Visiting Las Vegas: 5 Specialty Museums to Visit

Las Vegas

When people visit Las Vegas, they’re often looking for an experience they can’t find anywhere else. Between the world-class dining, gambling, and special performances, Vegas delivers. But there are also attractions that not only provide a fun time for the whole family, but offer some cultural enrichment, as well.

As a crossroads between California and the rest of America, Las Vegas has built an amazing collection of museums that offer a glimpse of bygone Americana and other areas of curiosity.

Here are five of the best specialty museums Las Vegas has to offer.

1. Visiting Las Vegas – Pinball Hall of Fame

Las Vegas Pinball

You don’t have to be a “pinball wizard” to enjoy a trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame. It’s 10,000 square feet of lights, bells, sirens, bumpers, and balls was established as a way for the Las Vegas Pinball Collector’s Club to show off their wide collection of machines.
While most of the machines are from the 1970s and 1980s, the oldest models date back
decades farther, while the newest machines are from the 1990s and feature themes that
younger generations be familiar with. If you’re a pinball buff, you’ll find hours of enjoyment at this museum.

2. Visiting Las Vegas – The Mob Museum

Las Vegas Mob Museum

If your movie collection features names like DeNiro and Pacino, then The Mob Museum is for you. Built as a time capsule of organized crime and the brave G-men who worked tirelessly to take down gangsters, The Mob Museum offers a rare look into the seedy underbelly of an American criminal institution: the Mafia. You’ll explore exhibits that follow the mafia from its Sicilian roots to Las Vegas itself, with all of the juxtaposition of glamour and gore that has kept Hollywood and movie audiences everywhere enamored with the with tales of the mob. Static and interactive exhibits abound, giving you an up-close look at the lives of gangsters.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to try out the display guns. For that, you’ll need to visit Machine Guns Vegas, where you can try out popular law enforcement firearms and real machine guns on their highly safe Las Vegas shooting range. For fans of The Godfather, it’s an offer not to refuse.

3. Visiting Las Vegas – Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum

Las Vegas Haunted House

At 11,000 sq.ft. and already reportedly haunted, this museum is a perfect fit for Zak Bagans’ collection of the paranormal. As the collection has grown, so have the reports of strange apparitions and occurrences. One of the most famous pieces in the collection is the Dybbukbox, a haunted wine cabinet with a storied past that was the inspiration for the movie The Possession.

If you’re frightened of things that inexplicably go bump in the night, this museum may not be for you. However, if you can’t resist the thrill of rubbing shoulders with the alleged supernatural, The Haunted Museum may make you leave believing that ghosts are indeed real.

4. Visiting Las Vegas – National Atomic Testing Museum

Las Vegas Atomic Bomb Museum

Relive prepping for the Cold War with a trip to the National Atomic Testing Museum. An affiliate of the Smithsonian, this museum contains relics of the burgeoning atomic age, some of which come directly from the nearby Nevada Test Site for military weapons.
Features include inactive nuclear weapons, geiger counters, pop culture materials from the 1950s to present that are associated with nuclear war, and a simulated nuclear test that lets you experience a virtual version of an atmospheric nuclear test. Of all the museums on the list, it’s safe to say this one will be a blast.

5. Visiting Las Vegas – King’s Ransom Museum

Las Vegas Elvis Museum

Las Vegas is known for entertainment, and there has never been a modern music star bigger than The King. If you’re an Elvis Presley aficionado, be sure to put the King’s Ransom Museum on your to-do list. Packed with the Presley’s own property, you’ll see clothes, cars, and accessories that are instantly recognizable from his movies, performances, and public life.

This multi-million dollar exhibit may not be Graceland, but it’s the next best thing. It’s a great way to honor and remember the King of Rock ‘n Roll. Elvis played 636 sold-out shows at the International and Las Vegas Hilton from 1969-1976. A museum to his rock-and-roll majesty was definitely in order.

Meet the Author:
Jordan McDowell is a writer, aficionado of American culture, and second amendment rights advocate. As a proponent of responsible gun rights nationwide, he writes about recreational hunting, American history, and the latest developments in state and federal firearms legislation.

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Where to Go in Lake Tahoe When You’re Not Skiing

Lake Tahoe, the cobalt blue lake where California and Nevada meet, boasts a reputation as the ultimate skiing destination for travelers seeking mountainside luxury and rugged adventure. This winter, Tahoe has experienced record snowfall fairly earlyin the season, so visitors looking to plan a trip should act fast, as local resorts will get quickly booked! And while Tahoe is primarily known as a skier’s paradise, with resorts like Sugar Bowl Resort and the upscale Northstar California Resort standing out as popular destinations, there are plenty of options beyond the slopes. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite things to do before or after a day of skiing — or for travelers who would rather take in the scenery than speed down a mountain.

Foodie-Friendly Dining

The Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant, Manzanita, is particularly popular for its refined dishes all made with local ingredients, along with a wine list featuring many Northern California favorites. For a more intimate experience, visitors should check out Cafe Fiore, consisting of seven tables in a tiny alpine cabin. Cafe Fiore is known for its hearty Italian fare, with its house special, scallops and other seafood sauteed in lemon and wine tossed with linguine, a particular standout.

