I know what you’re thinking, you’re going to Vegas but you want to see more than the Bellagio Fountains, the Eiffel Tower, and the inside of a gigantic flashy casino.
Now don’t get me wrong, all of those things are impressive in their own right but deep down you know there is more and you want the inside scoop.
Well, here are 8 alternative Las Vegas spots for you to check out and peel back the layer of the glitz and glamour of the strip.
Have you ever wondered, “where do all the big Vegas signs go when they die?” Well if you haven’t, you have now, and here is the answer.
The Neon Museum houses over 200 signs that have been rescued from the scrapyard and if you visit at sunset, you’ll see some of them come to life in all their former glory. You’re able to take casual photos while you walk around during your booked time slot, and if you’re a pro photographer, take advantage of the designated photo walk option so you can bring all your equipment to get those killer shots.
It’s all about the Las Vegas Strip until it isn’t. It can be hard to tear yourself away but I promise if you make the short 5 mile trip to Fremont Street you won’t be disappointed.
Here, you can find a covered pedestrianized street that runs for 4 blocks housing a lot of entertainment including live music every night. The roof itself is the world’s largest digital display with shows starting on the hour every hour from 6 pm to 2 am. If you’re feeling spicy you can zipline under the roof and fly over the heads of everyone below. The casinos that span the length of the street are pretty old school with low ceilings, classic games, and filled with locals looking to hit the jackpot. Think Matilda’s Mom!
If you’re looking for a big thrill or two, head on over to the Stratosphere. At first glance, it might not seem like much, especially after you’ve been surrounded by huge hotels on the Vegas strip, but atop this tower are some of the biggest thrills in the whole city.
I have a stomach that can take a lot and even one of these rides was too much for me. Insanity is just that, literally insanity! A huge claw that pivots over the edge of the 900-foot tall platform, spins and tilts riders up to 70 degrees so you’re facing the ground oh so far below you. I highly recommend the Big Shot that blasts you into the air to over 1000 feet above ground level where your sightlines will be uninterrupted views of the Vegas skyline and desert — it feels like you’re ascending to heaven at lightning speed.
If this isn’t an alternative Las Vegas activity, I don’t know what is!
James Turrell has installations and exhibits all over the world and he’s known for his innovative use of light and space. Most people have heard of James Turrell through Drake’s music video for “Hotline Bling” which was inspired by the decades of Turrell’s work.
Hidden deep inside Louis Vuitton’s store is a little-known Turrell exhibit that was installed in 2013. Admittance is free and you must call ahead to make a reservation. I definitely recommend calling at least 2 months in advance to make sure you get to experience the “you used to call me on my cellphone” vibes.
While alternative Las Vegas may suggest unknown venues and spots in the city, I can’t skip past the number #1 show in Vegas.
Absinthe is the most hilarious, vulgar, and entertaining show that takes place inside a tent located right outside of Caesars Palace. Here you will find a space that ensures every seat is a great seat and has a smaller audience than the more traditional Vegas shows.
The whole event is hosted by a couple of quick-witted individuals who have amazing improv skills and are guaranteed to have you in stitches. They introduce genuinely creative and impressive artists who will have you in awe of their skills and abilities. Be warned though, you’re not going to find PC humour here so if you’re easily offended, this is not the show for you!
With so many options for places to eat in Vegas, it can be pretty overwhelming. If you’re in Vegas you’re probably interested in having at least one nice meal and China Poblano is a great choice. Located towards the back of The Cosmopolitan, this Chinese Mexican restaurant has creative dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Where else could you possibly find high-quality dim sum and tacos served up in one restaurant?
Make sure you check out China Poblano on your next visit!
Located off the strip, you just never know which top Drag Queens you might bump into at Piranha Nightclub. You may even find yourself face to face with some of the stars of the Cirque Du Soleil shows or a Britney Spears tribute artist. Piranha has been home to several Queens who have been contestants on Rupaul’s Drag Race such as India Farrah.
Everyone is welcome at Piranha Nightclub and if you don’t want to pay the entry prices of the biggest clubs in Vegas, then this is a great alternative Las Vegas spot to get your groove on.
If you’ve made it away from the strip, the likelihood is you’ve headed north and spotted a couple of wedding chapels and lots of motels. In the middle of these, you will find the Guardian Angel Cathedral which has an unusual A-Frame mid-century(ish) modern design. This is a great Instagram spot if you’re into architecture and fun fact: it was built on the old city dump. The land was donated by a Jewish owner who thought it would be great to build a church convenient for his city workers.
To tie in a lot of these alternative Las Vegas spots, you can walk from the strip all the way up to the Fremont Experience. From the MGM Grand to Fremont it will take you around 2 hours without stops. Doing it this way means you’ll be able to take in a lot of these sights plus more and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon/evening ending with the Neon Museum before dipping back down for the entertainment at Fremont.
What are some of your recommendations for an alternative Las Vegas experience? Let us know in the comments below and maybe we’ll include them in our next blog!8