12 Famous landmarks in Nevada

This chapter of the American Landmarks series delves into the most famous landmarks in Nevada. From the world-famous Las Vegas landmarks to the hoover dam, Nevada has some of the most impressive human-made landmarks, but as we will see, it is also rich in natural wonders. As usual in these articles, we asked other bloggers to share some of their favorite Nevada landmarks.

Las Vegas and its eccentricities are some of the main reasons Nevada is famous for. Yet, the landmarks in Nevadan are impressive and also contribute to Nevada’s status as a prime travel destination in America. The Casinos made Las Vedas, but Nevada is much more than the Casinos and resorts of Las Vegas.

So, without further ados, let’s unravel some of the most famous landmarks in Nevada.

Famous Landmarks in Nevada – Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip

By Jessica Schmit from Uprooted Traveler

Arguably the most famous (or perhaps infamous) landmark in Nevada, the Las Vegas Strip, located on Las Vegas Boulevard, is a dizzying spectacle of lights, music, and lots of Vegas revelers. The Strip is famous for its high concentration of casinos and hotels (approximately 30), many of which have bold and extravagant themes (think Ancient Rome, New York City, or Southeast Asia).

The Strip’s casinos vary in age and opulence, from Harrah’s Casino, housed in a no-frills 1970s structure, to the flashy Cosmopolitan, offering stunning rooftop pools overlooking the chaos below and its very own Chandelier Bar, a cocktail spot literally swathed in several stories of sparkling crystals. Given the Strip’s eye-popping design, even visitors who aren’t interested in gambling will enjoy exploring the Strip and its buildings- on a single street, you can gaze up at Paris’s replica of the Eiffel Tower, watch as the impressive Bellagio Fountains dance to popular songs, listen to gondoliers serenade their patrons on the canals of the Venetian, and even see a volcano erupt at The Mirage.

While the buildings themselves are impressive, people watching can be just as fun on the Strip- you’ll see a fascinating mix of millionaire high-rollers, costumed street performers, and a fair share of Vegas bachelorette parties. So no matter whether you want to check out New York, New York’s roller coaster with your kids, hit up some of the world’s best nightclubs with your buddies, or just try your hand at the roulette table, the Strip has something to offer every kind of traveler.

nevada landmarks Las Vegas Strip 12 Famous landmarks in Nevada
Casinos and Resorts in Las Vegas Strip

Eiffel Tower replica

By Niels Thomas from Dog Sledding Tromsø

Bonsoir Las Vegas!

When you are visiting Las Vegas, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? I know, it is probably the fancy casinos, the movie Ocean’s Eleven, those tiger hugging guys with the funny German names, or one of the many fancy nightclubs. But let me add something to that list. Are you ready? Picture yourself in… Paris!

That is right. Even in Las Vegas, you can experience the wonders of the capital of France. Located at the Paris Las Vegas casino hotel, the 540-foot (164.6 m) Eiffel Tower replica was opened in 1999 for the public and is a beautiful attraction that offers a free 30-minute light show from sunset to midnight.

Are you interested in kicking the romantic vibes up a notch? Use the elevator to visit the viewing platform and enjoy a romantic sunset with a stunning light show and the Las Vegas skyline in the background. To reach the viewing platform, you need to buy a ticket that costs $24.50 per person. 

Eiffel Tower replica
Eiffel Tower replica in Vegas

Bellagio hotel fountains

By Nicole Hunter from Go Far Grow Close

One of the most iconic landmarks in Nevada is the Fountains at the Bellagio Hotel. Located on the Las Vegas Strip, the Fountains are located in front of the hotel in plain view of the sidewalk and the street. The display spans more than 1,000 feet, with water soaring as high as 460 feet into the air.

Depending on the day and time of the week, every 15 or 30 minutes, more than a thousand fountains sway in front of the hotel, enhanced by music and light. Each show lasts a few minutes and is completely free to watch (a helpful travel tip to save money in Las Vegas). Each performance is distinct in expression and interpretation so that you can visit the Fountains several times during a trip or on different journeys.

