Las Vegas: Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Museums and More

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Las Vegas
Photo: The Mob Museum

Are you looking for an insane amount of fun off the beaten path of the Las Vegas Strip? Whether you’re making your first trip or wondering what lies beyond Las Vegas Boulevard, head to BestofVegas.com for easy access to insider information, tickets and reservations for the most unusual places in town. From a kooky downtown shopping mall made from shipping containers to showgirls on paradeworld class dining, thrill rides and collections of neon and mob nostalgia, the city of Las Vegas and its surroundings are a mad, mad, mad, mad museum of 24-hour fun.

Put it another way: what happens in Vegas…is everything.

Situated in a basin of the Mojave Desert in southeastern Nevada, the city has been sizzling in more ways than one since 1931, when it legalized casino gambling and began construction on the Hoover Dam. The years after World War II saw the rise of glamorous hotels and casinos, conjured from a bowl of dust by visionary gangsters like Bugsy Siegel and his ilk. With the rise of hotels came expectations of big-name entertainment, and everyone from Frank Sinatra to Noël Coward obliged. Today, those expectations are fulfilled by megastars-in-residence like Celine Dion and Elton John.

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The city’s unique history has been captured in venues like downtown’s interactive Mob Museum, which explores the relationship between organized crime and law enforcement in Las Vegas and the world. There are hundreds of artifacts in this treasure trove, and you can even “pretend” fire a tommy gun while you’re there. Another cool spot is located just east of the Strip: The National Atomic Testing Museum highlights 70 years of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site, just 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. There, adventurous visitors can experience a simulated atmospheric bomb blast. North of the Strip, lovers of light flock to The Neon Museum, where the boneyard houses spectacular signs from days gone by. Among them is one from the iconic Stardust Hotel, where comedian George Carlin was one of the final performers to command the stage before it closed in 2006 after 48 years.

Thrill-seekers with a need for speed love the Richard Petty Ride-Along Experience and Exotic Car Driving and Racing Experience, featuring heart-pounding rides in fast cars. For a major buzz at a slightly slower pace, you can see the striking NV desert by helicopter, balloon or the zip lines of Flightlinez Tour of Bootleg Canyon, which give riders an unforgettable view of the Red Mountains as they fly through the air at up to 60 miles an hour.

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Grownups don’t have to look far to find Las Vegas’s alter-ego, Sin City. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Las Vegas showgirl? You can take lessons at X Burlesque University at Flamingo Las Vegas, where you’ll learn everything from how to apply false eyelashes to the art of, er, seduction. Just want to watch? Maybe a gentleman’s club crawl is the right choice for your bachelor party weekend.

Since music and Las Vegas are synonymous, you can play miniature golf at a fabulously over-the-top indoor 18-hole course dedicated to KISS. At karaoke spots like Karaoke Q Studio or J Karaoke Bar, the brave show off their inner Beyoncé or Bon Jovi. There are listening rooms for every taste, too. Stoney’s Rockin’ Country is a spot for the cowpoke in you, and locals who love jazz have been grooving at the divey Dispensary Lounge for 30 years.

So what’s your pleasure? It’s all available in fabulous Las Vegas. Discover everything there is to do at Best of Vegas, and book some of the hottest deals in town.

This post is sponsored by BestofVegas.com.