Years ago I took my daughter to Las Vegas and after dropping big bucks on show tickets and the hotel, I started the search for some free things to do in Las Vegas to stretch the budget. If you’re a high roller, the city will roll out the red carpet for you with luxurious hotel rooms, fancy meals and unlimited drinks, all complimentary.
But for those of us who shy away from the casinos and wince a bit over losing even a few bucks in a slot machine have to budget for our fun. Here are several fun and free things to do in Las Vegas.
Stroll the streets of Venice, Paris and New York
One of the main attractions for me in Vegas is just strolling along the fake streets and canals in The Venetian, Paris and New York, New York. Only in America would you find such faithful fakes, am I right? Don’t lament that they aren’t the original – just enjoy them for what they are. Isn’t that the point of Vegas?
Walk the streets of Paris, enjoy a pastry or croissant and window shop on the cobblestone streets of a Parisian village with painted ceilings that mimic a sunny day in the City of Lights at Paris Las Vegas.
Enjoy the Renaissance architecture, magnificent murals and yes, even a Grand Canal with red bandana, stripe-wearing gondoliers ferrying around tourists at The Venetian Las Vegas. See the lights of the Big Apple, Las Vegas style at New York New York.
Watch the Fountains of Bellagio show
The famous fountain show at the Bellagio is a definite don’t miss. Go see it twice – once during the day and then again at night to see if fully lit up. More than a thousand fountains are part of the display, which shoots water up to 460 feet high in the air, accompanied by music that ranges from Broadway to pop to classical.
See the fine art collection at Aria
Aria has a free walking tour of its art collection throughout the ARIA Campus that includes ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa, The Shops at Crystals, and Veer Towers. Aria boasts one of the largest corporate art collections in the world, with works by Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Nancy Rubins, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Frank Stella, Henry Moore and James Tu.
Free concerts at Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street Experience is a five-block urban pedestrian mall that’s worth a visit to see the world’s largest video screen, more than 1,500-feet long, 90-feet wide and 90-feet tall. The Viva Vision screen has nightly light shows. Also check out the calendar for free nightly concerts.
See an Elvis impersonator
You haven’t really been to Vegas if you haven’t tapped your shoes to that Elvis beat. Also at Fremont, catch a performance by Tyler James and the Memphis Experience and listen to Tyler sing your favorite Elvis tunes.
Or head to the Piano Bar at Harrah’s Hotel & Casino in the afternoons to hear Pete Vallee, who has dubbed himself “Big Elvis.” He takes requests for your favorite Elvis tunes. Pete has been impersonating Elvis for more than 20 years and recently had his name added to the Las Vegas Walk of Stars, joining such notables as Liberace, Sammy Davis Jr., Wayne Newton and the real Elvis Presley.
Watch statues come alive in Caesars Palace Forum Shops
Strolling through these shops is a treat in itself, but every hour nine-foot-tall statues come to life during the Fall of Atlantis show, an animatronic display of fire and water that is set in the kingdom of Atlantis. The shows play on the hour starting at 11 a.m.
Visit the Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat
Located on 15 lush acres at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, the Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat has Chilean flamingos, parrots, hummingbirds, pelicans, fish and turtles. Take a stroll through the gardens for a quiet respite from the noisy din of Las Vegas streets and casinos.
View the display at the Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Conservatory is located across from the front desk in the lobby of the Bellagio in a 14,000-square-foot space with a 50-foot-high glass ceiling. Horticulturalists at the gardens change the display several times a year to coincide with the season.
Watch the volcano at The Mirage erupt
Every night at 8:00 and 9:00 with an additional show at 10:00 on Friday and Saturday, the volcano on the outside of The Mirage erupts with flames shooting up to 12 feet in the air to the tunes of The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Indian musician Zakir Hussain. It’s been erupting since 1989 and remains one of Vegas’s more popular attractions.
Free concerts at Downtown Container Park
Located downtown, Downtown Container Park has shops made of repurposed shipping containers with free concerts and movies through the year. You’ll also find the Treehouse, an interactive play area for kids that features a 33-foot-long slide.
For more information, go to Visit Las Vegas
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