If you ask most people about some of the things that they would like to do before they die, many will tell you that a visit to Las Vegas features quite high up on their list. The city rises like a mirage from the scorched Mojave Desert, and its reputation is shrouded in mystery and intrigue, having been immortalised in American culture by the Hollywood film industry and the many iconic movies, which use it as a setting to their plots, such as Ocean’s Eleven, Viva Las Vegas and Casino.
Las Vegas today attracts over 40 million visitors a year, all hoping to win big at card tables or slot machines at the raft of casinos that crowd the iconic Vegas Strip. Many of these tourists tend to stick to the beaten track and, as a result, end up doing more or less the same things as each other. By looking just a little beneath the surface, however, you can find plenty of unique things to do and see that will make you trip a little bit more special than the norm. Read on to find out more.
1. Visit the National Atomic Testing Museum
Once you have had enough of losing your money at the casino, it might be time to learn a little about the history of Las Vegas. Not only did the remote location of Sin City provide the perfect place at which to start a gambling mecca, but it also made the area the perfect place to for the U.S. Government to test its nuclear capacities. With over 12,000 fascinating artefacts, the National Atomic Testing Museum is the place to go to learn more.
2. Do the Blinking Man Bicycle Pub Crawl
In a city where strange is the norm, the sight of a long line of bicycles adorned with neon lights with their riders dressed up in outlandish getups looks like a normal part of the scenery. Add that to the fact that the objective of the procession is to pull up at as many of the bars on the route as possible while remaining in a fit state to carry on riding and you have quite a spectacle. If this sounds like it might be up your street, the good news is that anyone with a bicycle and the will is welcome to join in.
3. Visit a Graveyard for Old Neon Signs
If there is one thing that symbolises Las Vegas more than anything else, it is the endless iridescent neon signs that line the Strip. But have you ever stopped to wonder what happens to them all once they have passed their sell-by date? The answer is that many of the most iconic ones end up in the Neon Museum, where they are preserved and exhibited to the public to keep the city’s colourful past alive.
4. Play Arcade Games at the Pinball Hall of Fame
If you are in Vegas and have a fondness for pinball, you simply have to visit the Pinball Hall of Fame. It is jam-packed with retro machines from the dawn of pinball through the decades. An easy place to while away a few hours in the bliss of the sounds off flippers, balls and bonus noises as you wait for your flight home. Speaking of flights, make sure you get an ESTA visa before you fly in if you want to avoid being denied entry into the country before your Las Vegas adventure has even begun. For more information, check out this ESTA guide.
5. Visit the Oldest Wild West Saloon Bar in the Las Vegas
Just a short 30-minute car ride outside the main drag in the ghost town of Goodsprings lies Las Vegas’ oldest saloon bar. Pioneer Saloon has been open for business for over 100 years and offers a real window into the past. Today, it is frequented by bikers and cowboys, and the walls are covered with relics that tell the story of the bar, including bullet holes left over from shots that went off in a bar fight that ended up in the murder of one of the bar’s patrons. They say that his ghost still haunts the town.
If you want to make your Las Vegas adventure one to remember, mixing in some or all of the activities described above will give you the type of experience that sets your trip apart from those of people who fall into the casino trap and miss some of the more enthralling aspects of the mysterious city in the desert.