The state of Nevada offers everything from the most pristine natural wonder to the gaudiest man-made amusement. There are lakes surrounded by lush greenery and desert landscape whose beauty lies in their austerity. There are ghost towns and bowling alleys, as well as museums for neon signs, vintage automobiles, and pinball machines. After all, there’s more to the Silver State than casinos. Here are the 20 must-visit state-wide attractions.
Bellagio Hotel & Casino
Resort, Casino Hotel, Hotel
More than just hotel rooms, gaming tables, and a few celebrity restaurants, the Bellagio offers a number of other attractions. There are the legendary fountains out front, with their music-synchronized performances and in the conservatory and botanical gardens, extravagant flora are displayed, containing tens of thousands of blossoms, a complement to the enormous, flower-like Dale Chihuly chandelier nearby. And, of course, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
has hosted exhibits on everything from Andy Warhol’s art to Faberge eggs to Samurai armor and weapons.
Budget Hotel, Independent Hotel
Less a hotel than a jaw-dropping roadside attraction—though whether your mouth is agape in bemused wonder or sheer terror is up to you—the Clown Motel
fully lives up to its name. Outside, a red-nosed clown grins down from the sign but the Clown Motel really goes to town in the lobby, which is crammed with a vast collection of clowns. Some folks dig the kitsch, others are, well, afraid of clowns.
The Fly Geyser
is a not-quite-natural wonder. Located about two hours north of Reno in the Black Rock Desert, the brightly colored towers spew hot water for a fabulous photo op. The geyser was created when a geothermal power company drilled a test well on the site and didn’t properly cap it. All industrial accidents should be so fortuitous.Note: the Geyser is on private property, but can be seen from the road.
Goldwell Open Air Museum
Art Museum, Natural Feature
"Lady Desert, The Venus of Nevada" by Hugo Heyrman at the Goldwell Open Air Museum | © el-toro / Flickr
“Art where it seemingly shouldn’t be” is the motto of the Goldwell Open Air Museum
. The museum is a set of massive sculptures located in the Mojave Desert outside of Rhyolite, Nevada, including Hugo Heyrman’s Lego-like Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada
and Albert Szukalski’s ghostly Last Supper
figures. Goldwell keeps art alive with events and artist residencies.
The High Roller® at the LINQ
The High Roller
observation wheel is the anchor attraction of the LINQ
, offering a one-of-a-kind view of the Las Vegas Strip. A trip around the wheel lasts 30 minutes and takes riders 500 feet in the air. For an extra special ride, guests can take part in yoga classes, unlimited happy hour, a wine and chocolate tasting, or even get married.
Hoover Dam, Nevada
Over 700 feet high and containing over 4,000,000 cubic yards of concrete, the Hoover Dam is truly a wonder to behold. Once called the Boulder Dam, it was built to control flooding of the Colorado River and provide water and power for surrounding areas. Costing $165 million and taking five years to complete, the Hoover Dam was a new achievement in engineering at the time and still receives seven million visitors a year. The Hoover Dam has been designated a National Historical Landmark and one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders.
International Car Forest of the Last Church
Art Museum, Curiosity Museum, Ruins
The International Car Forest of the Last Church
is a chunk of life-size surrealism in the middle of the Nevada desert. Over 40 cars were painted and then planted in the ground at odd angles, creating the effect of an automotive Stonehenge with an edge of 5 Pointz
. The wide, blue skies and vividly adorned automobiles make for top-notch photo ops.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
consists of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, both of which are open year-round. One of the most popular national parks
, it offers visitors plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking, or just taking in the glorious landscape. Visitors can canoe through Black Canyon, bird-watch for bald eagles in the Overton Arm, or take a dip in Lake Mohave.
Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park spreads across over 14,000 acres and contains four main areas: Sand Harbor, Spooner Backcountry, Cave Rock, and Van Sickle. Sand Harbor and Cave Rock are both spots for swimming, boating, and other water sports. Spooner Backcountry offers miles of trails to hike as well as camping, fishing, picnicking, wintertime skiing, and snowboarding. Van Sickle has a network of trails with rock outcroppings with views of the lake, including the famed Tahoe Rim Trail.