15 Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas This Fall

Drinking, dining, trips to space, and other cool ways to stay busy in Sin City.

Illuminarium After Dark
Illuminarium After Dark | Photo courtesy of Illuminarium
Illuminarium After Dark | Photo courtesy of Illuminarium

Floods. Drought. Road construction. It's been a rough summer in Las Vegas, and as we ease into the mild fall weather, things are looking up with new bars, restaurants, attractions, shows, and other cool stuff to enjoy. Whether on the Strip, Downtown, or in the surrounding neighborhoods, there's no shortage of action in Sin City. Check out the following activities this season and don’t forget to keep tabs on events happening every weekend in Las Vegas.

Particle Ink: Speed of Dark
Particle Ink: Speed of Dark | Photo By Denise Truscello, courtesy of The Vox Agency

Do a new kind of dinner and a show

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Downtown Arts District
One of the best immersive art experiences in Vegas right now, Particle Ink: Speed of Dark combines live performers with interactive animation and imaginative lighting in a warehouse of evolving stages and scenery. The show recently extended its run indefinitely and you can now enjoy the experience with a pre-show dinner across the street at The English Hotel's Pepper Club through at least September 5. The package includes a four-course prix fixe meal with a sashimi platter, Black Pepper Teriyaki Short Ribs, or Mushroom Fried Rice as the main entree. The package (available Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays) is a great deal at $120 per person with tax, tip, and show tickets included. Book online in advance.

Borracha Mexican Cantina
Photo courtesy of Borracha Mexican Cantina

Cheer on the Raiders

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Multiple Locations
While the Golden knights have developed a habit of trading away players people actually like, the Raiders are winning over Las Vegans as a hometown sports team worth cheering. Nothing beats seeing a game in person in the still-feels-new Allegiant Stadium, but sports bars throughout Vegas are going all out to attract fans. Tailgate Social at Palace Station is giving out a free draft beer to anyone in Raiders gear, plus a free house shot anytime the home team scores a touchdown (plus 75-cent wings during Saturday games). PT's Taverns (with more than 60 Valley locations) has a football menu with bites from $3 to $9, select beers for $4, and $11 pitchers. Borracha at Green Valley Ranch will give anyone in Raiders gear their first draft beer for free, plus a shot on the house to anyone when the team scores a touchdown. Domestic beer is $5 and import drafts are $7 during any college or NFL football game Saturdays and Sundays. The preseason is underway now with the first official Raiders game of season September 11.

Illuminarium After Dark
Illuminarium After Dark | Photo courtesy of Illuminarium

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Off the Strip
Illuminarium is the latest attraction at the ever-expanding AREA15. Think of it as a multimedia museum for a new generation, using ultra high-def video, computer-generated graphics, sound effects, scents, and even vibrations to bring far-off worlds to life. “Space: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond” is running exclusively through Labor Day Weekend, revealing the beauty of the universe and simulating a visit to the moon, where you can leave footprints in virtual moondust, pose for a photo next to astronauts planting the U.S. flag, and get an idea of what a future moon base might look like. Eventually, “WILD: A Safari Experience” and “O'Keeffe: One Hundred Flowers” (an animated tribute to the art of Georgia O'Keefe) will rotate back into the schedule. Illuminarium After Dark begins at 8 pm for the 21-and-over crowd with cocktails and small bites in a lounge surrounded by digital images.

The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens | Photo courtesy of The Bellagio

$$$
The Bellagio
The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a gorgeous display of more than 10,000 plants and flowers in the Bellagio lobby. Now, you can actually have a meal in the center of it all with a reservation at the new, intimate, exclusive Garden Table. Choose between a multicourse brunch by Sadelle's (seven days a week, 9 am–2 pm), featuring the restaurant's Smoked Salmon and Bagel Tower, or an extravagant dinner by Michael Mina (Wednesday-Sunday, 5-10 pm), including Charbroiled Shellfish, Crispy Spot Prawns, Ginger-Scallion Whole Fish, and other dishes by one of the best seafood restaurants in Las Vegas. Much like the Conservatory exhibit itself, the menus will evolve with seasonal changes.

