The American Southwest is a popular destination for tourists. This is not surprising considering the variety of attractions it offers: from the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon in Arizona to the ski slopes of Colorado. In the state of Nevada specifically though, you get a little bit of everything –– a combination of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and the one-of-a-kind entertainment scene in the city of Las Vegas. This makes it an incredibly fun place to visit, but also a tricky one to plan for.
Here, we’ve prepared a list of six of the best things you can do when you visit, which will hopefully help you get started with planning your trip!
Visit Lake Tahoe
The Sierra Nevada Mountains hide one of the most stunning natural places in America. The beautiful blue water of Lake Tahoe makes it an ideal place to swim during the summer. It’s also a great place to go camping and hike, due to its amazing views. And during the winter, the snow-covered mountains are home to multiple ski resorts. It’s really a stunning place to vacation any time of year. Just make sure to stay safe while exploring if you go during the winter; heavy snowfall in the area is gorgeous, but it can also make things a bit hazardous when you wander off the path.
Attend Burning Man
This world-famous festival takes place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert in late summer, and focuses on community art exhibitions and expressions of personal creativity. There’s music, there are impromptu sculptures, and there’s a wildly eclectic population of attendees to get lost in, such that you wind up enjoying a unique sense of freedom.
There’s also a sense of environmental pride to it all; organizers always try to promote a “leave no trace” culture, meaning that the eccentric event should have no impact on the environment.
See the Hoover Dam
This engineering wonder is the largest water reservoir in the United States. And in addition to being a pure visual spectacle, it offers a complete educational experience, with all kinds of presentations and exhibits concerning the construction and impact of the dam. Visitors can also explore the impressive external architecture and the insides of the power plant, which provides electric power to Nevada (as well as Arizona). For the more adventurous traveler, there’s also an opportunity to take a helicopter tour from which you can truly appreciate the magnificence of the structure.
Play Poker at a Casino
Las Vegas is famous for many things: It’s a hotbed of performance, a bachelor party and honeymoon destination alike, and increasingly a sports haven as well. But it’s the casino gambling that really built and maintains the city.
For a brief time it seemed as if this might cease to be the case. Last decade, Nevada became the first state to legalize online poker played with real money, and around the same time this happened there was talk that millennials might largely abandon casinos in favor of online gaming. As it’s turned out though, the casino floors and most notably poker tables of Vegas remain extraordinarily popular. And for travelers, not much can top sitting down for a real poker game at the tables of, stay, the Bellagio or Caesar’s Palace.
Try a Blackjack Table
Poker is an easy game to learn but a hard to master. By contrast, even a beginner can get a pretty good handle on blackjack in short time. So if you’re visiting Las Vegas and you’re new to in-person card games, you might want to hit the blackjack tables as well. It’s a simpler game, and one that happens to have better odds than poker. Just don’t expect to play the tables quite as well as the card counters you’ve probably seen in films like Rain Man or 21, or even The Hangover.
Pop Culture Museums
Famous Las Vegas casinos like The Bellagio have impressive art galleries that showcase the work of modern artists. But the city also has some of the most interesting museums you’ll find dedicated to history and pop culture. Inside The Mob Museum visitors will be able to learn about mobsters’ most infamous crimes and the efforts law enforcement made to stop them. You can also visit the Hollywood Car Museum, to see famous movie vehicles like the DeLorean from Back to the Future and even some cars from The Fast and the Furious franchise.
Nevada offers a multitude of opportunities for travelers, but sometimes having so many choices can make it hard to plan and prioritize. We recommend visiting with an itinerary and a few highlights to focus on, and we hope this introduction to the state’s myriad attractions will help you to get started!