Most people think of Las Vegas as a getaway for gamblers. While it is the world’s most well known gambling center, there a lot more to Sin City than card games and slot machines. Each of the attractions listed here are wheelchair accessible. I’ll offer my perspective on what I believe is worth your time and money, but I’d love to hear your take in the comments at the bottom of the page. I’ll get the most obvious Vegas activity out of the way first.
Gambling in the Casinos
Las Vegas is a gambling mecca, with Strip Casinos attracting thousands of gamblers each day. When I first started visiting Las Vegas, I wasn’t much of a gambler, but in recent years, I have come to enjoy the thrill of placing bets — preferably on games with the lowest house edge.
Slot machines offer the house a tremendous edge, but they are fun and easy to roll up to in a wheelchair. Table games are more my style, though I also enjoy placing a few wagers at the sports book. With the exception of the carpeted floors, accessibility in the casinos is generally good. Staff are more than happy to assist with moving chairs out of the way and there are lowered spaces for wheelchair users and people of short stature at video poker bars. For those who may find live table games too difficult to manage, consider playing one of the new automated or “stadium” table games, which allow bets to be placed from a digital display — eliminating the need to handle chips.
I enjoy the casino atmosphere, and there is something exhilarating about the highs and lows of betting, winning and losing. There is also another benefit: free drinks. As you gamble, whether it be at a penny slot or a high-limit table game, cocktail waitresses make the rounds, serving complimentary beverages. If you like to drink, sit down for a bit at a game and collect your comp beverage — and be sure to tip!
Be smart when you gamble, and enjoy the thrill of the experience. Take a few friends along and enjoy your time in the ritzy casinos on the Vegas Strip.
Architecture Tour of the Las Vegas Strip
The Strip is lined with interesting structures, from the Luxor Hotel & Casino’s pyramid and sphinx combo, to the New York City skyline at New York-New York, and the medieval castle at Excalibur. That’s just on one block!
While the building facades may be gimmicky in nature, I’m a fan of architecture, and enjoy spending a few minutes checking out each of the impressive structures. Best of all, you can spread this self-guided tour over several days, and it’s entirely free. 🙂
A boneyard covering more than 6 acres of real estate, the Neon Museum in Las Vegas displays the signs from old casinos and other businesses. The museum maintains the restored signs used in the Fremont Street Experience and those housed in the sign boneyard.
Some of the pieces currently held by the museum include the iconic Silver Slipper, Stardust hotel, Caesars Palace, Moulin Rouge Hotel and Desert Inn signs. Access to the main boneyard is $20 for adults; guided tours are $28. Guests can also purchase a ticket to “Brilliant!,” a 25-minute show that illuminates additional signs and “incorporates music and archival footage to transport guests into Las Vegas’ history.” Tickets to the show are $23. A show ticket and guided tour can be purchased together for the discounted rate of $45.
Pathways through the boneyard are wheelchair accessible, made of a fine gravel surface. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit NeonMuseum.org.
Fountains of Bellagio
The Fountains of Bellagio is a choreographed water show set to lights and music. Opened in 1998, the fountains have become a hallmark feature of the Las Vegas Strip and a major tourist attraction. The entire show occurs on an 8-acre man-made lake and incorporates more than 1,200 fountain nozzles and 4,500 lights.
Each performance is set to a different musical track, including favorites like “Viva Las Vegas,” Luck Be a Lady” and “Proud to be an American.” During the late morning and afternoon, the performance runs every 30 minutes. Between 8 p.m. and midnight, showings occur every 15 minutes. The show is free and visitors can line up along the lake perimeter and sidewalks of Las Vegas Boulevard to take in the show. Wheelchair users should arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior to the show in order to gain a spot with an unobstructed view along the railing which surrounds the fountains and lake.
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat
The Secret Garden is located at The Mirage Hotel & Casino, on the Las Vegas Strip. While the garden does have some flowers and plants on display, the true secret is in the incredible animals that you’ll find inside. You can come face-to-face with bottlenose dolphins, tigers, lions and leopards!
For visitors looking for a family-friendly activity on the Las Vegas Strip, the Secret Garden is the ultimate choice. With dolphin shows every half hour, an underground dolphin observatory with glass windows into the tank and plenty of big cats, children will be delighted. For an additional fee (beyond the $25 day pass for adults) you can swim with the dolphins! If you’re comfortable in the water, they are able to accommodate participants with mobility challenges.
For more information about the attraction’s wheelchair accessibility, read my full review of the Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat.
