(Photo Credit: Flickr, Daniel Ramirez)
Long gone is the notion that Las Vegas can be enjoyed only behind the velvet rope or in front of stacks of chips at a high-stakes table. Nightlife extends far beyond the big properties on the four miles of The Strip -- you just have to know what you're looking for amid the glittering lights and slot machine chimes.
From art walks to rollercoaster rides, the city's after-hours offerings are as diverse as the international crowds coming to visit. Here are eight things you can do after 8 p.m. in Vegas if clubs and casinos aren't your cup of Cristal.
- Evening photo tours: Several local companies offer up expert photography guides to help make your vacation snaps really pop. The city's color palette couldn't be brighter, and set upon a black sky backdrop, the pictures you take will be around a lot longer than your video poker winnings. On these tours, guides bring visitors to top spots, plus those more off the beaten path, while offering some tips to get professional-quality images. Be sure to tag Travelzoo on Instagram if you post any great shots!
- Neon Museum: In arguably the world's most glamorous graveyard, this outdoor museum is where the city's iconic signs get a second life, beckoning back to the days of old Vegas. Take those newly acquired photo shooting skills to an evening visit. Some locals will say the best time to visit is at night, offering a reprieve from the morning's strong sunlight. Guided nighttime tours can be booked online in advance (there are a limited number of tickets for each tour, so book early). Adults are $25 per person.
- 18b Las Vegas Art District: Just a quick stroll from downtown's Fremont Street, guests will find an 18-block area full of galleries, unique shops and locally owned eateries catering to a late-night crowd. Check your travel dates: on the first Friday of the month, the district hosts a gallery night open to the public, bringing thousands of people downtown for performances, special menus and more.
- Bellagio Fountains: Try a nightcap of a different sort. Before bed, have one last adventure and make your final stop a visit to the iconic display. The hallmark of any traditional Vegas trip is a visit to the world-famous fountains, which put on a show set to a classic score every 15 minutes from 7 p.m. until midnight. People visiting in early winter are treated to a holiday-themed show, minus the snow. Travelzoo Tip: One of the cheapest times to visit Vegas is between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Pinball Hall of Fame: These games don't have a payout, other than in nostalgia. Open until midnight on the weekends and 11 p.m. during the week, this "museum" is really an arcade with dozens and dozens of games, some dating back to the '50s. Admission at the spot (1.5 miles from The Strip) is free, and game prices range from $.25 to $.75.
- Sports of all sorts: Trade time spent at the sportsbook for getting into the game (or seeing one) yourself. The Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls have a season that runs January to early fall (bouts are often held in evenings), rodeos come to town frequently, and UNLV hosts Division I college games (hoops being the most popular) nearly year round. Locals love the bowling lanes off Strip at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa; over the weekends the bowling never stops with lanes open 24 hours a day.
- Helicopter and nature tours: Take to the skies or get an on-the-ground closer look at the surrounding natural wonders, both tour options available during an urban stay. Some local tour companies have night helicopter flights, soaring above The Strip, shrinking the sights down and giving you some air. Also available are trips to the Grand Canyon, which is an all-day adventure into the evening, including visits to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam.
- High Roller observation wheel: It's not enough that at 550 feet tall, the High Roller is the tallest of its kind in the world; at night the observation wheel illuminates with the colors of the rainbow while offering 360-degree views of the valley beneath it. The ride is based at the LINQ, a newer open-air entertainment district from Caesars Entertainment. Tickets, which can be bought online, are $34.95 at night and are good for visits from 7 p.m. 'til close.
Hilary Solan is an editor at Travelzoo and based in Chicago. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.