Las Vegas is a city designed to get every single cent out of your wallet and into the Casino’s coffers. Trips to Las Vegas can ruin you if you do not keep a lid on the expenses. However the City is one of contrast and amongst the High Rollers, lavish hotel rooms, and $500 Bottle Service, there is a raft of ways to visit the city extremely cheaply. Vegas can be seriously good value as we discuss in our how to Visit Vegas on a Budget. On top of this, however, there is also a load of things to do in the City for FREE!
We take a look at the GROWING NUMBER best things to do for Free in Las Vegas to help you get the most out of your trip. This list is almost endless and growing all the time.
1- The Strip
Let’s get straight in there. Vegas is an attraction all by itself. The First, and often The last, thing most people do after checking into their Hotel is hit the Strip. Just walking down this famous Stretch of Tarmac is pretty overwhelming for most. It still gets us after so many visits.
The Towering Columns of steel and glass, the bright lights and glitz and glamor, the Fountains and Landmarks, and the throngs of people from all walks of life. It’s a crazy and alluring spectacle, but one just about every visitor to Vegas experiences, so we won’t go on too much here. Just know, right outside your hotel’s door is the most amazing and incredible spectacle you can imagine!
2 – Bellagio Fountains
We tend to consider the Bellagio the Center of Las Vegas. Everything seems to orbit around the wonder that is the Bellagio Fountain Shows, So when we say you should stay near the center of Vegas we basically mean the Bellagio. This was not always the case however and the Fountains are pretty much the thing that made this the center of Las Vegas’s universe!
It is not hard to understand why as the incredible fountain shows have delighted millions of visitors every year since their opening in 1998. The shows rarely disappoint, and the attraction is rated #1 on pretty much any list of things to do in Las Vegas (even including Paid attractions!). It’s kind of amazing the fountains are just right there for all to enjoy completely free of charge. We guess the Bellagio gets value out of them by making the Hotel the Center of the Vegas universe.
Every 15 mins (3 during the day) the fountains erupt into life, accompanied by music, in a dazzling display of light and water. The main water cannons explode jets nearly 500 feet (140m) in the air with a hearty and reassuring thump, while the intense underwater lighting makes the whole water column shine white. It is a wonderful spectacle and you must take in the show several times on any trip.
Full Guide to the Bellagio Fountains and getting the Best View.
3 – Bellagio Bonus – Botanical Gardens and Conservatory
Also While at the Bellagio make sure you check out the Free Botanical Gardens and Conservatory. These wonderful seasonal displays of Horticulture are a real delight. Combining oriental topiary and seasonal designs in a really fantastic display. Also, look for the Bellagio Chocolate Fountain.
4 – Mirage Volcano
While the Mirage Volcano Show has been a little superseded by the Bellagio Fountains the show is still a pretty amazing spectacle. There are few places where you can witness a Volcano erupting right in the middle of the City. Of course, this is simply a show and not the real thing, after all, NOTHING in Vegas is the Real thing, but it is still an awesome firey display of light, water, and real fire.
From the Sidewalk, you can feel the heat as the flame jets burst skywards, and the Lava Boiling in the Summit Cauldron is pleasantly authentic. It really is one of those things you need to find time for. Erupting Daily, on the hour from 8-11 pm.
5 – Downtown – Fremont Street
Downtown Vegas has changed over the years, starting off as the heart of the city, as the action moved to the Strip the area fell into disrepute and was almost a no-go area for tourists. The Area was then transformed into the Fremont Street Experience and reborn as a tourist Hotspot.
We consider an Evening at the Experience an absolute must. This is Vegas as (we imagine) it used to be. While not everything here is free, the overall experience is. The Light Shows, The old School Casino’s, the Bustling City Strip Vibe. It’s all wonderful and an absolute must. Even things that do cost are often cheaper Downtown. Table limits are lower and rules better, drinks specials are super cheap, and the food is a steal compared to Strip Prices.
The Start of the show is the giant Fremont Street Light Show, aka Viva Vision. A gigantic Digital Canopy housing 12.5 million bulbs turn the entire canopy into a giant TV Screen, considered the Largest Digital Display in the World.
Overall at least one of your evenings in Vegas should be spent exploring the district. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s still something that needs to be ticked off!
6 – Enjoy a Free Concert – Downtown
On top of the Light Show at Fremont, there are also nightly free music acts taking place on the permanent Stages erected within the experience. Experience a little live music, usually a cover band but sometimes something a little more well-known for free while exploring Fremont street. A good crowd usually forms and you can get a beer from the many vendors and just take in the atmosphere, another great reason to visit Downtown.
