At the right time of year, Las Vegas can be about as good a golf destination as you can find in the U.S. Granted, it’s a bit hot at the height of summer, and it can be surprisingly cool in mid-winter. In the in-between seasons though, Vegas offers relatively mild temperatures and a nice dry climate that makes it a pleasure to spend time out on the courses.
Speaking of those courses, there’s a lot of quality to offer in and around the city. TPC Las Vegas is a stunning course laid out alongside Red Rock National Park; the South Shore Golf Club (a Jack Nicklaus course) is another thing of beauty on a somewhat enclosed stretch of land along Lake Las Vegas; and Tom Fazio’s world-class links opened in 2019 at the Wynn make for a magical outing right in the heart of the city. Throw in a few more courses in the surrounding area, as well as arguably the coolest Topgolf location in the country, and it’s fair to say Vegas has put itself on the map for golfers!
As much as this may be the case though, Vegas is Vegas, and it’s hard to imagine going without trying to enjoy some of the other attractions throughout the city. That said, it’s hard enough to get the most out of Vegas when you’re going purely to experience the city! When you’re going on a golf trip, you’ll have even less time to explore the rest of the city. For that reason, we’ve put together a shortlist of some of the true highlights you might want to prioritize in between your golf outings.
The Venetian is one of the defining casino resorts in Las Vegas, and its imitation canal is a main attraction. As you might expect, it has a certain artificial quality; it’s not exactly going to trick you into thinking you’ve teleported to Venice. But it’s still pretty delightful to meander around an outdoor shopping and dining area with a clean canal and Venetian décor around you, and while it’s not exactly quiet it does sort of mute the outside city a bit.
Pro Tip: Go ahead and take a ride in one of the gondolas. You’ll feel like a tourist, but in this case, the feeling doesn’t detract from the experience.
MGM Grand Casino
Casinos aren’t as essential to Vegas as they used to be. Beyond the fact that other destinations have caught up as casino hubs, Nevada is also one of the five states with legal online poker in the U.S. — which actually does draw some away from the brick-and-mortar gaming spots. Nevertheless, there are still huge, bustling casinos in the main resorts, and they can be quite a lot of fun. Frankly choosing one is a matter of personal preference, but there’s sort of a classic and comprehensive quality to the MGM Grand casino floor. It doesn’t excel at any one game, but rather has a bunch of everything.
Pro Tip: Check out Level Up. This is a sort of side gaming and sports viewing lounge — almost like a terrific sports bar and a modern gaming arcade mashed together.
Valley Of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is one of a number of gorgeous outdoor areas that one can reach from Las Vegas in a short time. It’s a popular hiking and sightseeing spot, reminiscent of America’s spectacular southwestern national parks, but far simpler to explore. It’s not a place to be missed, particularly if you’d like a way of mixing up your trip and getting out of the city for a few hours.
Pro Tip: Walk the White Domes Trail. It’s an easy hike, and quite possibly the best in the Vegas area (which is saying something).
Fremont Street is a sort of alternative entertainment district in Vegas — a downtown area that’s been getting more attention from visitors in recent years. In and of itself it’s nice as a change of pace from the resort “Strip.” That said, activities in the area range from smaller casinos to excellent restaurants to music and light shows — not to mention some incredible nearby outdoor art exhibits. It’s a fun, quirky area to explore, and a great place to have a night out without spending too much (Vegas being a pricey city).
Pro Tip: See the colorful wall outside the Smith Center. It’s a block or two away from the main Fremont Street stretch, but it’s a gorgeous work of art and a great spot for a photo.
And then there are the Bellagio fountains. They may be the city’s most famous visual attraction, but they’re well worth an up-close stop. They basically comprise a free show, and there’s something extra satisfying about knowing you’re witnessing it all in the heart of Vegas. Despite the fact that untold millions have seen the fountains in action, it can be an oddly intimate, special experience.
Pro Tip: Do the nightcap thing. Wrapping up an evening in Vegas and watching the fountains at night is simply the best way to do it.
So there you have it. These five recommendations won’t quite give you the full Vegas experience, but they’ll help you to experience a number of different sides to the city –– and they’re easy enough to manage even if you’re spending the bulk of your time out on the links.
All in all, a bit of golf at a world-class course and a taste of the Vegas life makes for a great getaway.