Las Vegas, or Sin City, is best known for its bright lights and casinos. But there is plenty more to do in this part of the world. If you can tear yourself away from the casino games, you’ll find lots of other things to do in Nevada. Incorporating them into your trip could make you appreciate everything more!
Visit the National Atomic Testing Museum
The isolated location of Las Vegas makes it perfect for gamblers who are chasing a dream or a good time. In the 1950s, it also made it the ideal location for nuclear testing. The Nevada Test Site was very busy, and the National Atomic Testing Museum tells this often-ignored piece of Las Vegas history perfectly.
The museum, which is affiliated with the respected Smithsonian Institute, houses more than 12,000 artifacts, and through them it tells the story not only of the Nevada Test Site, but also of the nuclear program of the United States and the impact it had on the locals of Las Vegas and her surrounding communities. It’s sobering, and gives important insight into the psychology and events of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Pinball Hall of Fame
For something a little lighter after the National Atomic Testing Museum, head over to the Pinball Hall of Fame. You can even play these classic machines for just 25 or 50 cents a shot! There are more than 200 of them filling a huge warehouse, and come from every era since the 1940’s to today.
Arcade owner and operator Tim Arnold retired to Las Vegas in the 1990’s, and spent the next 20 years lovingly refurbishing all the machines he had amassed. Locals came to play them on “fun nights” and Arnold donated all the money that was made to charity. Even today, after the running costs have been deducted, the profits still go to those less fortunate so you can have fun and help a worthy cause.
The Neon Boneyard
When you think of Las Vegas, you more than likely picture the famous Strip at night, with the sky lit up by hundreds of neon signs, and the glittering slots in every casino twinkling like stars. It’s one of the most iconic images in the modern world, but have you ever wondered where those bright lights go when they die? The answer, for many of them, is in the Neon Boneyard.
Salt Lake City-based company YESCO, which stands for the Young Electric Sign Company, is responsible for several of Sin City’s most iconic neon signs. Visit them all at the 3-acre Boneyard for a truly unique glimpse into Las Vegas history.
St Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall
Visiting the bullet-ridden site of the St Valentine’s Day Massacre is oddly fascinating in a world as obsessed with the mob as ours is. This was where the North Irish Street Gang, feuding with Al Capone’s South Side Italians over turf, was invited on 14 February 1929, and where they were all bowled down by the Italian Mafioso.
The bricks are now, appropriately enough, in the 3-story Mob Museum in Las Vegas, and about 100 were sold off to crime history enthusiasts by their last private owner. Learn the full story of what happened that day, and the events leading up to it, when you visit this huge curated collection of the mob history of Las Vegas. It is indeed the City of Second Chances, as most gamblers will tell you happily, but for many of the mobsters who had long ties with Vegas in its shadier past, these chances eventually ran out.