Welcome to Sin City! Most people coming to Vegas are looking for evenings at shows, gambling the night away, and cocktails. But if you stick to the usual Vegas nightlife, you’re missing out on a lot of experiences that the area has to offer. Here are some of the best things to do in Las Vegas during the day.
The Mob Museum
300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Old Las Vegas was frequented by notorious mobsters, and the Mob Museum houses extensive exhibits about the underworld of organized crime and the men behind it all. There are four floors of interactive exhibits, videos, and artifacts to explore, plus the basement has a speakeasy and distillery that you’ll definitely want to stop into.
Don’t miss the crime lab, firearm training simulator, and the historic courtroom. The Mob Museum is housed in Las Vegas’s first US Courthouse and Post Office which opened in 1933.
Yes, it’s about 45 minutes from the Vegas strip, but the Hoover Dam is worth a visit. This massive structure was built during the Depression in less than five years (1931-1936) and is considered one of America’s 7 modern Civil Engineering Wonders. Hoover Dam is 660 Feet think at the base and 60-stories tall.
Tours of the Dam and the power plant are available daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Guided and self guided tours are available. Guided tours include exploration of the historic tunnels and the inspection ventilation shaft, and you’ll take a ride on the original elevator to the top of the Dam.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Visitor Center: 1000 Scenic Loop Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89161
Get outside and explore! Just 20 minutes outside of Vegas is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area where you can explore Nevada’s Mojave Desert, the Keystone Thrust Fault, sandstone peaks, Native American Petroglyphs, seasonal waterfalls in Icebox Canyon, and a 13-mile scenic drive with panoramic viewing sites.
The Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center offers interpretive exhibits, desert tortoises, souvenirs, and exceptional views of the Calico Hills. Red Rock has a number of hiking and biking trails, some of the best rock climbing in the world, picnic areas, and is open to camping and off highway vehicles.
Downtown Container Park
707 E Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
The Downtown Container Park is a unique open air shopping center with retail boutiques, one of a kind dining, live entertainment, and an interactive playground. You won’t want to miss the 40-foot tall flame-throwing mantis that awakens every evening at sundown – come for the afternoon and enjoy this attraction as the sun goes down.
333 S. Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89107
If you’re looking to get away from the city and take a break in a more natural environment, head to the Springs Preserve. Here you’ll find 180 acres of exhibits and attractions, wildlife, and scenery. Take a walk on the nature trails and explore the botanical garden. Then stroll the streets of Boomtown 1905, a recreated historical streetscape representing Las Vegas in the early 1900s. You can also explore the Nevada State Museum to see a 20,000 year old Columbian Mammoth skeleton and step into a stalactite cave. There’s so much to enjoy here, and it’s a great place to bring the kids!
Lion Habitat Ranch
382 Bruner Ave, Henderson, NV 89044
The Lion Habitat Ranch is home to the lions that were once at the MGM exhibit and a number of other exotic animals that needed a home. You can take a self guided tour of the ranch or buy tickets to one of the other experiences they offer like lion or giraffe feeding, a giraffe painting experience, feast with the beasts, or the behind the scenes tour.
14200 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89054
Give yourself an experience you’ll never forget when you get behind the wheel of one of 40 exotic cars. Choose from the driver experience or ride shotgun on the race track in a McLaren, Maserati, Ferrari, or Lamborghini. Arrive and drive go kart racing is also available.
Prefer to get in the dirt? Exotics racing offers off-road track experiences. Drive a baja truck on an exclusive off road track featuring jumps that launch you high into the air.
800 W Roban Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89044
Get a different kind of driving experience at this heavy machinery playground. Here you can get behind the wheel of 6-ton excavators, backhoes, and bulldozers and try your hand at digging and driving. Want to do some damage? You can book an aggression session to crush a car with a 30,000 pound Caterpillar. They even have kids digs available.
The Linq Promenade
3545 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Promenade at the Linq Hotel offers shopping, dining, attractions, and entertainment. The open air destination features a variety of activities and experiences to enjoy while the sun is out. Take a ride on the 550-foot tall High Roller Observation Wheel to get spectacular views of the city and the desert, fly the Linq zipline, chill out at the IceBar, or take some instagrammable shots at the Museum of Selfies.
Valley Of Fire State Park
Moapa Valley, NV 89040
Valley of Fire State Park is named for its 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops. A breathtaking geological display. The park also features ancient petrified trees, and petroglyphs that date back over 2,000 years. Take a hike to one of the many magical spots here to take in the beautiful scenery. We recommend Mouse’s Tank or Atlatl Rock to see the petroglyphs, Fire Wave/Seven Wonders, and Rainbow Vista.
Big Bus Tours
Hop on the big bus to take a tour of the city. You’ll visit some of the city’s most famous landmarks and attractions from Downtown, to the Strip. The non-stop day tour travels along the Red Route past Vegas’s hotels and casinos, the Bellagio Fountain, the Stratosphere, and the historic Welcome To Las Vegas sign.
Seven Magic Mountains
Looking for an instagrammable photo op that doesn’t include all the Las Vegas glitz and glam? Head 10 miles south to Seven Magic Mountains. This large scale desert art installation by Ugo Rondinone features seven towers of brightly colored stacked boulders, placed smack in the middle of the desert landscape of Ivanpah Valley.
The installation opened in 2016 and was intended to be on display for two years, but currently there are no plans to remove it, and it has become a popular spot for visitors to stop and take pictures.
More Things To Do In Vegas During The Day
- Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Luxor
- Bodies…The Exhibition at the Luxor
- See a collection of perfectly preserved human bodies and organs at Real Bodies at Bally’s
- Explore a 1938 haunted mansion at Zak Bagans’s Haunted Museum
- Visit the Shelby Heritage Center to see over 30 vehicles and learn about the history of this classic car company
- Spend a day at Mandalay Bay Beach
- Take in the views from the Stratosphere Observation Deck
- Go shopping at the Motel turned shopping district at Ferguson’s Downtown
- Go skydiving
- Spend a day at Adventuredome, an indoor theme park at Circus Circus
- Visit Lake Mead and go fishing, boating, or hiking
- Play classic pinball machines at the Pinball Hall Of Fame
- Visit the Burlesque Hall Of Fame
- Take a ride on a gondola at the Venetian
- Take a helicopter ride over the Strip
- Perfect your swing at TopGolf
- Go Axe Throwing at Axehole Vegas
- Go on a dune buggy ride in the desert
- Explore the history of Nuclear testing at the Atomic Museum
- Visit the Nevada State Railroad Museum
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.