A shimmering city in the middle of the desert, Las Vegas is a place that doesn't do things halfway. Once a tiny village along the railroad tracks, Las Vegas bloomed in the 20th century into the haven of gambling and entertainment it is world-famous for being now. Las Vegas history runs deep, and here, excess is the name of the game. Millions of people from around the world come here every year in the hope of striking it rich at the gaming tables or slot machines. And in Sin City, money is king.
Therefore, you can expect to spend plenty of dollars when you take a trip to Las Vegas. Whether you blow it all on fancy hotels, stunning shows, or in the casinos, Las Vegas has a way of breaking your budget no matter how careful you try to be.
But you can make your cash stretch a little further by taking advantage of some of the free things there are to do in Las Vegas. Even in a city as money-hungry as this one, you can find free things to do that won't break the bank. Drop off your belongings at an affordable Bounce luggage storage in Las Vegas so that you can travel light and enjoy these free things to do.
Fremont Street Experience
Undoubtedly one of the best free things to do in downtown Las Vegas, whether free or not, is to pay a visit to Fremont Street and soak up what many consider the best atmosphere in the city. This pedestrian-only street is full of live music, light shows, and all sorts of interesting people-watching.
You can also find some great freebies here like complimentary stage shows, outdoor movies, and the Viva Vision light show that runs every hour from dusk until midnight, featuring the world's largest video screen. Most nights, the Fremont Street Experience has the feel of an open-air street party. It's one of the best places in the city to enjoy free shows by street performers and living statues and save money on entertainment without sacrificing any of the wild atmosphere of Sin City.
Las Vegas Strip
You can't really go to Las Vegas and not visit The Strip. In fact, the hard part will be exploring The Strip without spending any money. This street is home to some of the top Las Vegas casinos, the biggest shows, and the fanciest retail shops. It wouldn't be hard to spend a fortune on this street where free attractions are few and far between.
However, just taking a walk along The Strip is completely free, and the street is as lively and unpredictable as any well-produced Las Vegas show. You never know what you might see on any given day, whether it's a group of Elvis impersonators, a spontaneous dance party in front of one of the casinos, or an outdoor art gallery.
There are also some free attractions along The Strip like the Volcano at The Mirage and the light show at Bellagio. Of course, both of these are designed to get you in the door to spend money, but they're still fun to see even if you don't drop a dime while you're there.
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
Located on Las Vegas Boulevard, this famous sign has been a fixture of the city since 1959. In that time, it has appeared in countless movies and TV shows as well as in the photos of millions of visitors to the city. Boldly proclaiming Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas in unmissable neon, the sign is as colorful and ostentatious as the city it represents.
You can't miss it when you're driving down The Strip, but it's worth getting out of the car and taking a closer look. It's located in a small park that's a great place to take a break from all the action of the city and people-watch for a while.
There are also some photo opportunities here, with professional photographers often on hand to snap a picture of you in front of the famous Las Vegas sign. They'll charge you for the photo, but it's worth it to have a souvenir of your trip to Las Vegas that won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Seven Magic Mountains
One of the lesser-known attractions on this list, Seven Magic Mountains, is a public art installation located about 20 minutes outside of the city. This free attraction features seven brightly-colored towers of stacked boulders that are sure to brighten up your day.
This is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peace and quiet in nature. It's also a good place to take some photos, and some fantastic hiking trails start from here if you want to make a day of it.
This water show is a truly iconic Las Vegas experience and would be worth seeing even if it wasn't free. But it is. In fact, in its way, it's one of the best free shows in the city.
The fountains dance to music, and the show is different every time. It runs every half hour in the afternoons and every 15 minutes in the evenings, so you can easily fit it into your schedule no matter what else you're doing.
The best place to see the show is from one of the pedestrian bridges that cross the lake in front of the Bellagio, but it's also fun to watch from one of the nearby casinos or restaurants. Getting a photo in front of the fountain is about as classic a Las Vegas experience as you could possibly have, so don't miss one of the best free things to do in the city and enjoy this famous show.
Bellagio Botanical Garden
While you're at the Bellagio, don't forget to pay a visit to the sprawling indoor botanical garden in this hotel. The gardens change with the seasons, so there's always something new to see, and admission is free.
This is a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peaceful time surrounded by nature. The gardens are also a great place to take photos, and they make for a nice break from all the casinos and shops on The Strip. Soak up some peace and tranquility in the gardens while you save money, and you'll soon find yourself ready to brave the chaos of downtown Las Vegas all over again.
