North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas is a melting pot of desert valleys, panoramic vistas, and dynamic development. Visitors stream in by the hundreds of thousands for high-octane events and festivals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and many post up at luxury resorts and make North Las Vegas a comfortable base camp for a variety of nearby outdoor pursuits.
Welcome to the City of North Las Vegas
As one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in Nevada, the city of North Las Vegas is a melting pot of desert valleys, panoramic vistas, and dynamic development. Many people are surprised to learn that the city is actually separate from Las Vegas, with an entirely different set of attractions and appeal of its own. Visitors to North Las Vegas kick back at luxurious casino resorts, get after some outdoor adventure, and head to some of Nevada’s best places to feed the need for speed, on two wheels or four, on pavement or off.
North Las Vegas History & Culture
North Las Vegas isn’t just the northern part of Las Vegas; it’s its own city. In fact, with a population of more than 250,000 residents, it’s the fourth largest city in the state of Nevada. The earliest permanent residents were self-described “church people” who favored theocracy, the first permanent residents weren’t big fans of what was going on down in Las Vegas, and were surprised to find that, during Prohibition, bootleggers had utilized a series of tunnels to connect underground speakeasies. During World War II, the Las Vegas Aerial Gunnery School opened here (later becoming Nellis Air Force Base), and new residents and development continued to stream in, shaping the city into the North Las Vegas as we know it today.
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Things to Do in North Las Vegas
The city of North Las Vegas is situated at the northern edge of the Las Vegas Valley, where recreational endeavors abound. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, off-roading, and even skiing, all in the radius of North Las Vegas. The north shore of alluring Lake Mead National Recreation Area is just minutes away, while the two extremes of towering Mt. Charleston within the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area and sprawling Desert National Wildlife Refuge are within easy reach. Shadow Creek Golf Course routinely swings onto Golf Digest’s top 100 list.
Families flock to Aliante Nature Discovery Park, which most locals call the “Dinosaur Park” for its dino-themed playground, featuring a “fossils” and “hatchlings” that can be excavated in the sandbox. Walking paths wind around the park’s 20 acres, which also reveal a waterfall, lake, and plenty of recreational amenities.
Nellis Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area beckons dirt bikers and UTV riders of all stripes with 10,000 acres of off-road action. If you’re already a seasoned pro, you can BYO rig on tons of tracks and trails; if not, you can have the fine folks at Las Vegas ATV & UTV Tours show you the ropes. A bit further northeast, the Logandale Trails System contains more than 200 miles of popular OHV trails, which weave past wildlife, rare plants, and even petroglyphs.
On the northwest rim of town lies Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, one of the country’s newest monuments and possibly the world’s best concentrations of Ice Age fossils, from Columbian mammoths to saber-toothed cats. About 20 minutes further is Desert Wildlife National Refuge—at 1.6 million acres, the largest refuge in the Lower 48—where all manner of outdoor activities abound, chief of which is spotting wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep and a handful of critters found nowhere else on Earth.
Nellis Air Force Base
At the northeastern edge of North Las Vegas is Nellis Air Force Base, known as “Home of the Fighter Pilot” for housing the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, considered the “largest and most demanding advanced air combat training mission” on Earth. Nellis AFB is also the base of operations for the Thunderbirds, the aerobatic air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force; a museum honoring six decades of these fancy flyers can be visited, as long as you are sponsored onto the base by someone with installation access.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Automobile aficionados and race car fans know North Las Vegas as home to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which hosts numerous NHRA drag racing events and two NASCAR Cup Series Race events—the only ones in Nevada. During Spring Race Weekend, it’s the Pennzoil 400, the followup to the season-opening Daytona 500. And on Fall Race Weekend, drivers and fans come back for the South Point 400, the kickoff to the second round of the NASCAR Playoffs.
If you’d rather get behind the wheel yourself, the Speedway is also the HQ of Exotics Racing, which provides safe, exhilarating driving experiences in supercars, from Ferraris to Lamborghinis to McLarens. Exotics Racing also keeps the adrenaline flowing with superpowered go-karts and drifting ride-along experiences.
North Las Vegas Food & Drink
Being this close to one of the culinary capitals of our nation is its own perk, but North Las Vegas restaurants pack plenty of their own tasty punches, too, especially when it comes to ethnic cuisine. Some of our faves to crave? Hot Chicken LB, EllaEm’s Soul Food, or Sugar Daddy’s Café to put a little south in your mouth. Tokyo Café for ramen and Japanese Curry. Asada for all things Mexican. And Amazing Thai Restaurant for exactly what it sounds like.
Where to Stay in the City of North Las Vegas
If you’re looking to stay (just enough) away from the bustle of the Strip, North Las Vegas has you covered at a number of comfortable, national chain hotels, and a couple of amenity-packed resorts.
Right in the heart of North Las Vegas, Cannery Casino Hotel sprawls across 28 acres and keeps visitors happy with a 72,000-square-foot casino floor, live entertainment, an on-site movie theater with motion-activated chairs, and plenty to eat, including at Carve Prime Rib.
At the north edge of town is Aliante Casino Hotel Spa, a AAA Four Diamond resort that boasts more than 200 hotel rooms and suites, a 650-seat showroom, an Imax theater, a posh resort-style pool, several restaurants, and a recently reimagined 3,500-square-foot luxury spa.
For a cooler, more elevated experience (we’re talking 6,700 feet above sea level here) away from the city lights, make the short drive and escape to the Retreat on Charleston Peak, an elegant, rustic lodge where you can gaze at the stars, sip a drink by the fire, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding canyons and forested mountains.
Dance Party: Electric Daisy Carnival
Each May, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway comes alive with sound and color—and a whole helluva lot of it—at the most famous of North Las Vegas events. Easily the biggest, greatest electronic dance music festival in the US, EDC packs three days with stacked lineups, mesmerizing light and pyrotechnic shows, and more than 400,000 revelers dancing to EDM.
Whether you’re sendin’ it at the Dunes, dancin’ to electronic tunes, or sunnin’ by a pool lagoon, tag your snaps with #TravelNevada and you just might see them here.