Volcano at The Mirage
Located on Las Vegas Boulevard at The Mirage hotel’s main entrance, visitors will find an artificial volcano that erupts nightly at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. The volcano was first introduced in 1989 at the hotel’s opening, but has undergone several renovations to improve the experience.
During the eruption, a soundtrack featuring Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart accompanies the traditional sounds of volcanic explosions for effect. The show lasts a few minutes and is free to watch — it’s a Las Vegas experience that every visitor should have at least once. I was 7 years old the first time I saw The Mirage volcano erupt! For more information, see The Mirage hotel’s website.
Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) is a 5-block span of Fremont Street with a pedestrian walkway that is covered by a canopy. This canopy amplifies the lights of the casinos and hotels connected to the canopy at night, as you can see in the photograph below.
Among the hotels which comprise the FSE are Las Vegas icons the Golden Nugget, Binion’s Gambling Hall, Fremont Hotel and Casino, The D and the brand-new Circa Las Vegas. The casinos collectively stage the Viva Vision Light Show beneath the canopy every night. The FSE is wheelchair-friendly and offers access 8 casinos in just a 5 block stretch. For more information on the FSE, visit VegasExperience.com.
SlotZilla Zip Line
The SlotZilla Zip Line and Zoomline are two of the most extreme wheelchair accessible experiences you’ll find in Las Vegas. I recently had the opportunity to try out the zoomline, and was able to fly like Superman (face down) over Fremont Street.
I took off from a height of 114 feet (almost 10 stories!) and had one of the thrills of my life. After my car accident, I figured that riding a zip line was a thing of the past, but the great people at SlotZilla and the Fremont Street Experience have made it possible again. I was able to zoom down the line at a speed of about 35 miles per hour, all without having to exert much effort of my own. Safe, accessible and exciting – you can’t beat that! I wrote a complete review of the experience in my blog post, Wheelchair Accessible SlotZilla Zoomline in Las Vegas. I should have put on a superman cape, because that’s exactly how I felt!
High Roller Ferris Wheel
Opened in March 2014 and located at The Linq hotel and casino, the High Roller is the world’s tallest observation wheel. The wheel stands at a height of 550 feet and features 28 cabins, each with a capacity of 40 persons. It surpassed the 541-foot Singapore Flyer for the record title. One complete revolution of the wheel requires 30 minutes.
The High Roller provides excellent views of the Las Vegas Strip and is across the street from Caesar’s Palace. The ride is wheelchair accessible with level-entry boarding and ample space for wheelchairs in each cabin. Tickets to ride in the daytime are $23.50 and $34.75 in the evening. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the High Roller website.
Tim Arnold’s Pinball Hall of Fame
The Pinball Hall of Fame is operated by the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. It maintains the world’s largest pinball collection and makes those games available to the public — not just to look at, but to play!
Located at 1610 E. Tropicana Ave., the Pinball Hall of Fame boasts more than 10,000 square feet of pinball games. That’s amazing, but it’s about to get bigger! In 2021, the PHoF will move to a brand-new building on the Las Vegas Strip, across from the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign. The new location will be more than triple the size, featuring more than 700 games available for play. As always, admission is expected to be free and the quarters that are spent on gameplay will be used to fund operations and donate to charitable causes, such as The Salvation Army.
The Strat — Viewing Deck and Amusement Rides
The Strat Hotel, Casino and SkyPod, formerly known as The Stratosphere, is a resort on the Las Vegas Strip which has an iconic tower that reaches a height of 1,149 feet. The tower has become a popular tourist attraction, with a revolving restaurant, observation deck and a number of amusement rides situated on top of the tower.
The city skyline and surrounding area can be viewed from the top of the tower, either inside or outside. There is a bar at the top of the tower, as well as the revolving restaurant known as Top of the World. Outside, there are viewing binoculars for zooming in on the Las Vegas Strip below, some of which are lowered for wheelchair access.
A number of amusement and thrill rides are located at the top of the tower, but only one was accessible to me. That ride is known as the Big Shot, a pneumatically powered tower ride, which shoots riders up and down the tower’s needle. It was quite a thrill!
For more information or to purchase tickets for the viewing platform, visit The Strat website.
Permanent Circus at Circus Circus
At the Circus Circus hotel and casino, it is possible to see trapeze, high wire and stunt artists perform free of charge. The hotel is home to the world’s largest permanent circus.
