This is not your ordinary list of things to do in Las Vegas... but you're not an ordinary person, are you?
You're not going to see in here the expected: gambling, pool parties, bars and lounges, crying quietly after losing all your money. Anyone and everyone can do those things in Vegas (especially the crying part), we want to give you some alternate ideas that take advantage of the fact that Las Vegas is a large, diverse city with a lot going on. Most people don't even scratch the surface of the fun and adventure that can be had in Sin City, which is the real sin.
You don't want to be those people, do you? Of course not, so please read on!
Need a little extra "sin" in your Sin City experience? Vegas has a boatload of sun 'n' fun venues that allow you to frolic poolside au naturel. Wynn Las Vegas offers "European sunbathing" hidden discretely within a manicured garden. Moorea at the Mandalay Bay Hotel is a private area above Beach. Bare at the Mirage Hotel offers a VIP experience that includes bottle service, day beds and pampering. Venus at Caesar's Palace brings a true Vegas nightlife experience to the topless scene. Be sure to bring extra sunscreen to protect those bits that don't often see the light of day. Oh behave, you!
Photo by BooniePower/Flickr.
Las Vegas is famous for quickie weddings and really, what could be more romantic than getting married at a drive-thru wedding chapel, officiated by a fat guy in an Elvis costume? Practically every casino, pawn shop and liquor store has a chapel offering service 24/7, you're never more than minutes away from making a huge mistake. When you awaken from your drunken stupor and decide not to be married anymore, just hit up one of the city's almost-as-plentiful drive-thru divorce kiosks – it's that easy!
Somewhat grandiosely named the "Central Park of Las Vegas," the preserve is a large oasis amid the urban sprawl, given over to botanical gardens, nature trails and museum exhibits that chronicle a side of the city most visitors never imagine. Thoughtful contemplation among the native cottonwoods is a natural restorative for hangovers, buffet overindulgence and the canned air of the casinos. Kid-friendly activities include summer camps, pizza-and-a-movie parties and a butterfly habitat that debuts Fall '14.
Photo by Sky Island/Flickr.
Hard alcohol and classic coin-op video games are the two great tastes that taste great together, thanks to Insert Coin(s) adult arcade located Downtown on Fremont Street. The joint rocks with DJs, live music and special events. All the familiar classics are there, including Pac Man, Missile Command and Defender, but it's the half-remembered lost treasures like Karate Champ, Smash TV and Gauntlet that will have you coming back for more.
Photo by Selbe B/Flickr.
Usually, "swimming with the sharks" in a Vegas context means you weren't able to pay up after a tough night at the baccarat table. Happily, at Mandalay Bay it's actually a thrilling opportunity to interact up close with the ocean's most notorious predators. Don a chain mail anti-shark bite suit and dive up to 22-feet deep to see what it's like to cruise around among 15 species of sharks, including sand tigers, white tips, nurse and Galapagos sharks. Dives last about 45 minutes and you need to be a certified diver, so plan ahead.
Need to sober up quickly? An hour examining the atomic legacy of the Cold War should do the trick. Thousands of rare photographs, videos and artifacts preserve in terrifying detail how close we have come to blowing up the entire planet. They even have an exhibit in which you can experience a simulated atmospheric nuclear blast, which is only slightly less damaging than your all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. They also have an Area 51 exhibit for the UFO buffs in the audience.
The Bellagio Hotel is uncommonly devoted to its wines: the hotel boasts 17 sommeliers and three master sommeliers, which if you think is some kind of record, you are exactly right! That kind of fancy firepower comes in handy though when it comes to wine education and their Master Sommelier's Classroom is a popular event held the third Wednesday of each month. Deconstruct eight gorgeous wines: participants learn the nuances of flavor and scent, how climate and soil affect grapes, tips for enjoying fine wines and much more. Take a taxi back to your hotel.
Photo by tom.arthur/Flickr.
Pink Jeep Tours Las Vegas is that rare case of advertising that offers exactly what the name promises: a tour in a pink Jeep. Ready yourself for an off-road, off-the-beaten-path excursion that takes you into the desert badlands outside the city, to visit scenic sites of tranquil beauty. Your ride picks you up at your hotel and whisks you away to the desert, a drive of only a few actual miles that transports you seemingly worlds away. Day tours to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park are also offered.
This is not your father's shooting range, or even your crazy uncle's who used to blow things up in the backyard. Las Vegas Guns Garage caters to high-energy groups looking for a unique shooting experience: bachelor parties, gamers, Ted Nugent fans, etc. Their themed experiences help visitors get the best bang for their buck, with specific packages titled "Zombie Apocalypse", "Machine Gun Experience", and a somewhat dubious "Kids' Experience" (for 8 - 14 year olds). Want to let out some pent-up stress on a grenade launcher? Take four rounds for $25. Want to fret about lax gun laws? Go somewhere else.
Photo by Tom Ipri/Flickr.
The Las Vegas 51's, a New York Mets AAA affiliate, play their games in Downtown Las Vegas. AAA is where hot young prospects and major league stars rehabbing from injury go to play, but this is the Mets so temper your expectations accordingly. Can't beat a hotdog and beer at the ballpark, though! April-May is the best time of year to enjoy a game, after that the stadium adopts the climate of an outdoor sauna (which could be exactly what the hangover doctor ordered).