18 things to do in Las Vegas (without alcohol!)
Looking for things to do in Las Vegas without alcohol? We’ve got you covered! Keep on reading for 18 things to do that don’t involve partying in Sin City!
We went to Las Vegas for the first time for Kathryn’s 21st birthday. And while that may seem like a normal thing to do on your 21st, it gets a lot of “huh?”s when neither of you drink. Despite not drinking the entire trip (well, minus those few sips of a margarita that Kathryn instantly hated), we still had a fun time.
Is Vegas our favorite place to visit? No. BUT it is a fun and unique place and still has things to offer those who don’t drink or can’t legally drink. In the last few years, Kathryn has gone to Vegas many times for work events and we just spent a day there in the van. Despite the city’s reputation for drinking, clubbing, and gambling, there are tons of non-alcohol or partying related things to do while in Sin City (including one of our favorite coffee shops and taco shops ever!).
We figure we can’t be the only sober folks visiting Vegas, so we’re excited to share 20 things to do in Las Vegas that don’t involve alcohol. Whether you don’t drink or just need a break while in town, we’ve got ya covered!
Note: this guide contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We will only ever recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!
When to visit Las Vegas
Beyond the casinos, clubs, and super cool themed hotels, one of the main things we think of when we think of Las Vegas is heat! Because of its location in the desert, Las Vegas gets very, very hot in the summer months.
Our first trip to Las Vegas was in August and the highs were over 100 degrees, but on the plus side it’s a dry heat, which is much better than a humid heat like we have in Texas. But even so, walking around for hours in the heat was a bit exhausting. Thankfully there are some great pools in Vegas!
The desert climate does have some positives though…it makes it a very nice place to visit whenever the rest of the US is cold. I have visited multiple times in the spring and fall and the weather has always been incredible! One thing to note about visiting in the cooler months is that sometimes the pools are closed, but walking around will be much more bearable.
Getting to Las Vegas
One of the best things about Las Vegas is that the airport is right by the main tourist spots! When visiting Las Vegas, you will fly into McCarran International Airport (LAS) which is around 3 miles from The Strip.
So not only do you get a nice view of The Strip when you land, but your Uber or Lyft ride to your hotel (if staying on The Strip) will be pretty cheap and you’ll get to start having fun almost right after landing!
Where to stay in Las Vegas
Before we get started, we wanted to share our suggestions of where to stay in Las Vegas. Since this guide is focused on non-partying related activities in Vegas, we especially wanted to highlight two great & quieter options that will give you an escape from the Vegas madness:
- Airbnb: This spot is away from the craziness of the strip, but super close to our favorite coffee shop called PublicUs and the Fremont area! Staying at an Airbnb will give you a peaceful retreat from the crowds.
- Vdara: We love this hotel on the Strip because it doesn’t have a casino and doesn’t allow smoking, which makes it more relaxing than the traditional Vegas hotels.
If you want a more traditional Las Vegas lodging experience, we recommend checking these hotels out:
- Aria: Kathryn has stayed at this hotel multiple times for work and it’s great! While much bigger than Vdara, the hotel and casino are both very nice and it feels a lot less chaotic than other hotels on the Strip.
- Palazzo/Venetian: Located on the other end of the strip from Vdara and Aria, this hotel has a ton to offer inside, from restaurants, to gondola rides!
PS: If it is your first time staying at an Airbnb, click this link to get $40 off your first stay!
Getting around Las Vegas
If you just plan to stick to the Strip or the Fremont area in Las Vegas, you could definitely get around by foot or by Lyft/Uber.
However, some of the suggestions on our list of things to do in Las Vegas do require a bit of a trek and it would be extremely helpful to have a rental car to get around. Rental cars tend to be pretty cheap in Las Vegas so whether you reserve for one day or multiple, it won’t break the bank!
18 things to do in Las Vegas (without alcohol!)
1. Admire the Seven Magic Mountains
Seven Magic Mountains is a free art installation and is one of our favorite things to visit in Las Vegas! These seven, colorful stacked boulder towers are the creation of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone and opened in May 2016. The installation was supposed to only be open for two years, but it became extremely popular and has been extended until 2021! This is a quick stop and really fun to take photos at and for the best lighting and least amount of people (it can get busy!), we recommend going at sunrise.
Distance from the Strip: ~30 minutes
2. Walk around the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is by far the most famous sight in Las Vegas and despite its popularity for clubs and casinos, it is a really neat place to explore! Where else can you see the Eiffel Tower, ride a gondola, watch beautiful fountains, see the Empire State Building, and ride a roller coaster all in one day?
