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Sin City isn’t all gambling and booze-fueled late-night ragers followed by sun-soaked days at the pool. Or is it? These activities do account for a lot of what makes us happy Vegas campers, but there’s so much more! Here are ten on and off-the-beaten path things every Vegas visitor should do at least one time.

RELATED: 8 best day trips from Las Vegas

Place your bets

Even if you’re a non-gambler it’s hard not to get swept up in the energy of a busy casino floor. Go ahead and surrender a little dough to those tempting one-arm bandits (their odds are admittedly pretty terrible), try your hand at blackjack or be the “shooter” at a rowdy craps table. You’ll probably lose a little, but you may just win a lot! Hint: Hit the ATM before hitting Vegas. You’ll thank us later due to the high on-Strip fees.

Dive in

Park MGM pool in Vegas

The climate in southern Nevada is perfect much of the year, so yeah, you should hit the pool. At legendary day parties like Wet Republic at MGM Grand or Encore Beach Club at the Wynn, expect big name DJs, free-flowing booze and youthful hijinks. But almost all the big resorts offer quieter pools where you can bliss out. Daybeds cost around $50–$100, but offer shade and poolside exclusivity and are kinda worth it if you don’t want to compete for a lounge chair.

See the light

Neon Museum

Visitors to Vegas are often surprised to learn the city boasts some legit cultural attractions, including the Mob Museum, Discovery Children’s Museum and Burlesque Hall of Fame. But for an enchanting night on the town, book a docent-led tour of the Neon Museum at night and learn the history of Sin City while legendary neon signs twinkle all around you. Bring your camera!

Pig out

buffet, Vegas

“Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving!” Not so in Las Vegas, home to the all-you-can-eat buffet. Truth be told, the Vegas buffet no longer plays the outsized role it once did (thanks to an influx of restaurants driven by celebrity chefs), but for pure Vegas gluttony, they’re worth checking out. Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and A.Y.C.E. at the Palms should both be on your list and if you’re looking for a budget buffet of questionable quality, check out the sawdust casinos downtown and further afield.

Snap a selfie

Maybe it’s the bright, bold coloring, maybe it’s that the sign was designed by pioneering graphic artist Betty Willis or maybe it’s the use of the word “fabulous,” but it’s a rite of passage to join the queue in front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and snap a selfie with the Strip looming in the background. FYI, the sign is a lot smaller than you probably imagine it to be!

Go downtown

Fremont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada, gambling, casino

The comeback of downtown Las Vegas is one of the city’s great success stories. The touristy Fremont Street Experience is the big draw, but downtown is also where the locals drink (The Griffin, Laundry Room and Commonwealth), eat (Park on Fremont, Smashed Pig, Flock & Fowl and Donut Bar) and hang (Container Park is a mini-mall crafted almost entirely of shipping containers!).

Let your jaw drop

la-nouba-by-cirque-de-soleil-preview-02

The entertainment options in Vegas are exhaustingly rich. Megawatt headliners? Check. Heavyweight matches? Check. Magic shows, cabarets and stand-up comedy? Check, check and check! But even though Montreal-based performing arts troupe Cirque du Soleil are everywhere these days, you simply must not leave Vegas until you’ve seen the sublime and aquatic “O,”  at Bellagio, the hippie-trippy Beatles-infused “LOVE” at The Mirage or the action-packed newcomer “R.U.N.” at Luxor.

Say “Aaaah!”

Trending-spa-treatments-and-where-to-find-them

Best way to temper a night of Sin City revelry is to couple it with a rubdown the following afternoon. Most Vegas spas are contained within the resorts and offer unparalleled pampering if you’ve got the dough. Canyon Ranch at The Venetian and the Spa at Aria are two of the city’s most luxe, but if it’s a mere soak and a steam you seek, try the budget options of visiting the bathhouses at Qua Spa at Caesars (where it snows!) or Spa Mandalay at Mandalay Bay.

Put your hands together

Bellagio, Vegas

What dances and sways to classic jams while enthralling passersby on the Strip? We’re not talking about a Vegas showgirl, but rather the show-stopping Bellagio Fountains! A rare Vegas freebie, this water and light display happens every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes at night and is still the most applause-worthy show in town. Fun fact: The fountains sit on an 8.5-acre lake and include 1,214 jets that shoot the water up to 460 feet into the air.

Get the heck out of Dodge

Too many Vegas visitors hit the casinos blissfully unaware of the treasure trove of natural attractions that lie within a stone’s throw of the Strip. Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park both offer craggy cliffs and rock formations in a swirl of enchanting colors. You can shoosh down powdery white slopes in winter at Mount Charleston and if a rowdy Vegas pool party isn’t your scene, spend the fishing, boating and sunbathing at beautiful Lake Mead.

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Tagged: Las Vegas

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Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is a Lead Content Specialist for Expedia Group, and manages content initiatives across numerous Expedia-owned brands. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Huffington Post, Chicago Magazine, Passport and many others.

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