What (else) Happens In Vegas? There’s More Than Gambling For Adventurous Tourists In ‘Sin City’


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LAS VEGAS — What kind of weirdo would come to this city and not gamble? No poker, no slots, no craps, no roulette, no sports betting, not even baccarat: not a penny spent on the fickle whims of Fortune.

Presumably you’re familiar with the world-famous charms of this sprawling city in western Nevada: the show business, the glitz, the $7.99 buffets, the ease of access to every single vice known to human civilization.

Above all, the gambling, or “gaming,” as the industry prefers: an entire urban economy rooted in games of chance that, almost by definition, favor the house at the expense of the gambler.

As someone who doesn’t gamble or drink, and who regards lavish stage productions with the kind of low-intensity dread young children feel before visiting a particularly dull grandparent, it would seem that Las Vegas had little to offer.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Because, in this desert of 24-hour casinos built to look like famous structures in Europe and pedestrian-hostile thoroughfares, there are plenty of oases of quirky interest that can satisfy even the most discerning seeker of offbeat fun.

Perhaps the most impressive and informative of these sites currently sits about a mile and a half east of the famed Strip, with its garish hotel casinos and packs of wandering showgirls drumming up business for their employers. The National Atomic Testing Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is a jaw-dropping collection of artifacts and displays related to nuclear weapons, which grimly seems more relevant than ever.



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