Vegas Guide: Things to do that aren't drinking or gambling

As the old adage goes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But it doesn't have to be that way. There is a lot you can do in Las Vegas that has nothing to do with drinking or gambling. Here's how to pass on the drink and the slot machine and still have a great time in Sin City.

1. Cirque du Soleil

Mystere at Treasure Island. 

Mystere at Treasure Island. 

I'm kind of a square, as the name of this blog implies and one thing I'm not really into is gambling. I'd much rather spend my money on a sure thing, and Cirque du Soleil is just that. Cirque is an international phenomenon that combines acrobatics, dance and death-defying tricks. It's like the circus, but way better and often, way stranger. Sure, it's pricey, but it's always money well spent and gives a longer high than losing a few bucks at the slot machine. Watch the daredevil high divers in La Reve or witness an older school production of Mystere at Treasure Island. With seven shows on the strip, there is a little something for everyone, including fans of Michael Jackson and The Beatles, which each have their own featured show. 

Other Shows

Britney, Celine, JLo, there are residencies galore in Vegas. Be on the lookout for special appearances and concerts and plan your stay around them or try for last minute tickets if you are already there. The Britney concert just happens to be on my own personal Vegas bucket list... 

2. Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Tour

Don't dismiss this suggestion too quickly. I know I used to roll my eyes at the thought of going on one of those touristy red buses, but they actually aren't that bad. Vegas’s history is way more interesting than you could ever imagine and you can learn all about it on the bus tour. It also helps if you want to explore more of the strip, old Las Vegas, or if you want to go to some of the museums not along the main drag. The bad part about the bus? It's not as fun to be on when it's hot, especially if you want to sit on the top deck. There are a few Las Vegas attraction pass option that have the Hop on Hop Off Tour included, so that's definitely something to look into. It can even save you a few bucks from using Taxis or ridesharing apps. 

View of Fremont Street. 

View of Fremont Street. 

3. Downtown Las Vegas

Downtown Vegas is quite a relic. Also known as Fremont Street, this is an older drag lined with casinos like the Golden Nugget and the Fremont Hotel and Casino. The hotel rate here are incredibly affordable, but you are definitely removed from the Strip. While I don't recommend spending too much time here, if you do go I highly recommend SlotZilla Zip Line. Yes, you can zip line along Fremont Street, or rather you can zip line ABOVE Fremont Street, over pedestrians below with the lights and energy of the Fremont Street Experience around you.

For me, this was the perfect intro to zip lining. You aren't that high off the ground, you are very well secured and you can see the end of the track, (which is totally different from when I zip lined in Costa Rica). The SlotZilla Zip Line has a shop just next to the tower that marks the start of the circuit. The basic package allows you to do a “regular” zip line, which lasts a handful of seconds and starts you 77 feet off the ground. You can also purchase the longer route, which allows you to go faster, and also gives you the option to go superman style. I opted for the basic package, that was enough thrill for my inaugural zip. 

Getting ready to zip line. We were terrified. But adorable. 

Getting ready to zip line. We were terrified. But adorable. 

4. Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum

Madame Tussaud was a woman who was forced to make wax replicas of key figures during the French Revolution. While most tourists taking selfies with wax figures of their favorite celebs may not know this, it's what originally drew me to the museum. That's why I had to make this a must see on my other things to do in Vegas list. Notwithstanding the history of the museum's namesake, the lifelike figures are impressive and of course, the museum stages them so that you can get your perfect photo op. It's a little surreal but cool to see how lifelike wax can be. The museum has just enough rooms to make it interesting without getting bored and it is fun to see how tall, or small celebrities are in real life. Or in real wax to be specific. I do admit this attraction is a bit cheesy, but it's fun for the whole family.

I stole your seat, larry. 

I stole your seat, larry. 

5. The Atrium at the Bellagio Hotel

One of my favorite things about Las Vegas is the ever changing landscape of the Strip. New hotels pop up, some go under, and others go under renovation. It's never the same. And that is true for the atrium inside the Bellagio Hotel, which transforms from one horticultural masterpiece to the next as the season changes. The bright colors of the skillfully crafted sculptures are illuminated by the great light the atrium ceiling provides the room. It's definitely worth spending a few minutes strolling through the room before moving to the next hotel or taking in the famous fountain show in front of the hotel.

6. Hoover Dam

If you don't mind spending half the day away from the Strip, and want to take in a massive engineering feat, than book yourself a Hoover Dam tour and have them pick you up from your hotel, or rent a car and drive there yourself. Located just 30 miles outside Vegas, it's extremely close and a tour of the Dam will set you back $30. Make sure to check the website before you leave because needed maintenance can limits tour availability and access.