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Things to do in or near Las Vegas off-Strip (Vegas Hacks)

Things to do in or near Las Vegas off-Strip (Vegas Hacks)

After you have been to Las Vegas and seen most of the main attractions, what can you do on future trips to Las Vegas to keep things fresh, exciting, and interesting?

Or what if you are travelling with a group and some people in your group prefer adventure, outdoor beauty in nature, physical activity, thrilling activities, art, or history?

Don’t fret. Get ideas from the information below to plan a day or two away from the Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street (off the Strip).

These off-Strip attractions and activities in or near Las Vegas offer beauty, unique experiences, good value for your money, and often smaller crowds.

I have sorted them alphabetically for ease of reference.

Attractions that are not on the Las Vegas Strip, but are still in Las Vegas:

Omega Mart at Area 15

Area 15

Area 15 is an art, entertainment, dining, & retail complex that opened in 2020.

It is located a mile off the Strip behind the Trump Hotel (about 2 miles from The Strat).

Area 15 has many immersive and interactive art installations such as Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, the Van Gogh 360 degree immersive art experience, Museum Fiasco Cluster sound and light spectacle, and Wink World: Portals Into The Infinite.

Explore The Sanctuary, a 32-foot high bamboo volcano and take a selfie next to the 12-foot tall glowing skull.

Experience high-tech entertainment such as the Birdly flight simulator, Oz Experience virtual reality, Particle Quest augmented reality, and Five Iron virtual golf.

Get your blood pumping by throwing axes at Dueling Axes or riding Haley’s Comet indoor zipline.

Enjoy a drink or a meal at Emporium bar and arcade, Oddwood Bar (with a large glowing LED-lit Japanese tree), or The Beast food hall by Todd English.

Boulevard Mall

Boulevard Mall is not far off the Strip behind the Venetian.

This exciting mall has 140 stores and restaurants.

It has entertainment options such as SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium, Galaxy Movie Theatres, Jupiter Express Railroad, Game Center Animal Rides, Dixie Dooley’s Magic Shop, First Vegas Virtual Reality, Las Vegas Family Puppet Theater, Versus esports arena, and Rex Center (with laser tag, go-carts, and mini golf).

Downtown Container Park

Located in the East Fremont Entertainment district, the Downtown Container Park has unique stores & restaurants in converted shipping containers. Enjoy The Dome – an immersive, 4K-visual dome entertainment experience, the candy store, a park with a play structure for kids, and a fire-spitting Mantis sculpture in front.

Ethel M Cactus Garden

Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden

This chocolate factory has free self-guided tours showing how they make their chocolate and candy products with a free sample at the end.

Outside, you will find a great botanical cactus garden with more than 300 types of cactus plants.

Fantastic Swap Meet

Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet

Take a short 10-minute cab ride West of the Las Vegas Strip to this massive flea market with up to 600 vendors.

We love finding good deals and unique products and food.

Admission costs only $1.

Las Vegas Premium Outlet Malls (North and South)

There are two outlet malls in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas North Premium Outlets is downtown near the West end of Fremont Street. It is an outdoor mall with over 140 retailers plus several restaurants like Shake Shack and Cheesecake Factory.

Las Vegas South Premium Outlets is not far South of the airport on Las Vegas Boulevard. It is an indoor mall with over 140 stores and two food courts inside. You’ll find more dining options in the parking lot.

Mob Museum Speakeasy

Mob Museum

The Mob Museum is located close to Fremont Street.

The National Museum of Organized Crime has over 25 exhibits on 3 floors and a focus on the history of Las Vegas.

The basement has a cool speakeasy lounge you should visit.

National Atomic Testing Museum

The National Atomic Testing Museum is only 1 mile from the Las Vegas Strip.

Here, you will learn about the 928 nuclear tests, 100 of which were above-ground, that were conducted 65 miles away from Las Vegas between 1950 to 1990.

You will also see exhibits about UFO sightings and high-tech test planes.

Neon Museum Graveyard

Neon Museum & Graveyard

The Neon Museum is located a short cab ride North of Fremont Street.

Re-live the Las Vegas glory days by admiring the historical neon signs from demolished Las Vegas casinos. These neon signs are best viewed at dusk or after dark.

Pinball Hall of Fame

Pinball Hall of Fame & Museum

The Pinball Hall of Fame recently re-located to a massive stand-alone building on the Las Vegas Strip across from Mandalay Bay and the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. For the last 10 years it was located off-Strip, so I decided to leave it in this article.

