Don't Drink, Don't Smoke. What Do I Do?
May 22, 2009 5:53 PM   Subscribe

So, it looks like I'm going to Vegas next week for three days. Uh... I don't like strip clubs. I don't gamble. I don't drink much at all. Is there much I can do besides stare at the hotel walls? Any and all suggestions welcome. Nightmare Mode: I HAVE NO CAR.
posted by tcv to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (28 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have money?

There are plenty of decent restaurants, lots of shopping and taxis, which are the best way to get around anyway.
posted by mullacc at 6:00 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: There is so much to do in Vegas, as long as you don't mind everything being tinged with a bit of cheesiness. Any of those newer hotels on the strip will have crazy shopping, and most of them have museums. I think I recall the Venetian having a museum, and perhaps Mandalay Bay having some sort of aquarium. And do you like to eat? Because the food is insane.

This may not be a very specific answer, but I just want you to know that, yes, there is a TON of stuff to do in Vegas. Even just looking at the interiors of the hotels could take up an entire day. You should just go to the web sites of the different hotels and see all that is there. I would recommend the Bellagio, in addition to the other two I mentioned. Oh, and The Aladdin for shopping.

And you won't need a car to get from each of these hotels to the other. They are very close, and I believe they even have pedestrian walkways connecting many of the hotels on the strip.
posted by waywardgirl at 6:02 PM on May 22, 2009

What sort of things do you like to do? When I've gone to Vegas I've spent a lot of my time wandering up and down the Strip (mostly on foot) just people-watching and admiring the glitz and absurdity of it all. There are many, many shows--theatre, dance, music, comedy--and places where you can get tickets for them at half price. Cirque de Soleil is generally pretty spectacular, if a touch pricey. As others have pointed out, there are also more restaurants and shops than you can shake a stick at. And I think a lot of places offer guided tours to nearby sites of interest. A lot depends on your budget.

Basically, if you can give a little more guidance on what it is you like, I'm sure there are many Mefites (and online guides to Vegas) that can tell you where to find it.
posted by fermion at 6:06 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: You can go see all of the free spectacles (lions at MGM, pirate show at the pirate one, fountain show at Bellagio, volcano at Mirage, acrobats at Circus Circus, etc). There are amusement park rides at NY NY and Stratosphere, there's a Star Trek experience if you like that sort of thing, lots of game arcades... Plus movie theaters and hotel pools and spas and cable tv. Plus comedy shows, live music, Circque du Soleil...
posted by xo at 6:09 PM on May 22, 2009

"Star Trek: The Experience" at the Hilton closed last September for remodeling, and was supposed to reopen on May 8. (But I can't confirm that it really happened.) When it was open before it was pretty cool.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:12 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer:
Personally, I enjoy sneaking into trade shows and conferences at hotels and seeing what I can learn.
Shooting an uzi was pretty awesome too.
If you're interested in obscure retro lounge music, the album selection at the local thrift stores can be fantastic.

Other attractions:
The Pinball Museum Hall of Fame
The Atomic Testing Museum
posted by aquafortis at 6:13 PM on May 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Judging just from my one visit to Las Vegas — I have similar (lack of) proclivities to yours, apparently — you can easily spend a day or two just wandering around the city and observing the strange, strange things that gambling money will produce. The strip is very walkable, and iirc taxi service is plentiful.
posted by hattifattener at 6:14 PM on May 22, 2009

I agree with fermion. If you enjoy people-watching at all, you can't beat a casino town. Although I was born and raised in Nevada, I've never been to Vegas, but...I used to get all the entertainment bang for my buck ($zero) I wanted in Tahoe, just sitting outside the casinos and watching the parade. It's quite a show, human nature at its finest.
posted by bricoleur at 6:16 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sadly, the Guggenheim at the Venetian closed. They have a Madame Tussauds though.
posted by ALongDecember at 6:31 PM on May 22, 2009

Liberace Museum
posted by candyland at 6:55 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are day trips to the Grand Canyon by bus and by air.

The Amazing Jonathon does a really good show - I liked it a lot.

