Hidden Gems in Las Vegas: Sin City’s Best Kept Secrets
- Published on August 9, 2022
- by Ryan Castillo
Las Vegas is known for its world-class nightlife, casinos, and entertainment. From watching the Bellagio water show to catching a Las Vegas Raiders game at Allegiant Stadium, there is no shortage of fun things to do. However, if you find yourself looking for something new and exciting and want to venture off the beaten path, we’ve got you covered. We reached out to locals to share their favorite hidden gems in Las Vegas. So whether you’re already living in Las Vegas, considering renting an apartment in Paradise, NV, or are just a tourist for the week, venture away from the strip and try these exciting places. As the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” so you’ll want to keep these places a secret.
Hidden gem hotels in Las Vegas
Located on the Las Vegas strip, the Cosmopolitan Hotel is a luxury resort that is operated by MGM Resorts International.
“One of my favorite hidden gems in Las Vegas is the Cosmopolitan Hotel,” shares Tonia Osborne, CEO of Travels by Tonia, a boutique travel firm. “The Cosmopolitan Hotel is one of the pioneers of hidden bars and restaurants and even has a secret drink called the Verbena Cocktail that is only served at the Chandelier Bar. Whether it’s a late-night slice of pizza at the legendary Secret Pizza or a mezcal-infused cocktail at Ghost Donkey, it’s always a good time to grab your travel party to track down this hotel’s hidden delicacies.”
Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall
Considered Las Vegas’s first “local” casino, Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall features many different attractions, from an indoor park to a bowling center.
“Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall is one of those quintessential and classic Las Vegas experiences that’s one of a kind,” shares Amber McDaniel, CEO and Writer of Always the Adventure. “We like to start by grabbing food at the Angry butcher Steakhouse — any of their steaks paired with their Classic Oscar or Green Peppercorn Sauce toppings are divine. Follow that up with a drink from the Ram’s Head bar before taking a stroll through the neon lights and waterfalls of the magical indoor Mystic Falls Park for their nature-inspired laser light show.”
Hidden gem restaurants, cafes, and bars in Las Vegas
Looking for a modern twist on European cafes? Look no further than Cafe Lola, which serves breakfast, brunch, and afternoon tea.
“My hidden gem for a delicious bite is Cafe Lola,” raves local photographer Alexa Chaize. “This adorable cafe is a local favorite because of its cute ‘instagramable’ decor, drinks, and food. They have afternoon tea and the best avocado toast and doughnuts around.
Located in the basement of Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Hugo’s Cellar features an authentic, vintage 1970s Vegas lounge.
Las Vegas Walking Tours, a local tour company shares, “Located and ‘hidden’ in the basement of the bustling casino on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas is Hugo’s Cellar. Be sure to go for dinner or step back in time with a cocktail by the fireplace and soak up the ambiance. For the wine connoisseur, Hugo’s boasts a sommelier of 38 years suggesting from over 350 varieties of wine.”
Cleaver Steakhouse is a restaurant right off the Las Vegas strip known for its amazing steaks.
Emily of Elopement Las Vegas, a Las Vegas wedding planning service, says, “The food and drinks at Cleaver Steakhouse are amazing, and you can’t get a better deal on a quality steak. The vibe is fantastic, and it is always busy during happy hour, so be sure to make a reservation in advance.
Emily also shares that the restaurant offers 50% off from 5-8 pm happy hour every day.
Branded as a not-so-typical ice cream shop, Secret Creamery offers small, batch artisan ice cream.
“Secret Creamery is an amazing hidden gem with so many flavors they even have Mac n Cheese ice cream,” raves Suzy of Stripchezze Food Truck, a local food truck in Las Vegas. “It is located behind the fashion show mall in a little shipping container.”
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas & Cantina
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas & Cantina is a delicious restaurant that serves traditional Mexican favorites such as carinitas, enchiladas, and fajitas.
Karissa Russ, a local photographer, raves, “My favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas is off the strip. Juan’s Flaming Fajitas is by far my favorite Mexican restaurant in town. I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve ordered on the menu. They also reserve the title for the best michelada in town. I always order their fresh ceviche and enchiladas.”
She also suggests making a reservation if you plan on going, but the wait is worth the food.