The Bellagio hotel and Fountains was built in 1998 by WET Design, founded by former Disney Creatives Mark Fuller, Melanie Simon, and Alan Robinson. It was one of the world’s first luxury fountains and once the tallest fountain ever built. Today, Dubai’s Palm Fountain is the largest, breaking the Guinness World Record. It spreads over 1,335 square meters of seawater and was completed in October 2020. It was also built by WET Design which has designed over two hundred fountains and water features using water, fire, ice, fog, and lights.

Bellagio hotel fountains
Bellagio hotel fountains, one of the most famous landmarks in Las Vegas

Human-made Nevada Landmarks

Hoover Dam

The Hoover dam is located on the Colorado River on the border with Arizona, about 40 miles from Las Vegas. Its construction was a massive project and an incredible engineering feat. Until 1948 is was the world’s largest hydroelectric power station, and naturally, it is one of the most famous landmarks in Nevada and Arizona.

Check here our list of the famous landmarks in Arizona!

Constructed between 1931 and 1936, it is 726 feet high and 1 244 feet long. At the time of completion, it was the largest dam in the world. Today, the Hoover Dam is a huge tourist attraction that receives more than one million visitors every year. The dam’s crest was used to cross the Colorado River until 2010 when the new Hoover dam bridge opened. This bridge is one of the best viewpoints to the Dam and Lake Mead.

Visiting the Hoover Dam is free, but if you want to take a tour or enter the visitor center, you’ll need to buy a ticket. If you buy the tour, the visitor center ticket is always included. During the 1-hour tour to the dam, you get to visit the powerplant and passageways within the dam itself. At the same time, the visitor center features an exhibit gallery and a film about the dam’s construction.

The Hoover dam is more than a famous landmark; it is pivotal to the economy of both states providing irrigation water, controlling floods, and producing electricity. It completely changed the two states, presenting a water source to a deserted area. Without the dam and the reservoir, it would be impossible for a city like Las Vegas to exist.

Famous landmarks in Nevada
Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, two famous landmarks in Nevada and Arizona

Lake Mead

The majestic scenery of Lake Mead is home to America’s first and largest national recreation area – Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Located very close to Las Vegas, it is the junction of three significant deserts, Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran. It is begging for a visit and one of the best places to swim, boat, hike, cycle, camp, and fish.

As mentioned above, Lake Mead is the lake created by the reservoir of the Hoover Dam. Lake Mead is the largest reservoir by volume in the United States when full. At total capacity, it is 112 miles long, 532 feet deep, and has roughly 247 square miles of surface area and an astounding 28 million-acre feet of water.

However, the lake doesn’t reach total capacity since 1983 due to increased water demand and droughts. In June 2021, lake mead was only at 35% capacity, an all-time low record with less than ten million-acre feet of held water.

With nine main access points (3 from Las Vegas), Lake Mead is divided into several different bodies of water (Boulder Basin, Virgin Basin, Temple Basin, Gregg Basin, etc.). Each is ideal for many watersports like boating, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. With several river beaches, it’s also great for sunbathing and swimming. There are also lovely developed areas close to the lake, offering services and accommodations.

Seven Magic Mountains

By Brodi Cole of Our Offbeat Life

The Seven Magic Mountains are a larger-than-life art exhibition in southern Nevada. They were designed by Ugo Rondinone and erected by the Nevada Museum of Art in May 2016. The landmark is comprised of seven separate towers of boulders.

Each tower is 35 feet tall and painted various bright colors. Initially, the landmark was intended to be displayed for two years. However, the exhibit was so popular it has become a permanent fixture on the Las Vegas art scene.

