I think the powers that be in Las Vegas assume everyone is going to win their millions. Why else would a cup of tea at Starbucks (normally $2.25) costs $4.55? No, haven’t exaggerated that price. We most definitely didn’t win our millions. We didn’t even gamble much (in fact we spent a grand total of $2 – it was more fun watching others lose rather than lose money ourselves!).
That’s not to say we didn’t treat ourselves though. Thom booked a night in a hotel as a surprise and it was one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in. Made even better by the fact that we could stand upright in it (unlike in our van). We got frozen cocktails by the pool and had so much fun. I genuinely wanted to cry when we had to leave the next morning.
Given that we had treated ourselves, we kept most of what we did in Las Vegas pretty cheap. Did you know there are tonnes of free things to do in Vegas? You’ll still feel like you’ve experienced Vegas and you won’t come away with regret.
Travel the world for free in Vegas
You’ve travelled all the way to Las Vegas but why stop there? Once you’re in Vegas all you need to do is take a walk down the strip and you’ll see; the Eiffel Tower, the canals of Venice, the Statue of Liberty and even a replica of Italy’s Lake Como!
Feel like you’re in the movies
One of the weird things about Vegas is that you’ll feel like you’ve been there a hundred times before even when it’s your first visit. While you’re in Vegas, why not go and see where some of your favourite films were made. There’s the Bellagio Fountains from Ocean’s 11, the poolside at Garden of the Gods from The Big Short and, of course, Caesars lobby from The Hangover.
Cool down in the pool
It’s so hot in Vegas. We left our exploring of the city until the late afternoon when it was a little bit cooler and spent the rest of the time either by the pool or in air conditioned casinos.
Most hotels have a pool attached to them which is free for residents. If you do fancy spending a little bit of money then try out these cool pools. Check out Mandalay Bay’s outdoor playground, which features a lazy river, a wave pool and a sandy beach. The Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan overlooks the Strip from four stories and at the Golden Nugget Downtown you can take a waterslide and see a tank full of sharks.
See the vintage signs of Fremont Street
Away from The Strip, East Fremont Street is fast becoming a hip, cool neighbourhood. The area used to be a fairly dangerous place to be but now it’s full of trendy bars (with more of a rock scene than the trance music of The Strip), shops, restaurants and even bookstores.
It was probably my favourite area in Vegas (apart from the hotel). I loved the vintage-y signs and the rock atmosphere.
Go on a hike
What’s that? I’m telling you to go to Vegas and then go on a hike? Well, you know me. I do love a good hike.
If you’ve hired a car then put it to good use and go hiking. It’s not long until the urban sprawl turns into desert (although it is longer than I thought. I’d always imagined a couple of streets and then just desert and it’s not quite like that).
We’d just come from exploring a multitude of National Parks a little further away but for hikes closer to Las Vegas itself then head to Calico Basin where you’ll see Red Rock Canyon. To the north is Mount Charleston or a challenging route at Goldstrike Canyon where you’ll find ropes to help you and some natural hot springs along the way.
Watch a volcano erupt in Vegas
The Mirage hotel puts on a show every night for free! Believe it or not you can see a Volcano erupt right along the strip. Fortunately for you, this volcano erupts like clockwock (and isn’t dangerous). Check it out at the following times:
- Sunday – Thursday: 8:00 PM & 9:00 PM
- Friday – Saturday: 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM, 10:00 PM
The Fremont Street Experience
Besides cool vintage signs, Fremont Street has it’s own free experience that’s now a major tourist attraction. The Fremont Street Experience is a canopy that covers a pedestrian walkway full of casinos, cheap eats and a really weird restaurant where you dress up in hospital clothes and prepare to eat yourself to a heart attack.
The canopy has a nightly overhead light show called Viva Vision which is completely free and there are musicians busking along the walk too. We saw a boy who can’t have been older than 10 absolutely bossing it on some drums!
The Fall of Atlantis
Inside Caesars Palace Forum Shop a collection of statues regularly comes to life in a free show. You can count of incredible lighting and plenty of sound effects – it’s Las Vegas after all!
Arrive early at the Fall of Atlantis to secure a good viewing position around the fountain. A stroll through the Forum Shops is entertaining all by itself, since there are loads of re-created ancient statues but this free Las Vegas show tops it off!
- Catch it every hour on the hour from 10am -11 (midnight on Friday & Saturday)
See some flamingos
The incredible Bellagio Gardens
Whether you plan to gamble or not you should visit the Bellagio Gardens during your visit to Vegas. The gardens are huge and change with the seasons. Sometimes you may see gigantic Christmas trees and at others, rare flowers. It’s open 24/7 so visit whenever you happen to be nearby.
At The Venetian Casino you can stroll alongside Venice’s Grand Canal (or take a gondola), relax in St Mark’s Square AND watch some street performers too. The Venetian have dubbed these performers “Streetmosphere.” Singers, performers, and living statues line the inside of the casino (much like Covent Garden back home in London). There are also costumed singers who’ll seranade you and plenty more to see!
The dancing waters of the Fountains of Bellagio have become one of Las Vegas’ most iconic attractions. And it sure is impressive!
Jets of water shoot hundreds of feet into the air and sway gracefully to music. It’s one of the best free things to do in Vegas and seeing it only once won’t be enough!
Get a snap with the welcome sign
Designed back in 1959, the famous neon sign welcomes millions of visitors to Las Vegas each year. For many years, the sign was on the outskirts of town and stood in the median to greet drivers, but now it’s surrounded by hotels and has become popular enough that a parking lot was built just for it.
Catch a wedding
I really wanted to see someone come out of the classic Vegas wedding chapels during our stay. It didn’t happen (maybe I should’ve stood there at about 3am rather than 3pm?). There are so many wedding chapels, especially as you head out of the strip towards Fremont Street. You could always go and pretend you’re getting married just to try on the dresses…
Visit the Downtown Container Park
The Downtown Container Park is a just like Shoreditch’s Box Park or Brixton’s Pop Brixton. It’s a mix of retail, dining and play made entirely of shipping containers. The difference is that there’s a huge 55ft tall, fire breathing praying mantis outside! There’s free entertainment most days. You can see what’s coming up here.
Look at Other People’s Money
The Gold Tower hotel is home to a Golden Nugget which was found in Australia in 1980. It was then sold for more than a million dollars!
You can also get your picture taken with a million dollars at Binion’s Gambling Hall!
Get money for watching new TV pilots
Unfortunately this one is just for American citizens who live outside of Vegas so I couldn’t take part. But if you are American then you can get free money just for watching some TV pilots!
To do so just sign up at the CBS Television City area in MGM Grand. Simply give your feedback and walk away with some money! They were paying $30 when we were there!
See a free circus show
Circus Circus has circus performers that take to the Carnival Midway stage twice an hour throughout the day. They include trapeze artists, aerial acrobats and clowns. This Vegas show is completely free so go check it out!
Free arts in Downtown at First Friday
On the first Friday of the month, Downtown holds a free party that’s open to everyone. You’ll get to check out art exhibits earlier on during the party but then it turns into a lot of booze, food trucks, and girls in tank tops. There’s no charge to enter, so just show up and hang out.