15 Things To Do In Las Vegas That Aren’t Gambling

Look, we get it. Most people only think about gambling when planning an upcoming trip to Las Vegas. But gambling for the entire time you’re there is kind of like going to Rome and only seeing the Coliseum.

So, we’ve put together a list of the best stuff to do in Vegas besides gamble. You can thank us later.

1. People Watch

Las Vegas is the best place in the world for people watching, because the world comes to Las Vegas. From Saudi princes to Hong Kong junkets, from backpacking European students to folks from so deep in the rural south that you’d think they’d need a passport too, you can see it all on the Strip.

From Haute Couture to cutoffs and flip-flops, tuxedos and pinstripes to saggy pants and Crocs, you’ll never look at fashion the same way after an hour or two of watching humanity pass by while camped out at the LINQ promenade, our vote for the best people-watching spot on the planet.  

2. Fremont Street

Fremont Experience
Image credit: FeelingVegas/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

If you’ve ever considered a zipline journey through millions of neon lights soaring over the heads of thousands of strangers, well, we’ve got something for you.

But more than neon, the Fremont Street experience is, well, an experience. Street performers, live concerts, heck, U2 shot a video here without shutting down the streets or even announcing it. You never know what you might find. And that’s half the fun. It’s one of the best free places to visit in Vegas.

3. Amusement Rides

Big Apple rollercoaster at New York New York hotel
Image credit: New York-New York Hotel & Casino

Ok, roller coasters may not be the first thing on your mind when you think about things to do in Las Vegas that aren’t gambling. But that doesn’t change the fact that Las Vegas is home to some great thrill rides.

While we still miss the High Roller at the Strat, they have a roller-coasteresque ride called the X-scream, though it’s 860 feet above the ground instead of the 1030 that the High Roller used to race around at.

Also, don’t miss the Big Apple Coaster in New York. It’s not every day you get to zip around the Statue of Liberty upside down. It’s a great thing to do in Vegas with kids.

4. Catch A Show

Right behind dropping $300 in the Dragon Link Bonus, most people’s favorite Las Vegas memories revolve around some jaw-dropping, eye-popping over-the-top Las Vegas extravaganza. And there is a lot to choose from.

If it’s the burlesque shows that burnished Las Vegas’s Sin City reputation in the 60s that you like, try Fantasy at the Luxor or Rouge at the Strat. If you’re still wowed by magicians, Las Vegas is the Magic capital of the world. You can catch performances by Mat Franco, David Copperfield, and Chris Angel.

And don’t forget the mind-bending madness of Cirque De Soleil, current shows include Ka, O, and Mystere, along with the Beatle’s Love.

5. Food Trucks

food truck
Image credit: biggifraley/Pixabay

Las Vegas has quietly become a food truck mecca over the last few years, with gourmet food being served up in parking lots and on street corners.

Do yourself a favor, stop paying $50 for a bland buffet, and track down the Hawaiian food at Antidote LV. We highly recommend the Poke nachos. Or get your carb overload at Endless Pastabilities. How often do you get five-star spaghetti and meatballs served in a cone?

6. Mob Museum

Take a trip down memory lane to a time, not so long ago, when the mob ran Las Vegas. When you visit the Mob Museum, you won’t just find a bunch of mugshots of Tony Spilotro and Bugsy Speigel (though some blood-splattered clothes are lying around in exhibits). This museum has state-of-the-art exhibits on processing a crime scene, and you can even wrap your hands around a pistol for their simulated firearms training.

7. Pinball Museum

Pinball Hall of Fame
Image credit: Pinball Hall of Fame

If you’ve brought your kids to Las Vegas, now is the perfect time to show them what daddy did before the internet. And while the Pinball museum might be called a museum, you can play every machine they have, which at last count was more than 360. This is what makes it one of the best arcades in Vegas.

8. Michelin Stars

Maybe you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary and sitting on the curb having tacos from the El Taco Truck and watching the traffic go by on Sahara Ave. isn’t going to cut it.

Did you know nine restaurants in Las Vegas have been granted Michelin stars? Two of them are at Bellagio. Picasso serves extraordinary food, and the actual Picassos on the wall set a hard-to-top ambiance.

The famed Le Cirque may not have million-dollar artwork on the walls, but it is set on a lake with a view of the Bellagio fountains, and is certain to be one of the best meals of your life.

But no self-respecting foodie would consider a visit to Las Vegas complete without a dinner at Joel Robuchon. Only about a dozen restaurants in the US have ever received three Michelin stars, and Joel Robuchon is on that rarified list, and with reason.

9. Fine Art

You can find traditional artists at the Bellagio Gallery, where works by Picasso and Warhol are on permanent display. The gallery also has many traveling exhibitions that make periodic stops.

For a different take on art and how to view it, swing by the Immersive Van Gogh experience. Five million visitors can’t be wrong. And if you are into this exhibit, we can’t recommend Area 15 highly enough. It’s groundbreaking use of a movie-like experience to explore art and the world around us, which has to be seen and understood.

10. Bellagio Fountains

Bellagio Fountains
Image credit: melfoody/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The unlikely lake situated in front of the Bellagio hides another surprise: more than 1200 fountains that seem to dance along to the music and send jets of water over 400 feet into the desert sky. More than 4000 lights are also synced to the music to create an unforgettable display.

The fountains run every half hour starting at 3 p.m., and then around dark, they put on their display every 15 minutes until midnight. On the weekend, they start at noon, and best of all, they are free.

11. Neon Museum

neon museum
Image credit: Jeremy Thompson, CC BY 2.0

With over 250 neon signs from old Vegas Casinos and even some other businesses, we think spending an hour at this museum is a great way to start an evening. While they do offer day trips, the beauty of the Neon Museum is when they turn on many of the signs at night.

Plus, honestly, there is something magical about the desert air at night, and it’s a heck of a lot cooler.

12. The Great Outdoors

Speaking of getting outdoors, did you know you can ski in the winter just 40 minutes from Las Vegas? Yep, Mount Charleston can be reached in less than an hour and has great skiing and other winter activities. It’s also a great place to visit in the summer, as temperatures are often thirty degrees or more cooler than down in the valley.

Another great outdoor area to visit is the Lake Mead National Recreation area, also just a short 40-minute drive from the Strip. You’ll find abundant fishing, boating, hiking, camping, and even biking opportunities. The lake covers over 240 square miles, and there are hundreds of out-of-the-way coves and even some islands you can explore by boat.

13. Gondola Rides

gondola rides
Image credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ/Flickr, PDM 1.0

If you prefer your boating with a bit of singing, we highly recommend the Gondola rides at the Venetian Hotel. This ten-minute ride around the recreated canals and even a small St Mark’s Square is a one-of-a-kind Las Vegas experience.

14. Welcome Sign

Welcome to Vegas sign
Image credit: Ken Lane/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

For 65 years, the iconic Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign has greeted millions of tourists from Southern California. Millions of pictures have been taken of it, but should you want to add one more, the County has made notable improvements at the site over the years. So, while the sign hasn’t changed much, the parking and accessibility around it certainly has.

15. Walk the Strip At Night

The Las Vegas Strip is a one-of-a-kind man-made wonder. Walk past a 30-story tall pyramid and a 28-story fairy book castle, a recreation of the Eiffel Tower, the reimagined streets of Venice, the Statue of Liberty and the New York Skyline, the dancing fountains in a lake in the middle of the desert, and the glory of old Rome.

Take this walk at night amongst the miles of neon and throngs of tourists, and you will see what draws tens of millions of tourists to this glittering oasis every year.