The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

See a different side of Sin City – its attractions go beyond gambling.

U.S. News & World Report

The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

Best Las Vegas Tours

See the brilliant lights of the strip with a night tour from Big Bus Las Vegas.(Courtesy of Big Bus Tours)

There are many more things to do in and around Las Vegas than gambling at a casino and taking in an over-the-top show. Nearby marvels like Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon make excellent daytrips for visitors looking to escape their hotels for a spell. Within the city, the glittering Strip and the multitude of restaurants are enough to entice any traveler. Consulting expert input and traveler opinions, U.S. News has identified the best overall guided tours to assist both first-time and frequent visitors to make the most of their Vegas vacation. Whether you opt to see the sights via bus, helicopter or customized SUV, you're sure to experience the city in ways you haven't before.

Big Bus Las Vegas – Night Tour

The Las Vegas Night Tour takes visitors on a three-hour journey on an open-top double-decker bus along the Strip. You'll pass well-known casinos like the MGM Grand and the Bellagio to see their architectural splendor. The bus then takes passengers downtown for a walking tour of Fremont Street. Tour-takers effusively praise the guides for being informative and friendly. Tickets cost about $50 for adults and $40 for children 3 to 12. Passengers can board the buses at three different points starting at 7 p.m. each evening. Big Bus also operates daytime hop-on, hop-off tours, running one route on the Strip and the other through the downtown area.

Vegas Specialty Tours – Vegas Mob Tour

If the history of the mafia's dealings in Las Vegas intrigues you, then Vegas Specialty Tours' Vegas Mob Tour might be the activity for you. After a brief documentary about the mob and the city, a guide will take the crime-curious via van to the sites of various murders and burglaries, as well as to a location used in the making of the movie "Casino." Tour-takers appreciate the in-depth history about the mafia that guides share. Tours take place daily starting at 3 p.m. at the Tuscany Casino and last about 2 1/2 hours. Tickets are approximately $100 per person and include a pizza dinner. Vegas Specialty Tours also offers an expanded version of its Mob Tour that includes dinner and performances by Rat Pack impersonators.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters – Grand Celebration Tour

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters' Grand Celebration tour boasts aerial views of sought-after sights, including Guano Point, Eagle Point, Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, as well as a half-hour stop at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with views of the Colorado River. The approximately 4 1/2-hour excursion includes a sparkling wine picnic. The pilots and staff often win praise for their friendliness and professionalism. Ticket cost approximately $355, though prices vary by day, and there are several daily departure options. Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters offers additional helicopter tours of the canyon of varying lengths as well as tours that include access to the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Secret Food Tours Las Vegas

Secret Food Tours Las Vegas takes small groups to several celebrity-chef-associated restaurants and shops on the Strip to sample an array of culinary delights. During the approximately 3 1/2-hour walks, highly praised guides provide information concerning the city's food, culture and history. Travelers say the food on the tour is both plentiful and tasty. Tours start at 12:30 p.m. from inside the Bellagio. Tickets, which are around $120 for adults and slightly less for teens and children, cover a glass of wine (for those 21 and older) and water. An upgraded drinks package, featuring three adult beverages, is available for an additional fee. Secret Food Tours limits its groups to eight people and tours are available daily.

GC Flight – Grand Canyon Helicopter Floor Landing Tour

During this approximately four-hour trip, tour-takers will experience the majesty of the Grand Canyon. Visitors will have the opportunity to see Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Fortification Hill and the Colorado River en route to the natural landmark. Once at the Grand Canyon, the helicopter descends into its depths so that visitors can get out for a short exploration and have a light snack (complete with sparkling wine). Participants call the trip an unforgettable activity and deem the pilots knowledgeable and friendly. Tickets start at $377 per person and include round-trip shuttle service to most Las Vegas hotels. Tours, which offer 8 and 10:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. departures daily, are limited to six passengers. GC Flight also offers tours via airplane and bus.

Take a trip through desert scenery on a scooter with Red Rock Scooter Tours.(Courtesy of Red Rock Scooter Tours)

Red Rock Scooter Tours

Red Rock Scooter Tours takes visitors on a guided tour via motor scooters of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. At stops along the 13-mile course, guides share information about the area's history, geology and wildlife. Tour-takers describe the tour as a fun outing with beautiful scenery and call it a must-do excursion. The outings last approximately four hours, including hotel pickup and drop-off. Tours are available daily at 9 and 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m. (Note: Tour departure times vary by season.) Scooters can accommodate two people. Tickets are approximately $125 for drivers and $100 for passengers. Drivers must be at least 21 and have a valid driver's license; motorcycle endorsement is not necessary. Scooter-riding lessons and helmets are provided along with use of scooters. Red Rock Scooter Tours also offers private tours.

Sundance Helicopters – Las Vegas City Lights

A special way to see the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip is from the air. During the 12- to 15-minute Las Vegas City Lights flight from Sundance Helicopters, pilots provide narration regarding the sights, which tour-takers appreciate. Along the way, you'll see the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and its Eiffel Tower replica, Caesars Palace and more. While many visitors love the trip and the sights, others complain that certain seats provided little to no views due to seat location in the helicopter and the craft's flightpath. Tickets start at around $100 per person and include limo transportation to and from select hotels and the heliport. The helicopters accommodate up to seven passengers. Sundance Tours also conducts aerial tours of other nearby attractions, such as the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.

