There are few places in the US as eclectic and infamous as Las Vegas. Sin City is world-famous for its casinos and resorts. A Vegas night out isn’t complete without a little extravagance, which can be easily found at some of its best clubs.
Many visitors come to tick all the classic Vegas experiences off their bucket lists. But, if you scratch below its glitzy surface, this city has a lot more to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting and downright weird places to visit in Vegas, Nevada.
The Neon Museum
Most tourists visiting Vegas choose to take a stroll down the strip to take in the sights. This is where casinos really want to stand out, so the bigger, flashier and more extravagant the lights, the better. But, have you ever wondered what happens to those enormous neon signs when they’re replaced?
The answer is stranger than you might think. If you stop in at the Neon Boneyard Museum you’ll discover some of most iconic signs from the golden age of Vegas. This is in fact the storage yard of the Young Electric Sign Company, which has been responsible for some of the city’s most iconic and fabulous displays.
The National Atomic Testing Museum
If you want to take a deeper delve into the history of Las Vegas, a visit to the National Atomic Testing Museum is worthwhile. Discover how atomic testing helped to establish the city at the beginning of the 20th century and learn about the mysterious Area 51.
In the 1950s Vegas earned its nickname as the “Atomic City” when nuclear weapons testing took place at the Nevada Test Site. You can find out all about this astonishing and sobering story, and the impact that it had on those living in Vegas at the time.
If you’re fascinated by this aspect of Vegas history, a trip to Atomic Liquors is also sure to be up your street. In the 50s visitors would head to this downtown bar to sip on a rooftop cocktail while they watched the mushroom clouds go up! You can still grab a drink there today, minus the explosive backdrop.
The Burlesque Hall of Fame and the Erotic Heritage Museum
Vegas wouldn’t be Vegas without a little sex appeal. The Burlesque Hall of Fame takes a look at the fascinating history of the city’s most alluring and talented dancers. Founded by Dixie Evans, the museum was originally called Exotic World and was based in California. Now the exhibition has a permanent home on Fremont Street, where you can view thousands of costumes and paraphernalia from the heydays of tease.
The Burlesque Hall of Fame is tame in comparison to the Erotic Heritage Museum, where things get a little more X-rated. This museum was borne out of an unlikely collection, curated by Methodist Reverend Ted McIlvenna. After thirty years of collecting anything and everything to do with human sexuality, he founded the Institute for Advance Study of Human Sexuality in sunny San Francisco.
Now this adult museum in Las Vegas is home to a portion of that personal collection, including art, films and books. The Erotic Heritage Museum is not just a fiesta of smutty objects though, instead it presents a celebration of positivity and liberation.
Lonnie Hammargren’s House
We’ve left one of Las Vegas’ most unusual hidden gems until last. There’s nowhere quite like Lonnie Hammargren‘s House, simply because there’s no one quite like Lonnie Hammargren. The former lieutenant and retired neurosurgeon, now aged 82, has spent his life collecting an array of eclectic and strange items from Vegas. For one day a year, on Nevada Day, visitors are welcomed into the home for to see his collection.
Lucky visitors can look forward to discovering one-of-a-kind artefacts, such as an Apollo space capsule, half-scale Eiffel tower, Batmobile, Aztec temple, the Stratosphere’s “High Roller” roller-coaster and plenty more. Hammargren’s expansive collection is in equal parts unexpected, extravagant and humorous, befitting of Las Vegas itself.
Unfortunately, the collection came at a cost to Hammargren. Spiraling debt meant that he was forced to sell off some of his items, eventually losing the house three years ago. Thankfully, the house’s new owners are just as committed as Hammargren to keeping the spirit of the collection alive, continuing the longstanding open house tradition.
US-95 – Highway of Oddities
Stretching northwest from Vegas, US-95 is one wild ride in the desert and most definitely a go-to place.
In order to make the most of your time, take a road trip down the seemingly ghostly freeway and stop by the attractions on the way. It will be a once in a lifetime experiences to share with your friends and families for days.