Their website says they have over 200 playable retro pinball machines and 50 arcade games from every decade.  However, someone recently told me that they now have 800 pinball games and 200 arcade games.

Sam’s Town Mystic Falls Park Laser Show

Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall

This unique casino and resort is located on the Eastern outskirts of Las Vegas (20 minutes from the Strip) and periodically offers free shuttle service to and from the Las Vegas Strip.

There is a lot to see here besides gambling, including bowling, an arcade, and the Sunset Stampede, a free Laser Light and Fountain Show in the Mystic Falls Park. The park also has trees, bubbling brooks, and animatronic animals.

Silverton Mermaid Show

Silverton Casino

This resort is located just South of the airport and often has very attractive discounts and promotions.

Silverton Casino has a 117,000 gallon aquarium with a fish feeding show and a mesmerizing mermaid show.

Wet N Wild

Wet ‘N’ Wild Waterpark is 30-minutes West of the Las Vegas Strip.

Cool off while enjoying many of the body slides and tube slides that you love.

Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum

The Haunted Museum is located in downtown Las Vegas

It has been voted the best haunted attraction in America.

Grand Canyon

Out of Town Activities (not in Las Vegas, but an easy day-trip or excursion):

* A rental car or bus tour is recommended for these places and activities.

Sightseeing & Hiking

Death Valley

Death Valley National Park is 160 miles away from Las Vegas to the West.

This park is the hottest, driest and lowest elevation national park in the USA.

In addition to admiring the haunting desert landscape, you will see a surprising variety of wildlife.

Death Valley is most famous for being a filming location for a few of the Star Wars movies.

Rhyolite Ghost Town is on the edge of Death Valley National Park. It is worth checking out if you are making the trip to Death Valley.

Grand Canyon

If your trip permits enough time, we suggest you visit Grand Canyon National Park, a 1,200,000 acre National Park in Northwestern Arizona.

It is absolutely spectacular, which is why it is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. You can wander trails along the cliff tops and find breathtaking observation decks. You can also venture to the bottom of the canyon for a totally different experience.

To get to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, you can take bus tours or even helicopter tours.

The South Rim is great for first-time visitors for its abundance of visitor services and lower cost. It’s quite a drive, as it is a 4.5 hour trip without taking any detours along historic Route 66.

Grand Canyon West Rim and the Grand Canyon Glass Skywalk are closer to Las Vegas (closer to a 2-hour drive), but the cost is higher and it is not part of Grand Canyon National Park.

Explore Grand Canyon Caverns, which is 200 feet below ground and is the largest dry cavern in the USA.

Use one of the rafting outfitters in this article to experience kayaking, river rafting, and whitewater rapids on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

Mt. Charleston

Mount Charleston is in Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, which is 39 miles West of Las Vegas and not far from Red Rock Canyon.

If you go here during the Winter, you can experience the beauty of snowy slopes and try skiing at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort.

In the Summer, you can enjoy outdoor activities such as horseback riding, which is highly recommended, and hiking.

Be sure to stop at Gilcrease Orchard for apple and pumpkin picking or to sample homemade apple cider.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is only 17 miles West of the Las Vegas Strip.

Of all the off-strip attractions, this one seems to be the the most recommended on the social media posts that we have seen.

This area offers a scenic drive and hiking on 26 trails through a 13 Mile Loop with a magical overlook viewpoint.

Visitors can have a picnic and walk among a variety of plant and animal life under 3,000-foot-high red rock formations. Keep an eye out for 800 year old petroglyphs (rock wall drawings).

The more adventurous might even do a bit of rock climbing here.

Travel a few miles South of Red Rock Canyon to find Bonnie Springs, which is a reproduction of an 1880s Western mining town.

Springs Preserve

Las Vegas Springs Preserve is only 3 miles West of downtown Las Vegas.

Springs Preserve is home to natural beauty and history.  You’ll be amazed at all of the things to do there, such as:

– Boomtown 1905, a life-sized, re-creation of the Las Vegas streetscape from 1905 with free admission,

– a Butterfly Habitat,

– hiking on nearly 4 miles of trails,

– a narrated, full-sized locomotive train ride around the historic 2.2 mile Exploration Loop Trail,

– bike rentals (only on weekends),

– live animal shows,

– the 8-acre Gardens at the Springs Preserve botanical gardens with 1,200 species of desert plants,

– Origen Museum (containing 3 galleries, a traveling exhibit, a theater, and live animals), and

– the 70,000-square-foot Nevada State Museum.

