Don’t Like Gambling? There’s Still Plenty to Do in Las Vegas

6 things to do in las vegas other than gambling

There’s no better way to pay tribute to the spirit of Las Vegas than shaking hands with the one-armed bandit. But you can still honor the city’s culture without gambling a single cent. Perhaps you’d rather enjoy Sin City like a saint, or at least like someone who doesn’t want to give your hard-earned money up to chance. Either way, you’ll find plenty of thrilling options. Family-friendly fun? Definitely. More mature entertainment that you don’t have to buy with poker chips? You bet… errr, bad choice of word. Fortunately, there’s no need to cross your fingers or blow on any dice! Las Vegas offers a jackpot of recreational activities that have absolutely nothing to do with gambling.

Explore Fremont Street in the Heart of Las Vegas

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A stroll through Fremont Street is nearly unavoidable when visiting Las Vegas. Thankfully, it’s the perfect way to take in the city’s essence with no obligation to test your luck. Since late 1994, Fremont Street has prohibited regular vehicle access. Today, it’s a pedestrian sanctuary, though we’d hesitate to call a walk through the strobing corridor a leisurely experience. It can be visually overwhelming in the best of ways as a result of a looming LED canopy that runs the length of Fremont Street. It serves as an immersive audio-visual roof to a walk-through shopping experience populated by showgirls, fire breathers, and Kiss cosplayers. 

You’ve no doubt already been acquainted with the stretch affectionately referred to as Glitter Gulch through film and photos. This iconic strip has changed immensely over the years. Sadly, many of the most recognizable neon monuments have been retired from their positions as Fremont Street sentinels. Take heart! You can still find them in The Neon Museum (which we’ll get to in a bit). In the meantime, history and pop culture fans alike may still enjoy a visit to the grounds where it all happened. 

Even if you don’t get your thrills from slot machines, you may still get one from SlotZilla. This zip line runs the entire length of the stretch, sending the most daring of you flying 12 stories above Fremont Street. By the journey’s end, even the most avid gambler may believe there are bigger thrills than a stack of bills!

Bask in the Glow of Las Vegas’s Golden Age at the Neon Museum

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Some of you may feel like you missed out on your chance to experience Las Vegas’s golden years. Good news! The The Neon Museum is the next best thing to a time machine. Flashing signs that had become interwoven into the fabric of American pop culture began to be retired in the 1980s. To keep up with the times, the civic leaders of Las Vegas paired with the Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada to collect the discarded icons. But what to do with these treasures?

The Neon Museum wasn’t opened to the public until late 2012. Today, it encompasses over two-and-a-half acres of pure Sin City nostalgia. Several signs have even been painstakingly restored to their former glory! The rest can be found in various conditions in a sprawling area referred to as the Neon Boneyard.

The Neon Museum also offers a North Gallery housing a half hour long audio visual installation. Orchestrated by artist Craig Winslow, the immersive experience aims to capture the original spirit of Las Vegas. While aspects of Las Vegas may be gone forever, the Neon Museum ensures that they’ll never completely fade away.

Which Cirque du Soleil Show Speaks to You?

Photo credit: Las Vegas Magazine (Veronique Vial)

Cirque du Soleil has almost become as synonymous to the Vegas show experience as sequin vests and white tigers. We’d recommend picking the Cirque du Soleil experience that speaks to you most. If choosing your show is the riskiest roll of the dice you’ll be throwing, you’re in luck. Few people leave the Canadian-based performance company’s shows without a marked sense of awe. Las Vegas has a generous amount of Cirque du Soleil performances from which to choose, but they’re not always running, so plan your trip accordingly!

Music fans may be drawn to see their take on the biggest band in rock with The Beatles: Love or their homage to the King of Pop with Michael Jackson ONE. Looking for a more traditional Cirque du Soleil experience? The Treasure Island Hotel and Casino houses their longest-running show, the family-friendly Mystére. If you’d like a little more plot behind the acrobatics, at the MGM Grand poetically fuses performance and masterful storytelling in a way sure to move those with a literary heart. Finally, anyone with a hidden passion for synchronized swimming will delight at O, Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic-themed show with genuine water-based acrobatics.

Laugh and Cry Through the National Atomic Testing Museum

Photo credit: National Atomic Testing Museum

There’s a dark side to Nevada’s history that goes beyond the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” border. War is an unfortunately inescapable part of human history; one that we still find ourselves affected by in modern times. Despite the grim realities of war, there can be a kitschy side to it as well. This is most evident when we examine how pop culture interacts with propaganda. You’ll find the perfect balance of these nuances in the exhibits at the National Atomic Testing Museum.

Nevada’s Mojave Desert was a literal hotspot for America’s early nuclear weapons testing. Remember, this was a time when the horrific impact of this kind of weaponry wasn’t fully understood. If you’re interested in the shocking nuclear propaganda footage of the 1940s and ‘50s, retrofuturistic video games like Fallout: New Vegas, science, or even American and military history, the National Atomic Testing Museum will provide an experience that’s every bit as entertaining as it is amusing and disturbing.

Find Your Las Vegas Watering Hole

Photo credit: Minus 5° Experience

You don’t want to gamble, but what about one of Las Vegas’s other major pastimes: drinking? Many of the casinos will ply you with free drinks while you’re camped out at the roulette wheel. Since we’re avoiding those, there are plenty of unique bars to visit in Sin City. Perhaps the coolest option (pun definitely intended) is the Minus 5° Experience. In this fully stocked bar, everything is crafted from ice: the decor, the walls, the chairs… even the glass in which your drink is served. Keep in mind, Las Vegas sometimes sees temperatures soar into triple digits! A reservation at one of the city’s three Minus 5° locations could be what you need to beat the heat. Just make sure to bring your parka!

Looking for a bit of tiki chic to compliment the kitsch of the Las Vegas strip? Travel over to The Golden Tiki, the city’s take on the classic tiki bars that started a campy pop cultural wave in the 1930s that many people are riding to this day.

If you’re missing ComicCon since the pandemic changed virtually everything, Millennium Fandom may be more your speed. This colorful watering hole looks like it hired the Mad Hatter as its interior designer with checkered floors, comfy mismatched chairs, and pastel walls. You’ll commonly find cosplayers lining the bar with drinks in hand, so make sure to grab your Peacemaker helmet before you head over!

You Don’t Have to Be a Professional to Race Like One

Photo credit: Exotics Racing

If you’re feeling a need for speed that the Fremont Street SlotZilla just isn’t satisfying, you may find better luck at Exotics Racing, a Las Vegas-based company providing a variety of whiteknuckle racing experiences. Whether you want to take some of the fastest supercars for a few laps around their specially designed racetrack, test the limits of gravity with an off-road racing experience, or start out simple with one of their go-karts, Exotics Racing will definitely meet the expectations of those of us who like to feel our adrenaline pumping. Looking for a more authentic NASCAR-style adrenaline rush? The Richard Petty Driving Experience can do just that, putting you behind the wheel of a genuine NASCAR race car. Just keep an eye on your speedometer on your way back to the heart of the city! 

Sure, we could keep going. But why continue reading about these things when you could be doing them instead? As you can see, you don’t have to enjoy gambling to find a lot to love about Las Vegas. As one of America’s most colorful and iconic cities, it has a lot of activities and experiences happening everyday that don’t require you to be a high roller. You’ll have no trouble discovering some of the city’s less publicized activities that have just as much of its one-of-a-kind charm!

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