Just off the Strip can be fun too

 Chances are when you come to Vegas you’ll spend 99.9 percent of your time on the Strip – and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, the big resorts along the Strip have it all – nightclubs, pools, buffets, restaurants, shows, spas and more. And yet, just a few blocks from the Strip are interesting places to visit as well.

At the southern end of the Strip, on Las Vegas Boulevard near I-215, you’ll find Las Vegas’ newest outdoor mall, Town Square. This is no typical big-box mall but one made to resemble a Mediterranean village with sidewalks, a town square with free music on summer evenings, and several restaurants and shops. The double decker bus that runs down the Strip can take you there and back.

A few blocks east on Flamingo Road, between Koval Lane and Paradise Road are hotel casinos like the Westin Casuarina, which are smaller and less hectic that those on the Strip.

Go a little further east and there’s the Atomic Testing Museum.

Go west on Sahara Avenue between Industrial Road and I-15 and there’s the Artisan, a hotel with no casino but with excellent reproductions of paintings by Mondrian, Monet, and others. There is also live jazz on weekends. If you go east on Sahara, there’s a strip mall at the corner of Paradise Road with Indian and Thai restaurants.

If you are in the mood for something racier, you’ll be glad to know that most strip clubs are within one mile on either side of the Strip.