7 – Visit The Las Vegas Sign
There is nothing more cringeworthingly Touristy than getting your Photo Snapped next to the Vegas Sign. But really it’s still an absolutely essential activity to do when in Vegas, especially on your first trip. We mean seriously if you are in Vegas you are a tourist so don’t give it a second thought. Get over to the Sign, grab that perfect Selfie and get it on Instagram. Traveling is meant to be FUN!
The Sign is obviously free and although it’s a fair way out from the main areas of Las Vegas it’s worth the effort of heading out and grabbing that snap. We have a full article here about visiting the Sign.
8 – Casino Tourism
You might see inflated numbers of hotels in lists such as this. Numerous examples of Casinos you can visit. We don’t really want to indulge in that, instead, we have a whole name for such activities. Casino Tourism.
Las Vegas Casinos are all so heavily themed that simply visiting the Hotel and Casino is an experience in itself. Whether it’s the Grand Halls of the Bellagio, the Canals a Squares at the Venitian, the Roman Architecture at Caesars, or all the fun of the Fair at Circus Circus. Simply exploring the huge Casino complexes along the strip is one of most people’s favorite parts of their Trips.
We have a full guide to Casino Tourism in Las Vegas Here
10 – Free Drinks
Las Vegas and Drinking are pretty synonymous and getting a little tipsy is all part of the Vegas high for most people. Not everyone of course, but Vegas and ‘hangovers’ are common bedfellows. However drinks in Vegas can be eyewateringly expensive, think $25 cocktails, $15 beers, and Table service where a few mixers and someone to pour your vodka suddenly make a $20 bottle of Jack Daniels “worth” $500, Ouch. However, Drinks in Vegas can also be extraordinarily cheap! Even FREE!
So yeah one of the best things to do for free in vegas is definitely FREE drinks. There is nothing better than enjoying a Vodka Martini on the house, or whatever your drink of choice is. Now let’s get one thing straight these are not completely free, they come with a catch. And that is you must be gambling. However, a lot of people come to Vegas to Gamble, so if you are going to be dropping a few $dollars into a slot machine anyway the drinks are most definitely free.
While it does not make financial sense to lose your shirt for a free Budweiser, if the shirts going anyway then you might as well drown your sorrows on the shirt’s new owners!
Are Drinks Still Free in Las Vegas?
11 – Hoover Dam
Less than an hour’s drive from central Las Vegas is the Hoover Dam. This stunning piece of US Engineering is a must-see for anyone heading out of the City or interested in giant stunning engineering projects…or even if you just like the Transformers movie!
Tours of the Dam cost $30 ($15 for the powerplant only tour and $10 for the Visitors Center) and Guided Tours out of Vegas cost upwards of $50-60 so hardly free. However, there is a lot to see by just driving over there and taking a look around. There are plenty of parking lots with great lookouts over the dam. A hiking trail through a Spare-parts Boneyard. A walk across the Dam is pretty spectacular and the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge offers the most stunning views over the dam. You can park up at the Boulder Dam Bridge (the original name of the Dam) parking lot and walk out over the bridge for Epic views. All without spending a dime.
There is also a free Museum at the Boulder Dam Hotel in Boulder but that is less worth the visit than just exploring the Dam.
12 – Hotel Pool
We know this is a bit obvious, but it’s often overlooked as a free activity. The Large complex and elaborate pool deck many hotels have can almost be like a small water park and for guests at the hotel, these pools are completely free. Sure you are paying to be in the hotel, but you got to sleep somewhere so having a lavish and relaxing pool deck at your disposal is definitely a big perk.
We spend many an hour relaxing and unwinding at our chosen hotel’s pool, and you should too. Visiting Vegas is an exhausting and stressful experience, and unwinding by the pool in the desert sun is one of life’s greatest stress relievers. So pick a hotel with a great pool and enjoy some “You” time out on the pool deck.
13 – My Vegas
My Vega is MGM’s free gaming app. By playing this before visiting you can do a huge number of activities absolutely free! Free Hotel Rooms, Free Activities, Free Gambling, Free Food (including Buffets), Free Drinks, Free Shows, and Free Helicopter Rides!
Honestly, it all seems too good to be true but it is 100% legit and simply by playing the free game you can rack up enough points to receive some great rewards totally free. The catch is the best rewards require you to stay in an MGM Property, but they have some great hotels so that is no hardship, and that is why they run the game, to entice you into staying at their properties.
