Guide to the top unusual things to do in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is a city famed for its casinos, gaming and gambling. But if this isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there’s still loads to do and see in the city. In a city like Las Vegas, it’s definitely worth getting off the beaten track to get away from the tourists and get the best experience. We’ve compiled a guide to the best unusual things to do in Las Vegas to experience the quirky side of the city. Known for its eccentricity, nightlife, and wild side, in Las Vegas you’re guaranteed never to be bored.
Read on for our list of the top unusual things to do in Las Vegas.
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1. The Neon Boneyard
The Las Vegas skyline is famous for its neon signs that light up the night. But of course these signs have changed over time and the Neon Boneyard is a graveyard for all of the city’s signs throughout history. Get behind the glitz and glam with a look at old signs that have been saved from the scrap heap. Here you can see over 150 signs from the city’s past, including the original Aladdin’s lamp from the first version of Aladdin Casino, Binion’s Horseshoe, Silver Slipper, and the Golden Nugget. Daily tours are available or you can just wander round and take in the sights.
2. James Turrell’s ‘Akhob’
Hidden on the top floor of a luxury handbag shop, this is definitely one of the more unusual things to do in Las Vegas. James Turrell is an internationally renowned artist, known for his large-scale light installations. Head up to the fourth floor of Louis Vuitton and you’ll find the artist’s piece, entitled “Akhob”, which means “pure water” in an ancient Egyptian language. The installation is made up of circular openings leading into two huge chambers bathed in soft, slowly changing light.
Admission is free, but limited to groups of 4, so you need to call in advance to book an appointment to be admitted. And don’t worry, visitors aren’t expected to buy anything at Louis Vuitton.
3. National Atomic Testing Museum
Here you’ll see a very different side of Las Vegas to the casinos and glamour. Las Vegas has a dark history, and not just for its hedonism and gambling. This city was the testing site for nuclear tests during the mid to late 20th century. The National Atomic Testing Museum tells the story of this era, the nuclear programme, and its impact on Las Vegas. You can learn about this controversial period of American history with over 12,000 artefacts on display.
4. Pinball hall of fame
For arcade game enthusiasts, the pinball hall of fame is a dream come true. Filled with bright flashing lights, dinging bells, and more than 200 games that date from 1940 to the present, locals and tourists alike come here to play on the vintage pinball machines. At 25 cents per game, this activity is unlikely to break the bank, making it a much safer option than the usual gambling on offer in Las Vegas.
5. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Everyone heads to the Grand Canyon on a trip to Las Vegas, so why not check out a more off the beaten track option – Red Rock Canyon. Dyed red by iron oxide over hundreds of years, these impressive sandstone rocks rise high into the sky. The conservation area is located just 15 miles west of Las Vegas and is actually visible from the Strip in the city centre. This is a great spot for hiking and rock climbing enthusiasts, but if you’re not in the mood to break a sweat, visitors can also just take a stroll around. Word from the wise, don’t try and feed the wild horses, they will bite if given half a chance.
6. Frankie’s Tiki Room
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that Frankie’s is the best Tiki bar in Las Vegas. A popular spot with locals, this bar has a kitschy tiki aesthetic, one of the last remaining Tiki bars on the Las Vegas nightlife scene. Head over to sip on cocktails with a bamboo and thatch backdrop, dim lights, and pufferfish lighting fixtures. Make sure to check how many skulls are on the side of the glass – this indicates the strength of the drink and will save you a sore head in the morning. Frankie’s is open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
7. Burlesque Hall of Fame
Burlesque itself is hardly an unusual thing to witness in Las Vegas, but there aren’t many people who head to the Hall of Fame to learn about the history of burlesque dancing. As well as an impressive collection of burlesque artifacts, here you can find out more about the history of this risqué dance form. The collection was started by Dixie Evans as an attempt to create a space where the history of the burlesque arts would be remembered and where aging performers could find a home. The collection contains several thousand costumes, stage props, photographs and personal effects documenting the lives and carers of dancers and producers across the last century. Definitely worth a visit while you’re in Las Vegas for a unique look at the showbiz industry.
Although cigarette vending machines are banned in most parts of the world, Las Vegas is one of the only places in the world where you’ll find them repurposed into art-selling machines. Pop in some change and out comes a little piece of art. The project was started by Clark Whittington, an artist who started creating these machines to distribute handmade souvenirs. It’s a lucky dip whether you end up with a miniature painting, sculpture, or jewelry. Visit the Art-o-mat website for a complete list of locations – there are over 100 machines across America and the world filled with the works of 400 different artists. In Las Vegas, head over to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino for 6 Art-o-mat machines ready for you to put your coins into.
9. Erotic heritage museum
Located on Industrial Road, the Erotic Heritage museum is one of the more unusual things to do in Las Vegas. Follow the neon pink sign outside and you’ll reach a collection of erotica throughout history, including paintings, sculptures and objects such as the world’s largest erotic bicycle. Meant for more than just a cheeky giggle, here you can learn about the profound connection between art and sexuality that is as old as time.
10. Bodies: the exhibition
A room full of corpses may sound morbid, but if you’re interested in science and anatomy Bodies: the exhibition is actually one of the best things you can do in Las Vegas. In this museum, visitors can look close-up at organs in varying states of distress, including tumors and smoker’s lungs. Each room says what it has inside on the door, so you can choose to avoid certain exhibits if you’re feeling faint-hearted. This is certainly one of the most unusual things to do in Las Vegas.
11. Titanic: the exhibition
Situated right next door to Bodies: the exhibition, Titanic allows people to get a sense of the construction of the infamous boat that sank. The entire experience takes 1 to 2 hours to go round, during which time you’ll witness what it was like to be a passenger on the Titanic. At the entrance, you’re given a replica boarding pass, and at the end you’ll be told if your “passenger” survived the wreck. Inside, you’ll see a range of rooms recreated from on board, and apart from the rolling waves, the imitation is pretty true to life.
12. The Mob Museum
The Mob Museum opened in a former courthouse in Las Vegas back in 2012, and remains the only museum in the United States dedicated to organised crime. In this 3 storey museum, visitors can learn all about how organised crime has impacted modern law enforcement in Las Vegas. Giving a realistic edge to the experience, inside is a wall dedicated to 100 years of “made men”, complete with a sound booth playing real-life stories of La Cosa Nostra, displays of bullet fragments, and a piece of wall from the St Valentine’s Day Massacre.
So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to the most unusual things to do in Las Vegas, America. What are you waiting for? Don’t forget to drop your bags with Stasher luggage storage and go get freaky in Las Vegas!