So you’re planning another trip to the city of sin and you think you’ve seen it all. You’ve tried your luck at the slot machines, dined at the best buffets, watched every Cirque show on the Strip…Now what should you do? A short venture out of town could surprisingly turn into the highlight of your trip, and have you forgetting you’re even in Las Vegas. That’s precisely what makes this city so special: the hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path activities that only a local could recommend.

Next time you find yourself sitting around asking yourself what to do before your dinner reservations, make sure to check out some of these interesting spots.

Hop in your car and head about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, near the edge of Death Valley. There you will find yourself in the middle of Rhyolite, an early 1900s mining camp that is now a deserted ghost town. Aside from architectural ruins and strange shelters, you’ll come face to face with hands-down the most interesting sights in the desert. Move over Seven Magic Mountains, because the Goldwell Open Air Museum has structures that will put the painted rocks to shame. You’ll definitely want to stop and take a look at the massive statues of figures draped in white sheets like ghosts, and “The Venus of Nevada” – a giant, bright pink pixelated figure made entirely of cinderblocks.

Car Forest
For a fun day trip, you can drive three hours northwest of Las Vegas to a town called Goldfield. You may think you have arrived in a post-apocalyptic world filled with junk, but this jungle of scraps is lovingly dubbed the “Car Forest.” Old, beat-up cars have been painted and delicately propped up vertically or stacked on top of one another. It may not make sense, but it is definitely a must-see.

Area 51
Along the way, make sure to snap pictures of the famous “Extraterrestrial Highway” sign, which is now covered in stickers. You’ll also want to make a pit stop at the Alien Research Center, a warehouse-like store with a giant silver alien statue outside. You can’t miss it. Although you won’t be able to go inside Area 51, the closest you can get to it is the front gate, which that itself is still a photo-worthy experience. You may not see a real alien, but you’re sure to have a great time.

Bonnie Springs Ranch
If you’re coming into town with your family, then Bonnie Springs Ranch is the place to visit. Nestled on the edge of Red Rock Canyon, the drive to Bonnie Springs Ranch from the Strip will only cost you about half an hour. Bonnie Springs is best known for its kid-friendly petting zoo, as well as the Old Nevada town replica complete with daily shows by staff actors. Don’t leave without taking a ride on the train!