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Last Updated on November 11, 2021

8 Ways To Enjoy Las Vegas Without Gambling

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8 Ways To Enjoy Las Vegas Without Gambling

Las Vegas, also called “Sin City,” is known as a gambling mecca.  But what if you don’t gamble?  If you find yourself “stuck” in Las Vegas (perhaps attending a conference or workshop) here are eight categories of things to see and do in the Las Vegas area that have nothing to do with gambling.

1. Sightseeing

Even if you’re on Las Vegas’ famous “Strip” (Las Vegas Blvd.) you can partake in some amazing sights that doesn’t require any type of gambling.  Although the hotel-resorts have largely “dethemed” their properties, there are still some really interesting design and architectural elements.  You can “travel” from Egypt (Luxor) to New York City (NYNY), to Paris (Paris, LV), to Venice (Venetian) all within a few blocks.

More interested in “real” geography and environments? The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is less than 20 miles from the Strip, on the northwest edge of the city.  There are more than 30 miles of hiking trails and a 13-mile scenic drive, plus horseback riding, rock climbing, biking, and picnic areas.  There is also a visitor center with exhibit rooms and a book store.

Mount Charleston, otherwise known as the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, is about 35 miles west of the city.  It’s a particularly popular destination in the hot summer months, with cool mountain breezes and more moderate temperatures.

About an hour’s drive northeast of town is the Valley of Fire State Park.  It is Nevada’s oldest (and largest) state park, dedicated in 1935.  Hiking, picnicking, and camping are available.  While summer daily high temperatures can be extreme (100+ degree F days are common, and hitting the 120 degree F mark is not unheard of) and winter daily temperatures can fluctuate between 75 degrees F and freezing, fall and spring months are generally mild and pleasant.

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Finally, don’t forget to check out the Hoover Dam, which is a short drive southeast of Las Vegas.

2. Pampering Yourself

As you might expect from large resorts, there are a wide variety of spa-like services available.  Women can get the usual facials, manicures, and pedicures.  Men and women can also get massages, haircuts and styling services.  All spas are open to the general public so you’re not limited to going to the hotel you are staying at.

Men, consider trying a barber straight-razor shave along with a hair cut.  This is a particular interest of mine and something that actually changed my grooming life to such a degree that I became a “guru” at it.  Be sure to ask for the most experienced shaver on staff for the best possible results.  Some specific barbers to consider include those at Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, Mandalay Place, Mirage, Riviera, and Venetian (all on The Strip), and the El Cortez near downtown.

3. Freebies

Although the prices for goods and services on the Las Vegas Strip can cause “sticker shock,” there are a number of free things to experience.  Perhaps the most famous are the fountains in front of the Bellagio resort.  Every 15-30 minutes between 3:00 p.m. and midnight (depending on time, day, and weather conditions), “dancing fountains” choreographed with music shoot water to heights of up to 24 stories.

Similarly, the volcano in front of the Mirage hotel erupts nightly from dusk to midnight every hour on the hour, weather permitting.

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Daily, every hour on the hour starting at 11 a.m. the Fall of Atlantis is reenacted by 9-foot-tall  animatronic statues (and a 20 foot dragon) at the Forum shopping area of Caesar’s Palace

Lots of other “freebies” come and go in Las Vegas, so be sure to check THIS listing.

4. Non-Gambling Games

Gambling are not the only gaming opportunities available in Las Vegas; you can play other games too, usually with a “twist!”  “Adventuredome” at Circus Circus boasts family-oriented rides (roller coaster and motion-control), miniature golf, arcade, and midway games.  Games that might be considered a little less ordinary include a KISS-themed mini golf course, a Pinball Hall of Fame with over 150 vintage pinball machines, all playable and inexpensive ($0.25 to $0.50), and a number of adult-oriented thrill rides atop the Stratosphere Tower.

5. Fulfilling A Fantasy

You might just be able to satisfy a life-long fantasy in Las Vegas. Due to the sheer number and variety of visitors to the area, it is possible support some unusual businesses that cater to some very distinct clientele!

Ever want to drive an incredibly expensive sports car?  There are several businesses in Las Vegas that can make that dream come true.  You can even “upgrade” that experience by driving a NASCAR-style stock car.

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How about getting to play with heavy construction machinary?  You can spend an afternoon running a bulldozer or excavator digging trenches, stacking one-ton tires, or playing “bucket basketball.”

If that’s still not enough action for you, there are several gun ranges in Las Vegas where you can rent and fire vintage and automatic weapons (under supervision).

One fantasy you can cannot fulfill in Las Vegas (legally) involves prostitution.  Despite what the mass media and street corner barkers may lead you to believe, prostitution is very much illegal in the Las Vegas area.  There are legal brothels in Nevada but the closest ones to Las Vegas are in Pahrump, about an hour’s drive to the west.

6. Museums And Exhibits

Las Vegas has a fair share of museums, botanical gardens, and zoological exhibits.  A couple that stand out from the crowd include the Neon Museum and the Mob Museum.  Both celebrate Las Vegas from very distinct points of view.  The Neon Museum displays much of the signage from earlier days and older technologies.  The Mob Museum displays artifacts from the days of organized crime running the city.

Some other venues worth looking into include the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, the National Atomic Testing Museum, and the Auto Collection at the Quad hotel.  Other collections and exhibits come and go, so be sure to check what is currently showing.

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7. Dining

Las Vegas’ claim to culinary fame used to be cheap buffet food.  No more.  Some of the world’s finest chefs maintain restaurants in the city and dining experiences can be truly extraordinary.  Do yourself a favor by indulging in items you may never be able to experience otherwise, such as the finest aged steaks, the freshest seafood, and the most indulgent desserts.  A quick internet search will probably show you several options for whatever food you are interested in.

But don’t fret buffet lovers, there’s still a variety of buffets in Las Vegas, though the good ones have relative prices to match their variety and quality.

8. Shows

Virtually every major Hotel/Resort/Casino in Las Vegas offers some kind of production or musical entertainment.  Everything from international headliners, magic shows and tribute” bands can be found at almost any given time.  Check any of the Las Vegas tourism sites (like THIS one) to see what will be playing during a particular time frame.

A safe bet for enjoying a “house production show” may be one of the Cirque du Soleil shows that play in the city.  Mystere is often recommended as a gateway into this type of show.   A more “Vegas” type of production show would include Bally’s Jubilee! which is adult oriented (and some might consider risque’).

A Bonus Tip – The Las Vegas Experience

Do you avoid gambing because you don’t understand the games?  Many of the casinos in Las Vegas offer “classes” on popular table games, particularly Blackjack and Craps.  Attending these classes may give you the confidence you need to try a game of luck.  Just be sure to never risk more money than you can afford to lose and keep in mind the odds are always in the casino’s favor.

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Featured photo credit: Stephen Leonardi via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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