The acrobatics take place daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, every half hour on the hour. The performances can be watched from the casino floor or from an observation deck surrounding the stage. The shows are located near to the midway section of the casino. More information on the permanent circus and the acts currently in rotation can be found at CircusCircus.com.
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
The Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino opened in 2000. Its unique features make it more than “just another aquarium.” Most aquariums are located next to an ocean (I have reviewed aquariums in cities like Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and Amsterdam), but the Shark Reef is located in the middle of a desert far from the Pacific Ocean.
The aquarium’s primary tank holds 1.3million gallons of water, making it one of the largest in North America. The facility is some 95,000 square feet and displays numerous species of sharks, rays, fish and reptiles. In total, more than 2,000 animals representing over 100 species are resident of the aquarium. The most spectacular exhibit is the shark tunnel, which allows visitors to walk through the tank and see the marine life extremely close. It is one of only a small number of such tunnels worldwide. Tickets are $20.00 for adults and $18.00 for seniors age 60+. For more information on the aquarium, its exhibits and resident marine life, visit SharkReef.com. The Shark Reef is wheelchair accessible thanks to elevators, ramps and clear pathways between exhibits.
Shows and Performances
Las Vegas is not only a center of gambling, but also of entertainment. Shows and performances occur every day in the countless theaters and concert halls located in the hotels and resorts lining the Las Vegas Strip.
Among the most popular are the headliner shows featuring performances from major artists such as Britney Spears, Elton John, Mariah Carey and Rod Stewart. Eight Cirque du Soleil shows are currently showing, including the wildly popular “O” and “Mystere.” Also available are performance, magic, psychic, musical, comedy, tribute and adult shows. For a list of current and upcoming performances or to purchase tickets, please use my affiliate link to visit Vegas.com. I will receive a small commission when you make a purchase.
Shopping! Retailers at Multiple Price Points
Las Vegas is home to nearly all of the world’s clothing and jewelry stores, and shopping is one of the most popular things to do in the city.
Below, you will find a list of some of the most popular shopping centers and where to find them. Whether you are interested in shopping at the Rolex store or at the Gap Factory Outlet, there is something for everyone.
- Bellagio Shops — The Bellagio Shops contain many of the world’s top fashion houses including Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Prada, Valentino and others.
- The Forum Shops — Connected to Caesars Palace, the Forum Shops is the highest grossing shopping center per square foot in the United States. It is home to more than 150 retailers, including Apple, Cartier, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Versace.
- Las Vegas Premium Outlets North — Located near Downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find outlet and factory stores like Armani Exchange, Burberry, Cole Haan, Disney, Dolce & Gabbana, Gap, Kate Spade, Nike, Steve Madden and others.
- Las Vegas Premium Outlets South — Located near the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas sign, you’ll find outlet and factory stores like Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Columbia, Elizabeth Arden, Guess, Kay Jewelers, Pandora, Reebok, Swarovski, Vera Bradley and others.
- The Shops at Crystals — Directly connected to Aria, connected via an elevated walkway to The Cosmopolitan, and connected to Park MGM and Bellagio via the Aria Express tram, The Shops at Crystals has more than 50 tenants including luxury brands like Bulgari, Gucci, Harry Winston, Stella McCartney and Tiffany & Co.
Gold and Silver Pawn Shop
The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, featured on the History Channel’s Pawn Stars television show, is located on Las Vegas Boulevard and open to the public. The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and anyone can visit the store to browse, sell or pawn an item. Although the History Channel is filming regularly, that process is often kept out of the public eye, with a rumored second set in the building’s warehouse.
To meet Chumlee, Rick Harrison and Corey Harrison, fans can purchase a VIP Meet and Greet Pawn Stars Tour, which is sold for $99. Information on this an other opportunities to meet the cast is available on the store website at gspawn.com.
CBS Television City Research Center at MGM Grand
Las Vegas tourists have the opportunity to get a sneak peek of upcoming television shows, ads, products and more at the CBS Television City Research Center. Visitors will participate in a typically hour long research study session. This will involve watching a TV show pilot episode, an episode of a current TV show or a series of commercials. Following the viewing, visitors will be asked to respond to a series of questions on a keypad. This information is used by Viacom, which owns the CBS, MTV and Nickelodeon networks, to make decisions on the programs that are aired on these and other networks. Tickets are free and can be picked up in front of Television City, which is located at MGM Grand. For more information on the experience, visit TVCityResearch.com. The building and theaters used for the research screenings are wheelchair accessible. Visitors with a mobility disability are able to participate fully in the studies.