Off The Beaten Path in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Neon Museum Moulin Rouge sign

Do you want to know a secret? I went to Las Vegas for the first time earlier this year, and I got to experience some cool things! I went off the beaten path and learned that there is much more to Las Vegas than just the casinos. 

To be quite honest with you, I had the impression that Las Vegas only contained casinos. And the illusion is that they are everywhere! I thought Las Vegas consisted of the strip with flashy hotels and casinos and was surrounded by nothing but desert. When I arrived, I saw a whole lot more than that! Las Vegas is technically in the desert in Nevada, so that’s not a misconception. Yes, there are a lot of casinos in Las Vegas. They are in every hotel. Sometimes the casinos are stand-alone, sometimes they are in a hotel, you can gamble in waiting areas at the airport. Casinos are not the only thing in Las Vegas. 

Las Vegas offers a variety of activities beyond its famous casinos.

What Is Off The Beaten Path in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas has something for everyone, so whether you’re interested in nature, history, or entertainment, you can find plenty to do beyond the casinos. This was a total surprise to me! At one point in time, Las Vegas earned its notorious “Sin City” nickname from the prevalence of money crimes, prostitution, and violence. Honestly, this was what I was expecting to see. So tuck in as here are some cool things to do, off the beaten path in Las Vegas that don’t involve gambling:

 

Visit The Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas

Explore the ongoing power struggle between organized crime and law enforcement from the Mob’s origination to today at The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. It can be said that the best stories are found by digging under the surface (and in this case, Off The Beaten Path). From interactive exhibits to artifacts from the past, by taking a guided (or an unguided tour if you wish, but I recommend a guided tour) you’ll learn all about Las Vegas’ tenacious history with the Mob. 

Las Vegas The Mob Museum Exterior front and street

The Mob Museum provides a comprehensive look at the history of organized crime in the United States. It covers the rise of the Mafia, the Prohibition era, and the various criminal activities that shaped American history. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts, including weapons, clothing, and personal items belonging to infamous mob figures.

The museum has preserved and reconstructed courtrooms so visitors can experience what it was like inside actual courtrooms where famous mob trials took place. The Mob Museum includes a Crime Lab exhibit where visitors can explore forensic science and investigative techniques used by law enforcement to combat organized crime.

off the beaten path in Las Vegas The Mob Museum St. Valentine's Day Massacre Wall

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall is a historical artifact associated with one of the most infamous events in the history of organized crime in the United States. This Massacre occurred on February 14, 1929, in Chicago, during the Prohibition era. It was a brutal gangland execution that resulted in the murder of seven members of George “Bugs” Moran’s North Side Gang. The perpetrators, dressed as police officers, lined up Moran’s men against a wall in a garage at 2122 North Clark Street and opened fire. The Mob Museum has preserved a section of the original brick wall from the garage where massacre took place. The bricks contain bullet holes from the machine gun fire that killed the seven men. This wall serves as a chilling and tangible piece of evidence from one of the most notorious events in the history of organized crime.

This was by far, the coolest museum I think I have ever been in and if there is a place I’d like to return to again in Las Vegas, this is it.

Las Vegas The Mob Museum Web of mob activity

Get Down Underground at the Speakeasy

Without even leaving the Mob Museum building, go underground and travel back in time to the Prohibition era. While we Canadians only had Prohibition in our country from 1918 to 1920 as a temporary war measure, in the USA, it was a different story. During Prohibition, thousands of speakeasies operated in hard-to-find places to satisfy the nation’s thirst for forbidden spirits. During the time of Prohibition, the sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal in the United States.

The Mob Museum’s speakeasy, known as “The Underground,” is a unique experience that pays homage to the Prohibition era. It provides visitors with a chance to step back in time and experience the atmosphere of a speakeasy. The Underground is designed to replicate the look and feel of a 1920s speakeasy. The decor includes period-appropriate furniture, lighting, and artifacts, creating an authentic atmosphere. You’ll find The Underground serves a variety of craft cocktails. Many of these are inspired by the drinks popular during the Prohibition era.

