There’s so much to do and see in Las Vegas, but if you’re not careful, it can really cost you. Here’s a list of the Best free and cheap things to do in Las Vegas that the whole family can enjoy. Some are located right on the Las Vegas Strip, and some are a short drive away, but all of these attractions will make your visit worth while and keep some money in your wallet.
Free and Cheap Things to do near the Las Vegas Strip
Welcome to Fabulous to Las Vegas Nevada Sign
This historic piece of Las Vegas has been seen over and over again in the movies, and everyone needs a photo in front of this iconic sign! Located just south of Mandalay Bay on Las Vegas Boulevard, it’s open 24 hours a day and always FREE. There’s now a small parking lot, but it’s usually busy, so expect to spend a small chunk of time here.
The Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo
15 acres of trees, ponds, and waterfalls house over 300 birds as well as turtles, swans, ducks, koi, goldfish, and yes, Chilean flamingos. This peaceful and quiet attraction may have you forgetting you’re even in Las Vegas. The habitat is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is always FREE. You can find it inside the Flamingo hotel and casino, next to the pool and spa.
The Bellagio Fountains
We’ve all seen them in the movies. But, if you’ve never witnessed them in person, they are impressive, so put it on your list. With more than 1000 fountains lit up and dancing to music, it’s a spectacle that no one should miss. And it’s FREE. The music performances range from Broadway show tunes to Billie Jean and UpTown Funk. My personal favorite is Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye) featuring Andrea Bocelli, because well, it’s Bocelli. The combination of lighting and music and the power of these fountains make for a very memorable experience. Just be sure to arrive early to get the best view as it becomes crowded quickly. Fountains run every 30 minutes on weekdays from 3-8pm, after 8pm they run every 15 minutes. Saturdays (and Holidays) every 30 minutes starting at noon til 8, then every 15 minutes til midnight. Sundays beginning at 11am, every 30 minutes til 7pm, then every 15 minutes until midnight. The full schedule can be found here.
Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
While checking out the fountains, head inside Bellagio just past the front desk to the 14,000 square foot Conservatory. This is where the talented horticulture staff transforms the space seasonally using thousands of flowers and trees. This masterpiece is open day and night and is always FREE to view. The Spring Show is coming soon! The Spring show runs in March and April, the Summer display runs June -September, the Harvest Show runs September – November, and the Holiday display runs December – early January. There are dark dates listed at the link as well, these days it is closed while they set up for the next display. They offer a live web cam of the current display on their website, as well as past shows posted for viewing.
Fall of Atlantis fountain
Located inside Caesars Palace Forum Shoppes, just outside the Cheesecake Factory is this FREE fountain show. Based on the story of Atlantis, it’s a classic sibling rivalry in which they refuse to share power and fight bitterly back and forth for the right to the throne. Featuring animatronics and plenty of fire, this is a short and sweet free attraction, especially if you have kids with you. Arrive about 10 minutes early, as the viewing area can become quite crowded. Atlantis runs every hour on the hour Sunday-Friday, 10am-11pm, and Friday and Saturday, 10am-midnight. It’s located just behind another great attraction, their 50,000 gallon aquarium filled with over 300 different fish, stingray and even a few sharks. Stay and watch them feed the fish during dives scheduled at 1:15 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. daily. Two freebies in one location.
The Mirage Volcano
One of the most popular attractions on the Las Vegas strip, the volcano has been lighting up the night since 1989. It features a state of the art sound system, and up close, you can actually feel the rumble of the volcano and the heat of the flames. It’s a sight to see shooting flames and fireballs, with it’s smoke effects and surrounding waterfalls. The Volcano is located in front of the Mirage casino and operates Sunday-Monday at 7 and 8 pm, and Friday and Saturday at 7, 8 and 9pm.
The Viva Vision Light Show
Downtown Las Vegas, on Fremont Street, you must see the FREE light show on the world’s largest video screen. Viva Vision is the largest video screen in the world, and recently got a $32 million upgrade! The renovated screen boasts 16.4 million brilliant pixels. Guests can enjoy a variety of light shows with high-resolution imagery and state-of-the-art, 600,000-watt, concert-quality sound. The newly-upgraded Viva Vision screen is made up of 4.92 million energy-efficient LED lamps and runs hourly from 6pm to 1am. Because of the recent upgrade of the LED screen, programming now runs 24/7, for the first time in the history of Viva Vision. The music selection varies but you can check their calendar for the current line-up.
Downtown Container Park
The downtown container park is a great place to shop, eat and just plain hang out. They have FREE and cheap events and live music, variety shows and movie nights as well. They also have The Dome at Downtown Container Park, an immersive, 4K-visual dome theater experience inspired by the vibe of downtown Las Vegas. (The Dome is currently not open for showings.) Take note that after 9 pm, the Container Park is an adults-only venue. Read more about free and cheap things to do at the container park here.
Free and Cheap Things to do just a short drive from the Strip
Ethel M Chocolate Factory
Located 20 minutes southeast of the Strip, Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory has been making chocolate for over 100 years. Experience the completely redesigned tasting room, chocolate demonstrations, and self-guided tour aisle. The chocolate viewing aisle displays chocolatiers and machines creating delicious Ethel M Chocolates, and the breathtaking Botanical Cactus Garden is Nevada’s largest and one of the world’s largest collections of its kind. The Cactus garden’s over 300 species of plants are especially wonderful over the holiday season when they are lit up with thousands of lights. The self guided tour and botanical garden are FREE and open to the public, and they are also offering curbside pickup of your online order. Normal business hours are Sunday – Saturday 8am – 8pm. (2 Cactus Garden Drive, Henderson, NV 89014)
Seven Magic Mountains
Located near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15, approximately ten miles south of Las Vegas, internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale site-specific public art installation worth visiting. Comprised of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders standing more than thirty feet high, it’s a site to see in the middle of the desert. It is FREE and open to the public, but please visit the webpage for all of the details, including directions, before you visit. I recommend visiting when the sun starts setting, it’s beautiful.
Located about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, this structure is worth the drive. Built during the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam is an impressive piece of American history. You are able to drive over the dam to the Arizona side, where you’ll find free parking, but be prepared to walk. Parking closer to the dam costs, and there is a parking structure on the Nevada side for $10. The tours and visitors center all cost money to access, but walking onto the dam or viewing the dam from above on the massive Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is free. Tour times, ticket prices, as well as more dam information can be found here. (The Hoover Dam is currently closed for tours, etc. to the public.)
Calico Basin Red Springs
Located just before the Scenic Loop of Red Rock Canyon, and approximately 30 minutes from the strip, the Red Springs Basin picnic area is a great place to stop and enjoy the majestic scenery that is Red Rock Canyon for FREE. (The parking area and restrooms are open, the picnic area is currently closed.) If you’re up for a hike or just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is a beautiful place to retreat to. There’s a boardwalk, trail heads from the parking area, as well as a picnic area and restrooms. It’s also an amazing backdrop for photos. You’ll want to head out very early in warmer months, as it can get dangerously hot from May-September. There’s a whole lot more Things to do at Red Rock Canyon, just around the bend.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list. If there’s anything on here you haven’t seen yet, put it on your to-do list. If you happen to be traveling with kiddos in tow, you’ll want to check out this list of 10 Best Free and Cheap Things to do with Kids in Las Vegas.
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