When most people think about Las Vegas, it’s the glimmering casinos that first come to mind. And yet a short drive east or west will reveal a host of interesting, colorful—and yes, kitschy—places that will put a smile on your face while filling you with wonder.
The Art Collection at Palms, Palms Casino Resort
If “Las Vegas” and “blue-chip contemporary art” seem like contradictory phrases, then an off-Strip trip to the Palms will change your thinking. Not content merely to display the collection—which includes pieces by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kaws and Dustin Yellin—the Palms has adroitly incorporated the works into its narrative.
Liberace Museum Collection Tour, Thriller Villa
Perhaps more than anyone in the city’s storied past, Liberace represented Las Vegas’ in-your-face opulence. Now you can view the extravagant entertainer’s jewels, costumes, pianos and other items at the so-called Thriller Villa, a 24,000-square-foot Mediterranean-inspired manse leased by Michael Jackson for the last two years of his life.
The Mob Museum
Housed in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse—a neoclassical building opened in 1933—the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement (a.k.a. The Mob Museum) is dedicated to telling the story of crime in America and the methods used to combat it, all viewed through the lens of Las Vegas. Tip: Grab a cocktail in the basement speakeasy.
The Neon Museum
With more than 200 signs displayed in an outdoor gallery setting, The Neon Museum—home to the world’s largest collection of vintage neon signage—tells the unique stories of these signs’ creation and inspiration, as well as the role played by neon signs in the history of Las Vegas, trends in design, and changes in sign-making technologies.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Operated by the Southern Nevada Conservancy under a formal agreement with the Bureau of Land Management, this is where Las Vegans go to hike and partake of the area’s natural splendors. There’s a visitor center, youth programs, environmental education activities, interpretive hikes led by certified guides, an artist-in-residence program, and even a cliffside featuring 800-year-old petroglyphs.
Originally called Serge’s Showgirl Wigs and located on the east side of town, Serge’s shortened its name and relocated to a more fashionable location about five years ago. Regardless of the style you seek—whether for men, women, children or a costume—Serge’s is where you go for wearable hair (both natural and synthetic).