The Las Vegas Strip is packed with big names and bright lights, but there’s another side to this desert city that often goes overlooked. It’s a side with big desert landscapes, quirky local spots and lots of weird history.
For example, there’s a James Turrell immersive art installation hidden away in a shop, and an outdoor neon sign museum with nightly shows that showcase all the best signs from the city’s past.
1. The Arts District
If you’re looking for an artsy, bohemian neighborhood in Las Vegas, look no further than the Arts District. This 18-block neighborhood is a true cultural explosion, filled with art galleries, cool cafes and boutiques.
One of the highlights of this neighborhood is its colorful street art, which is not only legal but encouraged in this area. You’ll find a constant stream of murals decorating the walls and businesses in the area.
Another hidden gem is the Downtown Container Park, a shopping center made from shipping containers that features shops and eateries. It is a great spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful views of the city.
If you’re looking for a foodie experience, visit GOOD PIE, which serves authentic New York style pizzas. You can also check out Able Baker, which is a brewery that offers over 30 different draft beers. Lastly, you can visit Analog Dope, which is a bookstore that specializes in books and records to amplify black culture.
2. The Mirage
Hotel refreshes and revamps are a common occurrence in Vegas, but there’s one resort that stands out for its classic charm. The Mirage is a tropical oasis located on the Las Vegas Strip, and offers turquoise pools, nightly entertainment and exotic animal habitats.
The Mirage was once home to Siegfried and Roy, the renowned performing duo that combined magic and wild animals to enthrall audiences. The duo departed the property in 2003, but one of their performing tigers remains at the resort today.
Rooms are stylish and comfortable, with contemporary furnishings and oversized windows that offer city views. Suites feature a furnished patio, and some also offer private outdoor pools.
The Mirage has a casino that’s a great place to play blackjack, roulette and video poker. It also has European roulette, a single-zero version of the game that has much better odds than double and triple zero versions.
3. The Fashion Show Mall
The dazzling lights, flashing neon, and 24/7 entertainment of Vegas’ Strip may be the most obvious attractions for tourists to enjoy, but there’s a whole other side to this city that’s worth exploring. From secluded speakeasies and mysterious museums to flamingo habitats and neon boneyards, there’s a whole world that lies under the glamor of the famous resorts in Las Vegas.
Taking its name from the famed New York-based fashion designer, the Fashion Show Mall is an iconic shopping and dining destination that’s a must-visit for any Vegas visitor. It’s home to over 250 stores and eight department stores, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy’s.
4. Valley of Fire State Park
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the strip, Valley of Fire State Park is the perfect place to go. This Nevada desert gem is filled with red sandstone rock formations, ancient petroglyphs, and gorgeous vistas.
Whether you want to book a tour from Las Vegas or camp in the park for the night, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable memories. Plus, the best time to visit is in winter or fall when temperatures are cooler and there are fewer crowds.
While you’re there, don’t miss out on the park’s top photo spots! These spots are all accessible via a short hike.
One of my favorite Instagram spots in Valley of Fire State Park is the Seven Sisters. These fun-looking sandstone formations look like beehives due to their cross-bedding and grooved lines.