These colorful rock formations are 10 miles south of Las Vegas, adjacent to Interstate 15. However, the entrance to the Seven Magic Mountains isn’t off of the interstate. Instead, visitors must exit the freeway and drive on South Las Vegas Blvd to get to the parking area. Visitors from Las Vegas should exit the highway at Exit 25 southbound. Visitors from Primm NV and California should exit the freeway at Exit 12 northbound.

The best time to visit the Seven Magic Mountains is at sunrise or sunset. The colors of the desert sky make the rainbow shades of the art exhibit seem even brighter. Sunset may not be ideal for visitors seeking low crowds, especially on weekends. That is the busiest time of day for tourists to visit.

Famous Landmarks in Nevada -  Seven Magic Mountains
Famous Landmarks in Nevada – Seven Magic Mountains

The Republic of Molassia

By Carol Guttery from Libro Maniacs

If you are up for a more offbeat Nevada landmark, then be sure to visit The Republic of Molassia. 

It’s located just east of Carson City, but it’s not part of Nevada. It’s not even part of the US. Kevin Baugh, His Excellency and the President of Molassia, has declared his scrubby acreage as an independent Micronation. 

He has planted his tongue firmly in his cheek and created a wacky roadside attraction, complete with a border crossing, customs station, post office, bank, jail, rail network, and the “trans-Molassia trail network.” 

Seriously. 

Touring the attraction is an absolute hoot. His Excellency Baugh has created a whole backstory for his nation, which includes who he’s currently at war with and how he maintains diplomatic relations with Nevada. He and the First Lady have built cool buildings that resemble an oldy timey western town. And you can even purchase Molassian currency and get your passport stamped.

The Republic of Molassia runs regular, seasonal tours, and you’ll want to sign up for them in advance.

The president of the Republic of Molassia
Nevada Landmarks

Natural Landmarks in Nevada

Cathedral Gorge

By Daria Bachmann from The Discovery Nut

When most people think about best day trips from Las Vegas, they typically think about Grand Canyon, Zion, and other popular national parks near Las Vegas.

And yet, Sin City is located within a driving distance to many spectacular natural sights that boast wonderful scenery but lack the crowds of more popular places in the region. 

One of these places is Cathedral Gorge State Park. Located about 2.5 hours away from Las Vegas, this spectacular destination can be reached by getting on Interstate-15, heading north, and continuing on US-93 North before arriving at the park’s entrance.

Thanks to its location in rural Nevada, Cathedral Gorge State Park sees few people, as it lies away from the major tourist route.

This park is one of the most enigmatic locations in southeastern Nevada, with otherworldly erosion rock formations spread over 1,600 acres. Thanks to millions of years of geologic activity in the area, visitors can enjoy dramatic cliffs and canyons with spires protruding from the floor.

In addition, it has some stunning slot canyons, caves, and a number of easy trails that are worth exploring. 

Cathedral Gorge State Park is an excellent destination for hiking, camping, wildlife watching, and astrophotography! The area blast some of the best dark skies in the country, and on a clear night, you can easily see the Milky Way. 

Rock formations in Cathedral Gorge
Rock formations in Cathedral Gorge

Red Rock Canyon National Park

By Nicholas Rosen from The World Overload

Red Rock Canyon is located just a few miles outside Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a nice side trip to take on your way in or out of Sin City, where you’ll be able to enjoy the preserved conservation of the Nevada landscape.

The best way to get there is to go straight to the visitor center at 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161. Simply take the 159 freeway, which will be a straight shot to the entrance. Rideshares will drop off at the entrance for you if you don’t have your own transportation.

This place is aptly named because of its unusually red rocks alongside the mountains and trails. You will find the colors impressive, and definitely want to snap a few Instagram-worthy photos of your trip here.

Depending on how you want to spend your day here, there are plenty of options. This place is filled with several hiking and biking trails, and they even have good spots for rock climbing which is another thing the park is known for if you are an active or amateur climber.