Neon Museum – Night Tour

The Neon Museum – a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and displaying Las Vegas signs – runs its tours through the Main Collection of its Neon Boneyard. The guided evening walks offer an up-close look at the hundreds of signs in the collection. There are both unrestored signs, which are illuminated with external lights, and self-illuminating restored signs. Visitors frequently find the histories of these electric relics fascinating and thoroughly enjoy the tour. Tickets for the hourlong tours cost about $30 per person. Due to rusty metal and broken glass, the museum recommends its evening tours for patrons 12 and older. The museum hosts guided tours during the day as well.

Canyon Tours – Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour

The Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour conducted by Canyon Tours is an all-day affair, beginning at 7:30 a.m. After picking up patrons at their hotels, motor coaches head to the Grand Canyon's South Rim National Park with a stop in Kingman, Arizona, for a short break. Tour-takers will have three hours to spend at the Grand Canyon to take in its majestic views. Guides provide commentary throughout the trip, and they are typically described as knowledgeable and entertaining. Visitors spend approximately three hours at the Grand Canyon, with multiple stops at different viewpoints. The tour also includes a stop at the Grand Canyon Village. Tickets cost around $85 per person; children younger than 2 ride for free. Tours take place daily all year long. Canyon Tours runs additional tours to different sections of the canyon using both buses and helicopters.

Taste Buzz Food Tours – Downtown Las Vegas Food Tour

Visitors rave about this tour because of the ample, varied and unexpected food available to sample during the trip. The Downtown Food Tour focuses on Freemont Street, the surrounding area of Old Vegas and the fare preferred by local residents. Even so, reviewers who are Las Vegas locals say they learned something on this tour. The approximately three-hour walking tour stops at several family-owned businesses for tastings that could include pizza, chips and milkshakes. Tickets cost around $85. Group sizes typically range from two to 12 people. Taste Buzz also conducts a foodie tour of the Strip.

Let Pink Jeep Tours take you to the Hoover Dam in style in one of its pink SUVs.(Courtesy of Pink Jeep Tours)

Pink Adventure Tours – Hoover Dam Tour

Pink Adventure Tours takes passengers in its custom-built Tour Trekker SUV to see the Hoover Dam and the passageways inside it. During the four-hour tours, up to 10 tourgoers will see sights like Lake Mead and the Colorado River en route to the Hoover Dam. Guides provide narration, and patrons regularly describe them as knowledgeable and entertaining. Tours depart daily at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets cost around $100 for adults and $90 for children 3 to 12; the company says the tour is not suitable for children younger than 3. Pink Adventure Tours also has outings in Las Vegas using its customized open-air Jeeps.

Maverick Helicopters – Wind Dancer Air and Landing Tour

The Wind Dancer Air and Landing Tour conducted by Maverick Helicopters takes patrons from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, accompanied by views of Lake Mead, Lake Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam and Fortification Hill. The pilot will land the helicopter in the Grand Canyon so visitors can enjoy sparkling wine, snacks and other beverages while surrounded by the towering rocks. Travelers call the excursion a bucket list trip and appreciate the welcoming attitudes of the pilots. Flights depart several times daily. Tickets start at $469 per person but will vary depending on the trip's departure time. The ticket also includes round-trip transportation from hotels to the airport. Maverick Helicopter flies other tours above Las Vegas and the surrounding area as well.

Las Vegas ATV Tours – Nellis Dunes Tour

The Nellis Dunes National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, approximately 15 miles northeast of the Las Vegas Strip, consists of more than 10,000 acres of desert terrain. The truly adventurous can traverse the area atop all-terrain vehicles on tours conducted by Las Vegas ATV Tours. During the four-hour outings (including shuttle service to and from local hotels), riders may see fighter planes from the nearby Nellis Air Force Base in addition to the desert scenery. Travelers appreciate the helpful and professional guides. The excursion costs around $200 per person, which includes instruction on how to ride the ATVs, use of safety gear, bottled water and lunch. The company also offers UTV (small off-road vehicles that can accommodate two to four people) tours.

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours – Afternoon Culinary Adventures

Foodies visiting Las Vegas might want some dining guidance given that there are hundreds of eatery options. That's where the Afternoon Culinary Adventures offered by Lip Smacking Foodie Tours comes in. The 2 1/2-hour walk takes patrons to four notable restaurants to sample a variety of food. Along the way, guides offer insights about the city's culinary scene and suggest additional bars and restaurants worth trying. Tour-takers enjoy their helpful guides and find the quantity of food impressive. Even tourgoers familiar with the city say they discovered something new on the outing. Tours run daily at different times depending on the day of the week. Tickets start at $125 per person. The company also has a variety of other food-centric tours, including one combined with an evening helicopter ride and another focused exclusively on brunch.

Grand Canyon Helicopters – King of Canyons Sunset

Grand Canyon Helicopters times this tour so that passengers can see the sunset as they return to Las Vegas following their journey to the Grand Canyon. The roughly four-hour outing (offered nightly) includes landing in the Grand Canyon for a sparkling wine picnic as well as opportunities to see various desert sights, such as Grand Wash Cliffs and Grapevine Mesa, from the sky. The helicopter ride culminates by flying over the Strip. Patrons routinely praise the pilots' professionalism and knowledge. Tickets, which cost around $550 per adult and about $540 per child, include transportation between local hotels and McCarran-Atlantic terminal. Grand Canyon Helicopters also offers a daytime version of the tour as well as shorter rides focused on the Strip.

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