The images commonly associated with Las Vegas are of flashy celebrities, expensive nightclubs and gilded casinos, all of which mean dollar signs for the intrepid traveler. But not everything in Sin City comes with a price tag only a high roller can afford.
If you know where to look, you can score free entertainment just about everywhere. Whether you bet it all on black or are just looking for a bargain vacation, check out the best free attractions to save money during your Las Vegas vacation.
Snap a Selfie at the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Las Vegas is a place to tour famous sights without leaving the country, which means Instagram photos abound. The half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel is one of the most iconic stops on the Strip.
It looks so realistic that you just might fool your friends into thinking you’re on an around-the-world trip — until you post a picture of Lady Liberty from the nearby New York-New York Hotel & Casino next.
Marvel at the Swarovski Starburst
Every night at 9 p.m. and midnight, a 14-foot LED-lit crystal ball drops over the Grand Bazaar Shops, mimicking the one at Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The dazzling light and sound show is meant to signify it’s always a party in Sin City — and each day is a new opportunity to win big. The Grand Bazaar Shops are at the corner of Flamingo Road and The Strip.
Go on a Free Brewery Tour at Banger Brewing
Want to try some unique beers? Banger Brewing describes its craft beers just as it describes Las Vegas: sexy, classy and one of a kind.
Free tours are offered three times a day at 3 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., which gives visitors the opportunity to sample some of the brewery creations and learn about the beer-making process. Don't forget to make a reservation.
See the Dancing Water at the Fountains of Bellagio
One of the most well-known free things to do in Las Vegas is to view the dancing water show at the Bellagio. Billed as the most ambitious water feature ever conceived, each performance is unique. The performances are timed to opera, classical, Broadway and pop music. Stop by multiple times throughout the day without ever seeing the same thing twice.
The show runs continuously every 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the time of day. It's a breathtaking sight you don't want to miss.
Catch a Concert at the Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience is Las Vegas' reimagined downtown district. You always can take in the sights and sounds of “old” Sin City. But if you visit during the summer, free performers take the stage from May through September in the Downtown Rocks concert series. The 2017 lineup included artists such as Theory of a Deadman, Good Charlotte, Rick Springfield and Collective Soul.
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Smell the Flowers at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
A massive 14,000-square-foot horticultural display, the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is reimagined each season. It takes a team of 120 staff members to regularly maintain the flora and fauna, as well as the hotel grounds, but Chinese New Year is when the team pulls out all the stops.
Admire the Exotic Animals at the Flamingo Hotel’s Wildlife Habitat
Nestled on 15 lush acres, the Flamingo Hotel has a prized collection of Chilean flamingos. Exotic and colorful birds, fish and turtles also call the property home and were acquired from animal rescue facilities. Keep an eye out for the majestic black swans, Egyptian ibis and koi fish, which are some of the more rare creatures.
See the Volcano Erupt at the Mirage
The volcano at the Mirage on the Strip dramatically welcomes you to the hotel/casino with a fiery explosion that shoots flames 12 feet in the air. The lagoon bubbles and gurgles to a soundtrack created by the same team that arranges the lighting and effects for the Fountain at the Bellagio. The volcano erupts daily at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., with a 10 p.m. show on Friday and Saturday.
Watch a TV Pilot at CBS Television City
Technically a consumer research facility, CBS Television City gives you early access to exclusive TV pilots before they air. You’ll be asked your opinion about the show you watched, and your feedback will help to determine what makes it on the national prime-time schedule and what gets left on the drawing board.
Run Away to the Circus at Circus Circus
One of the most fun things to do in Las Vegas, the circus at Circus Circus has been a staple of the Strip for years. The world’s largest permanent circus has free performances daily at 11 a.m. Flying acrobats, trapeze artists, aerial tumblers and, of course, clowns will take the stage as you "ooh!" and "ahh!" and maybe even cringe in delight.
Take a Free Yoga Class
If you’re craving a little namaste to prepare for a long night out on the town, the Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch Resort offer free yoga classes by the pool. Called Silent Savasana, this 21-and-over yoga experience comes complete with headphones to match your moves to motivating music.
Go Behind the Scenes at Cirque de Soleil
Everyone knows seeing a Cirque de Soleil show is one of the best things to do in Vegas. But if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a ticket, there are a few hacks to experience the show for free.
If you love LOVE, the troupe's acclaimed Beatles performance, you have the rare opportunity to go on a behind-the-scenes technical tour. Admission is free Saturdays at 1 p.m., and you’ll be shown how the magic comes together from the rigging, automation and lighting to the projections, sound and props. The show is at the Mirage. Mystère also holds open rehearsals every Monday from 4 to 4:30 p.m. at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino.
Enjoy First Fridays Downtown
A monthly art walk meets street fest, First Fridays on Fremont Street feels like Mardi Gras meets Vegas. Beginning at 10 p.m. on the first Friday of the month, it becomes one of the world’s biggest 21+ block parties, with people reveling in the sights, sounds and chaos of Sin City. The people watching is epic, but it’s the zip line overhead that screams excitement — literally.
Appreciate the Art at The Cosmopolitan
If you’re looking for a spot of culture, the art collection at The Cosmopolitan hotel could rival that of any major museum. A combination of larger-than-life paintings, photography, murals and sculptures, the works cross borders and media, offering a provocatively contemporary source of inspiration.
