9 Weirdly Cool Places in Nevada

Ruins of Gold Rush ghost towns, larger-than-life art exhibits--there's much to explore off the beaten path.

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1. The Neon Museum

Photo Courtesy of the Neon Museum.

Iconic neon signs that used to light up the Las Vegas night sky have been laid to rest at the Neon Museum Boneyard. Take a tour and take a stroll down Vegas' memory lane.

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2. National Bowling Stadium

Even if you only bowl on video games, the National Bowling Stadium in Reno is a jaw-dropper. The massive stadium has 78 lanes and is home to prestigious bowling championships.

3. Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert

Photo courtesy of Travel Nevada.

Once a year the Burning Man nonprofit organization builds a temporary city dedicated to art and community in the middle of Black Rock Desert. The art is large, impactful, and atypical in a truly awesome way. The mission is to create an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.

4. Elephant Rock

Photo courtesy of Travel Nevada.

There are amazing red rock formations in the Valley of Fire State Park. Near the road is this unusual rock formation that is reminiscent of an elephant's head and trunk. Daily summer highs in this area average more than 100 degrees. Keep that water bottle handy!

5. Pinball Hall of Fame

Pinball machines never die. The Pinball Hall of Fame has more than 200 fully operational pinball machines. It's a sight--and sound--unlike any other.

6. Goldwell Open Air Museum

Ghost Rider created by artist CHARLES ALBERT SZUKALSKI. Photo Courtesy of Travel Nevada.

Near the ghost town of Rhyolite in the Amargosa Desert, the Goldwell Open Air Museum encourages artistic exploration by visitors and the artists in residence. The outdoor art exhibits are free and available to be viewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The visitor center has more traditional hours.

7. Rhyolite Ghost Town

The flash-in-the-pan town of Rhyolite was founded after gold was discovered in the area. The population and number of businesses grew quickly, but just 12 years later the town was abandoned. The mines were shut down, the banks closed, and the buildings were left to ruin. Rhyolite is near Beatty.

8. International Car Forest of the Last Church

Photo courtesy of Travel Nevada.

This one is hard to explain. You just have to see it. There are a bunch of cars—and even a bus—sticking out of the desert. And then artists have created the most fantastical murals on the vehicles. There are also some psychedelic images of this art installation online. Google it. It's pretty unbelievable.

9. National Atomic Testing Museum

Don't worry, they don't actually test atomic materials at the National Atomic Testing Museum. But they do have the most comprehensive collection of nuclear history. Browse through exhibits with photos and artifacts related to Nevada test sites, the Cold War, and radiological research.

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