CraftHaus
Photo courtesy of CraftHaus

Go on an Arts District beer crawl

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Downtown Arts District
If you're going to drink your way through Downtown, you'll discover the Arts District is the most congested neighborhood for chugging beer—and that's not a bad thing. Get to know some of the best breweries in Vegas like Able Baker, Hudl, Neon Desert, Nevada Brew Works, and Hop Nuts, all within just a few blocks of each other. The Arts District is also home to taprooms like the Silver Stamp (excellent German beers), Three Sheets (15 handles shared by Astronomy Aleworks and Mojave Brewing), CraftHaus (whose brewery is in Henderson), and SerVehZah (with 24 rotating taps of local and regional favorites and a killer house-made Michelada mix).

Rarely Seen/National Geographic Society
Photo courtesy of Rarely Seen/National Geographic Society

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Bally's
Take a trip around the world with images captured by the best in the industry. National Geographic's "Rarely Seen" exhibit features 50 photographs of fascinating destinations, natural phenomena, and other intriguing sights not often seen by human eyes. The size and scope of each image is enhanced in size (and sometimes texture) for an immersive experience. Look for the exhibit on the ground level of Bally's. Tickets are $35 and available through September 25.

Best ATV Tours
Photo courtesy of Best ATV Tours

$$$
Searchlight
As the weather warms up, Best ATV Tours Las Vegas is leading hour-long guided expeditions in the Mojave Desert near Nelson Hills, where the terrain goes hand in hand with a wild west atmosphere. The Fat Boy all-terrain vehicles are equipped with 450cc engines; just enough power to suit both beginners and experienced drivers while zipping up and down hills, the occasional canyon, and a few challenging turns. The company charges a flat $150 per person with four times offered throughout the day, beginning as early as 6 am if you want to speed through the desert during sunrise. A shuttle can pick you up from the Strip. Just meet at the Luxor.

Hoover Dam Rafting Adventures
Hoover Dam Rafting Adventures

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Boulder City
It's no exaggeration to say the best way to see the Hoover Dam is from the Colorado River—and if you need further proof, just try taking a decent photo while standing on top of it. Lake Mead Mohave Adventures recently brought back its Hoover Dam Rafting Adventures tours, which have rare security clearance to get within about a quarter mile of the iconic landmark. The shorter Postcard Tours are just a few hours, zooming around on motorized rafts with up to 20 guests and guides sharing details on the history of the dam, how it was built, and other cool nuggets of info about the surrounding landscapes. Along the way you'll see leftover artifacts like an old catwalk, gauging stations, and survey equipment—and perhaps even a glimpse of Bighorn sheep, birds skipping across the water, and hot springs flowing into the river. A longer "Hoover Dam Raft Tour" holds up to 80 people, includes lunch, and travels to Willow Beach.

KÀ by Cirque du Soleil
KÀ by Cirque du Soleil

$$-$$$
The Strip
After shutting down at the onset of the pandemic, Cirque du Soleil is back with a full schedule of shows on the Strip. Soak in the high-diving water world of O, the levitating stage of Ka, the high-level choreography of Michael Jackson ONE, and a little bit of everything at Mystere. The Beatles Love is back too, extended through at least 2023 at the Mirage, which is getting ready to become a Hard Rock property. Zumanity was a casualty of the pandemic, but was replaced by Mad Apple, a different kind of Cirque production with a relatively small cast of just 39 people. The show is designed to represent a night of entertainment in New York City, with stand-up comedy from Brad Williams, music from rapper Chris Turner, and a live band performing classics from hometown favorites like Billy Joel and Lady Gaga. Don't worry, you'll see a few acrobats too.

Lost Spirits
Lost Spirits Distillery Las Vegas

$$-$$$
Off the Strip
Lost Spirits, one of the coolest attractions at AREA15, is almost like a theme park version of a distillery. Set inside its own separate building, the facility is a maze of environments with lounges, tasting rooms, and live performance areas that offer a few surprises for your entertainment. Take a dive 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea via "submarine" and book a 16-course dinner in one of the most exclusive dining rooms in Vegas. Along the way, you'll learn about Lost Spirits' groundbreaking scientific distilling process, which dramatically speeds up the aging process, and sip on house-made creations like the signature Navy Style Rum and four Vegas exclusives. Yes, there's a gift shop in case you'd like to take a bottle home with you.

