Best Kept Travel Secrets: Get to Know Las Vegas, NV

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Las Vegas has gotten its nickname, Sin City, because of the legality of doing many things that are banned in other cities, but there's a lot more to the city than casinos, entertainment venues, and buffets.

Vegas is rich with history, intrigue, and unique experiences, so step away from the Blackjack tables and head over to some of these hidden gems that will give you a new perspective on the city.

Getting to know Las Vegas means you're going deeper than the around-the-clock hustle and bustle of the strip.

Pinball Hall of Fame

Tim Arnold purchased a used pinball machine back in 1972 in Michigan. As a 16-year-old, he charged the neighborhood kids to play it. Once he grew up, he operated numerous arcades in Michigan, then retired in Las Vegas in the ‘90s.

Amassing a collection of almost 1,000 pinball machines of varying degrees of refurbishment, he held "Fun Nights" for locals and eventually planted the seed that grew into the Pinball Hall of Fame.

When you get past the strip, you can find a warehouse that houses a hidden treasure of more than 200 games. The blinking lights, loud bells, and frenzied button-pushing are the sights and sounds that will intoxicate you.

Loved by locals and sought after by tourists, the majority of the games are pinball machines that date back as far as the 1940s. Be sure to have some change handy because you won't be able to play these games with a credit card. New pinball games will cost you 50 cents per play, though most will set you back 25 cents.

Neon Boneyard

One of the things Las Vegas is most recognized for is the neon displays that were produced by Young Electric Sign Company. A storage yard has been kept in Las Vegas for decades that has become the final resting place of these neon signs.

Notable neon pieces of Vegas history include the original Aladdin's lamp that was the first version of Aladdin Casino, Silver Slipper, and the Golden Nugget. Over 150 neon signs that have been decommissioned are located in this three acre plot.

St Valentine's Day Massacre Wall

There was nothing romantic about the day in 1929 that ended with the deaths of seven members of the North Side Gang and launched Al Capone into his notorious reputation.

Bugs Morgan and Al Capone of the South Side Italians had attempted to get rid of their rival for years. When Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn approached Capone about funding a plan to wipe out Bugs and his most elite lieutenants, Capone was all in.

Paying off hitmen from another gang, McGurn had them set up a deal that Bugs couldn't resist. They were to meet for a business deal in a warehouse. "Police" showed up and instructed the men to face the brick wall. Then they opened fire. The bricks riddled with bullet holes now sit in The Mob Museum in Vegas.

Art-O-Mat

Take a retired cigarette vending machine and fill it with art. Now you've got the Art-O-Mat, which was started in 1997 by artist Clark Whittington. More than 100 machines have been refurbished and stocked with work from more than 400 artists.

For $5 you can get your own original handmade artwork, including jewelry, drawings, sculptures, and paintings. You can find the largest collection of these machines at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.

Be a Wedding Crasher

Las Vegas is known for being a frequent destination wedding location. If getting hitched while visiting doesn't sound like your cup of tea, try attending someone else's. Head over to the Graceland Wedding Chapel or one of the other wedding venues in town. Sit for as long as you want, and you'll be sure to take back some stories of some of the couples you see.

The Springs Preserve

If you've got an outdoorsy side, you'll want to head over to the Springs Preserve, with 180 acres of nature to explore. Built around the original water source for Vegas, the Las Vegas Springs, the Preserve was opened in 2007.

Museum galleries, outdoor concert and event venues, and desert botanical gardens are just a few of the attractions to pique your interest. There's even a wetland habitat you can get to through a series of walking trails.

Another unique part of the preserve is how it showcases how people can live in a desert environment with environmentally friendly power. Hydrogen powered utility vehicles are used to maintain its gardens.

The Crystals Mall

With more than 15 luxury retailers anchored in this location, you can get your shop on in style. No department stores are to be found, but plenty of boutiques, such as Cartier, Prada, and Gucci, to peruse.

Located in the CityCenter complex of the Las Vegas Strip, you can also find art galleries and restaurants. Designed by Studio Libeskind and left to the care of Rockwell Group for the interior architecture pieces, the space captures the scene of the city.

Winner, Winner

Getting to know Las Vegas means you're going deeper than the around-the-clock hustle and bustle of the strip. You're diving into the history of what has built this iconic city. These places will enhance your Vegas experience and have you wanting to come back for more.

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