Even if you don’t feel like taking a hike or bike ride, it’s still recommended you take the scenic loop tour. It’s a nice casual drive around the national park with periodic stops along the road for you to stretch and take in the scenery. Best if you don’t want to leave the comfort of your car, but the drawback is others may do the same thing, which could jam up your drive.

Red Rock Canyon is a must-visit for those passing through Nevada or just if you are a fan of national parks. Arrive at a good time, and you won’t believe how amazing it is.

Red Rock Canyon National Park
Landmarks Nevada – Red Rock Canyon National Park

Valley of Fire

By Candice from CS Ginger

Valley of Fire State Park is about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, and it is a historic area covering nearly 40,000 acres. The park is most famous for its beautiful red and pink rock formations surrounding a dull desert landscape. You will find great hiking trails, petroglyphs, and lots of wildlife throughout the park.

Visiting Valley of Fire makes a great day trip from Las Vegas because it is such a short drive. The state park is beautiful and well worth a visit. You can easily combine Valley of Fire State Park with the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.

One of the best things to do is explore the Valley of Fire hiking trails. Overall, the trails in the park are pretty easy and not too long. One of the most famous hikes in the park is the Fire Wave Trail. It is a 1.5-mile-long hike that will take you to a picturesque formation that looks like an ocean made of red, white, and pink sandstone.

The best places to see petroglyphs in the park are on the Mouse Tank Trail and Atlantl Rock. The ones at Atlantl Rock have a set of stairs that make viewing the petroglyphs really easy.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the several herds of bighorn sheep that live in the park. Mountain goats live there as well.

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire, one of the most impressive landmarks in Nevada

Great Basin National Park

By Jacoba from Op Reis Met Co

In Nevada, you’ll find one of the least known National Parks in the United States: Great Basin National Park. It’s located in the northeastern part of the state, in America’s largest desert, the Great Basin Desert. This desert covers most of the state of Nevada and even a large part of Utah. 

Great Basin National Park is free to visit and has a lot to offer. The park protects a section of the Snake Range (a mountain Range) with Wheeler Peak (3982) as the highest point. You can visit several viewpoints in the park, but it’s also very suitable for hiking and camping. You can also see Bristlecone Pines, the oldest trees in the world (almost 5000 years!). 

Near the visitor center, you’ll find the Lehman Caves. This is a cave system that formed over 550 million years ago. You can visit the caves with a guide, but you have to make a reservation beforehand (spots fill up quickly). It’s absolutely worth it because the caves are a spectacular sight. 

Last but not least, Great Basin National Park is perfect for stargazing since it is one of the darkest skies in the lower 48 states.

Great Basin Landmarks in Nevada Op reis met Co 2 12 Famous landmarks in Nevada
Abandoned car in the Great Basin Desert National Park

Lake Tahoe

Located in the Sierra Nevada, between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine lake in North America, lying at 6 225 ft (1,897 m). With a depth of 1 645 ft (501 m), it is also the second deepest lake in the USA, only behind Crater Lake in Oregon.

Lake Tahoe is a prominent natural landmark in Nevada and California and a popular year-round destination. It is popular both as a winter sports destination with snow and ski resorts and an outdoor recreation area in Summer with crystal clear waters and sandy beaches. The Nevada side also offers lakeside casino resorts, as one would expect.

Click here to check out the other famous landmarks in California!

There are dozens of public access beaches in Lake Tahoe, but the most popular is Sand Harbor. It was white sand, near-perfect translucent water, and lovely granite rock formations. It’s a perfect destination for swimming, kayaking, SUPing, and even scuba diving.

There are several ski resorts around Lake Tahoe, but the most popular and the largest is Heavenly Mountain Resort, located near the California/Nevada Stateline on the south shore. People from all over California, Nevada, and other states travel to Lake Tahoe during winter to enjoy the snow, the resorts, the perfect setting, and everything else.

Beautiful landmarks in Nevada
Beautiful landmark in Nevada – Lake Tahoe

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Famous landmarks in Nevada