Desert Bread
Desert Bread

Enjoy the fresh taste of local artisanal bread

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Multiple Locations
Is there anything better than fresh-baked bread during the fall season? Cottage-industry bakeries are growing in popularity with delicious recipes straight from the kitchen. Brett Boyer and Brendon Wilharber of Desert Bread sell baked goods out of their home driveway east of the airport on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Everything is all natural and organic with fruit sourced from a local orchard. The wide selection includes sourdough bread, New York-style bagels, French-inspired croissants, and much more. Bread Day is a one-woman operation by Isabela Moraes, a former Olympic-level swimmer who performed in Le Reve. She originally sold bread to her castmates and now makes it available on Saturdays at the Tivoli Village farmers market. You'll see an appreciation of darker grains and fun stuff like a purple sweet potato ciabatta. Kris and Ryan Wilson of 5098 Bread learned the art of breadmaking while traveling in Uruguay and now sell products at Las Vegas farmers markets throughout the week. Their sourdough starter is not only used in the bread, but also a popular chocolate chip cookie. Placing orders in advance for all three businesses is highly recommended.

Garagiste Wine Room & Merchant
Garagiste Wine Room & Merchant

Take a sip of low-intervention wines

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Multiple Locations
Do you know what's really in your wine? Most of 'em are full of additives. (Just google "mega purple" for starters.) Fortunately, low-intervention wines—which often cross over into natural and/or biodynamic wines—are taking hold in Las Vegas. You just need to know where to look. Garagiste Wine Room is a great resource for low-intervention wines in the Downtown Arts District. Enjoy a glass at the bar or take a bottle home (with a 50% discount on retail sales). Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits is expanding its selection by the day (and recently expanded its size over the summer with a dramatic new renovation). Just look for the white stickers on bottles to identify low-intervention options. Ada's at Tivoli Village is another spot that takes its wine seriously with a certified sommelier on standby to go into detail about what is (and isn't) in every bottle on the wine list. The Vegas Test Kitchen and neighboring F The Bar in Fergusons Downtown are also keeping low-intervention options in stock. Otherwise, try Night + Market, a Thai restaurant with natural wines at Virgin Hotels, or The Cask, a boutique wine shop in Henderson with an eclectic selection. Don't want to leave the house? Veteran Strip sommelier Kelly Ford has a Vegas-based wine subscription service, KellySOMM, that ships low-intervention selections directly to your doorstep.

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours

$$$
Multiple Locations
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours knows how to do culinary crawls the right way. The company teams up with top restaurants to offer the dishes and drinks you really want to try—all at one price without a wait for tables. Guided tours include the Venetian/Wynn (Afternoon Culinary Adventures), Aria/Park MGM (Savors of the Strip), Resorts World (Vegas Sights, Worldly Bites), Virgin Hotels, Downtown (Fremont East or the Arts District), and an indulgent Ultimate Steakhouse Tour at properties on the Strip. Along the way, you'll see a few sights and receive some info and fun facts about each destination. The company also introduced Finger Licking Foodie Tours during the pandemic, which offers more casual, self-guided excursions with tours for Tivoli Village, Green Valley Ranch, Chinatown, and other locations.

Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street Experience

Free-$$$$
Downtown
The Fremont Street Experience remains an always fun and sometimes weird Downtown tourist destination, combining bright neon lights and iconic imagery (like the Vegas Vic smoking cowboy marquee) with popular attractions like the Slotzilla zipline and overhead high-def Viva Vision video canopy. At some point, grab a beer at Banger Brewing, play the penny slots at Binions, and sit down for dinner at Vic & Anthony's. Step inside Circa, the largest resort in Downtown Vegas (if you're 21 or older—no kids allowed) and check out the world's largest sportsbook, Barry's Downtown Prime steakhouse, or The Legacy Club—a rooftop lounge that's proving to be a great place to impress a date in Las Vegas. Ready to drink your way down Fremont Street? Sign up for the Royal Crawl, an app that guides participants to six different bars at three different casinos with beer, wine, or a cocktail included at each stop. You don't even need money to have fun here. The Downtown Rocks concert series is back with free shows by The Pretty Reckless, Rick Springfield, Stone Temple Pilots, and other acts throughout the season.

Meow Wolf Omega Mart
Photo courtesy of Meow Wolf Omega Mart

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Off the Strip
There's so much cool stuff constantly opening at AREA15, it's almost hard to keep track of it all. Almost. Omega Mart, a large-scale art installation by Meow Wolf, is the biggest and coolest attraction inside the warehouse-like entertainment complex. The expansive, interactive space is a trippy take on a grocery store (which doubles as the gift shop) with "portals" that open to the world of the fictional corporate entity behind it, including a factory and offices where nothing is quite as it seems. There are even a few slides to travel between levels. Think of it as dozens of art exhibits within a single cohesive environment. Give yourself at least an hour to fully appreciate the whole thing.

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Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He's eating chocolate as he writes this. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.