Photograph by David Butow/Corbis
Read Caption

The Fountain Show at the Bellagio coordinates music with jets of water and 4,500 colored lights.

Photograph by David Butow/Corbis

Las Vegas Must-Dos

Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Las Vegas—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.

The Strip

Cruise neon-lit Las Vegas Boulevard at night, starting from the pyramidal Luxor casino-hotel, south of Tropicana Avenue, to the landmark Stratosphere Tower, north of Sahara Avenue. Tip: Rent a convertible or take The Deuce double-decker public bus.

Atomic Testing Museum

“Ground Zero has never been safer or more stimulating.”—Mike Prevatt, arts and entertainment editor, Las Vegas CityLife. Enter by the replica Nevada Test Site guard station; view mushroom-cloud footage in an underground bunker theater. Fee. 755 E. Flamingo Road; tel. +1 702 794 5161.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden

“Forget the dancing fountains. Waltz past the Chihuly glass sculptures. Luxuriant, over-the-top floral display proves nature trumps all man-made grandiosity.”—Andrew Dean Nystrom, senior editor/producer, Travel, Los Angeles Times ( Seasonal displays. 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard S.; tel. +1 702 693 7111.

Downtown Arts District

“Vegas does indeed have culture—over 20 blocks worth, in fact."—Mike Prevatt. Tip: First Fridays are a monthly block party with live performances and gallery openings at Commerce Street Studios and the Arts Factory among others. tel. +1 702 384 0092.

Fremont Street Experience

“This amazing Glitter Gulch light and sound show plays the top of every hour from dusk to midnight.”—Rick Garman, author, Moon Handbooks’ Las Vegas. Giant canopy stretches over Fremont Street, between Main Street and Fourth Street. tel. +1 702 892 7575.

Gamblers Book Shop

“Make a pilgrimage downtown to chat with owner and expert Howard Schwartz about local history while perusing the world's greatest collection of gambling literature, including how-tos.”—Jonathan Grotenstein, author, All In: The (Almost) True Story of the World Series of Poker. Closed Sunday. 630 S. 11th Street; tel. +1 702 382 7555.

Jubilee! Backstage Tour

“The show has been around for a quarter-century, and now you’ll know why.”—Thom Wise. Peek behind the curtains and touch showgirl costumes dripping with sequins and rhinestones. Bally’s, 3645 Las Vegas Boulevard S.; tel. +1 702 739 4111; fee.

The Roller Coaster

“With gravity-defying, Strip-side thrills, who needs lunch?”—Mike Prevatt. Heartline twist-and-dive roller coaster simulates a jet fighter’s barrel roll. Warning: It’s a jarring ride. 3790 Las Vegas Boulevard S.; tel. +1 702 740 6969; fee.

Shark Reef

Walk-through, glass-enclosed educational aquarium harbors endangered green sea turtles and rare golden crocodiles. Predator-based exhibits and petting pool mesmerize children. Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Boulevard S.; tel. +1 702 632 4555; fee.

Springs Preserve

“Overwhelmed by Vegas? Get back to nature in this educational and entertaining oasis.”—Rick Garman. Desert living center; Las Vegas history and culture museum; gardens; trails. Tip: Don't visit around midday. 333 S. Valley View Boulevard; tel. +1 702 822 7700; fee.