Shimmering marquees, illuminated fountains, erupting volcanoes, sky-high rollercoasters, Elvis impersonators, wedding chapels next to slot machines, and Carrot Top—for all its attention-grabbing eccentricities, Las Vegas still serves up some surprises behind its flashy façade.

Venture beyond the gaudy glitz of the Strip, for example, and you’ll realize you’re in the heart of some of the most beautiful desert landscapes in the American southwest.

There’s plenty of adventure to be had in Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world, whether your style is more take-off-in-a-helicopter or get-down-at-the-club. Here are a few suggestions from Expedia Local Experts who know Sin City best.

Driving experiences

All that open space beyond the Strip makes Vegas the perfect location for race tracks. Get behind the wheel of a high-performance race car and hit speeds of up to 125 mph on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, or climb into the driver’s seat of a Ferrari or a Lamborghini to cruise through the beautiful Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in inimitable speedster style.


Cirque du Soleil

You may have been to the circus, and you may have been to the theater, but you’ve never been to anything like Cirque du Soleil. Vegas is home to seven different Cirque shows, each with its own thematic flair. Whether it’s the classic tunes of the The Beatles in “Love,” the beats of the King of Pop himself in “Michael Jackson: One,” or the sensual pulse of the soundtrack to “Zumanity,” music meets movement meets unbelievable acrobatics and special effects in these otherworldly performances.

Nightclub tours

Everyone knows that Vegas is a hub for pub-crawling, nightlife-loving revelers, but not everyone knows which spots to hit—much less how to get VIP access so you don’t spend your whole night waiting in line or elbowing your way to the bar for a drink.

With a private host, you can cruise from club to club and avoid that inevitable, end-of-the-night trek back to your hotel in shoes that were only made for dancing. Skip-the-line access means you can jump past the bouncer and shimmy onto the dance floor in no time, and special packages can get you drinks and fast entrance—cover charge-free—at clubs such as TAO, Drais, and the brand-new Omnia (at Caesars Palace). Plus, painting the town with a local means you get insider knowledge about each hotspot, from the crowd to the music to the drinks and the vibe.

Desert adventures

Ziplining over desert canyons, hiking along steep precipices in the Valley of Fire, or tearing through the rugged landscape in a dune buggy—the arid and scenic landscape beyond Vegas is truly outdoor adventurer’s playground. Take a jeep expedition to the Grand Canyon, riding along Route 66 and hopping off to hike around Mather Point. Hop on a river raft to float the Colorado right next to the impressive mass of the Hoover Dam, or go for an adrenaline pumping 4×4 ride by the fossilized sand dunes of Calico Hills.

Helicopter rides

Flying low over the neon lights of the Strip by night or soaring over sweeping desert landscapes by day, a helicopter ride offers a totally new perspective on Vegas. Listen to the whirring beat of the chopper blades as you pass over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, and touch down near the rim of the Grand Canyon for a one-of-a-kind view of this breathtaking natural wonder. After sunset, a night flight over the city gives you an aerial perspective of Vegas icons like the Bellagio’s musical fountain, the glowing pyramid of the Luxor, and the fiery, volcanic show at the Mirage.

For more activities ideas and things to do in Vegas, click here.