While the Strip can get a bit overwhelming, it’s definitely a must-visit spot in Las Vegas. We particularly love the Bellagio Fountains, which we could stare at all day. The fountain schedule varies, but if you have enough time, they are worth checking out during the day and at night! Just don’t try to go in the morning like we tried to once, as they typically don’t run until the afternoon 🙁
One good thing to know about the Strip is that because of all the large signs, sometimes things look closer than they actually are. Walking from one end to the other (Mandalay Bay to the Wynn) is about 3 miles, so wear good shoes!
Distance from the Strip: Walkable!
Cost: Free if you just walk around, some attractions, such as the roller coaster at New York New York cost some $$!
3. See some Vegas history at the Neon Museum
In our opinion, one of the most unique attractions in Las Vegas is the Neon Museum. Kathryn visited this spot for work and it’s super cool! The Neon Museum is essentially a graveyard (or a Neon boneyard as they call it) for old Las Vegas signs. There are a mix of unrestored signs and restored signs, which are either lit up at night by ground lighting or the sign’s own lighting. While the museum is worth checking out during the day or at night, nighttime is extra special with the signs lit up!
Some signs in the boneyard include the old Hard Rock, Stardust, Sahara, and Golden Nugget hotel signs. We aren’t big museum goers, but this is one of the most interesting ways to see some Las Vegas history!
Note: Because this is such a hot spot for photography, they have a strict photo policy (phone cameras only) unless you book a photoshoot.
Distance from the Strip: ~15 minutes
4. Eat tacos at Tacos el Gordo
From all you can eat buffets, to celebrity chef restaurants, Las Vegas has lots of good food! While we recommend eating as part of your Vegas itinerary, there is one place that we make sure we go to during every visit, a spot that’s a bit off the beaten path and definitely not fancy, but SO delicious and deserves its own spot on our list: Tacos el Gordo.
When you enter Tacos el Gordo, you may be a bit confused about how to order. There are multiple lines, each for a different type of meat. You stand in line for the meat/item you want (there are signs) and order what you’d like. After you finish in one line, you then go to a different line if you’d like a different type of meat or item. You pay at a cashier stand when you’ve gotten your tray of food and then you can sit down and enjoy!
We are huge fans of their adobada (pork) tacos! They roast the pork on a spit, which you get to watch them slice off right in front of you, before loading it up on a corn tortilla and slapping on red and green sauces, cilantro, and onions. They work SO FAST and it’s very entertaining to watch!
Distance from the Strip: They have 3 locations in Las Vegas (plus some in San Diego!), but the closest one to the Strip is about a 30-minute walk from the center of the Strip, or a 5-15 minute Lyft ride.
Cost: Tacos are $2.40 each! We typically get 5 tacos each, but we like to eat a lot 😉
5. Take a ride on the SlotZilla zipline
In the heart of downtown Las Vegas is Fremont Street, which in 1925 became the first paved street in Las Vegas and was the original gambling district before what we now know as The Strip came to be. While most of Las Vegas’s activities are on the new Strip, Fremont Street is still bustling with casinos and attractions. And one in particular really stands out!
The SlotZilla zipline takes riders soaring between 77-114 feet above Fremont Street. There are two options to fly: a sitting down zipline (77 feet up) or a “superhero” zoomline (114 feet up and up to 40mph!). No matter which experience you choose, both are guaranteed to be a blast!
Distance from the Strip: 10-20 minutes
Cost: $29 for the sitting down Zipline, $49 for the “superhero” Zoomline.
6. Explore Red Rock Canyon
When you think about going to Vegas, you often don’t think about hiking, but just 17 miles away from the Strip lies a beautiful area called Red Rock Canyon that will make you feel like you’re a whole world away!
Red Rock Canyon is a mountainous region filled with tan and red rocks and is home to 26 trails, climbing, and a scenic 13 mile drive. Depending on how much time you have, we’d recommend at the minimum doing the scenic drive and stopping at the various lookouts, but if you have a few hours to spare, we’d suggest going for a hike as well!
We loved driving around this park and seeing a totally different side of Vegas that we had never experienced before. If you have a free afternoon while in Vegas, this should be at the top of your list!
Distance from the Strip: 35 minutes
Cost: $15/car or you can enter for free with the America the Beautiful Pass (which we highly suggest getting!)
