While Las Vegas may be most well-known for its casinos, shows, and clubs, it is also home to several incredible tourist spots that celebrate the arts. Behind all of the flickering neon lights and awe-inspiring resort facades, you can find all sorts of galleries and museums that are home to timeless masterpieces, modern artwork, and more. If you want to check out the artistic side of Sin City, here are five must-see tourist spots.
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
The Bellagio is much more than just another resort and casino. Its famous fountains provide a hint of its artistic nature, but when you step inside the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, you will get the full feeling of just how artistically-inclined this destination is.
The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art opened in 1998 and overlooks the resort’s outdoor landscaped pool. It was the first place to bring art exhibitions to The Strip and shocked people in the art world by bringing works from renowned artists like Claude Monet to the heart of Sin City. The rotating exhibition space has also featured work from the likes of Pablo Picasso and other well-known artists.
Greene Street Kitchen
We know what you’re thinking… A restaurant? On a list of spots that celebrate the arts? Believe it or not, Greene Street Kitchen is an amazing eatery inspired by the artwork of New York City’s Soho district in the early 1970s.
From the moment you enter through a vending machine door in a fully-functional arcade, you are surrounded by graffiti-inspired artwork that is reminiscent of the punk, hip-hop, and pop culture that grew in Soho in the 70s. This Las Vegas restaurant, which is located in the Palms Casino Resort, is truly something special that is worth checking out for any art lover.
Greene Street Kitchen spans 5,000 square feet and features a large dining room as well as a lounge that is centered around a full-service bar. There is also a patio where you can enjoy the beautiful Las Vegas weather on nice days. This eatery is equal parts gallery and restaurant. It’s even home to the first permanent work by the elusive street artist Banksy in Las Vegas. Street art throughout the restaurant was commissioned from Cleon Peterson, Kenny Scharf, Pose, Vhils, Martha Cooper, Slick, DabsMyla, and many other artists.
The food and beverages are amazing, too, and they are inspired by the artists and artwork of the era. If you are someone who enjoys art, Greene Street Kitchen is a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.
The Neon Museum
Las Vegas is a work of art in itself. The bright lights lining The Strip have always been a source of fascination, and neon signs are a type of artwork all their own. While the City of Lights has a tendency to demolish landmarks and replace them with newer, fancier destinations, many of the classic signs make their way to a tourist spot known as the Neon Museum.
Spanning six acres, the Neon Museum is an outdoor gallery that is dedicated to displaying old signs from iconic casinos, hotels, and restaurants. There you will find neon signage from places like Caesar’s Palace, the Stardust, and many, many other destinations. There are more than 150 signs to check out, and touring the Neon Museum is like stepping back through Las Vegas history. Some of the signs have even been restored and are fully operational.
The Neon Museum offers guided and self-guided tours as well as private tours. Visitors can also schedule photo shoots and other special events.
The Smith Center
Anyone with an interest in performing arts should plan to visit The Smith Center. Since 2012, it has played a huge role in the city’s calendar of cultural events. A part of Symphony Park, The Smith Center is home to the Las Vegas Philharmonic as well as Nevada Ballet Theatre. Even the building itself is a work of art. It features a 17-story carillon tower, an Art Deco façade, and 47 bells and is an incredible sight to behold.
From Broadway best-sellers to incredible jazz performers, all sorts of performers take the stage at The Smith Center. There is almost always something happening, so if you are looking for an event, be sure to check the schedule.
At The Smith Center, you can immerse yourself in all types of art. In addition to its performing arts exhibitions, the campus is home to commissioned artwork and exhibits that are on loan from other museums and collections.
The Barrick Museum, located on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus, was once a natural history museum. Following the closing of the Las Vegas Art Museum in 2009, however, it shifted its focus to art in an attempt to fill the gap. It features rotating exhibitions of ancient and contemporary art – including pieces from the former Las Vegas Art Museum – and hosts artist talks and community art workshops.
This museum houses artwork by artists and indigenous people of the Las Vegas area, including Nevada’s portion of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel 50×50 and ceramic artwork from Mesoamerica. It also showcases contemporary paintings and sculptures from American and international artists. It even featured an exhibit of Ansel Adams’ black-and-white photographs of the American landscape.
While you are on campus, be sure to stop by the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, too. This gallery features rotating student exhibits and artwork from working contemporary artists.
Art is celebrated in many ways in Las Vegas. Whether you are a fan of paintings, sculptures, or performing arts, you can find pieces that will appeal to your senses in many locations throughout the city. Spend some time exploring the galleries and other artist-friendly tourist spots, and you will uncover a side of Las Vegas you never knew existed.