Staying in Vegas a few extra days? There’s a lot to do in this town, and its worth flipping through any of the tourist mags or scanning the interwebs to find deals and listings of the cool stuff at casinos and pointers on which buffet is the best one this week. But a few faves, in no particular order.
Fremont Street Experience
We used to host our challenges on Fremont, in front of the open-mouth stares of tourists from all over the world, in the 110F+/43C+ hot wind on a slanted, cobblestone track with manhole covers taped over with cardboard and the afternoon sun slanting through the dust and car exhaust to blind everyone. That’s where 20 rosters at RC came from – you needed a 10-jammer lineup for a 20 minute challenge. And most of us survived! But Fremont St is not just a home for derby nostalgia; the “good ole days” thrive in all forms on several blocks of neon old Vegas and the surrounding blocks are quickly becoming home to the best of LV glitz and glitter, as well. And now it is our home again! When you’ve had enough of the giant TV, the foot long cocktails, the ziplining, the street performers… the too too much of it all, walk to the East end and continue another block to the Container mall featuring a 3 story, fire-spouting um, locust and lots more art district fun hiding around every corner. Stop on the way for the newest non-casino restaurants and hipster drinking holes like Beauty Bar and lot more. http://fremontstreetexperience.com/
North of Fremont Street is the Neon Boneyard Park, formerly a shitheap dirt yard where they dumped old signs, now a really cool tourist attraction.
Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s THE PUNK ROCK MUSEUM!
It’s been 45+ years since punk rock pogo’d its way into music, fashion, film, and popular culture. April 1st, 2023, The Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas opens its doors and proudly shoves in your face the history, culture, and absurdity of rock n’ roll’s bastard step-child. This museum invites lifelong fans and curious looky-loos of all ages to experience a hands-on, uniquely punk rock experience. https://www.thepunkrockmuseum.com/
Meow Wolf Omega Mart:
Explore “America’s Most Exceptional Grocery Store” and MORE and MORE and MORE — at Meow Wolf’s second permanent exhibition, the unpredictably mind-scrambling, perspective-shifting Omega Mart. https://meowwolf.com/visit/las-vegas
Burlesque Hall of Fame
The world’s only museum dedicated to the history and art of burlesque, with a collection of several thousand costumes, stage props, photos and personal effects, the museum is a growing testament to the power and impact of the art of the tease. https://burlesquehall.com/
* Red Rocks
When you have had a full dose of the gritty urban fantastica of the Las Vegas strip, just 20 minutes from downtown is – NATURE. Super accessible, seriously beautiful mountains that will knock your socks off, especially if you’re new to the desert. Bring a hat, sunscreen and water (consider a white long sleeve shirt in the summer), and drive the 13-mile scenic loop, stopping where you fancy to take selfies with gorgeous stripey mountains – or hike & climb in them. The loop costs a couple bucks per car ($7 maybe?). There are restrooms, but no food, water or other real services. Find your way to Charleston Blvd and head West.
Seven Magic Mountains & Ivanpah Solar Facility
In dusty patch of desert ten miles outside of Las Vegas en route to Los Angeles, the 30-foot-tall “Seven Magic Mountains” tower against the horizon. These neon totems are a public art installation by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, and they’re in Ivanpah Valley, 30 minutes this side of the California border, where you can’t miss Google’s super futuristic Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, both just off the 15 freeway on the way to LA.
Seven Magic Mountains
Ivanpah Info & Virtual Tour
Thunder Mountain Monument
(Imlay, Nevada – Waaay North)
If you’re interested in seeing 7 hours of gorgeous desert and mountains with plenty of nuclear testing grounds-level weirdness along the way, consider the long route to Salt Lake City (and Utah’s famous canyons) or Sacramento (via Death Valley, Yosemite from the backside & the Sierra National Forest). Really, Thunder Mountain is an excuse for an amazing road trip; the journey more than the destination, you understand. But the Monument is pretty cool and weird. WWII vet and police officer Frank Van Zant moved to the middle of the desert, renamed himself “Chief Rolling Thunder” and then using sand, scrap metal, cement, cars and everything else the desert sort of preserves – he created a house, hostel and massive sculpture park. Read more about it.
Find lots more weird Nevada (and everywhere else) on Atlas Obscura.
- Fremont St photo c. 2006 Robert Folliard
- Neon Boneyard photo by Shawn Sanders
- a bunch of pix from their websites…
- Red Rocks photo c. 2013 Ivanna S. Pankin
- Seven Magic Mountains by Yelp, not credited
- Ivanpah from google maps
- Thunder Mountain by Terrie Schweitzer