Las Vegas, officially the “City of Las Vegas”, is the largest city by population in the state of Nevada. It is often simply referred to as “Vegas” and “Sin City”. Interestingly, the popular stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard that is known as “The Strip” is NOT really part of the City of Las Vegas. It is in the unincorporated Clark County communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise.
Las Vegas is generally known as adult playground with “The Strip” as primary highlight: gigantic hotels, many night clubs and parties, evening entertainment regarding shows or concerts, an abundance of dining opportunities and of course the iconic casinos. However, taking the surroundings of Las Vegas into consideration, there are many natural and man-made gems that are well worth a visit… and not located on The Strip.
Downtown Container Park
A 15-minute car ride from the Las Vegas Strip, located on famous Freemont Street, is the Downtown Container Park. While Freemont Street is worth the experience in itself, the Downtown Container Park is an open-air shopping center; yet, different to the usual. It’s built from shipping containers that are occupied by many one-of-a-kind start-up boutiques and restaurants. Art Installations as well as a playground for the kids make it a place where the entire family will enjoy an afternoon.
Seven Magic Mountains Art Installation
A quite famous and picturesque Art installation, Seven Magic Mountains, is a 25-minute drive down S Las Vegas Blvd. The large scale art in the desert is created by Swiss artists Ugo Rondinone. The seven impressive neon-colored stacked boulders, made from locally-sources limestone, stand over 30-feet tall in the middle of the desert. Particularly impressive is the art installation during dawn and dusk making the colorful towers even more vibrant. The artwork has an allowance to remain open to the public for free until the end of 2021. Please note that the next restroom or amenities offered are in Jean.
For those that seek the thrill of an adventure, drive 30 minutes southeast of the Las Vegas Strip towards Boulder City. Nearby is the Bootleg Canyon, known to be the place where bootleggers brewed and transported alcohol illegally. While there are many hiking opportunities and noteworthy 36 miles of mountain bike trails to shred, Bootleg Canyon is also the place to go zip-lining. Three types of tours are offered by FlightLines Bootleg: Daytime tours (9 AM – 2 PM), sunset tours (5 PM) and moonlight tours (8 PM). It’s an experience you’ll remember for years to come.
Lake Mead & Fortification Hill
A 45-minute drive southeast of Las Vegas, you will find man-made Lake Mead. Regarding its water capacity Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. Located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, visitors can enjoy a variety of water sport activities. Fortification Hill, located close to Willow Beach, offers a 3.5 mile out and back hiking trail. Because of limited to no shade, it’s recommended to hike this trail primarily between September and May. You’ll have a great time hiking this mesa overlooking Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam.
Valley of Fire
The Valley of Fire makes a perfect half day or day-trip from Las Vegas. Enjoy the scenic 1-hour drive and be amazed by phenomenal rock formations that look like they’re on fire. The Aztec sandstone make the rocks appear in various shades of red, yellow, and orange. Great places to stop are, amongst others: Rainbow Vista, the Fire Wave, Pink Canyon, White Domes, Petroglyph Canyon, Atlatl Rock, and Arch Rock. There are many great photo opportunities in the Valley of Fire State Park!