Las Vegas is well known for its innumerable hotel casinos and vibrant nightlife, but did you know you could travel around the world by visiting replicas of famous landmarks along the Strip? The Strip is the name given to the section of South Las Vegas Boulevard where you can find the highest concentration of luxury resorts and casinos. It is 4.2 miles (6.8 km) long and easily walkable. I recommend layering when visiting the Strip in the shoulder seasons (fall and spring) and in the evenings as nights in the desert can get quite chilly. If you do not have time or do not want to walk the Strip, there is free complimentary parking currently available at all MGM resorts to welcome back guests following the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for a full list of all MGM resorts on the Strip. It is unclear at this time how long free parking will be available at those locations. Click here to check the status of the free parking at MGM resorts. Below you will find a list of our favorite and most picturesque locations on the Las Vegas Strip. You know I’m all about budget travel, so you won’t find anything that breaks the bank or you can’t afford.
- Las Vegas Sign
- New York New York
- M&M World
- Paris Las Vegas
- The Mirage
- Trevi Fountain
- The Venetian
- Seven Magic Mountains
- Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed
- Valley of Fire State Park
- Joshua Trees
Las Vegas Sign
The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is conveniently located right outside the McCarran International Airport. When standing under the vintage sign, you can even see airplanes on the tarmac nearby. There is a small parking lot right in front of the sign that is only accessible from the left side when heading south on Las Vegas Boulevard.
The Luxor is your go-to place for an Egyptian feel on the Strip. The imposing 30-story pyramid and Sphinx tower over palm trees and statues of mythological creatures and hieroglyphics. If you’re a science nerd like me, you will love the BODIES exhibit currently on display at the Luxor featuring 13 preserved human bodies and 260 organs. The exhibition is open Thursday-Sunday 11am-6pm. Click here for more information.
If you are feeling chivalrous or enjoy feeling like a princess, you’ll enjoy this fairytale-castle hotel eponym to King Arthur’s legendary sword.
New York New York
New York New York is one of my favorite views of The Strip. It is easily photographed from the road and depicts a very realistic replica of Lady Liberty and the Empire State Building intertwined through the Big Apple Roller Coaster.
Who doesn’t love M&Ms? The sweet staple has been around since the 1940s, and the colorful characters embodying the candy brand have been entertaining generations of sugar-craved children and adults around the world for decades. The M&M World in Las Vegas is one of only 7 around the world and features 4 floors of apparel, dispensers, kitchenware, souvenirs, limited-edition flavors, personalized M&Ms, character merchandise, and so much more. Expect a line at the entrance of the store during weekends but know that it moves quickly. Visiting the store almost feels like walking around a M&M museum. Though entering the store may be free, strolling by the M&M wall may cost you a pretty penny. At $7.95 for a half pound, better choose your flavors wisely. My personal favorites are: crispy, sugar cookie, fudge brownie, and peanut butter.
Located right next to the Bellagio, the Cosmopolitan arguably offers the best views of the Strip and a front-row seat to the fountain show. Treat yourself to a terrace studio with views of the Bellagio fountains. I highly recommend booking during the week for surprisingly affordable prices. Click here to book your luxurious stay with terrace views at the Cosmopolitan.
Paris Las Vegas
Let yourself be transported to the romantic city of Paris, France with a half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. The Eiffel Tower of Las Vegas features a restaurant and an observation deck 460 ft/ 137 m high open daily from 2-10pm. The Paris Las Vegas Hotel offers gorgeous European-style rooms and French cuisine as well as a spa and close proximity to the Strip.
The Bellagio Hotel is most well known for its beautiful fountain show. The fountains and lights move in synch to the music every 30 minutes Monday through Friday 3:00pm-8:00pm and every 15 minutes Monday through Friday 8:00pm to midnight. During the weekend and holidays, the light show begins at noon and follows the same schedule. Click here to check the Bellagio Fountain schedule.
Before reaching the pool of the Bellagio to admire the light show, we took the elevator from the parking lot and entered the hotel lobby, which is full of surprises. I was mesmerized by the luxurious mosaic tile work on the floors and walls as well as the beautiful blown-glass flowers adorning the ceiling by the check-in desks. The installation is the work of Dale Chihuly, an American glass sculptor, and features over 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers weighing over 40,000 pounds or 18,000 kg.
