Prior to Covid-19, I would take a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada about every month or so. People always assume that I'm there to gamble but there's so many things to do out there other than gambling and the strip. The strip gets boring after awhile and you eventually run out of things to do. Now when I visit Las Vegas, I don't even step foot in a casino or the strip. I'm going to share with you 10 things to do that I recommend for those who don't gamble and/or want to avoid the strip. There's so much to do and explore around the area. 


I know so many people who live in Las Vegas and have never visited the Seven Magic Mountains. It seems like it's a more popular attraction for tourists than for locals. Visible as you drive along Interstate 15, Seven Magic Mountains is an art installation of colorful rocks located in the middle of the desert. It's a great place for a photo opportunity and pretty to look at. I have always stopped by the Seven Magic Mountains either on my way in or out of Las Vegas. I recommend visiting during sunrise or sunset because the lighting is perfect and you can avoid the crowds. Before Covid, there would be tour buses of people so it does get pretty crowded. 


There's several national/state parks around Las Vegas for hiking and exploring. Red Rock Canyon is about half an hour from the strip and offers beautiful rock formations and vivid colors. There's a fee required to enter the park but you could easily spend a whole day there. As of November 3, 2020, the park implemented reservations for timed entries so you now have to book a reservation to visit the park. There are lots of hiking trails here to explore.


I recently visited Valley of Fire State park during my last visit to Las Vegas and I fell in love. I wish I had visited the park sooner because it's so beautiful there and I was only able to spend a few hours there. The most popular site there is the Fire Wave (see picture below). It's a short one mile hike to see the rock formations. There's lots of hiking trails in this park and you can even camp there. Definitely worth a visit if you haven't been. You can also easily spend a whole day here.


If you know me, then you know I love love love to hike. I plan my trips based on which hikes I want to hike. I've traveled all over the U.S. to hike and can't wait for Covid to be over so I can travel and hike again. One of my favorite hikes in Las Vegas is the Gold Strike Hot Springs trail. It really is a fun hike especially if you like climbing. There are steep rocks that you have to climb up and down but there are ropes places strategically to help you pull yourself up/climb down. At the end of the hike, you can enjoy the beautiful natural hot springs so pack a bathing suit if you want to go in for a dip. I recommend this hike during the fall/winter months as it's cold in the desert but the hot springs feel amazing because it doesn't feel too  hot and it's very relaxing. I also recommend bringing hiking gloves for the ropes and climbing as you'll want a good grip so you don't slip and fall. 


Another one of my favorite hikes in Las Vegas is the Arizona Hot Springs trail. This is also a hot springs hike so pack a bathing suit. This hike is much easier than the Gold Strike Hot Springs as there's no climbing involved except for some ladders to reach the higher or lower hot springs. This hike is much more kid friendly if you have young children in your group. Regardless, it's still a fun hike and I definitely recommend taking a dip in the hot springs. 


We usually always rent a car when we go on road trips so for our most recent trip to Las Vegas, we rented a Jeep because we knew we would be driving off road at some point and we wanted to check out the Nellis Sand Dunes. Tucked away in the middle of the desert are these beautiful sand dunes. It is perfect for some off road driving or to take photos like we did. You can even rent ATVs or dune buggies and ride around the sand dunes. I've ridden ATVs before and they're so much fun so I definitely recommend checking out the dunes if you want a little thrill. 


One of my favorite places of all time in Las Vegas is the Neon Museum. Did you know that there's a museum dedicated to all the retired neon signs? Las Vegas has changed a lot over the years. I remember when a lot of the newer hotels weren't even built yet on the strip. So when places retire or get closed down, their signs usually end up at the Neon Museum. The museum "is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment." They change their exhibits regularly and are always adding new signs to their inventory so it's worth checking out. Reservations are required so you'll need to book tickets online. I recommend going just before sunset so you can see the signs during that day and at night when they're all lit up.


A true hidden gem if you love pinball machines. They recently relocated and expanded it to be a standalone and museum dedicated to only pinball. According to their website, "The Pinball Hall of Fame is an attempt by the members of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club to house and display the world's largest pinball collection, open to the public. A not-for-profit corporation was established to further this cause. The games belong to one club member (Tim Arnold), and range from 1950s up to 1990s pinball machines. Since it is a non-profit museum, older games from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s are the prevalent, as this was the 'heyday' of pinball. There are no 'ticket spitters' here (aka kiddie casinos or redemption). It's all pure pinball (and a few arcade novelty games) from the past. And since it's a non-profit, excess revenues go to non-denominational charities." It is such a fun place to hang out and play some classic pinball games


There are several ghost towns throughout the Las Vegas desert. If you find abandoned buildings and old history interesting, then you should check out the ghost towns. There are tons of really cool and unique structures. They also make great photo spots if you're into that kind of thing. Some of the ghost towns offer mine tours which is pretty cool. Here are a few of the ghost towns to give you an idea:


Every year, I attend a Lantern Festival. If you haven't been to one, I definitely recommend you experience it at least once. I'm sure you've all seen pictures or videos at one point where thousands of paper lanterns light up the sky (like the scene in the Disney movie Tangled). There are several organizations that host the lantern festival and they have it all over the United States throughout the year. We usually go to the one closest to us here in San Diego but due to Covid, they were only holding a handful of events this year and Las Vegas - well technically Arizona was one of them. This year's Lantern Festival was in Mesquite, Arizona - about an hour and a half drive from Las Vegas. They're usually always held in the desert because the sky needs to be pitch black without the city lights and so it's easier to pick up the lanterns after the event although the lanterns are biodegradable. The two most popular organizations that host the Lantern Festivals are Rise Festival (only in Las Vegas, NV at the moment) and The Lights Festival (events all over the U.S.) - we usually go with the latter because their prices are cheaper and they often have BOGO deals. However, the former is a much larger event and they hold a concert throughout the day before the lanterns are launched so that might be a better option for you if you like live music. 

*Disclaimer: All views expressed on this post are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. 


I hope you enjoyed my list of 10 things to do in Las Vegas, Nevada that's off the strip. There's so many more things to do in the area that I didn't include so stay tuned for a part two.