7. Get an adrenaline rush at the Stratosphere
One of the first things we did for Kathryn’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas was go to the top of the Stratosphere. The Stratosphere is a hotel just north of the Strip with an observation tower. And at the top of this observation tower are a handful of thrill rides you can go on, including the X-Scream, which shoots you off the side of the tower, Insanity, which spins you over the edge of the tower, and the Big Shot, which shoots you 160 ft in the air. You can even jump off the side if you’re extra brave!
During our visit to the Stratosphere we rode the three main rides and oh my gosh, we had tears in our eyes from how terrified we were! The feeling of being shot over the edge of a tower, with the city many hundreds of feet below you, is a bit freaky, but also very thrilling! If you love a good adrenaline rush, you 100% should go to the top of the Stratosphere!
Distance from the Strip: 10 minutes
Cost: The cost ranges from $29-$39 depending on how many rides you want to go on
8. Learn about the history of crime at the Mob Museum
Fascinated with the mob or law enforcement? Add the Mob Museum to your Vegas itinerary! The Mob Museum is a museum dedicated to sharing the history and impact of organized crime in America. Located inside of a former courthouse and post office, the Mob Museum is full of interactive exhibits and even a speakeasy and distillery, making it a fun place to check out whether you’re a big history buff or just want to transport back to the prohibition era for a little bit.
Distance from the Strip: 10 minutes
Cost: For non-Nevada residents, tickets are between $26.95-$44.95 depending on what experience you’d like. For Nevada residents, the tickets range from $16.95-$35.95.
9. Be amazed by the Valley of Fire
If we could choose one big activity for you to do in Las Vegas, it would be the Valley of Fire! Valley of Fire State Park is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, covering over 40,000 acres. The park is full of red Aztec sandstone that gives it a fiery appearance and makes you feel like you’re in another world!
The park is full of cool roadside stops, quick hikes, and unique rock formations. We explored the park in 3-4 hours, including lots of photo breaks, and felt like we got to see almost everything! While it requires a little bit more of a drive to get to than some other spots on this list, it’s 110% worth the trek!
Distance from the Strip: 55 minutes
10. Stuff your face at a buffet
We love to eat, so it’s no surprise that one of our favorite things to do in Vegas is to go to a buffet. And lucky for us, Vegas is full of them! We have only eaten at the Aria Buffet, which was pretty good, but we hear that the Bacchanal Buffet at Ceasar’s Palace, The Buffet at Wynn, and Studio B buffet, which is off the Strip, are good ones to try as well.
Buffets aren’t the cheapest, so try to find deals online! We have seen deals on Groupon for the Bacchanal Buffet and when we visited Vegas we got a special deal from our hotel for a buffet as well.
Distance from the Strip: Lots of locations on the Strip
Cost: The cost varies by buffet and depending on which day of the week you go
11. Play some golf (real golf or Top Golf!)
If you’re a golf lover like Adam, Vegas has many courses to choose from! While there are some really fancy courses in Vegas, we’re big fans of affordable golf and recommend checking out:
- Boulder Creek Golf Club: Voted the best bargain golf in southern Nevada 3 years in a row
- Chimera Golf Club: This golf course has views of the Strip! Play during Twilight for the best prices.
- Durango Hills: This is a short course with dazzling views of the Red Rock mountains!
If you’re looking for a less traditional golf experience, Top Golf is a super fun place to go with both golf lovers and non-golf lovers. It’s kind of a hybrid of darts and a driving range and no golf skills are required (although being able to hit the ball is a plus 😉 ). They also have food and drinks and the Vegas location even has two pools!
Distance from the Strip: Depends on the course, but there are lots to choose from close to the Strip!
Cost: Varies on the course, but $30-$60 is a safe bet for the courses we listed
12. Check out one of our favorite coffee shops: PublicUs
Kathryn first discovered PublicUs (pronounced like Pub-li-cus, rhyming with Spartacus) on a work trip and we have now gone multiple times together and it is definitely one of our top coffee shops we have ever been to!
Located on Fremont Street, this coffee shop has a cool design on the inside (check out the bathrooms!), knowledgeable baristas, delicious and creative drinks, and also a food menu that looks to die for! We have yet to try the food, usually because we are going to stuff our faces at Tacos el Gordo right after, but it looks so good and would be a great spot for brunch or lunch.
We try to always try something different when we go, like The Cannon, which is like an iced coffee limeade, or our personal favorite, the Macadamia Nut Latte, which has small pieces of macadamia nuts in it!
