Las Vegas is a great place to visit, not just for its vibrant nightlife and iconic casinos, but also for the plethora of cheap or free things to do. Whether you’re on a tight budget or simply looking for unique experiences that won’t break the bank, Las Vegas has something to offer for everyone.
From the best free attractions to live performances, this city provides a great way to have fun without spending much money.
Las Vegas is a world-renowned destination, with many elaborate hotels and casinos for gambling, partying and shopping. But heading to downtown Las Vegas does not have to mean spending lots of money or abandoning a healthy lifestyle regimen.
Cheap or Free Things to Do In Las Vegas
Las Vegas offers many attractions that are free and fitness-friendly. It is not just “Sin City,” but a place that can benefit both your physical and financial fitness.
Gardens Park and Other Neighborhood Parks
Summerlin is a master-planned community 15 minutes from the Vegas Strip and nestled next to Red Rock Canyon. It is home to large and immaculate neighborhood parks. One such gem is Gardens Park, which features a large playground, a picnic area, tennis and basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, bocce ball and horseshoes.
This park, like the many others throughout Summerlin, has plush lawns that are perfect for tossing a Frisbee or kicking around a soccer ball. There are various grocery stores and healthy but quick restaurants within a mile if you want to have a picnic. Beware of the heat in the summer.
Red Rock Canyon
A perfect way to escape crowds on the Las Vegas Strip is to head to Red Rock Canyon. The Red Rock National Conservation Area covers 197,000 acres and offers hiking, camping, bike riding and climbing. A short and scenic 30-minute drive from Las Vegas delivers you to this oasis in the Mojave Desert. Hiking is a must, with 19 designated trails to choose from. If biking is your thing, you can enjoy a 13-mile bike loop. The Red Rock Campground offers campsites year round.
Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio
The conservatory at the Bellagio hotel features botanical gardens that change five times a year to reflect the season. The conservatory includes more than 13,500 square feet of flowers, plants and props (such as bridges, gazebos, water and lighting) to create a theatrical viewing extravaganza. Combine this outing with a viewing of the Bellagio’s famous Fountain Show for additional free fun. The walk from the Strip to the entrance of the Bellagio is roughly a quarter of a mile, a perfect way to get exercise. For additional exercise, walk to the neighboring Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and tour the 50,000-gallon saltwater aquarium.
Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience offers both historical and cardiovascular benefits. It is seven blocks of vintage Las Vegas set in an open-air mall, with shopping, historic casinos, restaurants and performance stages.
You can enjoy free concerts, street performers (who sometimes interact with guests) and a giant LED screen, believed to be the biggest on the planet. At night you can enjoy a spectacular light show that begins every hour on the hour.
Trails and Botanical Gardens at Springs Preserve
The Springs Preserve is a mecca of culture, history and entertainment. Although an admission fee is charged for entrance into the museums and galleries, the trails (1.8 miles of them) and botanical gardens (eight acres’ worth) are free. Along with 110 acres of wetlands, birds, rare plants and archaeological sites, you can also explore the Las Vegas Springs. It is called the “birthplace of Las Vegas” because it used to be the main water source for the valley. The trails and botanical gardens at Springs Preserve close at 6 p.m.
Cheap Things to Do in Las Vegas With Kids
If your family is planning a Las Vegas vacation on a budget, don’t worry about a lack of appropriate activities for the children. There are plenty of free and cheap things to do in Las Vegas with kids. Parks, museums and animal exhibits abound, so your whole family can get a bit of exercise, learn and relax together.
The Southern Nevada Zoo, where kids can feed the goats and birds by hand, is a memorable and educational experience for children and parents alike. If your kids love lions, don’t miss the free Lion Habitat inside the MGM Grand hotel-casino. Old Nevada’s Bonnie Springs Ranch offers a petting zoo and horseback riding.
The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel is a quick free exhibit that is a must-visit for kids who love tropical fish and mermaids. Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is not for the easily scared youngster, but it’s a thrilling experience for older children to walk within a few inches of dangerous water beasts, separated only by glass. The no-charge flamingo wildlife habitat offers a relaxing environment full of luscious plant-life and 300 varieties of exotic birds including–you guessed it–flamingos.
Parks are a Great Spot to Relax
Few things compare to the majestic scenery of the state and national parks around Las Vegas, which provide the ideal space for your family to take a day-trip excursion or even embark on a camping trip. In addition to the more well-known spots, such as the Grand Canyon and Death Valley tourist stops, Utah’s Zion National Park is an exceptional choice. Kayaking and horseback riding are available at some park locations and in nearby surrounding areas, but walking or hiking is an equally exciting and more budget-conscious option.
Gardens and Tours
The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens offers free tours on weekdays. Only 15 minutes from the Strip, this is a non-traditional tourist attraction your whole family will love. Watch chocolates being made, and learn about the process. Enjoy a sample or two, and then stroll through the Botanical Cactus Garden free of charge.
The garden has 300 different kinds of plants, including types of cacti you would otherwise not know existed. Your family could also make a day of visiting the Gardens at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.
Museums for a Unique Experience
Las Vegas has an abundance of museums, but some are more kid-centered and affordable than others. Above all, young children will appreciate the hands-on learning and excitement of the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum. The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is a favorable choice for older children. As of June 2010, admission costs to these museums range from $5 to $10 per person. Teenagers especially might enjoy the Marjorie Barrick Museum at the University of Nevada, which offers free admission.
Fountain Water Show
If your kids are mesmerized by fountains and water features, and you’re craving a breath of fresh air in the early evenings, catch the one-of-a-kind show that is the Fountains of Bellagio. With 1,200 nozzles and 4,500 lights, as well as musical selections ranging from Broadway tunes to Frank Sinatra, this Bellagio fountains show may easily be the most memorable 10 minutes of your free show night.
Las Vegas is a perfect place with the best things for those seeking both an iconic and affordable experience. With its range of attractions and activities, you can enjoy the best free things the city has to offer without compromising on the live entertainment value. Whether it’s the fabulous Las Vegas sign, the live performances on the Strip, or the multitude of unique experiences available, there is no shortage of great things to do on a budget. So, next time you find yourself in Las Vegas, take advantage of the best free attractions and get ready to have an unforgettable time in this vibrant city.