Las Vegas is the world’s capital for gambling, entertainment, and nightlife. It is also known as the playground for the high rollers. But even if you don’t have the money, there are several free things to do in Las Vegas. So here is the list of fun things to see and experience if you’re in Las Vegas on a budget.
1. Fountains of Bellagio
Watching the Fountains of Bellagio is one of the most popular free things to do in Las Vegas. Set in Lake Bellagio, the large water feature outside one of Sin City’s most iconic casinos, the fountains dance to opera, classical, Broadway or pop music at pre-set times through the afternoon and into the evening/night.
The best times to watch are after dark. The choreographed interplay of water, lights, and music is an awesome sight that will enchant and thrill you.
During the holidays, the background music changes to holiday classics, and one of my most favorite memories of Las Vegas is watching a holiday fountain show. You can enjoy the show from the street with the Bellagio as the backdrop, or from one of the restaurants inside the Bellagio, with the Eiffel Tower from the Paris casino as the backdrop. If you stay in one of the high-rise hotels around the Bellagio, you can even ask for a fountain view room! A proof that you can enjoy Las Vegas on a budget by just knowing where to go.
How to get to the Bellagio Fountains
The Bellagio is located on Las Vegas Boulevard, otherwise known as the Strip. Las Vegas casinos charge parking, so an Uber is the best way to get to the Bellagio if you are not within walking distance. If you are close by, walk to the Strip and then make your way to the Bellagio, which is between the Cosmopolitan and Caesar’s Palace, at 3600 South Las Vegas Boulevard.
Source: Dhara of It’s Not About The Miles
2. Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience, otherwise known as Downtown Las Vegas, often lives in the shadow of its big brother Las Vegas Boulevard but it is well worth taking an afternoon or evening to explore it.
The Fremont Street Experience is a long pedestrian mall, covered by, not just a roof, but a 1500 foot long, 90 foot wide, LED video screen with constant light shows on it. There are often free concerts on under the cover and people in costumes or costume girls with whom you can take photos.
Downtown Las Vegas is home to many historic casinos such as the Golden Nugget, Binions, and the Fremont Hotel, many of which have preferred to maintain the old-time look with light bulb signs and keeping the LEDs so prominent on the Strip to a minimum.
The Experience is fun to walk down and people watch, but of course there’s no shortage of these old casinos to dart into for a game or a drink, and of course, there’s are many great places to eat as well.
How to get to Fremont Street Experience
The easiest way to get from the Strip is to get an Uber, Lyft or Taxi. It’s about a 15 to 20-minute drive, depending on where on the Strip you leave from. I was picked up from the Monte Carlo and the trip cost (with Uber) $13.88, which if you fill a car is quite reasonable.
There is the option to get the Strip and Downtown Express public bus, which goes down the Strip, which goes every 15 minutes. However, I’d prefer a taxi as this could take upwards of 40 minutes, as it doesn’t go onto the expressway as a taxi would.
Luke of Back Street Nomad
3. Watch the erupting volcano in Mirage Hotel
In front of the Mirage in Las Vegas is a Polynesian waterfall surrounded with palm trees. This lush landscape transforms into an erupting volcano every evening as part of shows that generally occur at 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. It’s important to make sure to check the online schedule here for seasonal changes and note that shows may be canceled due to high winds.
This iconic show gives visitors a chance to see what a real erupting volcano might look like while staying safely away from danger. On our last visit to Las Vegas, we were staying at Ceasar’s Palace next door and saw several Volcano shows because our children enjoyed it so much.
How to get to the Mirage Hotel
The Volcano is located in front of the Mirage Hotel right near the middle of the Las Vegas Boulevard (aka the Strip). Self-parking at the Mirage and many nearby casinos is free. Arrive early to get a good vantage point for viewing, photographing and feeling the heat of the volcano.
Source: Catherine D’Cruz of We Go With Kids.
4. Have fun with the Flamingos in Caesars Flamingo Resort
Of all the free things in Las Vegas, the Flamingo habitat is my favorite. I spend time there on every visit to the city. The habitat is like a little tropical jungle in the middle of the Vegas Strip. Numerous species of waterfowl, and the famous Chilean flamingos make their home at the habitat. There are also koi fish, and some turtles have joined the tiny ecosystem.
There are paths and benches for visitors, so it is possible to relax and watch the birds interacting. The palm trees and the sound of the waterfall make you forget you are in the middle of Sin City. I think what I like most about the habitat is that the flamingos come and go as they please. The migrate and return, indicating they are happy in this home.
How to get to Flamingo Habitat
The Flamingo Habitat is located at Caesars Flamingo Resort in the center of the Las Vegas strip. The sign makes The Flamingo hard to miss, but when riding the bus, get off at the Linq stop. To get to the habitat, if you come in through the front doors, head straight back across the casino. An easier option is to enter from the Linq promenade, where the entrance takes you directly next to the habitat.
5. Check out the art collection at the Aria
Why? Because most of the 26 pieces of incredible art that make up the Aria Fine Art Collection could be tucked away in a gallery, but they’re not. They’re just sitting around the southern end of the Strip just waiting for you to admire them.
You don’t even have to be massively into art to enjoy them – I loved Glacia, a set of ice pillars in the shopping mall that changes shape a little bit every day or Hoto, the mini-skyscraper covered in flashing LED numbers, one of the only pieces outside of Japan by artist Tatsuo Miyajima. Yep, the art here is as much fun as everything else in Vegas.
Where to find it
The Aria Fine Art collection is on public display in and around the Aria hotel, the Vdara, The Shops at Crystals and the Residences, Mandarin Oriental. You can download a brochure on the hotel’s website which tells you where to find each piece and a bit about them.
Helen Foster of Differentville
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