of the Bachelor on one of their date nights if my opinion isn't encouragement enough.
The Mob Museum
Wrote about this here. Also worth going to and getting the discount ticket package with the Neon Museum.
The Grand Hotels
Wandering through the casinos/hotels are sights in themselves. We went to the Bellagio, and sauntered through the forest wonderland. They even had a talking tree. I awed at the ceilings — the one made of glass called "Fiori di Como", and the mosaic piece in the Paris hotel. I didn't appreciate the offers for strip clubs and whatnot BUT just direct your attention elsewhere.
One thing that is really kind of incredible about the Las Vegas world is you can go around the world by walking through these places. From Paris to New York, to Egypt, and then back in time to Excalibur...
And you don't need to stay in one of these to experience it. I've always strived for the cheapest place, even off the strip, and just either walked over using their walking bridges, or drove to one of the hotels where you can get free parking and walked from there.
The Bellagio Fountain Show
I love water shows that are synchronized to music. And this one sets a high bar. It's mesmerizing and relaxing to watch the Fountains of Bellagio.
las vegas rides
There are lots of adrenaline rush rides, and also more low-key rides. It seems fitting since this is like a different kind of Disneyland.
I love the rollercoaster at New York New York — it's surprisingly worth the wait. I don't know why I wasn't expecting something that could fit into a Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park, but it was awesome.
The Stratosphere also has a selection of rides and a view that you can't beat. Riding Insanity–the spinning ride that lets you hang 871 feet up in the air at the Stratosphere — was my favorite. Not as scary as I thought either.
For a more low-key ride activity try The LINQ — the world's tallest "observation wheel". I haven't enjoyed the ride yet, but I've heard good things about it.
I don't know that there's any other place that provides has this many M&M colors or possible kinds, or provides more M&M photo-ops than in this store.
And it's right next to the big Coca-Cola bottle. You can't miss it.
Because I love In-N-Out, and it's a lot cheaper than some of the places on the strip — although you have to drive to it. Make sure you ask for a hat to make yourself the most official.
I grew up watching CSI: Las Vegas, so when I found a deal to do this, I was super super excited. It was like being able to be on the show and a true CSI, but without having to go through all the education, do actual lab work, or anything else that's really what a true CSI would have to do day-to-day. We did solve a murder by noon. How many people can say that?
Amanda was the perfect person to do this activity with because she loves solving puzzles as much as I do. And it was a fun way to spend some time in Las Vegas.
I wouldn't pay the full amount, so I'm glad I got to do this with the deal I had — there were some interactive parts but it was slightly confusing. At the end, when we solved the murder, it felt like an accomplishment, and it was a learning opportunity to find out how CSI's actually do their work, and what technology they use.
What if there was a Zombie Apocalypse? Well then you now know just the place to travel to for provisions. Actually it's got provisions for any disaster.
Overall, this is a fun stop-in to play some zombie games and collect any other random zombie paraphernalia if you feel so inclined. I liked the zombie set-up outside the most.
The second most popular street in Las Vegas next to the Las Vegas strip is Fremont Street. Honestly, I didn't care for this "experience" much. There is a zip line that you can do here, and the Viva Vision Light Show is really cool to watch, but otherwise I didn't spend too much time here.
Bonus: The nearby Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino has a little historical "The Hand of Faith Nugget" on display...
I took a side trip from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam which is MASSIVE and reminded me of a the movie "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" (I recommend it!). I just parked and walked out to the overlook bridge. Even that in itself was a sight to behold. The pictures don't capture the enormity of it.
I definitely would love to take a Dam tour when I go back!
Second to the Neon Museum, this is my favorite Las Vegas attraction. Although technically in Henderson, it's really still close enough to be considered part of Las Vegas.
The ranch is a home to approximately 40 lions. It serves as an educational facility and provides various experiences from just viewing the lions to actually "feasting with the beast" and other ways of getting up close and personal.
Emily and I went during the lions' lunch time — hence the meaty photos — and watched the cubs play with each other. Being able to get so close to lions made me understand why they're "kings of the jungle" and made me sad people could endanger their well-being. Lion eyes might be their best feature — they have some of the most beautiful, intuitive eyes I've ever seen.
It's limited in operating/viewing hours, so make sure you check the dates before you go.
If you're tired of all the flashing lights, solicitations, and just want to get back into some natural wonders — take an hour drive to the Valley of Fire State Park. We didn't get to hike too much, but even just driving through it and seeing some key visual points like different rock formations and views such as the Rainbow Vista were enough to clear our heads and have fun being outside of the city.
Some of the best parts of the night life in Las Vegas was getting a bunch of food, getting in my panda bear onesie, and having a lip-sync battle with my friends in the hotel room.
Whatever way you choose to spend your time in Las Vegas, I hope you have a craps-load of fun (see what I did there?)!