The Underground includes a working distillery exhibit where visitors can learn about the process of making moonshine and other illicit spirits. Staff occasionally conducts demonstrations. To enhance the speakeasy experience, The Underground has a discreet entrance. Visitors can access it through a side door, much like patrons would have entered a real speakeasy during Prohibition. Entrance to the speakeasy is granted by knowing a password!

Giggle Water drink at a speakeasy bar under the mob museum in Las Vegas

Explore The Neon Museum of Las Vegas

Did you know that there is a Museum in Las Vegas where old neon signs from casinos and hotels go to die? It’s called The Neon Museum. This outdoor museum gives guided tours is a remarkable tribute to the city’s vibrant history and is a must-see attraction. The collection of vintage neon signs in the museum offers a journey into the heart of old Las Vegas. Going in the evening meant some of the signs were all lit up and had that look of yesteryear. This adds an extra layer of magic and nostalgia to the tour.

The museum’s visitor center is housed in the historic La Concha Motel lobby. This is an example of Googie architecture—a style popular in the mid-20th century.  The main attraction of the Neon Museum is the Neon Boneyard, an outdoor space featuring a collection of over 200 vintage neon signs. These signs come from various hotels, casinos, and businesses that were once part of the iconic Las Vegas skyline. Each sign has a unique history, and the Neon Boneyard serves as a visual timeline of the city’s development.

Note that everyone must attend on a guided tour and no wandering is permitted. I thought this was a pretty cool experience.

Las Vegas Neon Museum at night exterior

 

FlyOver Las Vegas

If you read my last post from Las Vegas, you would have seen that you can fly over Iceland, Windborne: The Canadian Rockies and over the Wonders of the American West! All from the comfort of your seat. 4 storeys in the air. This wonderful place is called FlyOver Las Vegas (and you can read my post about it here).

The FlyOver experience takes you on a hang glider up, up and away. The “hang-glider” moves – turns, dips, and swoops in reaction to what you are seeing on the screen. It makes you feel like the images in front of you are happening. As if the motion wasn’t enough, it gets more immersive. While your hang-glider moves, you also feel the wind in your hair through the mountains, over valleys and mist when over water and waterfalls.

And the scents! Yep! Flying over a lavender field? Guess what you smell? This is a true delight for the senses – and brings the immersiveness of the attraction into reality. You can read more in my previous post or dare you to take in the attraction yourself!

Las Vegas FlyOver Iceland author's feet

Check Out Fremont Street

Fremont Street is a historic street in downtown Las Vegas. This street is known for its vibrant atmosphere, casinos, entertainment, and the famous Fremont Street Experience. What is The Fremont Street Experience? It’s a pedestrian mall located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. It is known for its overhead canopy, the Viva Vision canopy. This is composed of LED lights and serves as a massive screen for light shows and concerts.

Fremont Street is home to several historic and iconic casinos, including the Golden Nugget, Binion’s Gambling Hall, and Four Queens. The street is adorned with vintage neon signs, contributing to its retro charm. The Neon Museum, which preserves and displays historic neon signs, is also located nearby. Fremont Street is known for its diverse array of street performers, musicians, and entertainers. Here, you will find a variety of dining options, from casual to upscale. Of course, you will find numerous bars and nightclubs.

Fremont Street is a great destination for visitors looking to experience the history and energy of Las Vegas beyond the famous Strip.

