Visit Unique Museums in Las Vegas
By Rob Kachelriess and Tyler Bohlman
Bright lights. Magicians. Blackjack. These are the things that immediately spring to mind when you think about Las Vegas, Nevada. But as any local will tell you, there’s so much more to Vegas than gambling and crooners. The city has a unique history surrounding the spectacle, which is captured in delightfully entertaining and informative museums. These five museums aren’t on most peoples’ Vegas itinerary, but they’re shining a (neon) light on how a tiny desert oasis evolved into the major destination we know and love today.*
The Neon Museum
The bright neon lights of Las Vegas don’t just disappear with the latest hotel implosion. Many of the city’s most iconic signs and marquees have been restored and preserved at The Neon Museum, a walkable outdoor exhibit that covers just over two acres. Explore the Neon Boneyard’s more than 250 signs from casinos, motels, and businesses, including the Stardust, Sahara, and La Concha. Highlights include a skull from Treasure Island and a towering guitar from the now-defunct Hard Rock. Come by at night for Brilliant! — a show that brings North Gallery exhibits to life with music, lights, and video projection mapping.
The Mob Museum
You can’t discuss the growth of Las Vegas without including the mob. The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, more commonly known as the Mob Museum, covers three floors of the very courthouse that once prosecuted the most notorious criminals in town.
Discover how mobsters ran casinos back in the day and learn about other influential crime figures beyond Las Vegas. There’s even part of a wall riddled with bullets from the infamous Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929. Don’t forget to grab a cocktail in the basement at The Underground Speakeasy and Distillery. The Prohibition-style bar stays open long after the museum has closed for the day. It has live music, craft cocktails, and an on-site distillery that makes moonshine.
It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when it wasn’t unusual for the U.S. military to set off nuclear weapons in the desert at its Nevada Test Site. It was even considered a spectator event for those viewing the mushroom clouds from within city limits. The Atomic Museum takes a deep dive into these events and explores the rest of the Atomic Age. Go back to a time when the threat of nuclear war permeated pop culture, from movies to spy novels, and stretched the limits of diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia during the Cold War. The museum also has a chilling, interactive film with vibrations and lights that simulate an atomic blast in real time.
The Punk Rock Museum
Vegas’s newest unique museum, opened in 2023, is The Punk Rock Museum. This rebellious collection of artifacts takes an unapologetically insightful look at one of the most misunderstood forms of popular music. Located in a gritty part of Downtown that matches the character of its subject matter, the museum features instruments, handwritten lyrics, concert flyers, and other artifacts that trace the history of the genre from the 1970s through today. What makes a museum tour even better? Hearing firsthand stories from the people who lived them. In a fun twist, the museum enlists real-life members from some of punk’s greatest bands to lead special-event tours. Hear on-the-road stories from members of Sugarcult, The Vandals, Bad Religion, and more. There’s also an on-site tattoo parlor, bar, and wedding chapel.
Pinball Hall of Fame
The Pinball Hall of Fame showcases nearly 500 machines and arcade games in a 25,000-square-foot warehouse on the Strip. Walk the aisles and take a trip through time with pinball machines dedicated to pop culture’s greatest figures. Game themes include Superman, The Wizard of Oz, Guns N’ Roses, and hundreds more. And it’s not just newer themes that make the cut. The oldest machine dates to 1934. Both parking and admission are free — and yes, you can bring your own quarters and play a few of the games yourself. The Pinball Hall of Fame operates as a nonprofit, donating all money collected after expenses to charity.
Where To Stay
Marriott’s Grand Chateau®
Located a stone’s throw from the world-famous Las Vegas strip, this vibrant resort is your home away from home. Begin each day with a delicious breakfast cooked right in your room when you take advantage of the fully equipped kitchen. Then head out to the strip for a full day of gaming and fun. Want to stay in and relax? The fifth-floor pool sure beats the desert heat. While you’re relaxing poolside, visit the adjacent bar for a cool drink and tasty appetizers. When night falls, you may be looking for an alternative to the crowded Vegas clubs. Relax with a drink at SkyBar 38, a laid-back rooftop gem that pairs delicious drinks with stunning views of the Strip. After an exciting day, come back to your villa for a relaxing bath in the soaking tub before falling asleep on your oh-so comfortable bed.
Contact Member Services to use Points* to reserve a stay at these or dozens of other hotels.
* “Points” means Club Points in Marriott Vacation Club℠, Asia-Pacific; Club Points in Marriott Vacation Club Destinations℠, Australia; Points in Marriott Vacation Club Destinations℠, Bali Nusa Dua Gardens; and Points in Marriott Vacation Club Destinations℠, Bali Nusa Dua Terrace and is not to be confused with Marriott Bonvoy® points.
Members of Marriott Vacation Club, Asia-Pacific, who purchased their Club memberships prior to 16 December 2016, must activate their Abound by Marriott Vacations™ memberships to be able to access this option.
The ability of the Exchange Company to confirm a specific exchange request is dependent upon the timeshare interests and use periods available or as provided by the provider of accommodations or services. Therefore, Abound cannot guarantee specific resort choices, dates of travel, or types or sizes of accommodations. The earlier an exchange is requested, the better the possibility that a specific request may be confirmed.
Marriott Vacation Club International and their respective affiliates and subsidiaries make no warranty, express or implied, as to the condition, capacity, performance, or any other aspect of the activities, events, or service providers listed herein. No inquiry has been made into the activities or events, or the qualifications or the quality of food or services offered by the providers. Do not consider this an endorsement of or recommendation for any of the food, activities, events, or providers. Hours of operation and offerings of any service providers are subject to change.