See a Stack of $1M at Binion’s
You probably don't have a million bucks, but at Binion’s Gambling Hall, you can take a photo with piles of cash at its $1 Million Display. If this literal tower of money stacked into a perfect pyramid isn’t motivation enough to crush your business goals, what is?
Remember: If you do plan on hitting the slots or tables at a casino, keep your eye out for these common tricks some use to get you spend more money.
Tour the Ethel M Chocolate Factory
If you’re wondering what to do in Las Vegas beyond the casinos, the self-guided tour of the Ethel M Chocolate Factory in nearby Henderson, Nev., offers a peek into the kitchen of the popular sweet shop. From handcrafted pecan brittle to small-batch candies, it’s impossible to leave without sampling a treat or two.
See the Set of the Popular TV Show ‘Pawn Stars’
“Pawn Stars” is a cult reality show now, but at one time, the shop depicted in it was nothing more than the under-the-radar family-owned Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. Stop by the store to peruse its collection of jewelry, coins, antiques, armor and more to see if you have an eye for spotting the diamonds in the rough. Photography is allowed in parts of the store.
Soak in the Natural Hot Springs of Gold Strike Canyon
An hour drive from the Strip, Lake Mead National Recreation Area is one of the best places to get your nature fix in Nevada.
It requires a bit of scrambling and rope climbing to get down the canyon, but the secret hot springs are worth the effort. The trail is about 2 miles long and is peppered with pools, waterfalls and grottos when you need to cool off. The trail is closed annually from May 15 to Sept. 30 as the intense summer heat is no joke. This is geared toward the expert adventurer.
Throw Yourself a Vintage Sign Scavenger Hunt
If you’re into retro photos but don’t want to pay the entrance fee to The Neon Museum, you can still marvel at vintage signs all around town. The museum is the driving force behind the Restored Las Vegas Neon Signs Tour, which features restored signs all over the Strip and Old Vegas. There is a downloadable map on the project's website with each location marked so you can easily tour the street art.
Make Kissy Faces at the Fishes
The Silverton Casino Hotel has a Bass Pro Shops that contains an 117,000-gallon aquarium. The underwater display is so impressive, it might have you forgetting you’re in a desert. The reef is home to an array of rainbow-colored marine life and hosts live feeding shows three times a day. If you time it right, you might also see a mermaid or two swim by.
Get a History Lesson at Caesars Palace
Some shopping malls are known for their luxurious boutiques and high-end fashion. The Caesars Forum Shops are known for talking statues. An animatronic look back at the fall of Atlantis, special effects and fireballs will distract bored husbands while you window shop or do some damage on the credit card.
See Southwest Art at the Marjorie Barrick Museum
At the University of Las Vegas, you'll find the Marjorie Barrick Museum. Formerly a natural history museum, the space holds art that depicts different aspects of life in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada, as well as pieces that date to the pre-Columbian period.
Window Shop at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian
With cobblestone streets and painted ceilings, the quarter-mile-long Grand Canal is a perfect model of Venice, Italy. Lined with charming cafes and upscale shops, you’ll be magically transported across the pond as you lazily watch the gondolas float by. And it’s all done without the price of a plane ticket or the inevitable jet lag.
Snag the Classic ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ Photo
One of the most iconic signposts in the world, the neon proclamation welcomes you to the big city with grandeur. Created in 1959, in recent years the location has been made more accessible and solar panels have been added to modernize the sign without losing its vintage charm. You’ll definitely want this photo because if you don’t Instagram it, did it really happen?
See the Light and Water Show at Sam’s Town Mystic Falls Park
At the Sunset Stampede Laser Light Show, it doesn’t have to be nighttime to see the woods come alive with music, dancing waters and twinkling lights. The atrium sets the scene of an enchanted forest with babbling brooks and animatronic animals that were designed by the same team that brought Disneyland its magic. The show takes place daily at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 p.m.
Visit the Bliss Dance Statue at The Park Vegas
Bliss Dance is an immense, 40-foot statue of a dancing woman. It is a beautiful rendition of an art piece inspired by Burning Man, an annual festival in Nevada. The statue is the centerpiece of the Park, an 8-acre green reprieve in the middle of the concrete jungle.
Take a Scenic Drive to Calico Basin Red Springs
If you’re in need of a nature fix, the Calico Basin is a beautiful area full of hiking trails and sandstone cliffs for rock climbing. It’s near the entrance to Red Rock Canyon, yet it doesn’t require a permit or a fee like the national park does.
Hike an Old Railway Tunnel at the Hoover Dam
The Lake Mead Railroad Tunnel Trail is a designated National Historic Trail for its unique ambiance. A series of underground tunnels that are believed to be part of the original construction of the Hoover Dam, the area is populated with owls, bighorn sheep, lizards and ravens. As part of the national parks system, entrance is included if you have an America the Beautiful annual access pass. Otherwise, individual entrance fees apply.
See the Elvis Impersonator at Harrah’s Piano Bar
Pete Vallee, known as Big Elvis, is one of the King’s best and longest-running impersonators. He performs classic renditions of six decades of American rock three days a week. If you’re feeling an unrequited “Burning Love,” it’s the best place to pay tribute to the legend himself.
Become a Whiskey Expert at vomFass
If you’re interested in elevating your drinking game, vomFass offers the Whiskey Experience, a free seminar to taste whiskeys from America, Ireland and Scotland. The mini-course will train your palate on the different types.
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