Moving to Las Vegas? What You Should Know
by Jeremy Alderman
The first thing to know before moving to Las Vegas is that the city is more than just neon signs and tempting fate at the slots. Step away from the strip, and it is just like any other city. People do their grocery shopping, check out a movie or take a swim when the heat hits triple digits. With that in mind, here are a few ideas for things to do in Las Vegas once everything is unpacked:
The well-known Vegas Strip isn’t downtown, and technically, it’s not even in Vegas. Check out the true Downtown Las Vegas on Freemont Street. There is plenty to do, and the area has recently seen an influx of artists. Some murals to check out include “Cultivate Harmony,” a piece by artist Shepard Fairey that takes up 21 stories of a building. The Life is Beautiful festival in the fall brings street artists from around the world to leave their marks, transforming downtown into a vibrant space. Every first Friday of the month is the First Friday Art Walk. The festival is free to attend and includes art, music and all kinds of food vendors.
Shop at the Downtown Container Park. Just as it sounds, the area has been created out of old shipping containers turned into boutique stores. If you’re not sure where the entrance is, just look out for the giant fire-breathing mantis sculpture. No national chains are allowed in this shopping area, so it is perfect for finding unique items. The park has an interactive playground for kids, and the main stage often hosts movies and concerts. Eat indoors or outdoors at restaurants such as The Perch or Cheffini’s, which serves gourmet hot dogs.
Get a unique museum experience at either the Mob Museum or the Neon Museum. The Mob Museum tells the true stories behind organized crime in the U.S., from its origin to today’s headlines. It has more than 1,000 artifacts, including sunglasses worn by mobster Bugsy Siegel and a revolver used by Al “Scarface” Capone. The museum has received a lot of praise, including from the New York Times who placed it on a list of top places to see in the city. For a different theme, the Neon Museum is the place to see neon signs that are as old as the city itself. Take a guided tour and learn more about the ideas behind the signs and what role they played in Las Vegas history.
Take a break from the city and explore the outdoors at Red Rock Canyon. The national conservation area is home to picturesque rock formations, more than 600 plant species and animals such as the desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep. The park has several trails that are great for hiking, biking or horseback riding. There are also several rock climbing areas that range in length and difficulty. Make it a day trip, or bring a tent and camp under the stars.
It’s hard to imagine skiing and Las Vegas in the same sentence, but that is exactly what Lee Canyon offers. Opening usually around December for the winter season, the resort has skiing and snowboarding, tubing and snowshoe hiking. The resort has three lifts, 30 trails and 445 acres of hiking terrain. There are plenty of activities during the summer too, such as archery, disc golf and tours on Onewheel skateboards. The resort is open during the summer season Friday through Sunday until Sept. 4.
Enjoy live music and theater at The Smith Center. The performing arts center celebrated its five-year anniversary March 28, and the interior design is a beauty in itself. The center is home to the Las Vegas Philharmonic, which is celebrating its 19th season this year with a performance of “Don Juan.” One of the biggest excitements will be in 2018 when the award-winning play “Hamilton” makes a stop at the center. There will be plenty of great performances to see before then, such as Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and “The Color Purple.” Tickets for individual shows are available online, but people can become season ticket holders and not have to worry about a show selling out.
Bring a healthy appetite and explore Chinatown Las Vegas. Want your food to come to you? Try hot pot-style dishes served on a conveyor belt at Chubby Cattle. Enjoy fresh, handmade noodles at Udon Monzo. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Raku Sweets, which has desserts that look almost too good to eat. And don’t forget The Golden Tiki, a 24-hour tropical themed speakeasy nestled between a row of shops.
Become a true desert warrior and rent an ATV for a ride on the sand dunes. Located about 15 miles north of Las Vegas are the Nellis Dunes. The area has close to 10,000 acres of open land, and provides views of both the city and the snow-capped mountains nearby. Many ATV tours have options for those who want to take it slow and enjoy the scenery and those who want to zip along with dust at their heels.