Solo day in or around Las Vegas
September 18, 2018 8:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be in Las Vegas for a week in October. The first three days will be climbing at Red Rock Canyon, the last three days will be a conference. The middle day I'll be by myself and I'm trying to decide what to do! Not as interested in the typical Vegas strip type stuff, and also willing to do a longer day trip...

What to do in Vegas for a solo day?

-We'll have a rental car for the first three days and I can keep it for that additional day if it makes sense.
-I think I'll have ample opportunity to check out the strip in the evening on the other days I'll be in town but I guess it could be fun to wander around by myself during the day, maybe?
-I'm not interesting in gambling.
-I am tempted to take a day trip to Zion, it seems just within the realm of possible to do in a day if I don't mind leaving early. I'll have hiking gear with me, and I'm an experienced hiker (but I have limited experience in the Southwest and will be hiking solo).
-Are there any other parks or wilderness areas closer by I should think about visiting instead of Zion? I have seen the suggestions for Valley of Fire in previous questions-- I'm not sure it appeals to me as much given that I'll be spending the previous three days in a similar landscape (Red Rock Canyon) but I'm open to being dissuaded from that opinion. Mojave National Preserve also seems like an option. I've been to Death Valley.
-I'm also tempted to just have a chill day in or around Vegas-- maybe find a pool to lay by with a book or a low-key (and not super pricey) spa type thing. Any suggestions in that vein? Or maybe hot springs or outdoor swimming areas?
-Any other crazy ideas are welcome-- I'm a lady, I like the outdoors, interesting food, desert landscapes and interesting desert towns, thrift stores and flea markets, people watching.
posted by geegollygosh to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorite things I did in Vegas in the past few years was to visit the James Turrell's art installation Akhob at the Louis Vuitton store. It's an amazing experience as our hosts took us through the art in the store and then to a private elevator up to the installation. Call (702) 730-3150 and ask for a reservation time which I believe is in 30 minute blocks and you can have up to 4 people in your group. Best of all it's free.
posted by ShakeyJake at 9:15 AM on September 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

If you go see Akhob, you'll be right next door to the Waldorf Astoria (formerly Mandarin Oriental) - if you're feeling indulgent you could visit their tea lounge.

For a half-day trip, consider the China Ranch date farm in Tecopa, where there's a 4 mile round trip hike to a slot canyon and hot springs nearby. You can have lunch and check out a small museum in nearby Shoshone.
posted by zepheria at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know if these count as typical strip stuff, but they're stuff I do as a nondrinking nongambler: The Bellagio Arboretum is free and very lovely and changed out four times a year. The Cosmopolitan nearby has cigarette machines repurposed to sell wee $5 arts, and we bought a bunch during our wedding stay. The Mandalay Bay has a fancy aquarium with sharks. Ceasar's Palace has aquariums scattered throughout their shopping area. The Venetian has a fancy wax museum.

Mount Charleston has hikes much different in character than Red Rock and is nearby.

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum has some really intricate taxidermy, I was super impressed. There's a Spring's Preserve too in the middle of the city.

Red Rock Climbing Center is a nice little climbing gym.

You could operate heavy machinery for fun.
posted by foxfirefey at 10:56 AM on September 18, 2018

Zion is a pretty long trip for a day trip, especially if you want to have a good long hike that'll leave you tired. I'd personally suggest Valley of Fire for a day trip, even if you just did Red Rock. There's also Red Cliffs Conservation Area and Quail Creek State Park near St. George.

The Neon Museum is popular as something cool and different than what you find at most museums.

Hoover Dam has a couple options for what to do there.

If you like aquariums, the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is worth considering.
posted by Candleman at 11:09 AM on September 18, 2018

Have been to both Valley of Fire *and* Red Rock, and can promise that it's worth it to do both!
posted by mccxxiii at 11:34 AM on September 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Valley of Fire is very different from Red Rock. Don’t dismiss it.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:55 AM on September 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Zappos Tour is actually pretty interesting, once you get past the boring corporate presentation. 90+ minutes.
posted by meowzilla at 12:01 PM on September 18, 2018

I always recommend Ash Meadows as a fun day trip. Especially if it's bird migration season it can be really cool.

Zion is a long haul for a single day trip.
posted by BenevolentActor at 12:53 PM on September 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

For flea markets, I recommend the Swap Meet. Very interesting vendors. Some booths selling weird medical cures, others selling antiques (or junk). Lots of used bookstores in the area as well. And great people watching.

As for a relaxing pool experience, the new hotels on the Strip do not offer that. (Dress codes, security guards, loud music, etc.) If you want to find a pool, pick a shabbier hotel either on the Strip or in downtown. The Riviera used to have a laid-back one, but the Riviera is no more.

A stop by Frankie's Tiki Room (off the Strip, not a tourist place, open 24 hours) is my favorite thing to do, night or day. Also great people watching.
posted by Cwell at 1:32 PM on September 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Valley of Fire State Park.

Location: Exit 75 from northbound I 15 (coming from Las Vegas).
posted by cool breeze at 1:41 PM on September 18, 2018

If you're into that kind of thing, there's the Liberace Museum.
posted by achrise at 1:48 PM on September 18, 2018

How about the Pinball Hall of Fame?
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:53 PM on September 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

I would go to Zion. I have done the round-trip from Vegas to Zion in one day a few times, and it is a long day, but Zion is incredible and totally worth it.
posted by mjcon at 4:27 PM on September 18, 2018

As Cwell mentioned, Fantastik Indoor Swapmeet is great, with some decent booths, but also has a fair amount of mall ninja. Definitely worth the price, though.

I prefer Broadacres, though. It's bigger and the food is better, but serves a different market. But the prices are usually better than thrift shops - good quality jeans for $5.

Both are only open Fri, Sat, Sun, though, which makes planning a bit tougher.
posted by BenevolentActor at 5:56 PM on September 18, 2018

Seven Magic Mountains is a pretty neat art installation outside of Vegas. 20 minutes from downtown, and worth it, imho.

The Liberace Garage is...not exactly what you think it is. The pictures from that link are literally everything that is in the "garage." It is inside/a part of the Hollywood Cars Museum, which (a) no cab driver we asked knew where to find, (b) is located in an industrial park just off the strip, (c) has some pretty neat tv/movie cars, and (d) is kinda bizzaro, with strange mannequins in and about the vehicles, and an eclectic collection of real/fake collectible cars -- and as we arrived, they gave us a free soda, and free sunglasses like you would get in a birthday party bag. We were the only ones in there, but it was definitely memorable, in a kitchy kinda way. Look for a Groupon ticket to save a few bucks if you do go.
posted by liquado at 7:33 PM on September 18, 2018

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