When you choose to relocate to a new city you really want to get the lay of the land. You’ll want to know where the locals hang out–and in Vegas, you’ll be wondering what they do other than gamble.
If you’re moving to Las Vegas, these seven Las Vegas day trips will help you acclimate to your new hometown. Who knows, you might meet a few new friends along the way. From outdoor adventure to tasty eats to discovering your new favorite sports team, here are our favorite day trips from Las Vegas you’ve got to experience at least once.
Easy Day Trips From Las Vegas to Get to Know Nevada and its Neighboring States
1. Red Rock Canyon
The face of Epinephrine looks almost unclimbable, but once you get up close to the walls in Red Rock Canyon, you realize you can scale these sandstone rock faces and get to the top with the right equipment.
Red Rock is a rock climber’s mecca. In the climbing season (generally October through April) you will see the rock faces around the valley populated with climbers of all abilities. Take in the sunshine and the impressive routes of this well-known crag.
For non–climbers, hiking trails surround the entire park for every fitness type. There are interpretive trails for those looking for flat terrain. Alternatively, there are strenuous vertical hikes that demand a lot from your legs.
2. City National Arena
The city has gone mad about hockey. Having a new address means that it is perfectly acceptable to jump on the bandwagon. Grab yourself a shiny new Vegas Golden Knights hockey sweater and sit in the stands to watch a real National Hockey League team practice. These midday practices are just as raucous as home games in some cities.
When you are done watching the pros skate, rent a pair of skates and work on your own moves on the ice. Rentals, classes, and even a few beer leagues are all available at this new state-of-the-art ice rink. If there was ever a time for you to become a sports fan, it is now that you are in Vegas Golden Knights country.
3. Metro Pizza
There is a reason John Arena, the owner of Metro Pizza, is crazy about pizza. It is his life and when he transplanted here to Las Vegas he brought his love for the art of the perfect pie to the valley.
Metro pizza has a few locations around town so you are really never that far from this neighborhood pizza joint. The ingredients are quality and the restaurants are comfortable. However, what will draw you there is the years of experience that go into the making of each pie. East coast pizza lovers swear by it and even the Midwest guys agree that what they are doing is right.
Metro pizza offers classes on pizza making from John Arena who himself is a world championship pizzaiolo.
4. Spring Mountain Ranch
In the middle of summer when the temperatures start working on your psyche you’ll need to get away. That is when the Super Summer Theatre comes swooping in, delighting you with an outdoor show at Spring Mountain Ranch.
This park is adjacent to Red Rock Canyon, but it’s a bit more accessible and user-friendly. Rangers lead hikes and organize talks. This is a family-friendly version of an outdoor adventure as the hikes are generally a bit more on the tame side. You’ll see mules, cows, and quite a bit of historical structures that help to tell the story of this once working ranch.
It seems wrong to say that the best spot in Chinatown is a Thai restaurant – but it is. Your visiting friends will ask you about Lotus of Siam, just outside of the Chinatown boundaries, but you’ll direct them to Chada. You will also recommend Sparrow and Wolf, also not Chinese, but that is what Las Vegas is all about. Cultures melt and boundaries are blurred in this part of town.
You’ll need a market that specializes in Asian cuisine and Ranch 99 will have that special chili source you need for your Tom Kha Gai. It seems like all the heavy hitters for the local food scene can be found in Chinatown so be sure to keep Raku on your radar as well as District One.
Golden Tiki is also in Chinatown. This enchanted bar is a throwback to a time when people just wanted to have fun with cocktails. The décor is right out of a movie set and the atmosphere is a cross between a dirty beach bar (in a good way), a tourist trap in Waikiki, and a Key West frozen drink stand. The service is exceptional and the main goal is to have great drinks and have fun. The free entertainment keeps you just as occupied as the stimulating scenery. This will become your go-to bar but it will also be where you take your out-of-town guests.
6. Arts District
The area known as the Arts District in Las Vegas is malleable. Talk to a local and they may or may not include the Fremont East portion of Downtown Las Vegas. Some embrace the glitzy new restaurants and bars that are igniting the neighborhood, but all can agree that if there is a cultural epicenter in Las Vegas it can be found in this area.
The Arts District is roughly south of Downtown Las Vegas and is affectionately labeled 18 B. 18 B as in 18 blocks of galleries, specialty retail shops, cafes, and an influx of living spaces including luxury high-rise condominiums. This area that was once a rundown forgotten landscape is now alive with bistros, art installations, and a neighborhood of forward thinkers whose pride in their space is evident on virtually every street corner. Stop in at Velveteen Rabbit for a beer or the Arts Factory for an arts walk featuring local artists.
7. Downtown Summerlin
If you find yourself considering a half marathon as you walk through the Farmer’s Market, you’ll realize the Summerlin scene is where you should be. You’ll think about your golf swing, your backhand, and your ability to recognize a good wine when you look at a wine list.
Dining decisions are tough at Downtown Summerlin when you have to choose between the Fried Chicken at Blue Ribbon, the Caipirinhas at Fogo De Chao, and the happy hour menu at Public School 702. This modern-day shopping and entertainment mecca offers big chains like Nordstrom and Dillards and boutique shops such as Attic Salt and Apothec Living. The style is refined but the atmosphere is relaxed chic.
Las Vegas will soon mean something different to you as a Vegas local than it did before you moved to town. However, don’t forget that when you explain that you moved to Las Vegas, you’ll have to convince people that Chinatown is thriving and that you now really enjoy a good afternoon hike. Be ready to explore your culinary curiosity both on and off the strip and get ready to be a tour guide to every one of your visiting guests.
We hope you enjoyed these ideas for Las Vegas day trips! What other places are on your must-do list? Share with us via Twitter or Facebook!
Editor’s Note: This post was revised on December 16, 2020 to make the page easier to read.