We never Visit Vegas without using up some LP Points on all sorts of things, we really have had a blast using My Vegas. And while you can spend money using the App, there is NO need to and we never have!
14 – Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
Nestles behind the Flamingo Hotel, right in the heart of Vegas is the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat. A small but really charming spot where a flock of Flamingos lives happily frolicking in the ponds and lawns of the Habitat.
Along with Flamingos, there are Teal Ducks, Pelicans, Pink Bin Chickens, Swans, and a whole host of exotic birds. There are large Koi Ponds filled with Koi Carp, Turtles, and other aquatic life. It really is a wonderful little oasis right in the heart of the City. A place to retreat to and just get away from the madness and take in a little bit of nature.
15 – Circus Circus Shows
Circus Circus is a bit of a Mad House as you would expect from a Circus Themed Hotel. One Particular Curiosity is the Daily Circus acts. High Wire Trapeze, Incredible Jugglers, Strength and Balance Acts, and a whole host of other incredible acts, there are even clowns, if that’s your thing. The Shows run from 1:30 pm all day at the weekends with a slightly delayed start (3:30) mid-week.
These are not some low-rent crappy acts either these are full-blown Circus acts that will seriously leave you gasping in shock and awe. It really is incredible these are just put on every day with absolutely no charge whatsoever!
There is a lot going on under the Big-Top, aside from the Free Shows, so it’s definitely worth checking out next time you are in town.
The Shows closed down for a while in 2020. While Schedules have been reduced a little the Shows are now back up and running for 2021 which is awesome!
16 – Window Shopping, Forum Shops + Atlantis Shows
There are several large shopping Malls in Vegas, none Quite so spectacular as the Forum Shops, however. Themed around some of Rome’s most recognizable landmarks the Forum Ships takes you on a journey across the City, not the poxy Ruins of today but the City in its roman pomp! Well, that may be a bit Grandiose but the recreations of the Fountain of the Gods, Neptune Fountain, Fortuna Terrace, and the Trevi Fountain are all fun and interesting points of interest as you travel around these recreated Roman Streets.
The Shopping Mall is a cavernous monstrosity of a place and you can easily spend several hours just wandering around taking in all the shops, bars, restaurants, and Sculptures that line this gigantic shopping behemoth. Then you may spend another hour or two trying to get out, it’s easy to get lost in there!
Just about every brand imaginable has a presence and some real flagship stores are located here. It is a monument to American consumerism and a must-visit even if you have no intention of spending a dime!
Find the Best Mall in Las Vegas for window Shopping here!
The Atlantis Shows (Currently not Running) are a spectacular and unique show running every hour at the Caesars forum Aquarium. This unique part of the Shopping center is centered around the Atlantis Fountain. The circular chamber hosts the 50,000-gallon Atlantic Aquarium home to over 300 Marine Fish and all of a very impressive mature size! For a Mall Aquarium, it’s a pretty good display.
Every Hour the pretty fountain erupts into a fantastic Light, Smoke, and Fire Show retelling the Story of the Fall of Atlantis. We actually didn’t know about the show on our first visit and were just happily eating Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, enjoying the Aquarium when all hell broke loose! It’s a great little experience and one we highly recommend.
Finally, Look for Martin Lawrence Galleries. An art dealer, who has some of the world’s finest art up for sale. More on this later in the Free Art Section
17 – Other Top Shopping Malls in Las Vegas
Grand Canal Shoppes – In a similar Vein to the Forum Shops the Canal Shops are another Italian City Recreated, this time it is Venice. Canals, Terraces, Piazza, and Squares. The Shoppes has it all. A great place to just wander around marveling at the time and effort have gone into re-creating something this elaborate!
Fashion Show Mall – Another monster Mall. The Fashion show is less dramatic and more geared toward actually shopping than just browsing.
Miracle Mile – Another fairly dull and innocuous Mall. A great selection of shops but there is not much here if you are looking to just pass the time. Look out for the Indoor Rain Storm Shows, however, which are well worth checking out. Don’t get us wrong both the Fashion Show and Miricle Mile are GREAT Malls, they are just not great Free Activities.
Bellagio Shops – The Shops at the Bellagio are the easiest not to spend in. Mainly as we can scarcely afford anything on offer. These are Ultra-High-End Luxury shops, Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany, and Dior for example. Great for window shopping!
