Vegas On A Budget: 19 Cool Things To Do In Vegas For Free
Whether it’s the world-famous Las Vegas sign, the lights of Fremont Street, or the MSG Sphere, there are plenty of cool things to do in Vegas for free. While a kid-friendly list, we’ve included some free things to do in Vegas for adults as well.
1. MSG Sphere
The hottest new concert venue in the US, and maybe even the world, is the kaleidoscopic 2.3 billion-dollar fever dream that is the MSG sphere. There are many great vantage points to see its ever-changing surface, but the best is in the Encore parking garage, directly adjacent to the Encore Casino.
The view from the garage’s top floor is widely believed to be the best in Las Vegas. This is one of the best things to do in Vegas at night for free. Though it’s definitely still visible during the day.
2. Lake of Dreams at Wynn Las Vegas
As long as we’re out and about on the famous Las Vegas Blvd at night, let’s check out the Lake of Dreams show at the Wynn Las Vegas. Best viewed from one of their bars or restaurants, you can still see it for free near the hotel lobby.
A 9-story waterfall, some seriously oversized puppets, and dancing water and lights make this an unforgettable show. You can catch it after dark every half hour until 11:30 pm.
3. The Venetian Hotel
Head south on Las Vegas Blvd, duck into the Venetian, and see their take on Venice’s Grand Canal. You’ll need tickets for the gondola ride, but you can get great photos for free and listen to the Gondoliers singing as they row. You can also wander through the Grand Canal Shoppes.
One of our favorite free attractions, Streetmosphere at the Venetian, was cancelled at the end of 2023. We’re hoping they are planning to put something new in its place. It was located near the end of the Grand Canal Shoppes near the entrance.
4. The Mirage Volcano Show
Time is quickly running out on this must-see Las Vegas experience. Hard Rock International, the new owners of the Mirage, plan to turn the beloved volcano into a guitar-shaped hotel.
We expect it to remain open through the first part of 2024. So run, don’t walk to see this hot attraction in front of the Mirage on the Strip. Exploding nightly from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
As one of the best free attractions in Vegas for the last 30 years, she will be missed.
5. Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
Thousands of people walking on Las Vegas Blvd don’t realize that a four-acre lush tropical paradise is hidden in the Flamingo at the heart of the Strip. And they certainly don’t realize it’s free to enter.
Bubbly streams, cascading waterfalls, and tropical plants are filled with a wide variety of birds, including flamingos and herons. There are also catfish, turtles, brightly colored koi and other tropical fish in the water features.
It’s cool, relaxing, and miles away from the hubbub of the Strip, yet just a few feet inside the Flamingo’s front doors. It’s arguably one of the coolest things to do in Vegas for free.
If you get there early (they open at 7:00 am), you will very likely have this secluded oasis to yourself. Closing time is at 8:00 pm. During the early afternoon, you can meet with staff who can answer questions or tell you about the animals.
6. Bellagio Fountains
The fountains in front of the Bellagio are a must-see Las Vegas attraction, with 1,200 jets and almost 5,000 lights spread over 8 acres of some of the most expensive real estate in the world. The best view is from nearby rooms that are fortunate to overlook the display, but you can witness it for free right along the Las Vegas Boulevard sidewalk.
Another great vantage is just outside the hotel lobby, looking towards the Paris Casino, as you can still hear the accompanying music. A common mistake is to get there too early. The show doesn’t start until 3:00 pm during the week.
7. Botanical Gardens and Bellagio Conservatory
Just across the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd from the Flamingo, we can find the Bellagio Botanical Gardens. Free to wander through, this 14,000-square-foot attraction is genuinely stunning. The gardeners and staff conjure up creatures and people 30 feet high using plants, trees, and other techniques.
As the year progresses, so do the Conservatory themes, moving through spring, summer, and then holiday presentations. And the thing is, it’s not just a sensation for the eyes, but the nose as well. Those flowers smell amazing. It’s one of the best things to do in Las Vegas for free.
This free attraction is open 24/7. It is just to the right of the main entrance. The botanical gardens are open to all ages.
8. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
If you fancy a little window shopping, or maybe you’re just really keen on buying a purse for 30k, the Caesar’s Palace shops will appeal to you. Just across Flamingo Road from the Bellagio, this is probably one of the most famous luxury malls in the world.
The Roman-themed Forum shops are no longer the highest-grossing mall per square foot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t while away a few hours perusing Versace, Vuitton, Armani, Dior and Gucci. Or perhaps the stones at De Beers or Tiffany might interest you.
While not free, the Forum shops also contain a dozen restaurants. If all these high-end designers have you craving Italian, you can’t go wrong at Carmine’s or even RPM Italian with its handmade pastas.
9. Eiffel Tower Replica at Paris Casino
A bit further south down the Las Vegas Strip, we come across the Paris hotel. Now, Paris wouldn’t be complete without a faux 46-story Eiffel Tower. While this is only half-scale to the original, it’s still pretty impressive, especially with the light show they put on at night from dusk ’til midnight.
While the light show and getting your picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower are free, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the ride to the top of the viewing platform is one of the best buys in Las Vegas. It’ll cost you $23 for kids and $28 for adults.
And hey, if you don’t tell anyone you’re in Vegas and they just assume you’ve taken a trip to France…well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
10. The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood
Still headed south down Las Vegas Blvd, we come to Planet Hollywood. Planet Hollywood is known for its Miracle Mile Shops where you can do some more window shopping. Despite the name, it isn’t just 150 storefronts selling everything under the sun. Well, it’s mostly that. But it also boasts over a dozen different theatres, tons of restaurants, and other tourist attractions.
