When you're in Vegas, you have access to world-class entertainment, restaurants from the best chefs in the country, all the gambling you can handle, and serene pools at every turn. While you can spend a whole trip to Vegas on the Strip, the city has a lot more to offer than just those sparkly casinos. If you're headed to Las Vegas and want to wander off the Strip, here are four places you need to go.
Fremont Street Experience
If you've been to Las Vegas but never gone to Fremont Street, you are missing out on a true Vegas experience. Before there was the Strip, there was Fremont Street. When you go there, you feel like you're taking a step back in time. Of course, they've updated some things, and there's a zipline that runs from one end of Fremont Street to the other. If ziplining isn't your thing, you can still take in the spectacular Viva Vision Light Show just by looking up. This light show takes place on the largest video screen in the world — a domed arch that stretches the length of Fremont Street.
Looking for other things to see and do at Fremont Street? You can't miss the numerous street performers. Also, if you like to gamble, many of the tables in the casinos on Fremont Street start at lower buy-ins than tables on the Strip, which makes things a bit more affordable.
Valley of Fire State Park
Need a break from the lights and sounds of the Strip? The Valley of Fire State Park is only an hour drive from Las Vegas. This park is made up of stunning sandstone formations. Just as captivating as the rocks themselves, the Valley of Fire is home to 2,000-year-old petroglyphs and petrified trees. The petroglyphs were left behind by Anasazi people who lived in the nearby Moapa Valley from 300 B.C. to about A.D. 1150. Anthropologists believe this tribe visited the Valley of Fire for hunting and religious purposes.
When it comes to exploring the Valley of Fire, there are lots of options. The park staff protects 40,000 acres, so it would be impossible to see it all in a day trip. But, if you want to hike around and get up close with these incredible sandstone formations, the park rangers at the visitor center can recommend plenty of great hikes. Alternatively, if you want to have a plan in advance, AllTrails is an excellent resource to determine which trails are most suitable for your party and the experience you're looking for. Also, if you enjoy camping, the park has 72 campsites, including sites with hookups for RVs.
A Helicopter Ride to the Grand Canyon
Whether you've been to the Grand Canyon before or not, a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas is a one-of-a-kind experience. The day trip from Vegas can be pricey, but so is everything in Vegas. Maybe you can take your winnings from craps and schedule a tour. And this trip will be completely worth it. Helicopter tours are a popular activity for tourists, so there are many companies to consider. TripAdvisor is a trustworthy place to see what's out there and investigate different companies. Tours can be anywhere from a full-day excursion to a four-hour jaunt.
A common destination for helicopter tours is the north rim of the canyon. Many of the tours also fly over the Hoover Dam. This historically significant dam is the whole reason why Las Vegas can exist. The water from the Colorado River is the primary source of water for the valley. And it's truly amazing to be able to see it from an aerial view.
Pinball Hall of Fame
Visiting the Pinball Hall of Fame will make you feel like a kid. It's "pinball and nothing but pinball for 10,000 square feet." And the great news is, if you lost all your money gambling, the games here are only 25 to 75 cents each.
Shockingly, all the games belong to one collector, Tim Arnold. Arnold always loved pinball as a child and operated arcades as an adult in Michigan. He retired to Las Vegas, bringing all the pinball machines he'd collected over the years with him. The pinball machines in the collection range from games made during the 1950s to the 1990s. Since the heyday of pinball was during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, most of the machines come from those decades. The Pinball Hall of Fame didn't always use to be so close to the Strip. But since 2009, its home has been on Tropicana Ave. That makes it only a 10-minute drive.