Impossible to miss at the heart of the lobby are the enchanting flower arrangements of the Bellagio Conservatory, which is free of charge and decorated in accordance with each season. It takes the Bellagio Conservatory team approximately one week to install the new display each season, so make sure to check the schedule of the botanical garden to avoid visiting during those times. Click here for the botanical garden schedule. The Bellagio Conservatory is accessible day and night with equal beauty.
The Mirage Hotel features over 3,000 rooms set in a Polynesian décor along with a free nightly volcanic eruption show taking place every hour between 7:00pm and 10:00pm. The hotel also offers guests the opportunity to swim with dolphins at the Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Click here to read about their humane certification for animal welfare.
Contrary to what you may believe (I did) the Trevi Fountain is not located near the Venetian. Yes, I know, the canals of the Venetian depict the streets of Venice, whereas the Trevi Fountain is located in Rome, but I figured they would all be in a central location Little Italy style. Wrong! Don’t worry though, it is easy very easy to find and located at the Trevi Italian restaurant in the forum of Ceasar’s Palace. This replica of the famous Italian fountain -though much smaller- strikingly resembles the original in intricate details.
The Venetian resort offers a maze of shops and eateries. I don’t use the term maze lightly… We actually wandered along the indoor canals for a while before finally figuring out how to exit the building. The canals were very quiet on that brisk Tuesday morning, but gondola rides are offered both indoors and outdoors from mid morning to late at night. Click here to view ride hours and prices.
If walking the Strip left your stomach begging for a snack, check out Café Zuppas. You can choose from this small chain’s 6 Las Vegas locations for homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Their soups and infusions are to die for! I highly recommend the roasted red pepper and lobster bisque as well as the raspberry citrus infusion. So yummy I haven’t stopped dreaming about going back!
Seven Magic Mountains
Before taking strolling down the Strip, we headed south to pay a visit to the Seven Magic Mountains, a free art installation in the middle of the desert near Jean, NV. It is the artwork of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone and was scheduled to be on display for only two years starting in 2016. The exhibit was so popular that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decided to extend its stay until the end of 2021, so you may not have a lot of time left to visit this quirky location near Las Vegas. Each column is made of colorfully painted rocks towering over 30ft high. If you want to avoid the crowds for beautiful pictures, I suggest getting there early in the morning. We arrived for sunrise and had the place entirely to ourselves. The twilight rendered the rock colors even more vibrant. The first visitors arrived right as we were leaving about 15-20 minutes later. We drove by the installation later that week around 10am, and it was full of tourists already. Be advised that temperatures can be freezing in the desert during early morning, so come prepared!
Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed
Seven Magic Mountains is situated less than 10 minutes from Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed – a free boon docking zone on BLM land. If you are traveling in a van, camper, other recreational vehicle, or if you are looking for a place to legally park your car and sleep, Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed is the perfect location. It offers breathtaking views of the desert at sunrise and is free of charge. We saw very few campers on the road to Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed, so privacy is nice as well.
Valley of Fire State Park
So, I lied a little, Valley of Fire State Park isn’t exactly free; there is a $10 fee per vehicle, but it seemed so small in comparison to the beauty of the park that I decided to add it to this list. If you arrive in the late afternoon or early evening after the fee station has closed, make sure to pay via envelope as there are cameras monitoring traffic and license plates, and you will be fined for entering without paying.
The Valley of Fire State Parks is one of Nevada’s 23 state parks located in Overton, NV in the Mojave Desert. The best time to visit is at either sunrise or sunset when fiery red light shines brightly on the red Aztec sandstone. Perhaps the most popular trail in the park is the Fire Wave Trail situated along the White Domes Scenic Byway. The Fire Wave Trail is an easy 1.5 mi/ 2.4 km out and back trail good for hikers of all ages.
If you enjoy admiring indigenous species during your travels like I do, you will be happy to know that Joshua trees can be found all along Interstate 15 in Nevada, but they are particularly abundant by mile marker 104 going south. We stopped for a quick photo on our way to the Valley of Fire. If this did not fulfill your appetite for Joshua Trees, check out Joshua Tree National Landmark in Southwest Utah or drive Highway 164 also called Joshua Tree Highway about an hour south of Vegas.
We spent a day in Las Vegas before beginning our Mighty 5 road trip. If you would like to learn more about Utah’s 5 gorgeous national parks, check out my complete one week itinerary not to miss a sight!
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