Fun things to do in Las Vegas for a father and a teenage son.
July 29, 2012 9:34 AM   Subscribe

My son and I will be in Las Vegas for two days. This will be our first father/son outing alone together in a long time with no other family around. What are some fun/bonding things to do in sin city? My son is seventeen years old, likes heavy metal (so does his father), video games (so does his father) and japanese animation (unlike his father).
posted by gertzedek to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Do the Sky jump off the Stratoshere.
posted by gt2 at 9:47 AM on July 29, 2012

Have some ramen? Defy gravity? Or enjoy gravity.
posted by zepheria at 9:51 AM on July 29, 2012

heavy metal?
posted by zepheria at 9:52 AM on July 29, 2012

Where are you staying?

When I lived there in high school (2004-2006) my brothers and I loved the downstairs arcade at the MGM Grand. I think it may have closed, but all the other big hotels should have fun arcades too.

The Hard Rock might be fun depending on your/your son's music tastes. And there are bands playing for cheap/free every night, everywhere.

A random fun thing to do is hunt down the secret pizza place in The Cosmopolitan hotel ( It's the cheapest, best pizza on the Strip.

And honestly, you'll have a lot of fun just walking from one end of the Strip to the other. There are plenty of things to see in each hotel, and the touristy free things (the animated Poseidon at Caesar's Palace, the pirate show outside Treasure Island, the volcano outside Mirage, the Bellagio fountains) are more fun if you can catch them at off-peak hours.
posted by wintersonata9 at 9:58 AM on July 29, 2012

At times, let him explore Vegas. On his own. This is a great gift (of trust) , and will be a part of your bonding.
You can share war stories at breakfast.
posted by Kruger5 at 10:52 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Spend a bit of time downtown, too. There's a zip line downtown at the Fremont St Experience if he (or you) likes that sort of thing. There's a new bar downtown that has lots of arcade games, but I'm not sure if they let underaged folks in. (I haven't been there, yet.) There's a pinball museum in Las Vegas, too.

If guns sound like fun, there are several places to go shoot guns, including places that will let you shoot automatic weapons. I've been to one of those places but I don't remember which one any more. There are a couple of them out there, though. The Clark County shooting complex also lets you shoot skeet. (I haven't been there, but I'm actually going to go shoot skeet with friends there next week when I'm in town.)
posted by rmd1023 at 11:00 AM on July 29, 2012

Oh, yeah, if you've got a car, go to Hoover Dam and take one of the dam tours that lets you go down into the dam and walk through some of the access tunnels. Very cool if you like "Modern Marvels" and that sort of thing.

Nerd moment: one of the things I enjoyed about the Hoover Dam visit when I first went there was recognizing design elements of the dam that were used in the original Half Life, which I was playing a lot at the time. "That's no snack bar! There's a marine bunker in there. And I have to open the valve in that intake tower!"

But, uh, maybe that's just me.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:04 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dig This? Description:
“Dig This” is a construction theme park developed by New Zealand-born Ed Mumm, who stumbled upon the idea while using a rented excavator to build his home in Steamboat Springs, Colo. After a couple of days of digging, he realized that operating machinery was a blast.
To me, that sounds awesome. I also loved Hoover Dam, including those access tunnels.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:36 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

nthing the freemont street experience downtown...theres a giant arched video screen running down several blocks over the street (the zipline runs under it!) and they do huge rock (Queen, Kiss, Van Halen etc) video presentations on it...right after sunset and every few sure theres a's really groovy. also down there is the neon museum...and it's all over the place, free...signs everywhere.

the arcade at excalibur is pretty sweet...

also! Tell them to start playing Fallout:New Vegas IMMEDIATELY (if they haven't already) It's set in an alternate-reality Las Vegas after a nuclear war (it is an AWESOME game!), but otherwise stays pretty close to the geography of the area, from the canyons to the Hoover dam. I played it right before my last trip there, and it made for a really fun, if bizarre, experience:
" this the hotel we're staying at?"
"oh's just completely full of drug-addled killer canibals"

"oooohhh...there's that dry lakebed i killed all those giant mutant scorpions in..."

