East of the Strip
Visits east reward explorers with a deeper understanding of what makes Vegas tick. You won't find many top sights here, but there are a few, like collections of vintage pinball machines, rock-and-roll memorabilia and a glimpse into Las Vegas' dark atomic past. You'll also find cheap eats, bars where bartenders drink and LGBT haunts.
In January 2012, Tony Hsieh, CEO of the Zappos online shoe/clothing empire announced he would pour $350 million over five years into the revitalization of Las Vegas' ailing Downtown, where, before the Strip, it all began. It can't be said that his grand philanthropic vision was entirely realized, but it wasn't a failure either.
West of the Strip
Why bother heading west of the Strip, you might ask, where the cookie-cutter suburbs rolling onto the Spring Mountains are only interrupted by a casino or three and a dozen strip joints. Although they continue to lure a party-hearty crowd (with celebrity standbys), the big players, Palms and Rio, seem tired.
Northwest of Downtown, Summerlin's network of affluent villages (www.summerlin.com), backed by mountains, ringed by reserves and linked by multipurpose trails, has a decidedly slower pace. The area's Sun City was Vegas' first planned 'active adult community,' an extension of the eponymous project in Arizona that put founder Del Webb on the cover of Time Magazine.