BY MARIE LODI
When you think of Las Vegas, visions of the famous, glimmering mirage that is the Strip are typically the first visuals that come to mind. The dazzling lights, sky-high hotels, and noisy casinos are all a part of the Las Vegas narrative. But that’s not all that the City of Sin has in store for visitors. It’s a veritable playground of historical sites, out-of-the-box activities, and unforgettable cuisine, and you don’t have to be right in the middle of the hedonistic action to find it. Here’s where to stay, eat, and play, away from the Las Vegas Strip.
Ultimate Las Vegas Strip Travel Guide
Where to stay:
The Downtown Arts District is the ideal area for staying off the strip without being bored, as there are myriad interesting things to see and do (including MedMen’s Arts District location). Do you appreciate a hotel that’s kitted out with a retro-chic aesthetic? Definitely book a room at The Thunderbird, located right next door to the iconic Little White Wedding Chapel, in case you’re looking to get hitched.
Hilton Lake Hotel Resort and Spa
You won’t even feel like you’re in Vegas while at the Hilton Lake Hotel. Located approximately half an hour from the famous Strip, this resort features scenic mountain and lakeside views, and it’s near plenty of shops and eateries in MonteLago Village. For the ultimate treat yo’ self-situation, book a massage in one of the 24 treatment rooms at Hilton Lake Hotel’s 30,000-square-foot spa.
Not into the whole gambling thing? The Artisan is a non-gaming hotel with plenty of elaborate kitsch to enjoy—think Interview With a Vampire-vibes complete with red velvet furniture and reproductions of famous art hanging upside down from the ceiling. (You’ll definitely enjoy that distinctive feature of the Artisan even more after taking an edible.)
Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa
Roughly 10 miles west of the Strip lies this award-winning resort, which has everything you need for a relaxing getaway: a three-acre pool area, outdoor yoga, massive spa, and—wait for it—a bowling alley.
Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort
This Morocco-inspired resort is also located at Lake Las Vegas and is a dream come true for those who take their poolside lounging very seriously. It boasts a private, white-sand beach, two massive outdoor pools, and a water slide.
Best Places to Eat off The Las Vegas Strip
Where to eat and drink:
While you’re hanging out in the Arts District, be sure to stroll over to the Velveteen Rabbit, a stunning cocktail bar known for its innovative, whimsical drinks, which are made with unique in-house ingredients.
Sparrow and Wolf
Did you know Vegas has a Chinatown? Head there to hit up Sparrow and Wolf, where you’ll enjoy a decadent dinner that will satisfy any munchies-induced cravings. Standout dishes include campfire duck, wood-fired lasagna, and a little something sexy called barbecued salsify.
Pink Box Doughnuts
Satisfy your sweet tooth and grab a donut (or 10) at Pink Box. Throw caution to the wind (and eschew any low-carb diet in the process) by ordering a Fat Elvis, a donut smothered in chocolate ganache with a banana and peanut butter filling.
Mangia to the max at this Italian eatery located in the Arts District. Go for brunch and order a bread pudding French toast, or plan to enjoy their housemade pasta during a dinner date.
The brainchild of chef Dan Krohmer, Other Mama is famous for its raw bar, which features fresh oysters with interesting condiments like blood orange and mint, rosemary mignonette, and honey and lemon.
Other Fun Things to Do While Visiting the Strip
What to do:
Pinball Hall of Fame
Is pinball one of your low-key obsessions? Spend an afternoon blowing off steam at this museum, which houses more than 200 pinball machines, some that date back to the 1950s.
Those who can never resist the mysterious allure of a secret speakeasy will love the Laundry Room, located in the Commonwealth. It’s only accessible via text message and you’ll have to make a reservation, so plan accordingly.
First Friday Las Vegas
Plan your trip to Vegas to fall on the first Friday of the month, so you can immerse yourself in local art and culture at the First Friday festival.
If you’re fascinated by true crime, spend a day at the Mob Museum. You’ll learn about the history of famous gangsters, and if you want to go deeper into nefarious criminal matters, can also participate in a “Crime Lab Experience” where you’ll be educated on how to analyze forensic evidence.
Ever have fantasies of operating a bulldozer? Dig This allows you to pick a machine, get trained, and engage in some Bob the Builder cosplay. For a mere $650, you can destroy a car with a 30,000 lb. excavator. Make sure you’re completely sober for this activity, of course.
Make sure to check out your local Las Vegas MedMen cannabis dispensary while you’re in the area!