"we should be careful in this casino...their robot security system is VICIOUS"
and etc...
posted by sexyrobot at 12:43 PM on July 29, 2012

The Pinball Hall of Fame/Pinball Museum is outstanding. It's to the east of the strip on East Tropicana-- you'll need to cab it from the strip if you have no car. A huge room of pinball and a good number of classic arcade games as well. They have classic mechanical games as well as modern electric/electronic games. Everything's on quarters, and most games are 25 cents, with a few 50s here and there. Don't let the name mislead you-- it's not a museum, it's an astonishing game-room.

It's run by the area hobbyists, many of whom, you can imagine, are employed in the gaming-machine repair industry that must be pretty large in Vegas.

Also, just to the west of and across the street from the Pinball Hall of Fame is an good pizza place, Metro Pizza. Pinball Museum has snacks and soft drinks, but nothing you'd want to call a meal if you can help it.

A friend tells me that she heard they have opened a new Pinball hall (related or not related to the Pinball Hall of Fame) in the Riviera. I heard this yesterday and haven't checked it out, so call it a rumor. Most of the resort hotel malls have arcades.

Fremont also has a large arcade, but it's busy as heck on a weekend-- I've never had the chance to get in. Fremont itself is a don't-miss spectacle, though.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:58 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

also east of the strip is the nuclear testing museum...
posted by sexyrobot at 2:06 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Atomic Testing Museum is very good and very interesting.

Too bad the Liberace museum closed, because it was great.

Luv-it Frozen Custard is within walking distance of the Stratosphere and it's delicious.

Have fun!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:05 PM on July 29, 2012

Seconding the Pinball Hall of Fame. For younger gamers, this place is a true museum of early pinball machines and video games. For older gamers, it is slice of your childhood preserved.
posted by Flood at 4:21 PM on July 29, 2012

Indoor kart racing at Pole Position Raceway it's near the Palms so you'll need a cab or shuttle. My son loves the Gearworks arcade on the strip next to the MGM Grand too.
posted by dorkydancer at 5:17 PM on July 29, 2012

To state the obvious: Have you checked to see what bands are playing while you're there?
posted by troywestfield at 6:16 AM on July 30, 2012

To follow up on my own earlier answer, the Clark County Shooting Park is great - staff are very friendly and incredibly helpful for newbies, and I was able to rent a shotgun with a driver's license and buy a sticker good for a round of skeet or trap. They also sell the ammo as well as cheap foam earplugs. The range staff is very helpful, and each of the shooting areas is set up for either skeet (clay pigeons go side to side) or trap (clay pigeons go away from you). A round is 25 shots, 5 from each of the 5 stations at the shooting line. My main tactical error was spending several hours outside in the midday sun in the summer. Happily, the building with the rental office is air conditioned and the snack bar sells cold gatorade. You definitely need a car to get there - it's way the hell out of town on the edge of the moutains surrounding LV.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:35 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's my follow-up: We ended up having a short stay (2.5 days only) but we made the best of it and had a great time in Las Vegas. I marked the stuff we did as best responses, though there were other suggestions that sounded really great too. Here's some stuff we did that are worth mentioning:

- The Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
- The New York New York roller coaster
- The Tournament of Kings, a "medieval times" like show at the Excalibur
- The Anime Ramen place was fun and the food was great
- The Pinball hall of fame left us speechless
- Shooting an AK-47 at the Gun Shop
- Live music on Freemont street at night - decent bands playing classic rock and roll and 80's trashy tunes, lots of fun
- And of course walking up and down the strip and Fremont street, looking at things - that consumed most of the time and was the best part. I had my pedometer with me, and according to it we walked about 12-15 miles a day

Thanks for the suggestions, we had a great time in Vegas.
posted by gertzedek at 11:35 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Reboot my container garden from a Fusarium wilt.   |   Surface geography Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.