So you blew all your money at the poker table. Or maybe you were trying your luck at the slots? Either way, Vegas isn’t exactly known for being cheap. Even if you budgeted for food, drinks, activities, and a little gambling, it goes faster than you think on the strip. Luckily, we’ve rounded up a list of the top FREE things to do in Las Vegas, so you can save some extra cash to play. (Disclaimer: Once you strike the jackpot, feel free to ignore this list.)
Walk The Strip
Okay, besides the best people watching in the world, the strip actually has a lot of cool activities if you’re willing to brave the heat. We recommend starting at the Bellagio fountains, where over a thousand fountains dance to music from Debussy to Sinatra. From there, explore the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood, or go across the street to the Forum shops to gawk at the outrageously priced clothing and cars. Then stop at the Mirage’s volcano, (supposedly the views are best in front of the Golden Nugget, but we haven’t tried that yet.)
The North strip is also worth a visit. The canals of the Venetian and Palazzo are beautiful (And indoors! With air conditioning!). The Wynn conservatory gardens are just a walk away, with seasonal trees and flowers. And then you’re just a stone’s throw from the Trump hotel Las Vegas, and can try your chances at a glimpse of the orange man himself and I mean, you really can’t put a price tag on that.
Join the Greatest Show on Earth
Since the nearly $200 a ticket to Cirque du Soleil doesn’t fit into the “free” category – do the next best thing. Visit the KA Theatre at the MGM Grand, every Tuesday from 11 AM and 11:30 AM for a complete tour of the show’s mechanics. (A $165 million production.) They walk you through the tricks of the circus and give musical demonstrations so you can see the top-of-the-line sound system the production employs.
And if you’re still hungover and there’s no way you’re making it to an 11 AM tour, go to Circus-Circus at any point. It’s the world’s largest permanent circus, and you can watch the stunts by unicyclists and acrobats above the casino floor at no charge, every half hour.
Explore the Art Scene
Vegas might not seem like the most aesthetic place with its flashy billboards and umm, advertisements littering the ground, but if you know where to look, it actually has a pretty compelling art scene.
The Bellagio is the leader, with art all over their lobby (don’t miss the gorgeous Dale Chihuly sculpture on the ceiling) and their restaurant Picasso, featuring sculptures, paintings, and drawings by the man himself. And while the art museum does require tickets, a quick walk to the Cosmopolitan and you’ll see their famous Wallworks – murals by artists like Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf on the walls of the parking garage. But the coolest, hidden art experience? With an appointment, you’ll be able to witness light artist James Turrell’s Akhob, a huge, permanent installation at the Louis Vuitton Maison flagship in the luxury mall Crystals.
See the Animals
The Strip houses more than just high rollers and drag queens. See wildlife in the heart of the metropolis and save on zoo admission. The Flamingo hotel houses a flock of Chilean flamingos among other feathered friends in the hotel’s wildlife habitat. The Mirage has a secret garden with bottlenose dolphins and Siegfried & Roy’s famous white tigers. Caesar’s Palace Forum shops also have an impressive aquarium, with more than 500 kinds of fish including sharks and rays that perform two feeding frenzies a day. Tell the kids it’s Seaworld and they’ll never know the difference.
Learn the Rules of the Game
So maybe you’re losing at the table because you don’t actually know how to play. Learn how to count cards play craps, blackjack, roulette and others at many casinos for free (this list will give you the most updated hotels and when they teach.) Instructors will outline the basic rules, the object of the game, and deal some example hands, walking you through various scenarios. You’ll usually get a chance to play on your own using practice chips, so you don’t blow your wad on a game you don’t get. But be warned: these classes are popular so get there early or you might have to be an observer instead of a participant.
And while they say “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” we’re big fans of sharing. So did we miss anything? What are your favorite free Vegas activities?