Las Vegas Fremont Street

Other Off-The Beaten Path Around Las Vegas Experiences

These are places I have not been to yet, but make no mistake, they are on my list of places to go:

  1. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Explore the stunning desert landscape just outside the city at Red Rock Canyon. Hiking, rock climbing, and scenic drives are popular activities here.
  2. Hoover Dam: Take a short drive to visit the iconic Hoover Dam, a marvel of engineering on the border of Nevada and Arizona. Tours are available to learn about its history and construction.
  3. Lake Mead National Recreation Area: Enjoy outdoor activities like boating, fishing, and hiking at Lake Mead, which is located not far from Las Vegas.
  4. Seven Magic Mountains: Head out to the desert to see the colourful stacked boulders of Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone.
  5. Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden: Take a tour of the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and stroll through the adjacent Botanical Cactus Garden. You can enjoy free chocolate samples and admire the desert plants.
  6. If you’re interested in ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) experiences in the Las Vegas area, there are several options for ATV tours and adventures in the nearby desert landscapes. These experiences offer a thrilling way to explore the natural beauty surrounding Las Vegas and I can bet it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

 

Where to Eat In Las Vegas

Las Vegas is home to a wide array of restaurants, ranging from celebrity chef-driven establishments to casual eateries. I was surprised to find a very vibrant food scene! I’m going to be so honest. My breakfast consisted of coffee and pastries from Starbucks. Sorry! No great brunch secrets from me to you here, but let me tell you about a couple of amazing places I ate meals at.

Mon Ami Gabi in Paris Hotel & Casino
Mon Ami Gabi is known for its delightful Parisian brasserie ambiance. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, with outdoor seating providing views of the Las Vegas Strip. Mon Ami Gabi is a French bistro featuring fresh seafood, Steak Frites, exquisite bites and French rolling wine carts.
Gordon Ramsay Burgers
If you enjoy gourmet burgers and appreciate the culinary expertise of Gordon Ramsay, dining at Gordon Ramsay Burger could be a unique and enjoyable experience. This is Planet Hollywood’s hangout for high-end burgers, hot dogs & drinks in a snazzy, colourful atmosphere. The menu typically includes a variety of burger options, each with its own distinctive flavours. Beef patties are cooked over an open flame fueled by hardwoods – the only restaurant on the Strip to use this method – creating a more complex and powerful flavour.
8 East
“8 East” is a pan-Asian restaurant located at Circa Resort & Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Sample diverse Pan-Asian dishes at 8 East, that were inspired by chef and
restaurateur Dan Coughlin’ youth and travels throughout Asia. Dig into a selection of popular plates spanning Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai cuisines in a space inspired by metropolitan Asian food markets. Try the steak.
8 East restaurant steak
It’s essential to note that reviews and restaurant experiences can change over time. I recommend checking recent reviews on platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or other restaurant review sites for the latest feedback from diners. Additionally, consider making a reservation, especially during peak dining times, to ensure you have a positive dining experience.

What Is The Best Place To Stay In Las Vegas?

I was lucky enough to stay at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas for my adventure. Planet Hollywood is centrally located on the Las Vegas Strip, making it convenient for exploring other resorts, attractions, and entertainment options in the area. You can explore the Strip on foot if you are willing to walk and get your 10,000 steps per day. I recommend staying here if you want to be easily accessible to the glitz and the glamour of the casinos, dining experiences, shopping and attractions. Uber is available to transport to the airport and back as well as to other sections of Las Vegas like Fremont Street. Las Vegas also has a monorail to whisk you around!

My room was comfortable and spacious and I felt safe even though I was there alone. I didn’t hear any noise from anywhere else in the hotel or from the outside world. You can access outside and a Starbucks in the lobby without even going into the casino.

It might have been summer and the sun was hot, but I couldn’t help but check out the pool. The Pleasure Pool is the main pool at Planet Hollywood. The pool area includes a poolside bar where guests can order a variety of cocktails, beers, and non-alcoholic drinks. Planet Hollywood also offers cabana rentals at the pool.

Planet Hollywood adult pool with cabanas and mist

Consider Hanging in Las Vegas

If you have ever been curious about Las Vegas but felt intimidated by the casinos and nightlife, you can rest assured that you’ll find a little corner to keep you occupied or out of trouble.

I was hosted by Pursuit Collection to experience the off-the-beaten path in Las Vegas and to fall in love with the FlyOver Las Vegas experience. 

My thoughts and reviews are always mine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *