Best Things To Do in Vegas That Skip the Slot Machines

View of The Sphere in Las Vegas.

Flashing lights, desert air, the sound of casino games, fantastic food, and world-class entertainment excite people about visiting Las Vegas, and I’m one of them. I love Las Vegas. While I’ve had fun gambling during my last four trips to this tourist hot spot, the experiences I’ve enjoyed the most have occurred off the casino floor.

To help you plan your next getaway to Sin City that doesn’t focus on gambling, I’ve compiled some of my favorite hotels, restaurants, bars, and attractions – here are the best things to do in Vegas.

Where To Stay

Left image: Lady enjoying a drink at the Aria pool; middle image: Statue of Liberty Replica at the New York-New York; right image: Lady standing in the Shark Reef Aquarium tunnel with sharks swimming over her.

Aria poolside / New York-New York Hotel / Shark Reef Aquarium.

With over 150,000 hotel rooms, planning where to stay is exciting (and sometimes overwhelming). I’ve stayed at the Aria, Mandalay Bay, and, during my most recent winter trip, the New York-New York Hotel.

My favorite hotel has been the Aria. It’s more upscale and has excellent accommodations and fantastic restaurants. If you love Asian cuisine, eat at Lemongrass and Din Tai Fung. During the summer, Aria is a wonderful place to soak up the sun at the pool – there are five. There’s also a nightclub inside. My husband and I got a room with panoramic views of the Strip, and I must add the gym is good too.

If sitting poolside at Mandalay Bay Beach drinking a frozen cocktail sounds like your idea of a vacation, Mandalay Bay is a fun place to stay. My room was clean and comfortable. There is a Shark Reef Aquarium you can explore – because where else can you dive with sharks in the middle of the desert? I walked through the aquarium and enjoyed viewing the sharks and a kimono dragon up close.

On the heart of the Strip, the New York-New York Hotel has The Big Apple Coaster, an Arcade, and Cirque du Soleil theater. The property’s theme pays homage to New York City, so have a drink in Times Square (Las Vegas, that is). You might like being able to grab a slice of pizza every night, which reminded me of our first time in New York City.

There’s also a lot of buzz about the Resorts World property, which opened in 2021.

Where To Eat

left image: Din Tai Fung small asian food plates; middle photo: lady eating pizza in Vegas; right photo: grapefruit brule from Sadelle's in Vegas.

Din Tai Fung / Eataly / Sadelle’s.

Culinary experiences are one of my favorite parts about vacationing in Vegas. If you’ve never had Italian food paired with a psychedelic theme, don’t miss Superfrico. I’m honestly still drooling over their Caesar salad. I loved the entertainment – it’s a quintessential Las Vegas experience.

For lunch, Italian food lovers won’t want to miss Eataly in the Park MGM – it’s said to be the largest Italian marketplace in the world. La Pizza e la Pasta is a great place to have gluten-free pizza.

Hands down, the best place for breakfast, brunch, and lunch is Sadelle’s Café. Be sure to try the Grapefruit Brulé and Vegas Omelet as you enjoy views of the beautiful Bellagio Conservatory. I’ve been here multiple times, and it never disappoints.

While we’re talking about the Bellagio, take time to see the fountains dance. Monday through Friday, the fountain show begins at 3 p.m. On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the fountains start at 6:30 p.m. Check the Bellagio’s website beforehand, as schedules and weather may vary.

Where To Drink

Left image: Lady at the Chandelier bar in Las Vegas; middle photo: cocktail at the Lost Cactus bar; right photo: lady drinking a cocktail at the Mob Museum speakeasy.

The Chandelier / The Lost Cactus / Mob Museum Speakeasy.

To kick off a night out, if clubbing isn’t your thing, head straight to the Cosmopolitan. The Chandelier is a three-story bar that’s also an art exhibit. I couldn’t stop staring at all the crystals and lights. For a laid-back happy hour that will make you feel like you’re in Colorado, check out The Ski Lodge. It’s right next to Superfrico.

During the summer, visiting Minus 5 is a nice reprieve from the intense summer heat. You literally have drinks in an ice bar (a.k.a giant freezer). It’s a unique thing to do in Las Vegas.

And last, the Lost Cactus offers cocktail experiences with fire, smoke, and sparkles. This bar makes the list because getting a drink made here is a show all in itself.

What To Do

Left image: view of FlyOver sign; middle image: LaConcha Neon Museum signs; right image: Luxury cars at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

FlyOver / The Neon Museum / Dream Racing.

Las Vegas has a million things to do; from cultural and artistic attractions to shows and museums, there is so much entertainment beyond gambling at the casinos.

On my most recent trip, I went to FlyOver. I have to tell you right now: this attraction blew me away. It’s an iRide that will make you feel like you’re Peter Pan flying through the sky. You’ll feel wind and mist on your face as you soar through the clouds.

FlyOver offers three shows in Las Vegas: explore the wonders of the American West, Iceland, or the Canadian Rockies. My favorite ride was Windborne: Call of the Canadian Rockies. It touched my soul.

I’d never been to a magic show until I saw Nathan Burton – he has great energy, and I was captivated the entire time. He was on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Burton’s show is in the same building as FlyOver. Another popular magic show in Vegas is Criss Angel Mindfreak.

Formula 1 made its debut in Vegas in November of 2023. So, if you love the roar of fast cars and the luxurious vibe that follows the F1 scene, head to Sin City in November. You can also drive race cars at Dream Racing. My husband, Pablo, did this and absolutely loved it!

If you’ve heard the hype surrounding the Sphere at the Venetian, go check it out. You can walk by it or go inside and experience a show. U2 currently has a residence here.

There are a lot of museums in Las Vegas. My favorites include the Neon Museum, the Mob Museum, and Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum.

The Neon Museum has the largest repository of vintage Vegas artifacts. Seeing all the neon lights during a night tour is incredible. I also thoroughly enjoyed learning more about organized crime in America at the Mob Museum. There’s even a speakeasy underneath! And if you love all things paranormal (like me), go for a spine-tinkling tour of the Haunted Museum.

If you’ve never been to Freemont Street, I highly recommend spending an afternoon and evening here. Explore a few of the original casinos, check out the Mob Museum and the Neon Museum, and head to one of the casinos to grab food. I love Asian food, and we bopped into 8 East, located inside the Circa. A Freemont Street experience is more laid back, with fewer crowds.

Since Las Vegas is one of my favorite cities in America, I’ll continue to update this guide every time I discover more cool things to do.

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.