The Laundry Room
The Laundry Room is a small hole-in-the-wall classic pre-prohibition-themed speakeasy. If you don’t know it’s there, you’ll never discover the delicious, vintage cocktails it offers.
“Located in the Commonwealth restaurant, you’ll need to text a certain number and give them a detailed request for reservations in order to get instructions to get in. Once inside, you’ll find the cocktails are creative and involved. Or, if you like, tell the mixologist what kind of flavors you like, and they will create one for you. This is real mixology, and the subdued atmosphere, which feels as genuine to the 1920s as you’ll get, is one you’ll remember for years to come,” raves Andrew Doughty of Revealed Travel Guides.
Herbs & Rye
Herbs & Rye services classic American and Italian foods, steaks, and delicious cocktails.
Las Vegas locals and influencers Tanya and Dave of Turn It Up World share, “A true hidden gem and a local favorite is Herbs & Rye located just a bit north of the Stratosphere. It not only has some of the best bartenders in Las Vegas but it’s the only steakhouse we know of that has happy hour prices from the moment they open til closing time. Locals love this small hidden gem steakhouse because of its throwback charm and its great selection of menu items, from steaks to a very cool cocktail menu.”
Turn It Up World recommends trying the meatball and chorizo, pork and fig, or tasty rib eye, and to select a drink from the “Golden Age” or “Gothic Age” area of the menu.
Hidden gem attractions in Las Vegas
The Neon Museum features neon signs from old casinos and Las Vegas businesses.
Local photographer Jamie Y shares, “My favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas is the Neon Museum. Although it has become quite popular, it is still unknown to so many people that come to visit. It is filled with old Vegas signs from hotels of Vegas past. While the newer casinos have a more modern look, the Neon Museum is a place that can take you back in history. With a daytime tour and nighttime tour, it is a must-do on your visit.”
The Village at Lake Las Vegas
The Village at Lake Las Vegas is a great place to go for fine dining, shopping, hotels, and water sports.
Vivian of Vivian Maxine Photography recommends “taking in the scenic backdrop of Lake Las Vegas’s gorgeous, beautifully manicured landscaping, expansive sparkling lake, and Italian-inspired architecture while enjoying dinner at one of the many restaurants. Grabbing dessert at Mrs. Coco or BellaLinda, getting your nails done at Once Upon a Nail Salon, and planning some fun water sports activities for the whole family are some of the many activities you can do. The Village at Lake Las Vegas also holds a farmers market hosted by Fresh52 every 2nd or 4th Friday and hosts live music on Saturdays.”
Doctor Harry B. Johnson Rose Garden
Doctor Harry B. Johnson Rose Garden is placed on a 1.97-acre plot of land and features a rose garden, park, and gazebos.
Local photographer Jennifer Hyman raves, “Living in the desert, it’s sometimes hard to believe that such a pretty, green park like the Doctor Harry B. Johnson Rose Garden exists. This hidden gem in Southern Highlands features a well-manicured, European-style garden filled with beautiful, seasonal roses in a bevy of colors. This gated park also has a shaded playground, a small splash pad, and covered tables. Parking is limited, but it’s such a lovely backdrop for anything from quiet reflection to a photo shoot to a picnic.”
Seven Magic Mountains
Seven Magic Mountains is an art installation of stacked neon boulders over 30 feet tall that’s free and open to the public 24/7.
Local Lens, a site to find local photographers, shares, “This is a can’t miss for photo ops. It was supposed to be open for just two years, but due to popularity, it became a permanent installation in the Nevada desert.”
Emerald Cave is a small cave tucked in the Black Canyon that sits just around 60 minutes outside the Las Vegas Strip.
“The Emerald Cave is located on the Colorado River in the Black Canyon just 12 miles south of the Hoover Dam. You’ll travel through historic Boulder City on your way to the cave where there are many quaint shops and diners to explore,” notes Evolution Expeditions, a company that provides Las Vegas outdoor excursions.
Wildhorse Golf Club
Wildhorse Golf Club is a venue located in Henderson, NV, which also hosts the Las Vegas Challenge for Discgolf.
