Most of us have done the stereotypical “Vegas” excursion that usually results in a lot of self loathing and the dire need for a detox right afterwards. The city that used to be known for magicians, lounge acts and cabarets has morphed into a nightclub superpower with many of the top EDM acts holding court. It’s become one of the capital cities for electronic music in the U.S. - next to Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
However, there is a more complex and intellectually stimulating side of sin city that can be equally fun - so if you are looking to find some alternatives for your next Las Vegas journey, here are some primers to get you started. Who knows, you just might leave the city inspired and intrigued as opposed to hung over and depressed.
Here are some of our favorite Las Vegas alternatives:
Skiing, Snowboarding and The Great Outdoors
Snowboarding in Vegas? Yes, believe it or not there is a small ski and snowboard resort just north of the strip. If you are looking to put a winter twist on your stay, you can jump up to the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort to get some turns in and fresh air. If snow isn’t your bag, or you are going during the summer months, don’t worry - there are still some nice activities you can jump into that don’t involve liver damage or questionable behavior at 4:00 AM.
Very few people think of Vegas as a place for nature lovers, but – believe me – it is. Vegas is home to extraordinary wonders of the natural world, including the glorious Lake Mead. This is the ideal spot to go to if you love fishing, swimming or water-skiing, and offers a quiet respite from Vegas nightlife. On the other hand, Red Rock Canyon is a stunning example of the desert scenery, with its looming red cliffs that attract throngs of tourists every year. You can see mountain lions, bobcats, wild horses and golden eagles here, among other wildlife, while hiking is available to let you drink in the sights.
Take a break from your bender or tack this alternative route into your “new” Vegas experience. You will be blown away with the natural wonders that are right around the corner.
Las Vegas is filled with weird tourist attractions, but this one might appeal to your inner “Rambo” that needs to get some me time. Machine Gun Vegas is an indoor and outdoor shooting range that lets you fire fully automatic weapons - under close supervision, of course, but it’s still awesome. We at Magnetic Magazine are not huge gun nuts, but it is pretty fun to go ham with a fully automatic weapon. The range is not cheap, but if you are someone who has always wanted to check out exotic weapons and give them a go, this is your jam. You can check out more on their website for more information about rates and different experiences, like the Urban Assault Experience - Yikes.
Weird Local Bars & Classic Shows
We’ve always been fans of the local bar scene in Vegas - or semi-local bar scene anyways. The best places to head are off the Strip, places like The Golden Tiki will flip your lid and show you that Vegas can be genuinely cool if you hit the right spots. Meticulous tiki decor, far out drinks, and incredible lounge music will keep you firmly planted at the Golden Tiki.
If tropical drinks aren’t your bag try Atomic Cocktails downtown. Their patio is perfect for chilling, and inside will remind you of your favorite dive bar back home with a rockabilly twist.
If you want to hunt down some live music, you can find the best music shows in Vegas with just a little bit of research. From corny lounge acts to cover bands, you can satisfy every weird music craving, even if it is ironic. Watching a Vegas lounge act at 4:00 in the morning can be a bit surreal and is definitely worth doing.
Satisfy Your Inner Food Nerd
Las Vegas has become a foodie powerhouse with some of the best restaurants in the country setting up shop; visitors now have a massive selection of many superb restaurants. Among the delights that you will want to sample during your stay are the Hot N Juicy-style shrimp on offer at the Hot N Juicy Crawfish, at 4810 Spring Mountain Road, and the 240-day dry-aged riserva steak at Carnevino. Many of Las Vegas’ eateries are Michelin-starred, and once you have tasted the food, you will know why.
Museums? Yeah, Weird Ones!
Again, people rarely think of Vegas in terms of culture, but with the likes of the Atomic Testing Museum, Imperial Palace Auto Collections, and the Natural History Museum, it is hard to see why. The last of these offers a tank of sharks, fauna and flora of Nevada within the Wild Nevada Room and several robotically controlled dinosaurs. Imperial Palace houses 200 vintage automobiles, including ones that belonged to Howard Hughes, WC Fields and Al Capone, while the Atomic Testing Museum explores the history of the nuclear testing site in Nevada. If you are craving a bit of OG Vegas you can also check out the neon museum which houses some of the signs from the city's glamorous past - but only go at night!
As you can see, Las Vegas has a great deal more to offer the visitor than just overpriced nightclubs and casino gaming. Hopefully this little tip sheet will inspire you to dig deeper into Sin City.