If you want to find Nevada tourist attractions, you’ll want to head either to Las Vegas or Reno for the most options. However, there’s plenty to experience throughout the state, from haunting desert landscapes to quirky roadside attractions. Nevada has a fascinating history and culture, and it’s home to some of the most striking natural landscapes in addition to the dazzling Vegas Strip.
Nevada, which became the 36th state in 1864, is named after the Spanish word for “snow-capped.” Nevada is mostly located in the arid Great Basin, but you’ll also find aquamarine lakes and snow-covered mountain peaks in the state. The state was booming during the mid-1800s as travelers flocked to mines looking for silver. Though the boom did not last forever, legal gambling brought visitors from all over the country during the 1930s, and the Silver State never looked back.
If you’ve decided to explore Nevada, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a list of the best tourist attractions in Nevada to help you plan a memorable trip.
1. Las Vegas Strip
Perhaps the most well-known tourist attraction in Nevada is the Las Vegas Strip. The Strip starts at Mandalay Bay in the south and ends at the Stratosphere Casino in the north. In between, you’ll find Vegas landmarks such as the Bellagio Fountains, the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, the Venetian’s Grand Canal, and the Luxor’s pyramid and sphinx. You might also visit Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat to look at exotic birds, turtles and fish for free.
You can either explore the Strip by foot with a pair of comfortable shoes or take a tour by bus or monorail. If you wish to get a bird’s eye view of the glitz and glamour, you can hop on a helicopter. Either way, it’s recommended to see the Strip at night for the full Vegas experience. Make sure to snap a shot of the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign to remember the fun.
2. High Roller
Another way to see the illuminated Vegas Strip is to take a ride on the High Roller. The High Roller is a giant observation wheel that takes you 550 feet above the center of the Strip and provides 360-degree views. You’ll get to take in gorgeous views of the city and the mountains beyond from inside a comfortable air-conditioned cabin.
Each ride on the High Roller lasts 30 minutes. Visitors can choose to upgrade their ticket to include an open bar and enjoy drinks in the sky. The High Roller is located at the LINQ Hotel and Casino and may be the perfect way to kick off a Vegas vacation.
3. Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area
The Hoover Dam is one of Nevada’s top attractions and draws over a million visitors annually. This massive concrete structure stores water that irrigates 2 million acres and generates enough power to serve 1.3 million people each year. It’s also an important symbol of America’s innovative spirit and industrial power.
While you’re there, stop in the visitor center to learn more about the Hoover Dam and capture photos from the observation area. You can also take a tour of the power plant.
Outdoor enthusiasts won’t want to miss the chance to explore the nearby Lake Mead Recreation Area. At Lake Mead, visitors can roam over a million acres of canyons, lakeside shores, mountains and valleys.
The Hoover Dam is only about an hour drive from Las Vegas. If you wish to take a breather from high-energy Vegas, rent a car and head to one of the country’s most well-known landmarks.
4. The Mob Museum
Are you curious about America’s mob history? Put on your detective hat and get ready for the Mob Museum, located in downtown Vegas.
The Mob Museum takes visitors on an interactive journey from the start of the mob to the present. In this museum, you’ll find three floors of fascinating mob exhibits plus an underground area where you can tour the distillery and sip cocktails in the speakeasy. Other highlights include the Crime Lab Experience, where visitors can test their investigative skills firsthand, and the various massacre artifacts collected from the darkest moments in mob history. The Mob Museum is sure to enhance a trip to Vegas, where many mobsters ventured to start their lives anew.
5. The Neon Museum
The Neon Museum aims to preserve and display iconic and historic Las Vegas neon signs. Each sign tells a story about the artist who created it and how it was used in the city. Visitors can also explore the history of neon sign design and how it’s changed from the 1930s to the present day. You can tour the museum during the day, or get lost in the neon glow at night. After you visit the Neon Museum, you’ll look at neon signs in a new light.
6. Red Rock Canyon
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a short drive west of Las Vegas and offers dozens of opportunities to explore the unique topography of the Mojave Desert. Visitors can look for desert tortoises near the visitor center, take a 13-mile long scenic drive or hike some of the 26 trails for spectacular views of canyons and desert landscape. Red Rock Canyon is a must-see attraction for photographers or tourists who want to experience Nevada nature.
7. Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum
Didn’t think a museum could get your blood pumping? If you’re in Vegas and want an adrenaline rush, consider visiting The Haunted Museum.
While you’re in The Haunted Museum, you’ll wander through winding hallways and secret passages that lead to more than 30 rooms. Inside the various rooms, you’ll find collections of goosebump-inducing items, like the world’s most haunted object and Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s death van. The museum building itself is said to be haunted by a mysterious cloaked figure. For those who love the creepy and macabre, they won’t want to skip this popular Vegas attraction.