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire is a 46,000 acre state park located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The picturesque red rock formations look like they are on fire, especially on a sunny day.

As you hike around and explore, you might see 2,500 year-old petroglyphs and dinosaur fossils.

Lake Mead

Watersports

Black Canyon River Rafting

The Black Canyon is located at the base of the Hoover Dam, where the canyon walls rise 2,000 feet above you.

The Black Canyon Raft Tour departs from the Lake Mead RV Village and takes you down the Colorado River to Willow Beach Marina.

Lake Mead

Lake Mead is located 24 miles southeast of Las Vegas right beside the Hoover Dam.

Lake Mead is a man-made lake on the Colorado River formed by the construction of the Hoover Dam. It is the largest water reservoir in the United States and provides water to the states of Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Lake Mead has a recreation area where you can go to a museum, rent a boat or kayak, or take a lovely and relaxing charter cruise.

Off-road tours

Motorsports

ATV and dune buggy tours

Off-road driving tours are offered by many tour operators that take you to different places and use different vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles and custom-made dune buggies. The tours start in Las Vegas and then you are taken out in the desert for some off-road wild rides in cool vehicles. Check out the attraction ratings and comments on TripAdvisor to help select the tour that is right for you.

Race car driving

Some thrill seekers dream of driving exotic luxury sportscars or race cars. You can live this dream through a variety of companies like Dream Racing, Exotics Racing, NASCAR Racing Experience, Richard Petty Driving Experience, and Speed Vegas. Many are located at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Hoover Dam

Other Activities & Attractions near Las Vegas, Nevada

Boulder City

Boulder City is located near the Hoover Dam.

This historic town is home to the Nevada State Railroad Museum, many antique stores, and an antique market. Boulder Dam Brewing Co. is a popular dining spot. There are a few unique things to do nearby. Go to Hemenway Valley Park to view a herd of up to 60 Bighorn Sheep. Pedal a railbike downhill for 4 miles along the railroad tracks through the Nevada desert, River Mountains and Eldorado Valley. To save some energy, you can also take a scenic 35-minute train ride on the Nevada Southern Railway.

Buffalo Bill’s Hotel & Casino

Buffalo Bill’s is located in Primm, Nevada, approximately 40 miles South of Las Vegas near the California state line.  It is currently closed due to the pandemic, but a nearby sister property called the Primm Valley Resort & Casino is open.

Of course, you can have fun gambling or enjoy a nice meal at these resorts, especially during a pit-stop if you are travelling between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

To us, the most interesting reason to stop used to be the thrilling attractions such as the Adventure Canyon Log Flume, 225-foot tall Turbo Drop drop ride, Desperado Roller Coaster, and 3-D simulator called “The Vault” at Buffalo Bill’s. Unfortunately, these attractions are all closed as of April 2021 and it is unclear when they will re-open, if ever.

You will also find a golf course and outlet mall in the area.

Extraterrestrial Highway

UFO-hunters and alien conspiracy theorists travel Nevada State Route 375 towards Area 51, which is why it is called the Extraterrestrial Highway.

Some people believe crashed alien spaceships are stored & tested at Area 51. What we know is that advanced military aviation technology is tested there.

Since people can’t actually enter Area 51, which is on a military base, they meet at the Little A’Le’Inn in the nearby town of Rachel, Nevada or at a nondescript black mailbox in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road between Rachel and Alamo, NV. Some people leave letters addressed to the little grey men in the black mailbox.

The drive is a daunting 150 miles each way if you are up for it.

Here, you might meet people with similar interests to swap stories or make plans to watch the sky for unknown aerial phenomena.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam is on the way to Grand Canyon at the border between Nevada and Arizona, and is right next to Lake Mead.

Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity hydroelectric dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. It provides electricity to parts of Nevada, California, and Arizona.

Visitors can take guided tours inside the dam to learn about how this engineering marvel was constructed in the 1930s and how it works.

Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains is a free art installation by Ugo Rondinone consisting of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders standing more than thirty feet high.

It is located 10 miles south of Las Vegas in the Ivanpah Valley.

Visitors love to take memorable pictures here, but maybe not for much longer. The outdoor exhibit might not exist after 2021 because it was built on public land with a time-limited permit.

