6 Things to Do in Vegas Besides Gambling - IMBOLDN
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Vegas is primarily known for three things: gambling, food, and shows. You can certainly spend your mortgage money at the poker table or indulge in a nine-course gastronomic feast courtesy of Guy Savoy or Joel Robuchon, and goodness knows the Cirque du Soleil empire would be happy to take a few hundred bucks in ticket fees from your wallet, but what about entertaining, interesting, and otherwise worthwhile opportunities beyond the typical Vegas to-do list?

The truth is that the greater Las Vegas Valley – and yes, in some instances the lauded Strip itself – has so much more to offer than slot machines and 99-cent shrimp cocktails. From EDM extravaganzas to the fresh scent of crisp mountain air, there’s more than meets the eye to the place we call Sin City.  

1.Drink Local Brews

Celebrities may flock to nightclubs for complimentary bottle service, but Vegas locals know that $400 for a round of vodka/tonics is nonsense. Make like the natives and head to one of the Vegas breweries, or at least a pub that carries locally made craft beers. Aces and Ales is known for their commitment to craft beers, including Vegas brewery CraftHaus, while Beerhaus at The Park carries offerings from Banger Brewing and Bad Beat Brewing.  Other top-notch breweries to try, including a few with tasting rooms: Hop Nuts Brewing, Big Dog’s Draft House, and Tenaya Creek Brewery.

Quench your thirst with local brews.

Immerse Yourself in Festival Life

Las Vegans know how to throw a party, and when you combine that love of celebration with themes like food, dance, and, well, just about anything else, you get a fete well worth the price of a plane ticket and room reservation. A few of the best:

Life is Beautiful: Music, art, and comedy collide at Life is Beautiful, a huge festival that transforms Downtown Las Vegas into a dreamer’s paradise. There are muralists creating masterpieces live, both indie and major-label recording artists, the funniest people in showbiz, and even talks by thought leaders who have a lot to say about everything from Spartan workouts to the future of urban planning.

Music, art, and comedy collide at Life is Beautiful, a huge festival that transforms Downtown Las Vegas into a dreamer’s paradise.

EDC: The Electric Daisy Carnival is an EDM carnival of epic proportions. People flock to town equipped with their wackiest outfits and converge on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to enjoy the talents of a diverse gathering of internationally renowned DJs. If dancing in a bedazzled rabbit costume to Diplo is your idea of a good time, EDC is calling your name.

Vegas Uncork’d: Every May (or so), Bon Appetit partners with several of the biggest Vegas hotels and a slew of culinary luminaries for a no-holds-barred feast that spans multiple properties and an entire weekend. Between caviar-laden happy hours, demos hosted by industry masters, and funky events like a sunset clambake and a speakeasy tasting, there’s something to please even the most jaded palate.

Let go at one of the city's many music festivals.

Hike, Canoodle, and Ski on Mt. Charleston

Las Vegas is very much a desert town, but it’s less than an hour’s drive from the center of the Strip to Mount Charleston, a nearly 12,000-foot-tall peak that’s part of the Spring Mountains. It’s also a lot cooler up there, making this a refreshing spot for hiking, picnicking, and camping during the summer months when the rest of Vegas is fry-your-face-off hot. In winter, things get chilly enough for skiing and snowboarding. You can certainly go up just for the day, but your best bet is to make it a side trip and book into one of the charming cottages at Mt. Charleston Lodge.

Race a Swanky Supercar

There’s not one but actually several spots in Vegas where you can legally satiate your need for speed, though SPEEDVEGAS is arguably the most popular. Choose from slick rides like a Shelby Mustang GT, the Lamborghini Huracan, or n Audi R8 V10 Plus, then pay per lap to circle the longest and fastest track in town. You can also choose from multi-car packages, should you want to contrast and compare the Porsche 911 GT3 to the Shelby GT350, and you can spring for access to the track’s Pit Area and SPEED Lounge & Viewing Terrace, too.

Live out your race car driver fantasy.

Search Out Economy Entertainment

All the stuff you see on Vegas bulletin boards and advertised on your hotel TV costs big bucks, making it easier than ever to fly home feeling broke as a joke. With a little smart planning, you can balance out worthwhile expenditures like World Poker Tour buy-ins and wagyu steak with cheaper – or even free – attractions.

People Watch on Fremont Street: Downtown Vegas is a true dichotomy, with time capsule hotel-casinos like the Golden Gate sitting a stone’s throw from a state-of-the-art light show and a fire-breathing praying mantis. Go, buy a cheap cocktail, and wander the pedestrian-only thoroughfare. You won’t believe what you see (so be sure to Instagram it all for the guys back home).

Try Your Hand at KISS Mini Golf: It’s less than $12 for 18 holes at this KISS-themed mini golf course, and there’s a giant replica of Gene Simmons’ most famous attribute that makes the trip 100% worth it.

Meander Through The Park: The Park is a relatively new spot near the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard (aka the Strip). There’s a huge arena, tons of shops and eateries, and an ongoing schedule of outdoor events. Walk around, take a selfie with the Bliss Dance sculpture, window shop, and watch other people come, go, and act a fool.

Play with Big-Boy Construction Equipment

Ever since you were a lower-case g, you’ve been fascinated by power tools and big construction machinery, but most of us haven’t grown up to own a garage full of belt sanders, miter saws, and backhoes. You’re on your own for the nail guns and hammer drills, but if you visit Vegas you can finally fulfill your childhood fantasy of running a bulldozer thanks to Dig This. Purchase a package and you’ll get a safety orientation and warm up before being let loose on bulldozers, excavators, and a whole heap of dirt. It’s better than therapy, cheaper than a night of roulette, and the cabs are climate controlled, so all in all this macho adventure is pretty much perfect.