A Non-Gamblers Guide to Las Vegas

That image you have of smoky backrooms, high rollers and the constant ringing of slot machines? Get rid of it. The best thing about Las Vegas is that it isn’t any one thing. Want to spend a weekend at a poker table? Feel free. But if you’re looking for something more cultured they’ve got that too.  And if all you really want is a comfortable bed with a view of the action, that’s here too.

The Strip, Las Vegas
Image courtesy of Tourism Media

Non-gamblers have long discovered that there’s a side of Vegas they can enjoy that looks nothing like the movies they’ve seen. And finding it might just change your mind about where your next vacation getaway should be.

Here are just a few of the reasons you non-gamblers need to reconsider Vegas:

Pools:  Vegas gets hot and if you’re the type that prefers a combination of pool time and people watching from a lounge chair , you’re bound to find a pool that suits you here. From the Polynesian-like setting of The Mirage  to the Greek Gods and Goddesses feel of Caesar’s Palace, there are more pools in Vegas than moods you could possibly have during your stay. And if you’d prefer a few more fish in your water, sign up to swim with the sharks in the tanks at Mandalay Bay.

Food: What do you feel for? You’ll find it on the Strip. And while the buffets are legendary (and 24/7) don’t make the mistake of missing restaurants like Tetsu at Aria for Japanese fare, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn (Italian/Seafood) and Picasso at Bellagio. The fact that each of these is also based at a hotel worth staying in isn’t an afterthought. Vegas does a great job of making each of its hotels a destination within itself. Take the time to explore the ones that best match your personality.


The Strip, Las Vegas
Image courtesy of Tourism Media

Shows: Coming to Vegas and not taking in a show would be unforgivable. They are bigger and better here. And at the top of the list is Cirque du Soleil. “O” is the long-running favourite and well worth seeing, but if you can score tickets to the new Michael Jackson themed “One” and you’re a fan of the one-gloved wonder you won’t be disappointed. Prefer live musical legends? There’s something for every age and stage from Elton John at the Colosseum (with a stop in his husband’s champagne bar “Fizz” before or after the show) to Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood.

Nature : Turns out the gondolas at the Bellagio aren’t your only options for nature in Vegas. While the Strip may remain the hub of most visitor activity, not far away is an entirely different Vegas. Less than an hour’s drive from the strip is Lake Mead where you can swim, fish or kayak. And Red Rock Canyon (15 miles to the west) offers a different vantage point altogether. Explore it by foot, car or horseback and you’ll be rejuvenated and ready for your next Vegas experience.

The Strip, Las Vegas
Image courtesy of Tourism Media

Shopping: Over the years Vegas has been gaining a reputation with an altogether different set than it used to. Alongside the bachelorette parties that have become a local mainstay are shopping opportunities that rival other destinations in their offerings. From Outlet malls to designer outposts, if you can’t find what you’re looking for in Las Vegas, it probably doesn’t exist. Must hits include: Town Square, Fashion Show Mall and the Premium Outlets.

Have you been to Las Vegas recently? What’s your favourite non-gambling activity?

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About Author

Heather Greenwood Davis

Heather Greenwood Davis is the award-winning writer behind GlobetrottingMama.com. Her photos, writing and personality are frequently found in international publications, radio programs and television shows including National Geographic Traveler (she's the FamilyTime columnist), O Magazine, Canadian Living, The Toronto Star, NPR, Canada AM and more. In 2012, Heather returned from a yearlong trip around the world with her husband and two sons (29 countries on six continents) and was named among National Geographic Traveler Magazine’s first “Travelers of the Year.” When not in an airport or on Twitter, Heather can be found in Toronto, Canada fighting for sunshine one travel itinerary at a time.


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