Nelson Ghost Town

Ghost Towns

We will not go into detail about the ghost towns listed below, but if you want to see what life was like a 100+ years ago in Nevada, visit one of these ghost towns.

Eldorado Canyon, which is a 1-hour drive Southeast of Las Vegas, has a “living ghost town” called Nelson Ghost Town you can explore. You can also tour the abandoned Techatticup mine near the town of Nelson, Nevada.

Goldfield Ghost Town is a historic mining town from the wild west close to Phoenix, Arizona (300 miles away from Las Vegas). The town’s main street has shops and historic buildings. You can also pan for gold, tour inside the historic Mammoth Gold Mine, and visit the Goldfield Museum. Train enthusiasts and families will enjoy riding on Arizona’s only narrow gauge train. The biggest attraction here is the staging of an old west gun fight.

BONUS TIP: This is not a ghost town, but Tonopah Creepy Clown Motel is a creepy and weird place to visit. The Clown Motel was named “America’s Scariest Motel” because of its clown theme and proximity to the cemetery where many miners were laid to rest after the Tonopah-Belmont Mine Fire of 1911. This motel houses 2,000 clowns from every era and part of the world. One big drawback is that it is very far away – 200 miles Northwest of Las Vegas.

 

Not everyone wants to gamble, drink, and see shows every day of their Las Vegas vacation. Others just want a break from the crowds where they can see or do something special.

We hope this article has given you lots of food for thought when planning your next trip to Las Vegas.

Let us know in the comments below if you try any of our suggestions or if you have experienced them before. Also, please share any other great ideas for off-strip things to do in Las Vegas that are not on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street.

 

* AUTHOR NOTE: Access to businesses, attractions, and parks are subject to change, especially due to pandemic health restrictions and related tourism and business conditions. Please check the website or call before going to avoid disappointment, especially if you are driving an hour or more to get to some of these locations. 

 

Happy Travels,

Kevin & Tina

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40 Comments

    • Kevin Strong

      The mermaid show was mesmerizing and the small kids thought it was like magic.
      We will start enjoying off-strip activities in Las Vegas away from the Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street like the museums and Area 15 as well as hiking in nature.

  • Vanessa Shields

    It’s amaxing how many cool things there are to see off the strip! I’m from CA and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t start exploring off the strip until about 6 years ago and I still need to see many of these. I’d really enjoy exploring Area 15 and the Neon Sign graveyard!

    • Kevin Strong

      We hope to explore both Area 15 and the Neon graveyard on our next trip to Las Vegas. The other off-strip things to do in or near Las Vegas that are not on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street seem amazing, but some are a few hours drive each way, so those will take longer to check off the list.

        • Kevin Strong

          The Mob Museum’s speakeasy lounge is highly recommended online, but we haven’t been there yet. It’s a very short cab ride from Fremont Street.
          We believe that the Wet ‘N’ Wild opened less than 5 years ago, so most people don’t know about it. Waterslides would be great on a hot summer day in Vegas.
          The more we research things to do in Las Vegas that are not on the Strip or Fremont, the more reasons we have to visit Las Vegas.

    • Kevin Strong

      Drinking, gambling and shows aren’t for everyone. But, Las Vegas still has so many cool things to do that are off-strip, you’ll still have fun in Las Vegas if you aren’t on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street.

  • Christopher Miller

    The PINBALL HALL OF FAME is now in a much bigger location with over 800 pinball and 200 arcade games.. look for it right by the LAS VEGAS SIGN beside Harley Davidson!

    • Kevin Strong

      Thanks for the additional information. I’ll update the article. It seems many people love the pinball hall of fame. It sounds like they are re-investing and making it even better. The pinball museum is a often recommended off-strip attraction in Las Vegas.

    • Kevin Strong

      There are many things to do away from Freemont and off-Strip (not on the Las Vegas Strip) that provide a totally different Las Vegas experience. More art, museums, cool stuff, and natural beauty with a slower pace and mostly smaller crowds.

    • Kevin Strong

      The Grand Canyon is probably the best and most-recommended off-Strip activity and day trip from Las Vegas.
      However, it’s a 4-5 hour drive each way, so its quite a drive and worth the effort.
      We hope you get to check out some of the great parks near Las Vegas for great hiking and sightseeing.

  • Sue

    So many interesting things to do in Vegas other than gambling and partying. I have always wanted to check out the neon museum and graveyard. Definitely need to check it out next trip to Vegas!

