Walk through any casino in Las Vegas and you’re instantly inundated by the clanging sounds of slot machines, bass-thumping music streaming out of nightclubs and bars, the collective cheers of fans gathering to watch the big game in the sports nook and high-pitched screams emanating from jackpot winners. You may start to wonder if there’s any place in this desert city where you can find a bit of peace and quiet. While most tranquil spots are found away from The Strip, a handful of serene locations exists in the midst of all the chaos.
Let's Paint the Town!
Stroll through the quiet halls of the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art at the Bellagio hotel and enjoy works by some of the world’s most revered artists. The exhibitions change frequently and have included the art of Andy Warhol and Claude Monet. Explore the gallery on your own or join the daily docent-led tour. The museum also hosts wine tasting events about once a month that are open to the public. For more encounters with fine art, head to The Galleries at UNLV, the campus-based venue comprised of six galleries and one museum. Constantly changing gallery exhibits showcase pieces from both established artists -- such as Claes Oldenburg -- and student artists. The Marjorie Barrick Museum focuses on pre-Columbian and ethnographic art.
You may not think of gardens when Las Vegas comes to mind, but the city has its share of peaceful green spaces. For starters, head to the lobby of the Bellagio hotel to visit the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Take a walk through the indoor gardens lined with colorful flowers, bridges, gazebos and ponds. Soft and live classical music entertains visitors daily. Just 10 minutes from The Strip, Springs Preserve is home to 110 acres of gardens. Make your way through pathways as you examine the largest collection of Mojave Desert cacti and succulents. Natural habitats showcase more than 250 species of wildlife, including bobcats, lizards and green heron.
Mother Nature in Sin City
Explore rustic scenery less than 30 minutes west of Las Vegas at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Embark on the region’s 13-mile scenic drive as it takes you through dramatic landscape marked with towering red rock formations and canyon. If you’re feeling truly adventurous, hike along more than 30 miles of trails. Cool off by heading 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas to Lake Mead National Recreational Area. Formed by the Hoover Dam, the man-made lake lies in both Nevada and Arizona. Enjoy an afternoon of fishing, kayaking and canoeing on the lake in the midst of a stark desert landscape.
Pamper Your Mind and Body
For a bit of enlightenment, pay a visit to the Chaiya Meditation Monastery, about 15 minutes west of The Strip. Open to people of all faiths and religions, the Buddhist monastery covers more than 3 acres. Leaders at the temple give lectures and daily classes on meditation techniques. If spa therapy is more your thing, treat yourself to a day at one of the city’s top spas. The Spa at the Wynn Las Vegas, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, and The Spa at Encore Las Vegas have all earned perfect five-star ratings from Forbes Travel Guide. Enjoy a massage in a luxurious setting, such as the Mandarin Oriental’s two-story spa with a 1930s Shanghai-inspired look. Glass atrium ceilings rain filtered light at the Wynn Spa, and garden treatment rooms enchant at the Encore Spa.
- Bellagio: Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
- UNLV: UNLV Galleries
- Bellagio: Bellegaio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- Springs Preserve
- U.S. Department of the Interior: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
- National Park Service: Lake Mead National Recreation Area
- Chaiya Meditation Monastery
- Forbes Travel Guide: Best Spas in Las Vegas
- Wynn Las Vegas: The Spa at Wynn
- Encore Las Vegas: The Spa at Encore
- Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images