I've walked the strip a fair amount at lots of times of day. I can't stand the people who hand out the porn cards, but other than that it's an interesting exercise in people watching. The sunsets are nice to watch.
posted by plinth at 7:00 PM on May 22, 2009

I never gamble. I love Vegas. Take cabs. Watch people. Sit in the sportsbook area (don't use your phone).
posted by Ironmouth at 7:00 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: This place goes in and out of business, but if it is running, it's pretty good.
(big fan, funny suit--you're a BIRD!)

Flyaway Indoor Skydiving
(877) 545-8093
200 Convention Center Dr Ste A
Las Vegas, NV 89109
posted by hexatron at 7:11 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: I just wanted to chime in as a person who doesn't drink, smoke, gamble or go to strip clubs--I love Las Vegas. So these suggestions aren't just "well, if you absolutely must, you can X, Y or Z." First of all, it's a chance to get away from whatever (even if it's just dirty dishes in my home sink). I like relaxing in random hotel rooms and watching some other city's local news. I like taking long, leisurely baths/showers in fancy new bathrooms. I like staring out giant windows at the desert (or the people below).

I like eating--there are amazing restaurants in Vegas (do not miss the patisserie in Paris). I love shopping/window shopping, and there are tons of high-end stores with shopkeeps who don't mind the hoi polloi nosing around. I like curling up in said hotel room with a room service hot fudge sundae and watching a free cable movie. I hear the pools are great, but I'm not much of a pool person.

At night, the views from the top floors of hotels are something else. I do like dancing, and the nightclubs provide a good beat and absolutely no pretension (which isn't always a good thing). I love walking through the strip hotels and marveling at the lavishness of design and the attention to detail. I love the check-in floor at the Bellagio, with it's gorgeous Dale Chihuly colored glass sculptures and chocolate fountain (also, the Sunday Bellagio brunch is not to be missed, either). I love walking, and enjoy the walk from one end of the strip to another (and with enough side trips into malls and restaurants, that can take the better part of a day, leaving me beat and taking a cab back to my hotel). And then in the evening, after a good nap, there are concerts (not just the standing engagements; check Ticketmaster to see if anyone's going to be making a tour stop) and theater!

Really, I feel less pressure that the drinking/smoking/risk-taking element has to be present in Vegas than I do on some nights out with friends here in my own city. Have a great time!
posted by tyrantkitty at 7:12 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I went with friends and none of us are big gamblers. We just walked from hotel complex to hotel complex on the strip over several days gawking at the different styles and interiors. It was especially fun at the high-concept places like Excalibur, New York New York, Luxor, Paris, and Caesar's Palace. I ended up having an absolute blast and lots of ironic kitschy laughs over "What the shit is that! And it has slot machines in it!"

Also possible: hotel pool, spa services (massages, etc.), fancy brunches.
posted by cadge at 7:12 PM on May 22, 2009

I don't gamble, rarely drink much and have little interest in strip clubs. I do love good food though, so I tend to spend my Vegas time eating delicious food at the many great restaurants that are on the strip. Also, go from casino to casino watching the free shows - I love the Bellagio fountains in particular, and there's plenty of cheeseball spectacles to be seen at each hotel. If you're into shows then lots to choose from there too. Cirque Du Soleil etc. Without a car you can still take a tour bus to the Hoover Dam (my fave), or a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon.
posted by Joh at 7:12 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: Take the Zappos tour! or just ask on twitter. It really sounds like a lot of fun. They pick you up from your hotel too.
posted by sammyo at 7:16 PM on May 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

