Even though Las Vegas, Nevada is known as the world’s gambling capital, the city has chosen to market itself as The Entertainment Capital of World. Savvy Vegas promoters began to advertise the city outside of its once-normal confines of gambling in casinos, and as a result, the city attracts millions of visitors each year that never take a seat at a blackjack, poker, or craps table.
Vegas is indeed a fascinating city. Built as an entertainment complex literally carved out of the desert, Las Vegas has something for everyone, even if you’re not a proficient casino gambler. While the city was initially built for wealthy elites who were able to travel and gamble their money on high-stakes games, the rise of the middle class in the post-war years of the 20th century meant that casino owners had to begin to offer entertainment and activities to middle- and working-class Americans.
But this meant more than low-stakes gambling like dollar slot machines and low-ante blackjack tables. The city began offering massive live entertainment shows in the form of concerts, cabaret, magic shows, circuses, amusement parks, a variety of dining, museums, and other experiences not offered in most American cities.
If you have no interest in gambling but find yourself on a trip surrounded by poker and roulette aficionados, consider some of the following entertainment attractions for the non-gambler:
The Neon Museum
An independent, non-profit museum founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a Las Vegas favorite among non-gambling visitors. The museum features a plethora of early Vegas casino signs that were once used on real casinos. Spreading across a six-acre spread, the Neon Museum offers a truly interesting side of Las Vegas history for a mere $15 ticket.
Cirque du Soleil
This live entertainment show features an impressive assortment of creatures, costumes, acrobats, contortionists, all in a big tent show with amazing sounds, lasers, and other effects that has continued to dazzle and inspire audiences for years.
The Blue Man Group
Another live entertainment show features several silent artists dressed in sticky blue goo, who provide a weird, eclectic, highly musical experience for travelers of all ages. Performers create magic acts, spin-art, and highly impressive musical synchronization; and some shows even utilize the audience as a prop.The end of the show always features a phenomenal twist and peak that makes the ticket price totally worth it.
Travelling to the part of Las Vegas known as “Old Vegas” is always a treat. Walking under Fremont Street’s tunnel for the Fremont Street Experience will keep you looking up the whole time. A superior video and light show happens on the ceiling that covers the street, while guests on zip lines whizz by. The street is home to many casinos, but also has several great restaurants, movie theatres, gift shops, street performers, and other attractions.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Just 20 miles outside of Vegas lies the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Guests can hike, take a bicycle, camp out, or drive over nearly 200,000 acres of its “lunar landscape”. Horse rides are also available during some parts of the year, and it is wise to stay away during the hottest parts of the summer months. The terrain offers 13 miles of trek with a multitude of various hiking trails for beginners, intermediates, and advanced hikers and climbers.
No matter who you may be, gambler or otherwise, Vegas offers something for any season, for any mood, and for any age. While the Hoover Dam and New York, New York Hotel are easy options for the Vegas vacation non-gambler, these options are sure to be more difficult to find, and as a result, less crowded and more fun than you might have ever imagined!