Health-conscious travelers should make a point to stop by Sprouts Cafe, a natural foods cafe established way back in 1990. It’s informal atmosphere is family-friendly, with books and games for kids are scattered about. Another great casual option isBasecamp Pizza Co., which offers hearty fare, including pizzas laden with ingredients ranging from bbq chicken to crisp vegetables. The vibe is laid-back but lively, with a happy hour every day and live music every night.

Daytrip to Truckee, CA

Visitors should trek up to the north shore of the Lake and make a stop in the charming old railroad town of Truckee, CA, now an upscale, hippie town  with a bustling nightlife. The crown jewel is Moody’s Bistro Bar and Beats, tucked into the Victorian-era Truckee Hotel. A hip bar and live music (including past visits by regular Paul McCartney) will make for a lively night on the town. Those interested in a down-to-earth “dive” should stop by the Tourist Club, one of the oldest bars in town and somewhere a party is always happening.

High-Rolling in South Lake Tahoe

Those wishing to get a taste of Vegas-like activities should check out South Lake Tahoe, across the Nevada state line, where a small strip of casinos sits alongside the lake. Harvey’s, which is right along the lake, is known for its old-school atmosphere.  Just down the street is the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which offers, in addition to its casino, three restaurants and two bars and lounges. The MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is known for its nightlife, as its Opal Ultra Lounge is the place to go for a wild night out. (It’s a favorite of bachelorette parties!) For affordable lodgings in the area, consider the Holiday Inn Express South Tahoe, which is located near the main casino strip and also features a relaxing sauna.

Bustling Galleries for Art Lovers

Art fans should make sure to check out some of the galleries in the Tahoe area, which specialize in various styles of art, from painting to sculpture to glasswork and photography. A long-time favorite is Gallery Keoki, specializing in fine art photography and even offering the service of creating custom fine art installations for homes and office spaces. The James Harold Galleries has a large and varied collection of paintings and sculpture, all by new and known names in contemporary art. To take a piece of Tahoe home, visitors should definitely stop by the Jon Paul Gallery, which specializes in photographic artworks depicting the majestic natural beauty of Tahoe. Photographer Jon Paul even offers workshops for aspiring photographers, hinging on his philosophy of “bringing the fine art of nature home.”

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 28, 2016.

Top Casino Hotels in Laughlin, Nevada

A panorama of the Colorado River and Laughlin, Nevada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Laughlin, Nevada is like the kid brother of Las Vegas. While it’s smaller, Laughlin has casinos, hotels, dining, and entertainment just like Las Vegas. Laughlin is on the Colorado River where Nevada, California, and Arizona meet, which means the city also has water activities. If you’re looking for a very affordable vacation with outdoor and family activities, Laughlin is a great destination with a little something for everyone. Here are the top casino hotels in Laughlin.

Colorado Belle Hotel Casino Resort

The Colorado Belle Hotel Casino Resort is close to the Laughlin Outlet Center and Laughlin Labyrinths. This family friendly resort has two Classic Auto Showrooms, two swimming pools, the Riverside Lanes Bowling Center, a Six-Plex Movie Theater, Kids Kastle childcare center, and the USS Riverside Cruise Boat. There’s also the Celebrity Theatre and Outdoor Amphitheater for entertainment, as well as Laughlin’s largest poker room. The Belle is also home to the Loading Dock, which offers a tasty Southwestern grill and barbecue menu, as well as Laughlin’s only micro brewery, Pints. Room rates at the resort start as low as $16.

Photo by Chad Kelly via Trover.com

Edgewater Hotel & Casino

The Edgewater features more than 1,000 newly renovated and spacious guest rooms. Most rooms have breathtaking views of the beautiful Colorado River with rates starting at $16. There are endless choices for dining, including the extensive Grand Buffet, the acclaimed Hickory Pit Steakhouse, fast-food outlets, and the brand new Wild Style Burgers & Pizza. Guests can also take advantage of the resort’s swimming pool, new fitness center and spa, and live entertainment every week.

Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino

The Riverside Resort has long been Laughlin’s premier hotel and casino, founded in 1966 by Don Laughlin. The Riverside has more than 1,400 hotel rooms with rates from $37. The Riverside Day Spa is open daily, and guests can indulge in a variety of massages, body, and facial treatments. Restaurants include Casa Serrano, Fatburger, the Gourmet Room, Pizza Hut Express, Prime Rib Room, Sidewalk Cafe and the Riverside Buffet.

Laughlin River Lodge

The Laughlin River Lodge Resort is Laughlin’s newest hotel casino, with some 450 new games, two Dotty’s gaming areas, and Lodge Bingo. There’s an on-site Denny’s Restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as The Lodge Steakhouse with steaks, seafood, cocktails, and sweeping views of the Colorado River. Room rates start at $29 for a standard room, or you can pay a little more and treat yourself to a larger room with extra amenities.

Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino

Harrah’s Laughlin Casino & Hotel features 1,505 well-appointed rooms and suites along with a casino. With a Mexican resort theme, Harrah’s offers a soft sand beach, two swimming pools, a poolside cabana, and a health club. Restaurateur Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho Restaurant features gourmet Mexican food with an upscale flair. Harrah’s indoor Fiesta Showroom and the outdoor Rio Vista Amphitheater feature top-notch entertainment throughout the year. Room rates start from $20.

There really is something for everyone in Laughlin, with the outdoors, water activities, dining, entertainment, and of course the casinos!