When Las Vegas comes to mind, most automatically conjure images of the flashing marquees and the larger-than-life resorts lining the infamous Las Vegas Blvd. (also known as The Strip).

But beyond the flashing lights, there is an entire other side to Las Vegas. A somewhat more subdued side (depending on where you go), that many people never get to experience.

So, when you book your next cheap flight to Las Vegas, do a little extra planning and try to make room for some of the unique experiences beyond the normal tourist haunts.

Downtown Las Vegas

Packed with history and some honky-tonk, downtown Las Vegas is becoming a place that resonates with the younger travelers. With no shortage of hipster enclaves – The Griffin, Beauty Bar, and Downtown Cocktail Room – serving up icy cold cans of PBR, and family-friendly experiences like the shark tank at the Golden Nugget’s pool, and the Fremont Street Experience, the downtown area has amassed a fun life of its own. Sure, there are still some kitschy strip clubs, but with casinos opening onto the street and some nearly too-good-to-be-tasty food deals, Downtown and its bright neon lights, are a stop worth enjoying.

Mount Charleston

Once you’ve gotten your fill of Sin City, you can rent a car and drive on out of town…to the mountains. The highest peak in Southern Nevada, Mt. Charleston offers a chance to get some fresh mountain air and seasonal activities. It is home to the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort (also known as Lee Canyon Ski & Snowboard Resort, as well as horseback riding and sleigh rides, biking, hiking, and camping. It’s about an hour from the Vegas strip to the mountain peak, but a complete change of scenery (and weather).

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Red Rock Canyon

Perhaps one of the most stunning places in the Las Vegas area, this outcropping of red rocks in the western part of the Valley is a popular stop for road trips by both locals and tourists. Grab a bike and enjoy the loop road that traces the park, or lace-up hiking boots and head out on a day-hike on one of the many trails. Hikes range from easy to difficult, so there’s something for everyone. Plus, the park has got some of the best repelling in the nation, as well as some of the best views of The Strip.

Boulder City

About 40 minutes southeast of Vegas is Boulder City, a town that came to life during the construction of the Hoover Dam. Today, this town features an adorable main street packed with good (and reasonably priced) eats, including a wine bar and great breakfast nook, as well as antiques. It is close to Hoover Dam, too, so make a day trip out of it and head to the city for some history and the dam for some awe-inspiring views.

Bonnie Springs

The old Western town of Bonnie Springs is great for family travel. It’s got a petting zoo, gunfight re-enactors, and tons of historic buildings to explore. There’s even a cute little train that transports visitors from the parking lot to the main part of the town. A nice getaway for grown-ups, too, there’s a little hotel on-site and a cozy, dark restaurant with an authentic western feel perfect for sipping wine and relaxing after spending time in Vegas.

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