Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Hotels.com.
When you think of Las Vegas, a thriving creative community probably isn’t what immediately comes to mind. But for a city that’s known for its partying and casinos, Las Vegas has a surprising number of attractions for art lovers.
From high-end contemporary galleries to the vintage neon signs that helped make Las Vegas an iconic destination, the city has an eclectic arts scene that has only grown in the last decade. With a quirky vibe that matches the overall energy of the city, the arts community (plus all the free shows in Las Vegas) was one of my favorite things about this southwest city when we visited a few years ago.
That’s why I’m so excited that Hotels.com asked me to share some of my favorite places in Las Vegas for art lovers. So, the next time you’re planning a trip to Sin City, consider visiting one of these places sure to give you a spark of artistic inspiration.
As travel remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind when visiting a destination. If you are comfortable traveling, please do so responsibly and be respectful of local restrictions.
If you do decide to travel right now, you can do so more safely by:
- Wearing a face mask.
- Bringing hand sanitizer and washing your hands regularly.
- Checking official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures and the status of local businesses.
- Booking a hotel or accommodation with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
Where to Stay
There are lots of great places to stay in Las Vegas, whether you’re looking for something on the Strip or a little more off the beaten path. On our last trip to Las Vegas in 2018, we stayed just off the Strip and loved having a little more space in a multi-room suite. If you’re traveling with a group, I would definitely recommend finding accommodations adjacent to the trip to not only save a bit of money but also enjoy some extra space. Or, if you want to continue the artistic theme of your trip, both the ARIA and Cosmopolitan have glamorous and inspiring accommodations.
Places in Las Vegas for Art Lovers
The Neon Museum
If you love the glitz and glam of vintage Las Vegas, you won’t want to miss out on a tour at The Neon Museum. Founded in 1996, this unique nonprofit is dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting vintage neon signage from around the city.
The museum’s visitor’s center is housed in a unique shell-shaped building that was once the lobby of the historic La Concha Motel. Beyond the visitor’s center lies the Neon Boneyard, an outdoor collection of more than 200 unrestored neon signs. Wandering amongst these vintage signs, it’s incredible to see the size and level of detail that went into their construction.
While many of the signs are still waiting to be restored, the Neon Museum has a program to return vintage neon to the streets of Las Vegas. Keep an eye out as you explore the city for restored neon signs in the wild. The museum even has a map to help make your search a bit easier.
The museum offers daily, hour-long tours of the Neon Boneyard. Tours are held during the day and in the evening when the neon signs are illuminated. All tours are led by the museum’s interpreters who have an incredible fount of knowledge about both the signs themselves and the history of Las Vegas as a whole.
The Neon Museum, 770 Las Vegas Blvd N in Las Vegas, Nevada
Seven Magic Mountains
What began as a temporary art installation by contemporary artist Ugo Rondinone has become one of the city’s most iconic photo backdrops. Located 10 miles south of Las Vegas Boulevard in Henderson, Nevada, Seven Magic Mountains was originally installed in 2016 as a two-year temporary installation. However, due to the popularity of the towering, brightly colored boulders the sculpture remained on view.
If you have access to a car while visiting Las Vegas, this unique installation is worth the drive. Seven Magic Mountains stands 30 feet above the Ivanpah Valley against the backdrop of Sheep Mountain and the McCullough, Bird Spring and Goodsprings mountain ranges. Not only is this breathtaking installation a fun photo op, but it’s also a great way to experience the beautiful outdoor spaces just miles from the Strip.
As of right now, Seven Magic Mountains is still open to the public.
Directions to Seven Magic Mountains from Las Vegas
Follow I-15 S to Sloan Rd (Exit 25). Turn left (east) on Las Vegas Boulevard, drive about 7 miles south and the installation will be on your left.
James Turrell’s Akhob at Louis Vuitton
For a contemporary art lover, a visit to the Louis Vuitton store inside Las Vegas’ CityCenter is less about designer handbags and more about immersive art. On the fourth floor of the designer store is one of artist James Turrell’s iconic light installations.
This installation, titled Akhob which means “pure water” in Egyptian, is referred to as a light field or Ganzfeld, the German term for a perceptual deprivation. The installation consists of two large, rounded rooms filled with colored lights that slowly change on a 24-minute cycle.
The shape of the room and vibrant colors of the installation combine so that at times, it’s impossible to tell where the walls end and the floor begins. Experiencing Akhob feels a little like having vertigo—but in a calming, relaxing sort of way. During your visit, you’ll be able to sit, stand or experience the installation however you’d like (within the staff’s ground rules).
A visit to this unique installation will require a little planning and a reservation but the experience itself is free. When you arrive, let one of the sales associates know that you’re there for the Turrell installation. They’ll escort you upstairs via an elevator. No photos are allowed inside Akhob and the experience is limited to four people at a time.
To snag a reservation, call (702) 730-3150. But you’ll need to plan ahead. Slots for this experience fill up about six to eight weeks in advance.
Louis Vuitton Las Vegas CityCenter, 3720 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 103 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Resort Hotel Private Collections
Las Vegas’ iconic hotels are all about glitz and glamour. So, it’s no surprise that many of them have famously high-profile art collections. The next time you’re visiting a Las Vegas resort, be sure to keep an eye out for some truly awe-inspiring art.
The ARIA Fine Art Collection was the first major permanent collection of art to be on display in a public space in Las Vegas. The ARIA’s corporate collection is one of the largest in the world. It includes pieces from contemporary artists like Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Frank Stella and more.
In addition to their incredible conservatory and botanic gardens (which could be considered art in its own right), the Bellagio also has a Gallery of Fine Art. This renowned gallery space welcomes exhibitions from all over the world on a rotating basis.
The Cosmopolitan is also home to hundreds of contemporary works of art. In addition to more traditional works, the Cosmopolitan has some incredible digital installations. But my favorite piece was their Art-o-mat machines. Artist Clark Whittington rehabbed these vintage cigarette vending machines and each dispense a variety of original artworks.
Share Your Thoughts
I would love to hear from you! Have you visited Sin City? What are your favorite attractions in Las Vegas for art lovers?
I really want to go to the neon museum on my next Las Vegas trip. You’re right, there’s so much more than drinking and gambling, it’s actually a really cool place to visit. Such great ideas here for anyone on the fence about Vegas
The Neon Museum is definitely worth a visit! We went during the day, but I would love to go back for a nighttime tour to see all the signs lit up. Thanks for reading!
We are always looking for fun things like this to do in Vegas when we have our kids with us. I’ll definitely be adding some of these places to our list for next time. Thanks for the great recommendations.
Yes! The Neon Museum and Seven Magic Mountains would be especially fun with kids. Thanks so much for reading!
How cool are those installations! They are really interesting PLUS they make the best backgrounds for Instagram photos hehe 🙂
You’re so right! Las Vegas is full of cute, artsy places to snap the perfect photo.
I appreciate this post because Vegas is more than a place to gamble and watch a show. Thank you for this travel inspiring post, Megan.
Thanks so much, Vanessa! It was such a pleasant surprise to discover how many things there are to do in Las Vegas off the beaten path. Happy travels!