This summer I spent two days in sunny Las Vegas. It was my first time. I flew out west for other reasons and destinations, so I had an extended layover in Nevada. I decided to go with it and experience what the big fuss was about. We stayed at The Venetian hotel. It was beautiful and one of the nicer hotels. If you are looking for a cheap hotel room, you will get a cheap hotel room. Just pay a little extra to be in a safe location and clean hotel – this advice has never been truer than in Las Vegas. Now that you have a great place to rest your head lets review my Top 10 Free things to do in Las Vegas!
Let me preface this post with this: I don’t really drink alcohol and I don’t find gambling very much fun. So I thought Vegas didn’t have a lot to offer me. I saw a lot of families walking around and I thought to myself, “I wonder what they are up to?” Well, after much exploring and searching – I found the family friendly side of Las Vegas. IT IS possible to have a good time in Las Vegas without the drinking and gambling. (Don’t get me wrong, I played a few penny slots. It was fun… for a while.)
The other downside of Vegas is the prices! Everything will be more expensive. From the food to the activities. Don’t be fooled – stick with me and I’ll show you all the free fun that can be had on the strip. This post is my gift to all of you who are looking for a good and cheap time in Vegas.
These are my Top 10 things to do in Las Vegas that are Family Friendly AND Free!
The “Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign – This is a classic and super basic thing that every tourist needs to do before they leave. Stop by any time of the day or night and snap a pic in front of this sign. It is located at the very end of the strip. There is parking and crosswalks to make it more pedestrian friendly to visit.
Location: 5200 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Travel around the world! Strap your walking shoes on and you can travel the world on The Strip in Las Vegas.
Egypt: Visit the pyramids and Great Sphinx of Egypt at the Luxor Resort: 3900 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119.
Great Britain: Keep strolling past to the British Middle Ages and see the Excaliber Hotel: 3850 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109. This hotel and casino looks like a medieval castle. Leave the dark ages as you enter New York City.
New York, New York: This is a near perfect replica of the Manhattan skyline. You will get to see the Staue of Liberty, Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge!
Paris, France: Bonjour! Ever wanted to walk around the charming Parisian city? Settle for the vegas version at the Paris Las Vegas: 3655 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109. This resort has picture worthy replicas of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
Italy: The Bellagio, Caesars Palace and The Venetian are all Italian city themed hotels that make you feel like you are immersed in Venice or Rome.
Hershey’s Chocolate World – Everything chocolate that you can possibly imagine is celebrated in this Hershey’s attraction. Walk through and pop some free samples of old and new Hershey’s Chocolate recipes. You can easily get lost in this 2 story world that is fun for the whole family.
Location: 3790 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Everyday 9am – 11pm
The Bellagio – The Bellagio is a fabulous upscale hotel. This is one to stay at! They have the best buffet in Las Vegas (in selection, quality, and value). The entertainment here is a two for one deal. Just a short distance from the lobby is the Bellagio Gardens. These gardens are decorated every few months with a different theme. For christmas, they go all out with decorations! You need to see this to believe it. Outside of the hotel is a large lake that features a breathtaking fountain show. The show features dancing water synchronized to music. This was my favorite FREE show in Las Vegas. It’s even better night! If you are going to do anything on this list – this one is it!
Location: 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Fountain Show: Everyday 3pm – midnight.
Caesars Palace – This massive hotel can be overwhelming. Come visit the lobby and see the insane Roman décor. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is a massive shopping mall located inside the hotel with over 160 stores. But the unique attraction here is the “Fall of Atlantis” show. At the far end of the mall there is a pyrotechnic/ animatronic show surrounded by a 50,000 gallon aquarium. The show recounts the old myth of Atlantis. The show plays at the top of every hour.
Location: 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Sun – Thurs 10am – 11pm and Fri – Sat 10am – midnight.
The Mirage – This more lavish hotel has a neat feature just outside the tropical lobby atmosphere. There is a Volcano that stars in a newly revamped show. It erupts with real explosions and fireballs synchronized to a Rock n Roll soundtrack. This little show will get your heart pumping. Fire goes well with Rock n Roll.
Location: 3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Volcano erupts Every hour Sun – Thurs 8pm & 9pm Fri – Sat 8am – 10pm
The Flamingo – I do believe this is the largest concentration of pink flamingo decor in the world. It’s almost ridiculous how everything is flamingo themed. But in the back of this hotel is an actual Flamingo Habitat! It is free to visit and see the bright pink flamingos, koi fish, pelicans, black and white swans. It was well maintained and beautiful. Animals are most active in the morning hours.
Location: 3555 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Everyday 8am – 8pm
The Venetian – The hotel itself is another immense hotel with an immense mall. But this hotel is a little different. The whole theme is Venice, Italy. There is a canal that runs through the inside and outside complete with real gondolas! It is a sight to behold. It is pretty. Inside the “Grand Canal Shoppes” they have some free entertainment that they like to call “Streetmosphere”. This is the Streetmosphere schedule. Grab some homemade gelato and a free show!
Living Statues — Ann Taylor: Noon – 8 p.m.; St. Mark’s Square: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Gondolier March — 9:50 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.
The Venetian Trio: An Evening of Musical Elegance — St. Mark’s Square: 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Ann Taylor: 6 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Carnevale di Venezia — St. Mark’s Square: Noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Barney’s New York: 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 5 p.m. 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Location: 3355 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Everyday 10am – 10pm.
The Wynn & Encore – These are side by side buildings that are pretty much the same hotel. There are two beautiful things to see here. The Wynn has a gorgeous flower lobby and life size carousel made completely out of flowers. At the Encore, there are a series of waterfalls. My monk friend spent an hour simply gazing at the falling water.
Location: 3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
All Day, Everyday
Circus Circus – Located in the Circus Circus hotel at the center of the Midway Arcade, high above the casino is a free Circus! They feature clowns, jugglers, unicyclists and acrobats! It was entertaining and more fun than I thought it would be. When the circus is over, you can walk around the arcade and see what games tickle your fancy! I kind of got carried away and ended up with a local friend and way too many tickets!
Location: 2880 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Everyday 11am – midnight.
Do you want to know my brutally honest negative opinion? Then keep reading…..
If Las Vegas were a person, she would be the child of a sad suburbia strip mall and tacky knock off handbag. She would be an 8 foot tall character with a perpetual cigarette in her hand, draped in the cheapest lycra ever printed, with neon lights for eyes and a smile that’s always trying to fade away. She’s a pretend train wreck that you can’t help but stare at. Vegas is also in complete denial that she’s located in the most beautiful dessert mountain canyon landscape. She would rather pretend she’s in Paris, New York, Italy, Japan – anywhere else than where she is meant to be. Everything is built too big, too shiny, too “over-the-top”. Vegas you are so dang EXTRA. I could just envision the great Jerry Seinfeld wrinkling his nose and waving a hand saying, “It’s too much!” in the snarkiest NY accent.
But don’t take my word for it, go see it for yourself. Try out some of the free fun things to do there. My advice, would be to visit in the winter or spring. I went in the first week of June and the high was 104F.
The heat may have effected the outcome of my opinions, I’m just saying.
But that was just my personal experience.
I hope you visit and have the loveliest time.
It may be your cup of tea.
Viva Las Vegas!