Las Vegas Family Vacation
Is it possible to have a “casino-free” vacation in Vegas without rolling the dice or spinning the Wheel of Fortune?
We just returned from the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” a city known for gambling, and discovered there are lots of adventures, exciting shows, restaurants to relish, luxurious spas, posh pools, and spectacular sights to experience outside the casino.
Find out our list of recommendations – what to do, where to stay & dine!
WHAT TO DO
One of the top adventure attractions in Las Vegas is SlotZilla! A zip line that takes adventure-seekers to new heights. SlotZilla offers two ways to fly, the lower “Zipline” (77 feet) and upper “Zoomline” (114 feet), where you fly up to 12-stories high at 40 miles per hour, through old downtown Las Vegas.
We choose the upper Zoomline and flew “superhero-style,” for birdlike views of the Fremont Street Experience – the party that never ends in Vegas. After you get strapped in, you begin your flight coming out of the multi-million dollar SlotZilla, the world’s largest slot machine, that features Las Vegas icons such as over-sized dice, a martini glass, a pink flamingo, coins, video reels, a giant arm and two 35-foot-tall showgirls, adorning SlotZilla, one on each side. Fly SlotZilla!
After riding 2 of the daredevil attractions at the top of the Stratosphere – Insanity and XScream, we were ready for more! Next visit, we will ride BigShot and dive the SkyJump!
X-Scream: This ride catapults you headfirst 27ft. over the Tower’s edge, and then you dangle weightlessly 109 stories in the air, and then the ride snaps you back to the Tower to go through this 3 more times!
Insanity: After crawling into a seat held by a giant mechanical arm holding you 900ft. high over Las Vegas, you dangle and twirl as you stare straight down on the Strip!
SkyJump: This is a scream-inducing leap off the Stratosphere Tower from 829 feet, with the Guinness World Record for highest controlled descent, “Freefalling” at speeds topping 40 mph.
BigShot: This ride takes you straight up 160 ft in the air, and you’ll get some “Gs” like a Top Gun pilot, then freefalling back to launch.
We visited two museums this trip – the Mob Museum & Neon Museum. We recommend both!
The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, introduces visitors to the history of organized crime and law enforcement. We learned about the origins of the Mob through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and engaging videos that bring the Mob stories to life.
“working the mobster look?”
It’s an eye-opening experience that gives insights to organized crime’s impact on the world, and the ongoing battle between the Mob and the law.
The Neon Museum is devoted to preserve the city’s most iconic art form – the neon sign.
The museum visitor center is located in the restored lobby shell from the old La Concha Motel, and the neon boneyard houses signs from old motels, casinos and other businesses.
4. Art Galleries & Installations:
You can find museums, art galleries throughout Vegas. There’s even a Jeffrey Koon’s Popeye in the Encore!
We visited the controversial public art installation in the desert called Seven Magic Mountains. Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone created these colorful stacked boulders standing up to 30 feet high. Located about 10 miles south of Las Vegas, near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15. Many visitors love the pop of color in the stark desert, and some naturalists don’t care for it. Opened in May 2016 and will be available to view for 2 years.
5. Visit Old Town Las Vegas:
Called the Fremont Street Experience, you can walk down the 5-blocks pedestrian street, and see the Old Vegas, lit up with neon and LED signs, where visitors find all kinds of performers and characters dressed up in costume.
6. Walk the Strip: Best way to see Las Vegas is to walk the Strip, but you can also take the city bus and ride the entire stretch.
7. Surrender to a Spa & a Pool –
What’s our favorite spa? Encore!
Runner Up: the Wynn
Spa photos courtesy of Wynn Resorts
Favorite Pool? Bellagio!
8. Shopping, shopping, shopping….
There are shops and cafes lining the Strip! You’ll find high end boutiques at The Wynn, Crystal Shops, and The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, and more at Fashion Show Mall – you’ll find everything on your shopping list.
A must on our casino free las vegas trip! See the Beatles Love Show where Cirque du Soleil performs – spectacular!
Photo courtesy of Mirage Resorts Beatles Love
10. Don’t Miss! The Bellagio Fountains –
The best FREE show in Las Vegas!
Outside of Las Vegas…
1-3 Day Trips: Visit the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Horseshoe Bend, the Vermillion Cliffs, Lake Powell, or Monument Valley!
We drove from Nevada to Utah and Arizona in one day to visit Antelope Canyon. It was worth the 9 hrs round-trip drive! There are several tour operators, and we choose Ken’s Tours to walk through the narrow slot canyon, where you’ll witness one of the best light shows in the world.
Photo Credit: Mother Nature
If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay in a pristine wilderness, check out Amangiri – it’s over the top amazing! We visited for a site tour and lunch, and were completely mesmerized by the simplicity of the architecture and the natural beauty surrounding the resort.
On a budget? Consider the Courtyard Marriott in Page, Arizona – it’s very nice and centrally located.
WHERE TO STAY
Since we wanted a “casino-free” vacation, we choose two locations that did not have casinos.
Marriott Grand Chateau: A timeshare resort with 38 stories located centrally just off the Las Vegas Strip, with incredible views. Managed by Marriott Vacation Club, many members enjoy the amenities – gym, three bars, and two swimming pools, plus plenty of resort complimentary classes such as – Yoga to Zumba, Trivia and Bingo games, candle making classes, chocolate and wine tastings, and lots of activities for children, teens, families, and adults.
Our spacious vacation rental was fully equipped with a kitchen, washer and dryer, living room, dining room, and large master suite – ideal place to stay with plenty of room for groups of friends, and families. It really feels like your home in Vegas!
Photos courtesy of: Marriott Resorts
The Marriott Vacation Privileges Card offers discounted rates at various dining and activity establishments on The Strip from complimentary dessert at Morton’s Steakhouse, to 15% off various spa and salon services nearby. These discounts vary and can change daily, so check with your concierge when you check in.
Trump International Hotel Las Vegas: You can’t miss the Trump Hotel’s Gold Bar Tower in the Las Vegas skyline. A 64-story luxury hotel that is located in between the new and old section of The Strip.
Photo by Global Adventuress
This hotel is a sophisticated, non-smoking and non-gaming, luxury hotel situated high above The Strip, and across the street of Fashion Mall.
Our suite had a kitchen, living room, spacious bedroom and master bathroom, with fantastic views of the Strip and the surrounding mountains.
Photos courtesy of: Trump Hotels
WHERE TO EAT
We’re adding to this list, but here are some favorite dining spots that top our list!
Bobby’s Burger Palace: If you’re hungry for a burger, you must stop at Bobby’s Burger Palace! Famous for it’s signature-burgers, salads, fries, and milkshakes inspired by Chef Bobby Flay.
We tried a variety of the burgers and some of our favorites – the LA Beef Burger with avocado relish, watercress, cheddar cheese & tomato, and also the Dallas Chicken Burger, spice-crusted, coleslaw, Monterey jack cheese, pickles & BBQ sauce. Milkshakes are delicious! Pistachio, Coconut, Coffee, or Strawberry…and so many more flavors.
Many consider this the best valued and flavorful meal on the Strip! The whole family will enjoy this stop during your Las Vegas family vacation.
Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant: Located in Town Square Las Vegas, the premier non-gaming lifestyle center in the area, Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar is the ideal spot for lunch, dinner or Happy Hour.
Global Adventuress thanks Marriott Grand Chateau and Trump International Hotels for partially hosting our stay. Also, thanks to the Vegas Experience and Stratosphere for hosting our adventures in Las Vegas, and the Mob Museum and Neon Museum for hosting our visit. Finally, we thank Bobby’s Burger Palace and Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant for hosting fantastic meals!