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If you are not from an area that features mountains, you can head northwest on 93 to Mt Charleston. Pack a picnic lunch. During the hot summer you will find cooler temperatures, and during the winter you will probably find snow, not something you will typically see in Las Vegas itself.

Speaking of packing a picnic lunch, we visited Las Vegas twice before moving here. On both of those trips we rented a car and one one of them we stayed with friends in a condo. During both trips we found ourselves wanting a grocery store and a drug store. There are CVS and Walgreen's drug stores on the Strip, but we found nothing like a typical grocery store within walking distance. We assumed it was intentional on the part of casino owners to keep people at their restaurants and bars for food and drink. If you head west from the Strip by car on Tropicana, Flamingo, Spring Mountain, Sahara or Charleston, you will within a couple of miles find a Smith's, Von's, or Albertson's, all of which sell food and adult beverages and offer prepared foods and sandwiches for your convenience.

There is another scenic drive on the east side of the city. Find Lake Mead Blvd., and follow it east out of the city toward the west shore of Lake Mead. Taking a right onto 167 will take you to an intersection with Lake Shore Road. A right onto Lakeshore will take you past the once and future development of Lake Las Vegas and back to the city. Or you can turn left on Lakeshore and follow up along the west shore of the lake toward Boulder City where you can find your way back to the city through Railroad Pass. Boulder City is a day trip in itself offering shopping, dining, mountain bike trails, a zip wire, and the occasional crafts festival. Nearby is of course Hoover Dam and the newish bridge over the river, worth a visit in itself.

If you prefer riding to walking, there are horseback riding operations around the city where pavement meets desert and mountains.

If you want to spend less time driving, the concierge at your accommodation will arrange day and multi-day trips to nearby places like the Grand Canyon and Death Valley. Options are many and really depend on how adventurous you are and how much time you want to spend away from the neon lights and glitz of the Strip.

Other places of interest include:

For all things Asian, visit China Town. Centered on Spring Mountain, just across the freeway and west of Las Vegas Blvd., it is a great place to explore the many restaurants and shops. Our favorite is the 99 Market, where we go bi-weekly for fresh ingredients for our Chinese and Thai dinners. Sharing the parking lot with the 99 Ranch Market is an authentic ginseng and tea shop that actually carries lapsang souchong tea, a smoked black tea that is our favorite.

Counts Kustoms, where one of the Las Vegas reality shows is shot. Free. You might not see Danny and his crew, but you will be able to visit his collection of custom cars.

If you like cars, don't miss the Shelby Museum, relocated not long ago from the Speedway north of the city to its current location just off Las Vega Blvd., south of Mandalay Bay. Free. You will find a small collection of Shelby modified Mustangs, a souvenir shop, and will be albe to take a guided tour of their shop and watch the mechanics turning street Mustangs in to high power Shelby Mustangs.

For a maor exhibit of classic cars, visit the Car Show at the Imperial Palace, now called the Quad. Not free but worth the admission.

The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, where Pawn Stars is shot. Free. Again, you may not see the stars there, but the shop itself is worth the visit. They recently developed some additional shops and food venues ajacent to the pawn shop.

The Container Park. Free. This is part of the Downtown Las Vegas redevelopment project by entrepreneur and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. The property is a small shopping center of stores and restaurants build entirely from shipping containers. You might find musicians performing for free on the stage, and there is a wonder play area in its center for kids (and adults as there is no age limit for the slides and towers).
Even if you are not staying there, you should stop by the Bellagio and visit the conservatory just off the main reception area. It is changed seasonally and is alway simply spectacular, especially during major holidays.
City Center Walking Art Tour. Free. Obtain a map at the concierge desk of the Aria. When City Center was built, the designers integrated dozens of huge art works into the property. A walking tour connects them.

Clark County Wetlands. Free. A great place on the southeast side of the city for a walk and visit to a nature center. Great for the kids and to enjoy the sunny weather.

Ethyl M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden. Free. Also great for the kids. After a brief tour of the candy factory and maybe a guilty pleasure in their store, take time to stroll around the cactus garden, lit for the holidays.

Magical Forest. Open at Christmas and Halloween, this display of lights is great evening activity for the family. NOt free, but the proceeds support Opportunity Village, a program for the developmentally disabled.

Clark County Heritage Museum. Located on Boulder Highway on the way to Boulder City, this museum, curated by the bearded history expert who is a frequent adviser on the Pawn Stars TV show, features a small indoor museum along with a collection of historic buildings assembled to represent a small Clark County neighborhood. Building, including a famous local chapel, were relocated there rather than be torn down. They also have a locomotive and train cars.

Springs Preserve. Located off West Charleston, the Springs Preserve is cite for a couple of museums and a demonstration house for environmentally friendly construction. The museums are not free but the house is and there is no charge for strolling around this very interesting property.

Well kown enough not to be mentioned here, the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay will be cited if for no other reason than they took in O.D. a sea turtle rescued and rehabilitated by Richie Moretti at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon in the Florida Keys. O.D. could not be released back into the wild so the Turtle Hospital reached out for suitable facilities willing to adopt him. The Shark Reef display accepted. It is a wonderful display for the whole family, well worth the price of admisson. And say hello to O.D. for us if you see him.

Downtown Summerlin. Adjacent to the Red Rock casino, Downtown Summerlin is a outdoor mall with street parking. If you get tired of the indoor malls on the Strip, head out West Charleston to Summerlin and shop in the fresh air. Similar shopping areas can be found at The District, and at Town Center.

This is just a partial list of things to do and see in Las Vegas, this list being mostly reasons to get off the Strip and out and around the city. If you don't have a lot of time while on your visit to Las Vegas, or prefer not to drive in a strange city, there is plenty to see within walking distance of your Strip lodgings.