Las Vegas may be known for the nightlife, casinos, and star power along the Strip. But sometimes taking the road less travelled makes all the difference. Get off the Vegas Strip to discover the best local haunts and hangouts.
See Another Side of Sin City With These Top Things to Do off the Las Vegas Strip
Many visitors overlook the fact that there’s a whole city surrounding Las Vegas Boulevard, the infamous stretch of casinos and resorts known as the Strip. But there’s a whole other side to Vegas that’s worth exploring. From the best local restaurants to popular festivals, these are the best things to do off the Vegas Strip.
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1. Dine at local restaurants
The Las Vegas Strip may be known for restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Giada de Laurentiis. But there’s plenty to feast on off the Vegas strip, too.
Not only are the desserts at Sweets Raku rich and delicious, they are almost too beautiful to eat. For dessert and a show, order the fruity “Mars” chocolate dome, which comes doused in Brandy that’s lit in a firey flambée. Also, make sure to pair your order with a selection from the dessert wine cellar.
Lotus of Siam is a local secret off the Vegas Strip on the brink of being overrun by foodies from around the world. The original outpost of this Northern Thai restaurant may be located in a rundown strip mall, but don’t let that fool you. For more than 15 years, James Beard Award-winning chef Saipin Chutima has been satiating locals with Thai stews and hearty curries, all made from passed-down family recipes. Reservations are a must.
2. Grab a drink at a local bar
Located in the Henderson neighbourhood off the Vegas Strip, Crafthaus Brewery is a local favourite. Stop by to tour the brewery or kick back and enjoy game nights, which happen year round. The best part? A fleet of food trucks are regularly stationed nearby for finger-licking meals on wheels. If you can’t make it to the brewery, look for Crafthaus selections in most liquor stores and local bars around town.
Gold Spike has a huge bar area that hosts every kind of childhood game imaginable in an oversized format. Think life-size beer pong, tetherball, Twister, checkers, and hopscotch. There’s even a tiny house available for private parties. And if the bar looks familiar to you, that’s because it was the preferred hangout for the Real World Las Vegas cast. Stick around to see the space transform to a nightclub and dance floor in the later hours.
3. Explore nightlife off the Vegas Strip
Country music, line dancing, and wranglers oh my! That’s what you’ll find at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country club. Despite moving to a smaller venue a year ago, its 2,500-square foot dance floor still holds lots of room for line dancing, boot-scootin’ and two-steppin’. Stop in Wednesday thru Sunday for dance lessons at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Thursdays are ladies nights, which means wine, well, and draft beer goes for one dollar a pop.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, both on and off the Vegas strip. If you manage to stay up late enough to make it to Artisan Afterhours at the Artisan Hotel, you won’t regret it. This local haunt has a Gothic funhouse vibe, with portraits, mirrors, and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of the ornately decorated bar and ultralounge. Check the calendar for weekly themes, events and drink specials.
4. Visit the Neon Museum
In addition to nightclubs and casinos, Las Vegas is home to a range of museums, and nothing quite beats Neon Museum. Located a 15-minute drive off the Vegas Strip, the Neon Museum campus includes a visitor center inside the former La Concha Motel lobby, and the Neon Boneyard, an outdoor exhibit of iconic Las Vegas signs, restored to their bright-and-shiny glory. Join an hour-long guided tour to learn the backstory and fun facts about the signs that make Vegas sparkle. Tours are available night and day, but daytime is recommended for visitors travelling with kids.
5. Check out an outdoor market
Not far off the Vegas strip, you’ll find the popular local market called First Friday. On the first Friday of every month, local vendors, performers, food trucks, and artists come together in the super hip Arts District. The community-driven event has a local block party feel, with artists creating installations on the spot and DJs playing to the meandering crowds. For a more intimate experience, join one of the many fireside chats for an impromptu discussion of poetry and fiction.
6. Practice your swing at the Topgolf Driving Range
Topgolf is the perfect place in Vegas off the Strip to bring a group of friends and challenge them to hit a few drives on the green. But if puttering around isn’t your thing, take a dip in their Hideaway Pool, dance to live music, or chow down at their restaurant. Located walking distance from the Strip, Topgolf also boasts one of the best views of the famous boulevard. In fact, the vantage point is so uplifting the venue hosts regular Yoga with a View sessions.
7. Visit Red Rock and Seven Magic Mountains
Another exciting thing to do in Vegas off the Strip is to rent a car and drive up to Red Rock Canyon, a popular spot for hiking lovers. Red Rock offers many trails with a wide range of difficulty levels, each one with rewarding vistas of the desert landscape. After your hike, drive a little further to Bonnie Springs Ranch—an old western town. You might even spot some wild donkeys.
Just a few kilometres outside of Las Vegas is the popular art installation in the middle of the desert: Seven Magic Mountains. Created by internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, the colourful display is comprised of vibrant boulders stacked into seven tall and imposing structures. Aim to arrive around sunset to see the monuments illuminated by the golden desert sky.
8. Watch a show off the Vegas Strip
Located in Las Vegas’ Symphony Park, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a somewhat recent addition to the city’s eclectic theatre scene and the perfect place off the Vegas Strip to catch a show. Opened in 2012, the complex plays hosts to world-renowned Broadway shows, musicals, stand-ups comedy, and more. A pre-show picnic in the park will make for a midsummer night’s dream.
For something more festive, the three-day Electric Daisy Carnival lights up the Las Vegas Speedway every spring. From pyrotechnic performances to electronic dance music spun by a lineup of DJs and artists, this electric festival will have you wired from dusk ’til dawn. Tech-powered rides and installations are designed to spark joy in between acts, and a high-voltage round of fireworks close out the festival with a bang.
Mix things up on your Vegas adventure at the three-day Life is Beautiful festival, which takes place in the heart of downtown Las Vegas every September. The lineup for 2019 includes Of Monsters and Men, Vampire Weekend, Lil’ Wayne, and Canada’s own Carly Rae Jepsen among others. But this festival isn’t just about music. Look for comedy and ideas from Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness and the hosts of the Pod Save America podcast.
9. Catch a Golden Knights Hockey Game
Step into the Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena for some Golden Knights hockey action. Although technically on the Strip, the arena can be accessed without crossing Las Vegas Blvd, so we’ll make an exception. It may feel odd to see the winter sport in the desert, but the Knights proved their place in the NHL by making the Stanley Cup Final in their first year. Check the schedule for upcoming games and events. Plan a full experience by scheduling an arena tour, with stops in the Zamboni and locker rooms.