Scott Emigh, a local freelance journalist shares, “Another exciting opportunity that Las Vegas provides is easy access to one of the top disc golf courses in the nation. While hundreds of thousands of disc golfers tune in every year to watch the Las Vegas Challenge at Wildhorse Golf Club, it’s hard to believe that you can play that iconic venue for only $15. The low admission cost includes golf cart access and a beverage to enjoy on the same luscious greens that Paul McBeth, Eagle McMahon, Ricky Wysocki, Kevin Jones, and Nate Sexton have competed on. Wildhorse offers disc golf at a level most players rarely get to enjoy.”
Hidden gem hikes and parks in Las Vegas
Valley of Fire State Park
Featuring 2000-year-old petroglyphs, Valley of Fire State Park is a wonderful preservation area that spans nearly 46,000 acres of land to explore.
“Less than 1 hour away from the Vegas strip lies one of the most beautiful and breathtaking parks in the state. There are 40,000 acres of Aztec Sandstone waiting for you at the Valley of Fire National Park. Within the park, our hidden gem is Atlatl Rock Campground; but many of the sites have electric and water hookups and are perfect for camping in a luxury RV,” shares Bowlus, a luxury RV company.
Clark County Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park was opened in 1991 and features a nature center, nature preserve, and various trails that residents and visitors can walk along.
“My favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas is called Clark County Wetlands Park, which is found on the east side of Vegas. It’s a big park with little streams all over and nice long trails to walk around in all their different paths. There are also lots of little animals you might encounter on the hike, such as jackrabbits, quail, and beavers. It’s also great for kids because they have an awesome Nature Center building which is great for education,” remarks Susy Martinez Photography, a local photographer.
Lone Mountain Trail
The Lone Mountain Trail provides unparalleled views of Las Vegas and is only minutes from the downtown neighborhood.
Valerie Kay, a local photographer notes, “My favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas is Lone Mountain. Located in Northwest Las Vegas, the trail on this small mountain is a mildly strenuous hike that can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to get to the top. This hike is perfect for the avid hiker, and even families with ambitious kiddos, with rewarding and breathtaking views of the entire city once you reach the peak. Since it’s open all the time, bringing a headlamp can be a great idea for experiencing all the amazing city lights at night.”
Red Rock Canyon Nature Preserve
Located in the Mojave Desert, Red Rock Canyon Nature Preserve features beautiful towering Red Rock stones and Native American petroglyphs.
“Getting off the beaten path in Las Vegas is easier than you think,” shares travel blogger, Jen Rogers. “If you’re looking for the perfect escape from the bright lights, glitz, and glamour, Red Rock Canyon Nature Preserve, just 45 minutes from the Strip, is the perfect spot. The park is renowned for its fiery red rock formations with a one-way scenic drive that winds its way to numerous turn-offs offering some fantastic hiking spots.”
She recommends checking the interconnecting Calico trails, Petroglyph Wall Trail, and Ice Box Canyon in order to get lost in the silence.
Red Rock Overlook Trail
Located in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Red Rock Overlook Trail offers dramatic views, a picnic area, and easy access.
“I absolutely love Red Rock Overlook. It has the most stunning views of Red Rock Canyon. It is a daily favorite of locals because of the beautiful sunsets. There are picnic benches and a short 0.5-mile trail for hiking,” shares Charles Cabrera, a local photographer.
White Pinnacle Peak
Also located in Red Rock Canyon, White Pinnacle Peak is the highest sandstone peak in the national conservation area and features challenging class 4 climbing.
Hiking Las Vegas, a hiking blog sharing the best hikes in and around Las Vegas, shares, “White Pinnacle Peak is quickly becoming one of the must-do peaks in the Southwest for adventure seekers. Why? Imagine walking or crawling out to the summit with a 400-foot drop on one side and a 1,000-foot drop on the other side. The iconic photo when you are at the summit is a photo you will treasure.”
Corn Creek Desert National Wildlife Refuge
A hidden gem in the middle of the desert, Corn Creek Desert National Wildlife Refuge has its own unique ecosystem within its boundaries that encompasses a freshwater creek, a grassy meadow, many types of plants and trees, and the desert area surrounding it.
“There are maps available at the visitor center showing all the family-friendly trails, and they have more information about migratory birds, the endangered Pahrump Poolfish, and other animals who depend on Corn Creek to survive,” shares local native Sheena Gallegos of Sheena Gal Photography. “They also have a Junior Ranger Program for the kids.”