Lake of Dreams at Wynn Las Vegas
Located at the Wynn Hotel, this atmospheric show is a spectacle like no other. The show is an impressive display of lights, music, and puppetry that tells a story of love and loss.
The show runs every half hour from 8 pm to midnight, so you can easily catch it before or after dinner. It's a great way to spend an evening in Las Vegas, and it's something you're unlikely to see anywhere else. The show only lasts around five minutes, but it packs a lot of entertainment value into that short time. The impressive 40-foot waterfall and the huge puppets make this an otherworldly experience that will transport you far from the chaos of the Las Vegas Strip.
Pinball Hall of Fame
Operated by a nonprofit organization, this unusual museum is very much a labor of love. The Pinball Hall of Fame collects and preserves pinball machines from around the globe with the aim of being the world's largest pinball machine collection.
Admission to the Hall of Fame is free. Then again, what use is a pinball machine if you can't play it? Luckily, the machines in this unusual collection are available to play. Unfortunately, it will cost you some money to play them. Still, many of the vintage machines still only cost a quarter, and if you're any good, you'll be able to make a handful of change last all night in this nostalgic attraction.
This hotel and casino complex on Las Vegas Boulevard is justifiably famous for its in-house show, which is the world's largest permanent circus show. The show features acrobats, trapeze artists, clowns, and much more. It's a great place to take the kids, but it's also entertaining enough that even adults will enjoy it. High-flying circus acts perform incredible feats to wow the crowd, and along with these free circus acts, there are also rides and attractions, the Splash Zone waterpark, and Adventureland amusement park at this sprawling entertainment complex. It goes without saying that this is one of the best things to do in Las Vegas with kids, too.
The show is free to watch, and it runs several times a day. Check the schedule in advance so you can plan your day around the show. It's a great way to add some extra excitement to your Las Vegas vacation without spending any money. Located right on the Las Vegas Strip, it's almost impossible to miss this place, and if you want to save money on your Vegas trip, you should make sure you don't.
The Volcano at The Mirage
The Las Vegas Strip may not be an easy place to save money, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Along with the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign and the Bellagio fountain show, the Las Vegas Strip is home to another spectacular free show that you should definitely try to make time to see on your Las Vegas trip.
The Volcano at The Mirage Hotel and Casino erupts every 15 minutes from dusk until midnight. Okay, so it's not a real volcano. But it's so well done you'll forget all about that once you see the stunning eruption for yourself. It's a sight to behold, and it's one of the most popular free attractions on the Las Vegas Strip. So make sure you don't miss it!
Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
This free attraction at the Flamingo hotel is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip. The habitat is home to over 400 birds, including flamingos, ducks, swans, and more. You can stroll through the gardens and get up close to the birds, or you can relax in one of the many hammocks dotted around the habitat.
The best time to visit is early in the morning when the birds are most active. But even if you only have time for a quick visit, it's well worth checking out this oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of all the Las Vegas chaos.
Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area
If you're looking for a break from the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip, then you should consider taking a day trip to Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area. Just a short drive from Las Vegas, this beautiful canyon is home to hiking trails, rock formations, and wildlife. The best way to see the canyon is by taking one of the many scenic drives. The 13-mile loop road takes you past some of the most stunning sights in the canyon, and it's a great way to get away from it all without having to do any strenuous hiking. There is a small fee to enter the park, but it's well worth it for the chance to experience some of the incredible natural beauty around Las Vegas. Plus, the park is also home to some of the best hikes in the area.
Nobody comes to Las Vegas to save money. And as you stroll down the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, it may seem like everyone and everything in the town is designed to extract more money from your pocket.
In a way, that's true.
There's no question that Las Vegas is an easy place to go broke, whether you blow your budget at the casinos or on the latest designer threads at Miracle Mile Shops or Grand Canal Shoppes. But if you look around, you'll find there are also plenty of free things to do, both on the Las Vegas Strip and off it.
Visiting the Welcome to Las Vegas sign on Las Vegas Boulevard, taking in the unparalleled atmosphere of the Fremont Street Experience, enjoying the light show at the Bellagio fountain, and taking in an incredible show at Lake of Dreams don't need to cost you a penny. And taking advantage of these free things to do can make your budget stretch further. So build some of these free things into your itinerary on your next trip to Las Vegas, and watch this expensive city become more affordable.