Vast, empty deserts, loud cities and old-style villages, whatever you prefer, it’s there in Nevada. Little chapels marrying tipsy couples who just met in a club, modern hotels, and vibrant casinos, that are in the cities. Legal brothels called ranches, conservative rural folks and cowboy culture, that’s in the villages. Wilderness, mountains, lakes and splendid landscapes, that’s all around the state. Full of contradictions, it’s a fascinating state, with lots of observe and explore, lots of laugh about and be shocked with. If you aren’t sure how to plan your trip, here’s a list of the top things to do in Nevada.
Las Vegas Strip
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Nevada, but also in the whole United States, Last Vegas Strip is full of attractions. 15 out of 25 world’s biggest hotels are located on the Strip, offering more than 62 000 rooms to the visitors. Casinos, restaurants, clubs, pubs, theaters, malls, golf courses are to be found all along the Strip’s route. If you have insomnia, it won’t seem so much of a problem in Las Vegas, since most of these places are open 24 hours a day. If you don’t have insomnia, you’ll most likely push yourself to forget about sleep during your stay in Las Vegas, because there’s so much to do at any time of day and night, sleeping seems a bit inappropriate. The incredible chaos, secret fantasies suddenly becoming true, odd individuals in freaky costumes, mood lights and alcoholic drinks shining in all colors of the rainbow, wandering around Las Vegas Strip seems to be a psychedelic dream even when awake.
Cirque du Soleil, Las Vegas
The enchanting mixture of circus, theater and street performance, Cirque du Soleil is a world-known company, founded in 1984 in Canada by two artists. Born as a tiny troupe, Cirque du Soleil kept growing to become one of the most successful circus groups in the world, touring in different continents and gathering new wonderful artists. Luckily, they have resident shows in Las Vegas. Watching them is an unforgettable experience, definitely one of the most magical things to do in Nevada.
Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio
A luxury hotel, the Bellagio, features wondrous botanical gardens open to everyone. Cosmic colors and lightening, a variety of flowers and amazing design, the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio is an outstanding site. Visiting the gardens is like crossing gates to a fairy-tale land, especially during the daily fountain shows with live music.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Las Vegas
Situated about 24 kilometers from Vegas and visible from the Strip, Red Rock Canyon is a protected area offering scenic views. If you want a small getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle, its loud music and blinding neon’s, that’s the right place to visit. Such a showcase of redness and odd shapes can’t even be found in Vegas itself, and there’s nearly everything in this bustling city. The reserve displays a set of sandstone peaks and huge red rock formations, creating a fascinating landscape. At the visitor center you can ask about hiking trails and rock-climbing routes. Activities like wildflower walks, bird-watching, horseback riding and mountain biking are available.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Located along the border with Arizona, the Lake Mead and its surroundings offer a lot of attractions, from swimming in the lakes (there’s a smaller one as well, Lake Mohave), fishing and boating, to hiking and camping. You can jump into a kayak on the Willow Beach and move along the Colorado River, take a bath in hot springs or simply enjoy the silence and charming views. Nearby, in the town of Overton, you can find the Lost City Museum housing an exhibition of the artifacts from Pueblo Grande de Nevada (historic villages around Overton), a great place to learn about the Native American Culture.
Great Basin National Park
Near to the border with Utah, in the east-central Nevada, the Great Basin National Park covers an area of more than 30 hectares, offering lots of striking views and various activities. Dry mountains and ancient bristlecone pines make the rough, yet enchanting landscape of the park. You shouldn’t miss one of its most interesting attractions, Lehman Caves, full of limestone formations and mysterious creatures (bats, mice, chipmunks, just to name a few). 12 trails are available for hikers, as well as a visitor center and camping sites.
Burning Man Festival
To participate in this crazy, chaotic, extreme event, first of all: brace yourself, secondly: forget everything you’ve ever learn from the society, thirdly: find your inner hippie. Burning Man is an annual event, starting on the last Monday in August and ending on the first Monday in September, held on the Black Rock Desert. Its madness and chaos are an experience that can’t be compared to anything else. The festival has 10 principles that describe it better than any other words: radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, civic responsibility, communal effort, leaving no trace, participation, immediacy. The festival focuses on art as well and you can see it as soon as you arrive to the desert, as the dry lake is decorated with giant, quirky artworks. There are many bizarre things to do in Nevada (especially Las Vegas), it’s the state of insanity, but the Burning Man Festival takes this madness to a whole new level.