Premium Outlets North – Actually this is a terrible place for “window” Shopping. Avoid like the plague if you are not looking to spend money. The Outlet Mall is a haven for utter Bargains, 60-70% off high-end brands are daily occurrences and not spending money is incredibly difficult. We know this is a “things to do for free” Article but we are talking about shopping and we just couldn’t leave out the Outlets!
18 – Pawn Stars
Fans of the TV Show Pawn Stars can head out to the actual shop used in the series. This is a full-on working Business but they have used their fame wisely and welcome people who just want to visit the set and “hopefully” catch a glimpse of the stars as they go about their business.
For fans of the show, we probably don’t need to sell this anymore, but if you are not a big fan of the show, then it’s a bit more of an ask to recommend the place. Sure it’s quite interesting, so interesting a TV show was made about it, but that madness is very compressed and day to day this is just a shop that buys and sells things.
Alternatively, while we are on the Filming industry you could check out some of the Hangover and Hangover 3 Movie Locations!
19 – Free Art
There are several locations to take in some free Art around the City. Hotels often display free exhibitions or just select items from their collections. Here are just a few chances to spot some great free art.
Martin Lawrence Galleries – Situated inside the Forum Shops the Martin Lawrence Galleries are pretty mindblowing. This is actually a shop and most items are for sale. However, unlike most Art shops the inventory is not limited to some no-name local artist here you can actually purchase the biggest names in art in history. We are talking about Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and more. You are going to need DEEP pockets to buy anything from the Galleries, but it’s free to go in and take a look around.
City Center – The City Center is the Complex of hotels, shops, and restaurants centered around the Aria, Park MGM, Waldorf Astoria, and Vdara
Aria – Some of the City Centers Art is on display in and around the Aria Hotel, in fact, the official name for the collection is the Aria Art Collection
Bellagio – the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art has an amazing collection of artworks however the cover charge is $16, a snip really, but not FREE. The Hotel does have around 60 Pieces of art on public display predominately around the hotel.
20 – The Ethel M Chocolate Factory
A Short Drive out of Las Vegas is the Ethel M Chocolate Factory near Henderson. Free self-guided tours of the factory are available. This is just a short stroll along a viewing aisle where you get the chance to see the Coholiters in action. TBH this is a little hit-and-miss as it’s possible not much is going on when you visit.
To help mitigate the disappointment there is also the impressive cactus garden. 3 Acres of wonderful botanical gardens. Overall the experience is pretty pleasant, with the ever-present scent of chocolate in the air. Chocolate Tasting is also available and of course, you can purchase Ethel’s chocs on-site but none of that is free.
21 – Hiking in the Desert
Naturally getting out for the day and hiking is a top FREE activity in most locations around the world. However, in Vegas, this presents two big issues.
One is the Weather. In the Summer temperatures get unthinkably high. 105°F (40°C) during the day (and not much less at night), this makes hiking, at best unpleasant, at worst dangerous! We really do not recommend hiking out in the desert during the summer at all. The Flipside of this is during the winter some of the higher grounds around Vegas are actually inaccessible due to snow!
The other issue is the best hiking locations, Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead Recreation Area, and The Valley of fire all have entry fees. This makes them not a FREE activity! We tend to have an America the Beautiful Pass active at all times so they feel like free activities but if you are paying separately $40 a time is not free!
Our favorite spot to hike for free is the Spring Mountains. This stunning valley at the foot of Mount Charleston has a beautiful alpine feel with stunning views out over the Las Vegas Basin.
A little closer to Vegas is Clark County Wetlands Park. Featuring lots of flat trails around something Las Vegas often lacks, Water. This means there is plenty of wildlife, another thing lacking in the desert. Expect to see Duck, Birds, Roadrunners, and even coyotes around the Water Holes. This is nice easy hiking nothing challenging so good for all abilities.
Fossil Canyon offers a selection of trails with Redrock Canyon as a wonderful backdrop. Here you can enjoy the beauty of the canyon without the entry fee and get to hunt for fossils, among cactus and Joshua trees with stunning vistas.
Honestly, we tend to get our fill Hiking endlessly up and down Vegas Boulevard and through the Casinos. Most days we top 10 miles just hiking around the City, even with copious time spent sat by a pool, a bar, or a Casino table. Those steps rack up in Vegas like almost nowhere else on earth!
Have Your Say
Have we missed a free activity in the City? is there something you love to do for free that you think our readers would enjoy? Let us know in the comments below. Maybe you have tried one of our Free ideas and were disappointed? Or maybe you just want to tell us how much you loved it? Whatever you have to say just leave a comment below and if you have any questions just fire away.