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How to Get Off the Beaten Path in Las Vegas


Las Vegas in Nevada and all its glittering lights
Hi, I'm Jen!

Vermont travel writer Jen Rose Smith covers adventure, remote places, and traditional cuisine from a home base in the Green Mountains. Her articles have appeared in National Geographic Adventure, American Way, Nexos, Condé Nast Traveler, Backpacker, AFAR, Rolling Stone, USA Today, and Outside Online.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Vermont travel writer Jen Rose Smith covers adventure, remote places, and traditional cuisine from a home base in the Green Mountains. Her articles have appeared in National Geographic Adventure, American Way, Nexos, Condé Nast Traveler, Backpacker, AFAR, Rolling Stone, USA Today, and Outside Online.

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The land of neon lights and casinos is so much more than a trip along the Strip these days. And while the glitzy hotels and gaming tables are must-visit attractions, you can escape the crowds at some of Las Vegas' off-the-beaten-path offerings. Here’s how.

Make it a museum day

The Titanic Museum. | Photo Credit: Viator

Vegas museums have plenty of personality.

Like Sin City itself, Las Vegas museums are never dull. The city’s organized crime underbelly is on display at the Mob Museum, while artifacts from the Titanic are the draw at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Visitors to the adults-only Erotic Heritage Museum will find spicy treasures from ancient Pompeii to the modern day. And to pose with frozen-in-time versions of pop stars like Michael Jackson and Miley Cyrus, head to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas to see the famous, life-like wax sculptures.

Find the perfect hike

The desert lands of Nevada. | Photo Credit: Eustacio Humphrey / Viator

Outside city limits, desert scenery is the star.

Just outside of Las Vegas you’ll find a constellation of desert parks boasting otherworldly rock formations in seemingly every shade of red. Trails at Red Rock Canyon wind around brilliant sandstone formations, while the Valley of Fire has Native American petroglyphs dating back some 2,000 years. If you’re willing to head a bit farther afield, you can also visit the awe-inspiring landscapes of Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park; the two make a good day trip from Las Vegas.

Immerse yourself in art

Omega Mart is a popular spot. | Photo Credit: Eustacio Humphrey / Viator

Interactive art is hands-on fun.

Forget the usual rules about not touching the art; Vegas offers some of the world’s best immersive art experiences. At the surreal Omega Mart, in the Area 15 entertainment district, a faux grocery store takes you into a mind-bending adventure. A few miles away, in the Las Vegas Arts District, you can immerse yourself in Particle Ink, a graphic novel come to life. And at the digital art museum Perception, you’ll walk right into works by celebrated artists like Leonardo da Vinci.

Take the wheel of an exotic car

Las Vegas Motor Speedway on a sunny day. | Photo Credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Feed your need for speed, Vegas style.

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts a NASCAR series and other racing events—and when the pros aren’t using the track, you can take a spin! Choose your own high-end race car, selecting from options that include Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Porches, then take on a road course with tips from a personal racing coach. If you don’t want to actually get behind the wheel, you can opt to ride along with a drift-car racer who will float a vehicle through a series of high-speed corners.

Enjoy new-to-you flavors

Diners in downtown Vegas. | Photo Credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

There’s more to Vegas’ food scene than its famous buffets.

Dining in Vegas can be an adventure, with options ranging from celebrity chefs to off-beat local joints. To get an overview of the city’s most in-demand spots, join a food tour that offers entrée into the star-powered kitchens of Gordon Ramsay and Giada De Laurentiis. If you’d rather get away from the Strip, explore the local eateries in the Las Vegas Arts District. Of you can skip the sit-down meals and take a tour to local chocolate shops, a family-owned winery, or the best tacos in town.

Get an aerial view

Travelers enjoy the view from High Roller Observation Wheel. | Photo Credit: Anthony Cruz / Viator

It’s fun to get a different perspective.

The Vegas version of the Eiffel Tower might be half the size of the original, but everything else about Sin City is over the top—so you may as well see it from the city’s high points. Soaring above the Strip at night in a helicopter is a glamorous option, glass-enclosed pods on the High Roller observation wheel offer panoramic views, and the starting point for the daring Fly LINQ Zipline is 12 stories high. If all that seems a bit too adventurous, you can opt to stay closer to the ground while looking down on the world from atop a double-decker bus.

Go off-roading

A tranquil spot on Lake Mead. | Photo Credit: Anthony Cruz / Viator

Dunes and desert invite 4WD adventuring.

You can’t get more “off the beaten path” than four-wheeling at Vegas’ Adrenaline Mountain, where you’ll get behind the wheel of a vehicle equipped for the desert’s most rugged terrain. Other opportunities to explore the arid landscape include the Las Vegas dunes, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and rocky Hidden Valley and Primm Valley. If you really want to challenge yourself, you can jostle for position with a speedy pack of off-road racers at the Mini Baja Chase.

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