- Go casino hopping (but stay off the floor). Las Vegas is filled with elaborate casinos that are attractions in and of themselves. And it’s free to go inside and look around (as long as you don’t feed the machines). For example, the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino has a replica of the Eiffel Tower out front, which you are free to look at without spending a dime. However, if you want to go up to the tower observation deck, admission fees start at $10.50 for adults and $7.50 for children and seniors. The atrium at the Mirage resembles a tropical rain forest, complete with lagoons, waterfalls, and tropical flowers. There’s also a 20,000 gallon saltwater aquarium behind the front desk. Both are free to look at. Inside the Venetian, you’ll find Venetian streetscapes, balconies, cafes, and even a Grand Canal (complete with gondola rides). It’ll cost you $18.95 per person for a gondola ride, but it’s free to just go in and browse.
- Attend an art walk. On the first Friday the of every month, the Arts District of downtown Las Vegas holds an art walk from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. Admission is free. This event includes works by local artists, food trucks, kids’ activities, music, and artist demonstrations.
- Visit Red Rock Canyon. Red Rock Canyon offers something for everyone. If you just want to see the canyon and take some photos, you can simply drive through and pull over when you find a good stopping place. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can go hiking, rock climbing, bicycling, or camping. The admission fee is $7 per car/truck; $3 for bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Go window shopping at Caesar’s Palace. The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace are made up of around 160 high-end stores and restaurants. One of the more fascinating aspects of the Forum Shops is the Fall of Atlantis fire and water show, which runs every hour on the hour. The 10-minute show features Roman statues that come to life and battle over who should rule over Atlantis.
- Catch The Fremont Street Experience. If you want to get away from the strip for a while, take a short taxi ride to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas for the Fremont Street Experience. There you will find old-style casinos, more than 60 restaurants, free live entertainment, and a spectacular free light and sound show that runs multiple times each night.
- Visit CityCenter. CityCenter is a group of hotels, spas, restaurants, bars, and shopping venues on the Las Vegas strip. It also boasts a major collection of contemporary art by 15 internationally renowned artists. Admission is free.
- See a live circus performance. At Circus Circus Las Vegas, you’ll find a carnival midway with a center stage on which you can watch the world’s largest permanent circus. Shows begin at 11:00 a.m. daily and continue throughout the day. All performances are free.
- Take a chocolate factory tour. Ethyl M Chocolates offers free self-guided tours of its chocolate factory in Henderson, NV (just South of Las Vegas), every Monday-Thursday from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Adjacent to the factory is the Ethyl M Botanical Cactus Garden, which you can also tour for free.
- Watch a volcano erupt. In front of the Mirage hotel, there’s a water volcano that erupts into fire every hour from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. nightly. This show is free.
- See a musical water show. Each day, the Fountains of Bellagio are set to music in a unique, complex show of music, water, and light. This show is also free. Hours vary, so check the Bellagio website for the current schedule.
Sports & Recreation
Active-duty military personnel and their dependents can receive an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass for FREE (an $80 value). The pass grants them access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands. In partnership with many U.S. government agencies, the program is part of the Joining Forces initiative’s effort to thank service members and their families for their sacrifices. Military personnel or their dependents can pick up the FREE pass at select national park or wild refuge entrances by showing their military ID. Unfortunately, the program does not apply to military veterans or retirees. For more details on the program, click here.
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