Distance from the Strip: 10-20 minutes
Cost: $20/person for food and coffee
13. Cheer on the Vegas Golden Knights
Need an escape from the desert heat? Head to the ice to cheer on the Vegas Golden Knights, Las Vegas’s NHL team! The Golden Knights first season was in 2017 and they won the Pacific Division title in their inaugural season and even went to the Stanley Cup, but unfortunately lost to the Washington Capitals. With such a great start to the franchise, the Golden Knights have a huge fan base in Vegas, making the games a ton of fun!
Distance from the Strip: They play at T-Mobile Arena right on the Strip!
Cost: Tickets start around $29 for the nose bleeds!
14. Hoover Dam
Before our last few trips to the Las Vegas area, we had no idea how close some pretty neat nature sights, like Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire, were! Another spot that we didn’t realize was so close: Hoover Dam!
The Hoover Dam, which was constructed in the 1930s, lies on the Arizona and Nevada border and at the end of Lake Mead. It’s considered one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” and it’s no secret why once you see it in real life. It’s 726 feet high and HUGE! To be honest, we stopped here thinking we’d quickly snap a photo and leave, but we were mesmerized by how massive the dam is and by the beautiful lake and desert views.
The Hoover Dam would be a great activity to do with Valley of Fire, which is about 1.5 hours away from the dam.
Distance from the Strip: 40-50 minutes
Cost: It’s free to walk or drive across the dam, but parking costs $10. You can also do a tour for $10-$30 depending on the tour you choose.
15. Go to the pool
On a hot day in Vegas, there’s truly nothing better than hanging out by the pool. And just like the grand and elaborate hotels in Vegas, the pools in Vegas are pretty spectacular! From classy and modern pools, beachfront pools, to pools with slides and wave pools, to pools that are more about parties than relaxing, there are many types of pools to choose from! Here are a few of the top ones to check out that allow non-hotel guests:
For relaxing: Vdara has a smaller, but quiet and relaxing pool that is open to the public for a fee!
For partying: Marquee Dayclub is one of the top day clubs to party at. You can even get your own cabana with its own infinity pool, but expect to pay half a year’s rent for one of those…yikes. Wet Republic is another popular pool party spot!
For uniqueness: Mandalay Bay, which has a lazy river and a wave pool, or the Golden Nugget pool which has a slide that goes through a shark tank!
Note: A lot of pools close during the winter.
Distance from the Strip: All of these pools, minus Golden Nugget, are on the Strip!
Cost: If you’re not staying at one of these hotels, you’ll have to either pay a fee or rent a lounge chair or cabana. This blog gives a lot of information about which pools allow the public to visit and the costs.
16. Visit the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
You can’t go to Las Vegas and not snap a photo of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign! It’s probably one of the most touristy things to do, but it’s a classic spot and a must-do if it’s your first trip to Vegas. And if you’re lucky, you may see Elvis! 😉
It’s a bit of a walk from the Strip and we don’t recommend walking in the heat (we learned the hard way). There is a parking lot if you have a rental car or you can take a quick Uber!
Distance from the Strip: 5-10 minutes driving
17. Take a ride with Rail Explorers
While driving through Boulder City a few weeks ago, we noticed these red cart type objects on railroad tracks. We thought it looked super interesting, but had no idea how cool it was until looking into it more. We discovered that these carts were Rail Explorers, which are pedal-powered bikes that you ride along old railroad tracks. They have three locations around the US, but the Las Vegas location takes you through the desert with views of the River Mountains and Eldorado Valley. They are easy to drive and the routes are pretty flat, making it a fun and unique activity for all ages!
Distance from the Strip: 35 minutes
Cost: $85 for two people
18. See a show
Last but not least, one of the top things to do in Las Vegas is to see a show! There are tons to choose from, like Cirque du Soleil’s many shows, the Backstreet Boys and other concerts, and musicals. When we went to Vegas for Kathryn’s 21st, we didn’t plan to see a show, but ended up going to a discount ticket stand and got tickets to Rock of Ages for that evening. It was a really fun night getting to listen to some classic songs!
If we go back to Vegas in the future, we’d love to see another show, especially Cirque du Soleil, which we hear are incredible! But in the meantime, please enjoy this wonderful throwback photo of us at the Rock of Ages show for my 21st birthday!
Distance from the Strip: There are sooo many shows right on the Strip!
Cost: The cost varies, but try to go to a discount ticket stand on the Strip to get tickets the night of for a cheaper price.
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