Distance from Bellagio: 32 miles
DRIVE: The old road over the Hoover Dam is open for tourists who want to drive across the dam and use the parking lots on the Arizona side of the river, but visitors will have to drive back across the dam and up to the interchange near the Hoover Dam Lodge to get back onto U.S. 93. The highway no longer connects to the dam in Arizona. WALK: Use the new Mike O Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge at The Hoover Dam. You can park for free and walk across the bridge. From the parking lot, you can reach the bridge by walking up 70 steps or a series of ramps built for wheelchairs. The bridge is 1,900 feet long and at 880 feet over the Colorado River, it is the second-highest bridge in the United States and the highest concrete-arch bridge anywhere. TOUR: The Dam Tour includes a 1-hour guided tour of the powerplant and passageways within the dam itself, and admission to the Visitor Center. The Powerplant Tour offers a combination of presentations by Reclamation guides, audio and film presentations, exhibits and other media that provide a comprehensive view of the massive dam and its operations, as well as highlight many of the unique features around the site.
Red Rock Canyon
Distance from Bellagio: 18 miles
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area offers travelers a respite from Las Vegas' unnatural neon landscape. Opening and closing times vary by season, but the visitor’s center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. If you're driving to Red Rock Canyon, there is a $7 entrance fee, while motorcyclists, bikers and those entering on foot will be charged $3. Some of the best views of the American Southwest landscape come from the Red Rock Canyon Overlook, a 13-mile scenic loop through the park that gives visitors a look at the Mojave Desert scenery from the comfort of a car or bicycle. There are a plethora of tour options—horseback rides, guided hikes, electric bike rides, Segway, and scooter tours, or even a romantic hot air balloon ride. No matter how you choose to explore the park, you'll find yourself surrounded by the beautiful Mojave Desert and its signature red hills.
Seven Magic Mountains
Distance from Bellagio: 22 miles
Against the dull brown backdrop of desert sits The Seven Mountains, a man-made art exhibition near the northbound lanes of the I-15. Located in the desert outside of Las Vegas, NV, the installation created by Ugo Rondinone features seven 30- to 35-foot-high "dayglow totems" made of painted boulders. The colorful piece of art can be see off of Interstate 15 and was designed as an imitation of travel destinations like Las Vegas. According to Rondinone, the location is "physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial: the natural is expressed by the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake backdrop, and the artificial is expressed by the highway and the constant flow of traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas."
The Neon Museum
Distance from Bellagio: 7 miles
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum collects and preserves local history in the form of the fabulous marquees and glittering signs that have long symbolized Las Vegas. In the museum's outdoor Boneyard, more than 200 works of metal and glass have been laid to rest, their stories recounted by guides who take visitors on a tour of these retired marquees. The Neon Museum is located about 4 miles north of the Las Vegas Strip, not far from the Fremont East District. Some people choose the day tour ($19) to get crisp, clear pictures. Others go for the night tour ($25) to see some of the neon signs fired up as they once were in their heyday. Note: You MUST purchase tickets before going. They sell out up to two weeks in advance.
Fremont Street Experience
Distance from Bellagio: 5 miles
The Fremont Street Experience is a covered walkway of shops, casinos, and restaurants in downtown Vegas, which is delineated by Viva Vision, a massive blocks-long LED screen—said to be the world's largest—that displays mesmerizing rock images and color-saturated psychedelic montages. The high-tech canopy extends more than five football fields in length and features more than 12.5 million LED modules and a 550,000-watt sound system. Soar through the air on zip lines strung underneath the canopy from Slotzilla, a 12-story, slot-machine-themed platform. It’s smaller and older than the Strip, but a bit more family-friendly, and still a lot of fun. Add the Fremont Street casinos, among them the iconic Golden Nugget and the Four Queens.
Photo credits: Hoover Dam photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau; Red Rock Canyon photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau; Seven Magic Mountains photo Ugo Rondinone: Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2016. Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni. Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art; The Neon Museum photo courtesy The Neon Museum; The Freemond Street Experience photo courtesy The Fremont Street Experience.