10 Must-See Las Vegas Attractions That Have Nothing to Do with Gambling
If roulette makes you dizzy and losing money leaves you queasy, don’t worry: Las Vegas has more to offer than eye-popping casinos and opulent floor shows
National Atomic Testing Museum
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If you think you know what an atomic explosion sounds like, you might want to read this. And then plan a trip to the National Atomic Testing Museum, which features artifacts and exhibits dedicated to nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site, located just north of Las Vegas during the 1950s. The museum—which became part of the Smithsonian Institution in 2011—also features a Ground Zero Theater that shows guests what it feels like to watch a nuclear test. There’s also an exhibit about the infamous Area 51.
Neon Museum and Boneyard
If you’re a fan of neon America, Las Vegas is the place for you. (You might also appreciate these top retro burger stands.) Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum features old neon signs from defunct casinos and restaurants in the town’s past. The Boneyard refers to the six acres of land in which the signs are restored and put on display for the public. Some notable classics include the La Concha Motel and the Stardust Hotel and Casino.
Cirque du Soleil
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Canadian entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun) has been putting big smiles on spectators’ faces for more than 20 years in Vegas. Their unique brand of theatrics and acrobatics has branched off into a number of new shows, such as The Beatles LOVE, Michael Jackson ONE, and Zumanity. Cirque du Soleil even has a partnership with Criss Angel MINDFREAK, who mixes magic and wonder into one big mind-blowing theater experience.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
For people who can’t get enough about this tragic piece of history, check out these 13 little-known facts about the Titanic and then plan a trip to Vegas. Located inside of the Luxor Hotel & Casino, the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition showcases the complete journey of the RMS Titanic from construction to sinking to recovery. On display are actual artifacts recovered from the “unsinkable” ship, such as floor tiles from the first-class smoking room, passengers’ luggage, a window frame from the Verandah Cafe, the ship’s whistles, and an unopened bottle of champagne from 1900. There are even some full scale re-creations like the “Grand Staircase” that might make you feel like you are on the former luxury ship liner itself, or on-set of the James Cameron movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
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The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is one of the few motor speedways in the country that allows guests to rent a super car, like a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Porsche, and race it around the track itself with the help of Exotics Racing. The motor speedway also offers racing classes, ride-alongs, and other VIP experiences, if you have a real need for speed. Racing a super car isn’t your thing? The motor speedway is also the home of many NASCAR events throughout the year.
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One of the best things to do in Las Vegas is visiting the Stratosphere on the Vegas Strip. It’s the tallest freestanding observation tower with 108 floors. At the very top—1,149 feet up—there’s an observation deck to get a good view of the city and the desert surrounding it. But if you want a heart-stopping thrill, there are a number of vertigo-inducing amusement park rides and attractions built off the edge of the tower itself. Feel free to go bungee jumping or ride a mini-roller coaster while staring death in the face!
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First opening its doors in 2012, the Mob Museum is considered one of the best Las Vegas attractions. It showcases how Sin City was built when organized crime ruled supreme. The museum highlights both sides of the era from mobsters to law enforcement officers with an authentic view of Las Vegas history. It also boasts exhibits, artifacts from the time, and theater presentations to completely immerse guests.
The Pinball Hall of Fame
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Believe it or not, pinball was once considered a form of gambling in the United States. It was looked upon as a game of chance instead of a game of skill, as it’s seen today. So one of the few places you could play pinball was Las Vegas.
The Pinball Hall of Fame and Museum located just outside of the Las Vegas city limits in town of Paradise, Nevada. It features over 200 different pinball machines and games, including rarities such as Williams’ Black Gold and Bally’s Pinball Circus. All machines are available to play for 25 cents or 50 cents, depending on how old the machine is.
Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys
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Ever since Elvis Presley took a residency at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in 1969, Sin City has always been the prime location for aging recording artists to reclaim their former glory. (By the way, fans will appreciate these recipes to remember Elvis by.) Currently, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys are each doing concerts at the Axis at Planet Hollywood through Caesar Entertainment. Fans can now flock to Las Vegas to re-live the late 90s and early 2000s with two of the biggest pop acts of the era.
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One of the best things about going to Las Vegas is that it’s in the middle of the Mojave Desert with a number of National Parks, rivers, and other amazing and breathtaking wonders. While the Grand Canyon is about four hours away, the man-made Hoover Dam National Park is only 40 minutes from Las Vegas. The Hoover Dam offers tours, a museum, and other attractions like Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. If you do decide to hit the slots, stick with the casino games that won’t take all your money.