I do drink and gamble and even have had a lap dance or three. I go to Vegas once a year and spend more time with my wife and friends not doing any of the above. First, the pool at most hotels is quite the people watching site. You will see some amazing outfits, people preening for whom I do not know, etc. SOme of the best snark I have heard came from sitting around the pool and people watching. Shopping is great. Sports book is fun too. I like watching 10 games at once and the third race from Santa Anita. Great shows. Not sure if they are still there, but Penn and Teller was terrific. Walking the strip at night is fun too. Great eats! You can have a great surrealistic time if you let it happen to you. Relax!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:17 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: I'm also not much of a gambler, and I've greatly enjoyed going to Vegas just to look around at the buildings and some of the shops and people watch. As people are saying, many of the casinos are just fun to walk through - I've always really liked the NY NY, which has a casino floor done up as if they had a bunch of games set up in Central Park at night (guess who the muggers are!), with surrounding shopping areas meant to look like streets in the village. Up on the second level is a carnival midway/arcade area and some restaurants, including a Nathan's with highly inflated prices. The Bellagio also has a pretty cool interior - the registration lobby has a giant skylight by glass artist Chihuly that's pretty amazing. Just past the lobby is the conservatory, which is basically a garden with fountains and displays that change according to the season. For me, the fountains in there are mind-blowing in a techno-wonky way - they'll shoot a jet of water that arcs over a pathway, forming an arch over your head, and the water stream will maintain laminar flow throughout (i.e. it doesn't break up into little drops - it stays one constant 1" wide stream of water for the whole 10' or so of its path through the air).

There's also a couple hotels with roller coasters - NY NY's is pretty good, with the ticket office/boarding area located up in the midway zone on the upper level. I think the Sahara's also got one, but the real kicker is the Stratosphere, with a bunch of rides at the top of its tower, which is the 2nd highest observation tower in the western hemisphere. Most of the rides intend to play on your fear of heights somehow. Of course, this is Vegas, so you'll have to pay for everything - there's one charge just to go to the top of the tower, and another one for each separate ride.
posted by LionIndex at 8:30 PM on May 22, 2009

Whoa. Asking if there's anything to do in Vegas!

TONS of great shows: comedy, magic, music, all around. IMAX theater at the Luxor. Antique cars, museums, art on the walls at the Bellagio, the Bellaggio fountain, the MGM lion habitat, arcades and amusement park attractions at the Excalibur, Stratosphere, New York New York, and many other places. Higher priced shows include Blue Man Group (must see!), Cirque du Soleil, Lance Burton, Penn and Teller at the Rio (you'll need a cab ride from the Strip). A little lower priced is Mac King's comedy and magic show at Harrah's.

Get a visitor's guide when you get there, and start walking the strip. No car needed, just comfortable shoes and sunscreen. In fact, if you are staying on the strip, a car is burden. I don't do strip clubs or gambling either, but I've been to Vegas several times and always run out of time before I run out of things to do.
posted by The Deej at 8:40 PM on May 22, 2009

There is a Gem and Mineral shop near/behind the Sahara that has some displays of mega large quartz crystals and stuff carved from stone,kill a couple of hours.
posted by hortense at 8:42 PM on May 22, 2009

Treasure Island's pirate show has been gone for a long time.
posted by spasm at 8:43 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: The shopping area at the Venetian is astounding. It's about three floors up, but it has a canal, and there are gondolas in it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:59 PM on May 22, 2009

You've got shows at night, shopping during the day, and eating in between. The clubs are pretty great for dancing and schmoozing even if you don't drink, though they can be hard to get into sometimes. Vegas is also great for people watching at any hour of the day. Not having a car is fine since taxis are plentiful and easy to get from any hotel. Many hotels are worth visiting on their own merits as many have spectacular architecture (in a tacky-cool vegas way) and other attractions like museums, zoos, or aquariums.

Vegas is not my favorite city but it is certainly unique and worth a visit even if you aren't a gambling, smoking, strip club patron.
posted by chairface at 11:37 PM on May 22, 2009

I went to Vegas when I was 15 and was bored silly. The only high point was the hotel we were in that had a fairground/circus thing on the top floor. Is that still there?
posted by divabat at 11:50 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: Someone told me that there's a lot of "escorts" in Vegas.
What's more, they leave literal calling cards all over the place,
like, near phones, at bus shelters, that sort of thing.
They're like, glossy, with pictures of them.

You should spend your days collecting as many of them as
they can, then creating a blogspot and posting them all.
Then let me know about it so I can gaze on them with prurient interest.
posted by Sully at 12:26 AM on May 23, 2009

For a while Vegas was trying to market itself as a good place for families to take vacation, and every large casino has big areas of entertainment intended to keep kids busy while their parents gamble. A lot of them feature the kinds of games you'd see at a Chuckie Cheese, but there are other attractions as well.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:52 PM on May 23, 2009

Pool crashing
posted by metacort at 2:07 PM on May 23, 2009

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