Sunday, July 28, 2013

Las Vegas “Off the Beaten Path” Sightseeing Attractions

Written by Tiffany Milligan – A Vegas Local
What is one to do when they’ve decided the Strip is too much action and they want to see some Las Vegas Attractions that are off the beaten path? I’ll tell you what NOT to do. Don’t get overly intoxicated, hop on a bus in the middle of the night, and end up in the ghetto (to “explore” how the other half live)…only to find that the bus line has stopped running in that area of town for the night (for good reason) and hailing a taxi is next to impossible when you’ve lost your cellphone somewhere along the way! Yes, yes, that’s a true story that happened in, what I like to call, my PLVL (Pre Las Vegas Life), when I learned that the ghetto is, in fact, NOT a Las Vegas Attraction.

There are, however, some FANTASTIC things to see, off the beaten path, here in Vegas. Las Vegas attractions, such as Ethel M Chocolates and the new Neon Museum, lure vacationers and locals alike, to enjoy some entertainment that is less “over the top” Las Vegas.
 Pinball Hall of Fame
“Ummmm, how do you play ‘two players’ on this thing?”

“I’m not sure. I used to know how…press the left flapper button and see what happens.”

“Ummmm, maybe you just put in an extra quarter and press the start button?”

“Well, dang, this is embarrassing.”

“I’ll ask someone.”

This is one isle in the Pinball Hall of Fame, in Las Vegas.
Photo by Ben Adamson
At this point I was off, shuffling along the worn cement floors, through the building that looked much like a rundown warehouse, to find someone who could tell my sister and me the “way of the pinball machine”. I mean, these things are STRAIGHT OUT of the 70s and 80’s! I was barely born and hadn’t played pinball in DECADES!

I came across Tim (Tim Arnold, owner of all the great machines in the joint), who was super cool (I don’t know how else to describe the man). He helped my sister and me get down to business and even threw a couple of his own quarters into a machine so that we would play it. Later, I find out this man is a legend (and not just in his own mind)! He runs this nonprofit pinball gig for pure fun and contributes most of the money to the Salvation Army!

Overall, it was a little hot inside of this Las Vegas Attraction, but WE HAD A BLAST!

Neon Museum
Of course the NY Times would write an article on the Neon Museum! Who wouldn’t?! This Las Vegas Attraction is a time machine, where a 45 minute guided tour, through a “boneyard” showcasing old neon signs, will take you back to times forgotten. Times when, Las Vegas exhibited a different kind of glory than that of the Vegas we know and love today. The despair of the old sign “boneyard” is saddening at first glance, until you realize what a significant part of Las Vegas history these GINORMOUS signs tell. Retired signs from old hotels have been purchased/donated to this museum for all to enjoy. From fully restored signs, to paint peeling, rusted-out shells of the past, there is a lot to take in. Bring a camera, there are a lot of creative shots to take at this place!

Ethel M Chocolates

This is Ethel M Chocolates Cactus garden, in Las Vegas, during the  holidays
Photo by ShardsOfBlue
Yum. Can I just leave it at that? Ethel M Chocolates is a Las Vegas Attraction just outside the city limits, in Henderson. They have a factory that you can tour, where you can watch glorious, liquid chocolate pour into molds…while secretly hoping an Oompa-Loompa will peep out from behind one of the assembly belts and dance a jig. OF COURSE they have a confectionery shop so that you don’t have to leave empty-handed…you’ll want to take a box of something with you for Pete’s Sake (who says Pete’s Sake anymore? Ugh). Also, their cactus garden is A-MA-ZING…especially during the Christmas season!

The ongoing battle between law enforcement and mob crime…will it ever end? How long has it been going on and what’s it all about?! Have you ever wondered why all the mob guys talk with a drawn-out, throaty voice? If you visit this Las Vegas attraction, you might get the answers you’ve been looking for (let me know if you figure out the throaty voice thing). With artifacts, to interactive stations, to theater presentations, the Mob Museum isn’t too far off the beaten path, and is a fun yet educational place for the whole family to enjoy.

The Art District (First Fridays)
This is a street view of the Art District in Las Vegas.
Photo by Sky Island

Believe it or not, Las Vegas is not devoid of some good, make that great, artwork! “The core of the neighborhood encompasses diversity, vision, creativity and the spirit of the artist.” This lively neighborhood (18 blocks in the downtown area) has been revived into a fun place to meet up for coffee, head in to some art galleries, or even make your home! If you’re here on the first Friday of any given month, “First Fridays” are basically a street fair, if you will, at The Art District @18b. You can enjoy all the usual artsy stuff plus so much more, with their street vendors and people dressing as zombies (what’s with this zombie obsession anyway?), creativity oozes from this monthly event. If you’re not here to experience a First Friday, head down to this Las Vegas attraction anyway as there’s PLENTY of fun to be had!

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