Anyone who chooses to take their summer holidays to Las Vegas will know that they are in for a good time! Rightly nicknamed the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, the city has been the undisputed home of the casino for the best part of a century.
There is much more to Vegas than its giant gaming centres and incredible hotels, however, and even the most seasoned of ‘Sin City’ veterans will always be able to find something new and unique on return trips. Below, we will tell you about five of the more unusual attractions you can experience on your next visit.
The Neon Museum
Inevitably, so many decades of fast-paced fun have seen plenty of establishments come and go in Las Vegas over the years, including iconic locations like Stardust and the legendary Sands Hotel. What you may not know is that some of the striking signage from Vegas’s most colourful former casino resorts has been salvaged, restored and then proudly displayed at the amazing Neon Museum.
Found on Las Vegas Boulevard North, the museum was initially established in 1996 after local businesspeople and residents expressed concern over the heritage that was being lost whenever a famous attraction closed. For around 15 years, entrance to the site was by appointment only; thanks to a funding boost and huge public interest, however, the Neon Museum finally opened its doors for general admission in October 2012 and now attracts around 85,000 visitors every year.
You can either explore the museum at your own pace or on a guided tour that lasts for about an hour. Whichever option you choose, you are sure to be impressed by the collection of more than 200 historic neon signs that now fill the site’s Neon Boneyard and North Gallery areas.
Just a few highlights include the instantly recognisable horse and rider from the defunct Hacienda Resort, a giant fibreglass skull that previously belonged to the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino, and the silver slipper from the casino of the same name that infamously became the first in Nevada to be closed for rigging the odds against gaming customers.
Downtown Container Park
Shopping is, of course, a treat we all like to indulge in whilst on holiday, but it would be fair to say that the shopping centres themselves don’t tend to live long in the memory. This isn’t the case at Freemont Street’s Downtown Container Park, though, where around 40 old shipping containers have been repurposed as a diverse selection of retail units.
Providing a shopping experience like no other, the Container Park is home to all kinds of unique outlets, ranging from Lovo Cigars to the Lucky Little Wedding Chapel – proof that the tradition of arranging a quickfire marriage in Vegas is still alive and well!
The shops at this site are just one of the features that make it so impressive. The whole place is a hive of activity seven days a week, with fantastic restaurants, live music events and an incredible immersive theatre called “The Dome” all adding to the one-of-a-kind feel that the Downtown Container Park offers.
Dig This Las Vegas
Spending a few days browsing museums and doing a little retail therapy is all well and good, but it’s also important to make sure you don’t miss the chance to experience some real excitement whilst enjoying time away from your normal routine. And, even with the lure of the casinos never far away, undoubtedly one of the best ways to do this is with a trip to the brilliant Dig This Las Vegas. You may not have thought that the heart of Vegas would be where you could get the opportunity to take control of a bulldozer or digger, but that’s exactly what you can do at this very special place.
Dig This boasts an almost perfect set of online reviews. As of 2019, it is ranked #1 out of nearly 300 ‘Fun & Games’ attractions in Las Vegas on TripAdvisor and enjoys an average rating of 4.9/5 on Google - and it is easy to see why. With some of the varied activities available including playing ‘bucket basketball’ with your digger, pushing giant trees along with your bulldozer and just having free reign to drive your massive vehicle of choice around the site, you can be guaranteed of one thing during your visit: you won’t be bored!
The Mob Museum
It is no secret that the Mafia had a significant role to play in building Las Vegas up from a quiet desert outpost into the world-leading entertainment hub that it is today. There can, however, be no disputing that the various organised crime outfits that have stalked America for years have also been responsible for shocking levels of violence, drug trafficking and many other harmful activities, the full extent of which is showcased at the excellent Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas.
With over a dozen exhibits, many of them interactive, spread over three floors (as well as an underground speakeasy and prohibition-era distillery), the museum delves into every aspect of Mob life over the last century or so – and it doesn’t pull any punches.
It would take you more than a day to fully explore the Mob Museum, but some highlights that you must try to include on your visit are the courtroom on the second floor (which was the real scene of an anti-Mafia trial in the 1950s), the ‘Crime Lab Experience’ (which allows you to become a crime-busting forensic scientist) and seeing the actual wall against which seven victims were shot in the infamous Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929.
The state of Nevada is notoriously dry, averaging nearly 300 days of sunshine every year. If you’re travelling from the UK, you may find yourself (however briefly) missing the grey skies of home at some point; amazingly, Vegas has even thought of an answer to this conundrum in the form of the impressive Rainstorm Show.
To experience your first ever indoor storm, you need to head to the Miracle Mile Shops complex, which is found within the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas casino hotel. Once here, you will see the storm clouds gather overhead every hour (or every half-hour at weekends) before a spectacular light and effects show creates the illusion of being caught in a torrential downpour, complete with fog, thunder and lightning.
The Rainstorm Show must be seen to be believed, but you’ll be pleased to know that the Miracle Mile has plenty of other features to recommend it, too. With 200 shops, dozens of eateries and entertainment ranging from an award-winning Beatles tribute concert to a zombie burlesque show, there is certainly something for everyone!