Most people think of Las Vegas as a glamorous gambling capital filled with extraordinary sights and sounds, bombastic attractions such as white tigers and exploding volcanoes, and incredible experiences and shows
But there’s another Las Vegas beneath this seductive surface, one that the people who work and live in this desert city experience every day. On your first visit to Las Vegas, it’s easy to get hypnotized by the allure of the world-famous Strip, or even the old-school charm of the “old downtown” and of Fremont Street.
Once you’ve been to Las Vegas a few times, however, you might want to dig a little deeper into what makes this town tick. And if you’re not into gambling and “life in the fast lane”, you can still enjoy spending wholesome, enlightening and interesting time in “Sin City”.
Get Out of Town
Las Vegas is different than most other tourist destinations. For one thing, most visitors don’t rent a car. If you’re planning on spending your time on the Strip, there’s little reason to. Many of the most popular casinos are within walking distance from each other. And those that are further apart — such as the Las Vegas Hilton – are connected via monorail.
The big airport – McCarron International – doesn’t even charge for parking. That’s how different the city is from other places.
But if you want to see beyond the glitz and glamor of the Strip, you are going to have to either rent a car or book a day trip on one of the many bus tours that are available.
Some amazing places to visit that are less than a couple of hours away are Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Red Rock Canyon. Spend a day exploring this interesting, out of the way corner of the Las Vegas region.
A little further down the road is the Grand Canyon itself. It’s about a half-day’s drive from the Strip. But it is one of the most amazing sites you will ever see and is more than worth the journey.
Downtown Container Park
Visitors to Las Vegas often forget that there’s an entire city full of people who don’t usually go to the Strip every night. One of the most popular places for locals to hang out –and a site well worth the visit – is the Downtown Container Park.
Most people probably have never heard of this place. That’s because it’s one of the best kept secrets that the locals don’t necessarily want to share with outsiders for fear that it will be overrun by tourists.
The Downtown Container Park is a clean and safe playground with plenty of room for kids and families to run around, have fun, and enjoy the clean desert air in a wholesome environment. There are plenty of great places to eat, so you can make a day of it.
At night, the park is a popular place for singles and young professionals to socialize, network and enjoy the nightlife without the constant din of slot machines or the flashing lights of the casinos. There’s frequently live music and a festive “for locals only” atmosphere. But don’t worry, the people of Las Vegas are naturally friendly and will make you feel welcome.
What if a casino wasn’t a casino, but instead was a fun, entertaining gaming center where families could enjoy a day away from the din and hustle of the Strip? That describes the Gold Spike, a historic old building that once housed one of Las Vegas’s first casinos but has been renovated to be a family center that features such attractions as wall-sized Connect Four games, life-sized Jenga, and other wholesome fun.
There’s outrageous entertainment at Gold Spike for people of all ages. Young adults can play beer pong with oversized cups while older folks can relax on comfortable couches and listen to a reggae band or other top-quality entertainment.
Gold Spike still has gambling, but it’s limited to a smaller area. The rest of the space is devoted to family-friendly fun during the day and a wild, entertaining nightlife area during the later hours.
The Neon Museum
The colorful neon lights of Las Vegas has attracted gamblers and sight-seers for nearly 100 years. But what happens to those flashing lights and entertaining signs when they become obsolete? Well, many of Las Vegas’s most famous neon signs have been preserved and are on display in “The Boneyard” at the Neon Museum.
Here you will find the famous Sahara’s camel sign, lucky four-leaf clovers, and even the waving cowboy from the city’s days of old. Spend a few hours roaming through the aisles of this memorable museum to catch a glimpse of the city’s colorful past.
There is much to do in Las Vegas for gamblers and non-gamblers alike. It’s truly a city that has something to offer everybody.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Author Bio – This article is a work of Leona Michaelson from InsanelyCheapFlights.com, a travel website for booking hotels, car rentals and airline tickets.