11. New York New York Casino
Another few hundred yards south down the Las Vegas Strip sits the New York New York Hotel and Casino. This is the perfect spot for a photo op of its 47-story Empire State Building, or its half-size Statue of Liberty. Unlike the Eiffel Tower, we won’t confuse anyone with this one, as the Big Apple Roller Coaster cuts right through her.
12. Excalibur and Luxor
Just another 100 yards south on the Las Vegas strip, we come to the dual properties of Excalibur and Luxor. Many of the free experiences here have been lost over the years, but they’re still worth a quick walk past. I mean, it’s not every day you see a 28-story castle with 5,000 rooms, or a 30-story pyramid capped with the brightest man-made light in the world.
13. The Pinball Hall of Fame Museum
Now, if you would like to take a cab or bus another mile south on Las Vegas Blvd, in the 4900 block, you will find a free museum dedicated to Pinball machines. Thousands of them, dating back 60 years in some cases. While it is free to enter and look around, you may want to bring some quarters, as not only can you look at the antique games, but in almost all circumstances, you can still play them. It’s one of the best arcades in Las Vegas.
14. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
Just another block south on Las Vegas Blvd, you’ll find the world-famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Welcoming visitors from Southern California for 65 years, this iconic piece of old Las Vegas has probably been photographed millions of times. Nowadays, you can cross the median safely, and there is parking just for sign visitors. Though that wasn’t the case for the first fifty years the sign stood!
15. The One and Only Las Vegas Strip
While the old saying about the journey being the destination may seem a little trite, just wandering up and down the Las Vegas Strip is truly an attraction in its own right. You get the best people watching in the world, with people from every walk of life and from all over the world, mixed with scenery straight out of some crazed dream. With Venice and Paris mixed with Volcanos, Pyramids and the Statue of Liberty, it truly is a wonder.
Steve Wynn used to say the action is the attraction, and if that’s true, a trip down Las Vegas Blvd at night might be the ultimate free attraction.
16. Free Circus Acts at Circus Circus
Miles north of the Las Vegas Welcome sign, on our way back to downtown Las Vegas along Las Vegas Blvd, sits Circus Circus. This is Las Vegas’s tribute to quintessential American entertainment – the Big Top.
We’re talking trapeze artists, silk cord dancers, jugglers, contortionists, ladder men, and sadly, clowns. Clowns aside, this is a fantastic show, even more so because it’s still free and open to children of all ages.
17. The Fremont Street Experience
Also dubbed the Viva Vision light show, they’ve taken five blocks of downtown Las Vegas and turned it into the world’s biggest block party. It’s the world’s largest video screen, with a ceiling that’s 90 feet up and covered in LED lights. At last count, nearly 50 million of them.
Three free stages will have musical acts almost every night of the year, weather permitting, and while not at all free, you can zipline down the entire length of it. No cars are allowed on this part of Fremont Street so that pedestrians can wander in and out of the various casinos, restaurants, and other shops along this downtown Las Vegas hotspot.
18. Downtown Container Park
As the name suggests, this downtown Las Vegas entertainment and shopping area is built entirely from shipping containers and metal cubes. Also located a bit further along Fremont Street, this complex offers shopping, free entertainment, restaurants, live music and even an art installation of a fire-breathing mantis. Because of the size limitations of the chosen building materials, most shops and entertainment venues are markedly small. There’s also a popular playground for children.
The stores generally open around 11:30 am and close around 9:00 pm. The restaurants and other entertainment are open until 11:00 pm during the week and 1:00 am on the weekends.
19. The Mermaid Show at Silverton
While more than five miles away from downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street, the aquarium and mermaids at Silverton really shouldn’t be missed. Consistently voted one of the top free things to do in Las Vegas, this 117,000-gallon aquarium has over 150 species of fish and more than 5,000 fish in total.
The mermaids do 15-minute shows underwater using hidden breathing tubes and are quite the sight, moving with their tails through all of the tropical fish. There are several smaller aquariums on the property as well, holding freshwater fish like catfish, trout and crappie.
We hope you get out and see some of the fantastic free things you can do in Las Vegas, as this list barely scratched the surface. This town has so much more to offer than slot machines and overpriced buffets. Get out there and see some of them! The list of things to do for free in Las Vegas Nevada is as long as you choose to make it.
Most Las Vegas casinos, especially those along Fremont Street, are known for giving free play to new players who sign up for their Players Club Cards. While not quite cash, it can be converted into cash after you’ve played for a bit.
If you already belong to, say, BetMGM’s player club, check your offers. You may have free play or other comps available once the app realizes you’re in Las Vegas.
Another great trick is playing free apps like MYVEGAS, which has free play as one of the awards you can choose. Of course, you’ll need to start playing long ahead of your trip.
Your best bet to get free swag is via a Players Club or the complimentary fun books handed out along the strip. You’ll often need to play some small amount before being awarded a free t-shirt or the like. Other times you can get them just for signing up or showing a coupon from one of the fun books.
This is a common misconception; drinks are never free in Las Vegas. They are complimentary. This means that the house will get you a drink for no charge as long as you’ve been gambling for a while. But how long is “a while?”
Sometimes, it just means putting some cash into a slot and waiting for wait staff to come by. Increasingly, though, it means playing until the slot lets the server know you’ve played enough to warrant a complimentary drink.