8. Lion Habitat Ranch
Animal lovers will want to consider adding Lion Habitat Ranch to their Las Vegas itinerary. Lion Habitat Ranch is a non-profit sanctuary where visitors get to meet lions in a more intimate setting than a typical zoo. The ranch is also unique in that it focuses on lion conservation efforts and advocacy. You can take a behind-the-scenes tour with trainers to ask questions and watch them care for the animals, or buy a general admissions ticket to meet lions, birds and their giraffe.
They recommend arriving no later than 12:45 p.m. to ensure you have plenty of time to enjoy the experience. Lion Habitat Ranch is a short distance from Las Vegas in Henderson and may be a great way to spend a sunny afternoon before hitting the Strip.
9. Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park offers 40,000 acres to explore. Here you’ll find striking red sandstone formations, ancient trees, petroglyphs dating back thousands of years and a visitor center with a range of exhibits. You can meander through the otherworldly formations, camp or enjoy a picnic in one of the shaded areas.
While you’re at Valley of Fire State Park, you might feel like you’re on another planet, but you’ll only be about an hour away from Las Vegas. If you’re heading to southern Nevada, you don’t want to miss this mesmerizing park.
10. Rhyolite Ghost Town
Named after the volcanic rock in the area, Rhyolite is a ghost town which started as a gold prospector’s dream. At the start of the 20th century, people rushed to the Rhyolite townsite to hunt for gold, particularly from the nearby Montgomery-Shoshone Mine. Soon the town was booming and built up with hotels, stores, schools, electric plants and more. The financial crisis of 1907 slowed the town down. Mines, banks and other businesses started to close. By 1910, only 611 residents remained in the town. By 1916, the lights and the power were turned off.
Today, visitors can explore some of the structures remaining from Rhyolite’s glorious past. Some of the properties in the ghost town are private, while others are federally owned. Rhyolite is a worthwhile stop for travelers who want to experience the Gold Rush Era while on their way from Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park.
11. Nevada State Museum
Since 1939, the Nevada State Museum has strived to help visitors understand and appreciate Nevada’s unique heritage. Located in Carson City about a half hour south of Reno, the museum offers visitors tons of ways to learn about the history and culture of the state.
Here you can step back in time and enter the Carson City Mint where coins were minted in the late 19th century, or visit the country’s largest Columbian mammoth found in Black Rock Desert. From learning about Nevada’s fascinating geologic history to touring an underground mine, the Nevada State Museum is a must-see for history buffs or anyone who wants to deepen their Nevada experience.
12. Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
If you’re traveling to Reno or Carson City, would you like to visit a turquoise alpine lake surrounded by the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas? If so, you’ll want to save time for Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe features incomparable majestic beauty. Over 3 million visitors trek to this stunning natural work of art each year to hike, ski, boat and swim. It’s one of the most gorgeous bodies of water in the country, and many Nevada residents have it right in their backyard.
Lake Tahoe sits on the border of Nevada and California and is about an hour south of Reno. Tourists can head to Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park to swim, kayak, scuba dive or simply sit back and enjoy the scenery. Sand Harbor is a popular spot and can get busy during the summer season, and visitors can find more secluded spots along the shore. There are also plenty of recreational opportunities at Spooner Lake to the south. To enjoy the least amount of tourist activity, consider visiting Lake Tahoe from March to May or September to November.
13. Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is located near the border of Utah. It’s about a five-hour drive from Vegas, and six hours east of Reno. Great Basin National Park covers 77,100 acres and visitors can experience the beautiful diversity of the Great Basin. Here you can also tour Lehman Caves or walk among ancient bristlecone pines, the world’s longest living trees.
If you enjoy viewing wildlife, this is the place to be because the majority of North American mammals are found in the Great Basin region. You might cross paths with a mountain lion, coyote or antelope, for example.
Because of its remote location, Great Basin National Park doesn’t see as many visitors as other national parks, so it can be a great option for peaceful solitude. However, it can still get pretty busy during the summer season. The best time to visit is September when the weather is just right and it’s not too crowded.
14. Gold Butte National Monument
A trip to Gold Butte National Monument can be an unforgettable part of a Vegas vacation. The area is about three hours from the city and covers almost 300,000 acres of rugged desert landscape. You’ll get to venture past red sandstone, canyons and desert plant life. You can explore the area’s unmarked trails or drive the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway to a ghost town. Look out for bighorn sheep, hawks, owls and other birds along the way. It’s important to note that there is no cell service or bathroom in the area. Preparation is key to enjoying a safe journey to Gold Butte National Monument.
Stop at Giordano’s for World-Famous Pizza
You’re bound to work up an appetite after a day of playing the slots or trekking through the desert. You might even see a mirage of Chicago stuffed deep dish pizza, except, it’s not a mirage – it’s Giordano’s. At Giordano’s, you’ll feel like you hit the jackpot when it comes to flavor and satisfaction. Whether you’re craving a slice of fresh, cheesy stuffed deep dish pizza, or a hearty Italian classic like fettuccine alfredo, Giordano’s is at your rescue. Make your itinerary complete and visit us at one of our Las Vegas locations – we’ll be waiting to serve you!