5 ways to experience Las Vegas without actually being here

Between exploring the city in virtual reality and touring Las Vegas museums with a robot, would-be visitors have several options at their fingertips to experience Las Vegas without actually visiting.

Here are five ways to explore Las Vegas from afar:

Experience Las Vegas in virtual reality

To help potential visitors get a taste of Las Vegas without leaving their home state, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently debuted a virtual reality experience that allows people to experience some of the city’s most familiar attractions.

“The LVCVA constantly develops new and unique avenues to market Las Vegas to potential visitors and business clients,” said LVCVA Vice President of Brand Strategy Caroline Coyle. “Vegas VR is a valuable tool for showcasing the destination to both new and repeat visitors who can experience Las Vegas’ world-class offerings in a new light.”

There are currently 12 “only-in-Las Vegas” experiences available for users to explore, which include taking a gondola ride at the Venetian, zip-lining above the Fremont Street Experience, soaring over the Strip in a helicopter, driving through Red Rock Canyon and rocking out at Life is Beautiful.

According to the LVCVA, in addition to upcoming plans to utilize the virtual reality experience in Italy and Germany, New Yorkers recently had the chance to take a “simulated trip” to Las Vegas at a pop-up in Manhattan’s Bryant Park.

For those that don’t have a cardboard viewer, the experiences are still accessible by interacting with the 360-degree video using gyroscope and swipe and zoom functions.

The Vegas VR app is available for iOS and Android and is free to download at http://vrtv.vegas/​. You can also access the 360-degree videos through the Visit Las Vegas official YouTube page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/lasvegas

Tour the Mob Museum with a robot

Avoid the crowds and take a journey through the Mob Museum from the comfort of your own home by taking a virtual tour with a robot named Moe-Bot.

Described by the museum as a “one-on-one exclusive experience,” Moe-Bot provides visitors with the chance to ask and respond to questions along the private tour through a museum educator that accompanies the robot for the entire 90-minute tour.

According to a previous Review-Journal article, the Mob Museum has two Moe-Bots available and ready to lead guests on their journey through the museum. In order to participate in a virtual tour, you must reserve two weeks in advance. The cost to visit the museum in a tour led by Moe-Bot is $79.99.

Step inside Las Vegas attractions with Google Maps

Whether the majority of your time in Las Vegas will be spent at the convention center or you’re staying solely on the Strip, Google Maps has a feature that allows you to step inside your destination.

According to Google, its Indoor Maps feature allows users to navigate around exhibitors at the convention center or find their way to slots and shops in casinos by displaying detailed floor plans and indoor location information.

photo: screen capture of Google Maps

In addition, with Google Maps’ Photo Sphere tool, users can get even deeper into the Las Vegas Strip by using the map tools to move throughout the properties as if they were actually on the ground themselves.

Experience Las Vegas in real-time with live webcam streams

If you sign up for an account with Boyd Gaming, you can view live cams from several of the group’s properties and the Fremont Street Experience.

Besides Boyd Gaming, EarthCam offers several webcam streams from sites across the valley. If users want to check out the Welcome to Las Vegas sign or the Bellagio Conservatory, there are cams for both of those.

Similarly, the service even has a live stream that allows you to actually watch people tie-the-knot in Las Vegas, as the website has a camera set up at Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.

photo: Screen capture: EarthCam

Out-of-the-ordinary ways to experience Las Vegas

Although this doesn’t exactly give you a real-life experience like some of the others, Lego Land theme-park has a mini-Las Vegas Strip constructed out of Lego blocks. The replica only features about 10 of the actual resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, but it does have real-life sounds recorded in Las Vegas, organizers say.

Tour the city using computer-generated images

Through the video game Minecraft, creators have constructed a computer-generated fly-over-type experience for users to get a glimpse of attractions on the Las Vegas Strip and in downtown Las Vegas.

The video is from 2013, so you’ll notice some sites are missing from the map, such as the new T-Mobile Arena.

Similarly, SecondLife users have also created a mock-Las Vegas experience for visitors to explore the city’s famous attractions.

Contact Caitlin Lilly at clilly@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @caitielilly_

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