    • Kevin Strong

      We like to keep the gambling and drinking to a minimum and enjoy these off the Strip Las Vegas attractions when we visit too.

  • Baby Boomer Super Saver

    Valley of Fire State Park is on my bucket list! I’ve heard it is amazing. The Neon Museum sounds very unique, that would be fun to see. I’ve already been to Death Valley National Park – the best time to visit is in February, March or early April before it gets too hot. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a super bloom (if there’s been enough rain for the cactus & wildflowers). Great post, I will have to check out some of these sights, including the chocolate factory / cactus garden!

    • Kevin Strong

      Valley of Fire seems to be very popular. I have seen lots of pictures on social media during the pandemic lockdown that made me want to take a day trip there next time we are in Las Vegas. You are right. It sure gets hot in Nevada. We went to the Grand Canyon in July and it was +45 degrees Celsius. We are glad you liked the post and got ideas for off-strip things to do next time you are in Vegas.

    • Kevin Strong

      Thanks. People ask about this all the time and since we went with teenagers 5 years ago, we already researched lots of things to do that are not on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street (off-Strip) and decided to share what we learned in a post. Of course, we updated our research last week to make sure it was up to date. Some people aren’t into gambling or drinking or don’t like crowds and these activities and attractions might be better for them or at least as a way to break up the trip and change the pace.

    • Kevin Strong

      Congratulations on getting the vaccines. You’ll feel much less anxiety now. We agree that a weekend is not enough to explore very much. You will need 2 days to check out the main casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and maybe one night to explore Fremont Street. You might not have time to do anything off-Strip or take a day trip from Las Vegas.

    • Kevin Strong

      We are happy you found it informative. We have also visited Las Vegas several times, but there are many of these off-strip attractions and things to do that are away from the Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street that we have yet to experience.

    • Kevin Strong

      You find unexpected beauty in the desert at these things to do in Las Vegas that are off the strip or far enough away from the Las Vegas strip that you need to go on a road trip. The colours are very beige and red (just a bit of green). The cactus have a different type of beauty, but still amazing.

  • wendy white

    So many things to do outside of the Las Vegas strip. Of course, the Grand Canyon is on my bucket list but I’d also like to visit Hoover Dam and cool off at Wet n Wild.

    • Kevin Strong

      You will love that day trip through Hoover Dam to Grand Canyon. Many people don’t know about Wet n Wild, even if they know about some of the other great off-strip things to do in Las Vegas (off of the Las Vegas Strip and not on Fremont Street)

  • Mr Barry A Till

    such a huge list of things to do around Las vegsa, I would defo need a couple of weeks here to visit most of them, so I gues I had better relook at my Vegas plan ! Never knew there was so much. I’d love to combine it with the Grand Canyon tour as you uggested (and add in another week!). Great list that I shall keppe for when I eventually get tehr

    • Kevin Strong

      These day trips from Las Vegas take pretty much 1 day each, so you would need a lot of time to do them all. However, there are also cool off-strip things to do in Las Vegas.

    • Kevin Strong

      We had never seen a mermaid show live and in person until the one at Silverton in Las Vegas. I had seen it on TV and always wanted to see one up close. That is one great off-strip attraction near the Las Vegas strip, but off-Strip. It’s not far from the cactus garden too.

    • Kevin Strong

      Some of the ghost towns are really far away, but you could still do them in a really long day trip. Some really fun and amazing things are near Las Vegas, but not on the Strip, so you need to plan some time away from the Strip.

    • Kevin Strong

      I bet there are lots of amazing stories about how the Mob/Mafia built Las Vegas. That is worth a short cab ride away from Fremont Street and one of the great things to do that is not on the Las Vegas Strip.

  • JoJo Hall

    This post is making me so excited for my trip to Vegas in July! I feel like I’d enjoy more of the activities that are outside of Vegas than in Vegas, so I’ll definitely bookmark this post for my upcoming trip!

    • Kevin Strong

      I hope you have time for a nice day trip to break up the partying in Las Vegas. You’ll enjoy a different pace at these off-strip attractions.

  • Ibolya

    Named for its distinctive red sandstone formations, the Valley of Fire is a must-see for every Vegas adventurer. Check out Native American petroglyphs, the famous Atlatl Rock, and more stunning viewpoints at Nevada’s oldest state park, only 50 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.

    • Kevin Strong

      We are agree that Valley of Fire is a fantastic day trip from Las Vegas for the reasons you state. Thanks for sharing.

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