Sin City, aka Las Vegas, has been a bucket list destination for decades. Internationally known for the high-rolling lifestyle of gambling, shopping, fine dining, nightlife, and entertainment, Vegas is an experience everyone should have at least once in their life.
And the great thing about Vegas is that you don’t need to be into drinking and gambling to enjoy your stay. In fact, there are a ton of amazing things to do in Las Vegas and a long list of amazing resort-style hotels where you can get a luxury experience at a fraction of the price.
After all, Vegas makes most of its money from gambling, which is why rooms and other experiences are often relatively cheap comparatively. If you can avoid gambling, you can have a relatively cheap vacation, and with a little bit of travel hacking, your trip can be almost free!
Vegas is a huge place, and you’ll rarely get to see everything in one trip, but if you’re able and willing to do a fair bit of walking, you can see much of the Strip and surrounding areas for very little money.
While many paid experiences are worth consideration, there are plenty of really cool free things to do in Las Vegas as well. This article will detail the 12 best free things to do in Las Vegas, featuring mostly activities found on the Strip but a few off-Strip as well.
So, put on your walking shoes and prepare for a tour of 12 super cool free things to do in fabulous Las Vegas.
On the Strip
When most think of Las Vegas, they think of the Strip, which is where we’ll start our tour. Indeed, most of the things we’ll be talking about are found at the hotels and casinos that line the Strip.
Imagine, you’ve just gotten off the plane and are approaching the Strip from the south when you come to the first of the free things to do in Las Vegas.
1. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign – South End of Strip
The famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is iconic and recognized across the world whether you’ve been to Vegas or not. But while knowledge of the sign is larger than life, the real thing is not. In fact, the eyes of most first-time visitors will be so drawn to the towering hotels and the glitz and glam of the Strip that they’ll likely completely miss the sign.
The sign is placed in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, a few blocks south of Mandalay Bay (the first major hotel on the Strip), and if you’re not looking for it, you likely won’t see it. Although it’s not the coolest item on this list, any first-timer should be sure to stop and get a picture for your collection. There is even a parking lot conveniently placed just for people stopping at the sign.
2. Medieval Acts – Excalibur
On first stop on the Strip will be on the left-hand side at Excalibur to catch the Medieval Acts show.
This show is at the Court Jester’s Stage on the Medieval Village level and features magic, comedy, music, puppetry, and juggling. The show is mostly geared toward children and is a must for those who visit Vegas as a family.
Hours: Every 45 minutes from 12 am to 7:30 pm.
3. Hawaiian Marketplace – Strip
Continuing north up the Strip, the next of our free things to do in Las Vegas comes up on the right-hand side of the road just a block north of the MGM Grand.
This is the Hawaiian Marketplace, and it’s packed full of activities, food, and fun. Strolling around, you can grab a bite, peruse vendors, buy souvenirs, and check out a few free shows. Free activities include animatronic bird shows, Hawaiian dancers, singing, and story-telling.
Hours: Entertainment from 1pm – 5pm and 6 – 10pm.
4. Merchant’s Harbor Rainstorm – Planet Hollywood
After the marketplace, it’s a hop-skip-and-a-jump to our next free activity.
The Merchant’s Harbor Rainstorm can be a little disconcerting if you’re not prepared for it. One minute you’re strolling through the Miracle Mile Shops in a setting modeled after a harbor, and all of a sudden, it starts raining and storming INSIDE.
The show is centered around a pond called the Merchant’s Harbor, and the shows feature thunder, lightning, fog, and pouring rain, all indoors.
Hours: Monday – Thursday from 10 am – 11 pm at the top of each hour, and Friday – Sunday every half hour from 10 am – 11 pm.
5. The Fountains of Bellagio – Bellagio
This is my personal favorite of all the free things to do in Las Vegas. The Dancing Waters fountain shows at the Bellagio feature fountain displays set to various music.
The great thing about these free shows is that each performance is unique, with different music and fountain display combinations. As a result, you could watch the fountain show all night and never see the same display.
Hours: Weekdays, the show runs every 30 minutes from 3 – 8 pm and every 15 minutes from 8 pm-midnight. The shows run every 30 minutes from noon to 8 pm and every 15 minutes from 8 pm-midnight on weekends and holidays.
6. Fall of Atlantis Fountain Show – Caesar’s Palace
Just a block north of the Bellagio can be found another fountain show, although you’ll need to trek into the huge Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino compound to find it.
Inside the Forum Shops at Caesars, the Fall of Atlantis is an animatronic display of fire, water, and some large talking statues. The show tells the story of King Atlas trying to decide which of his undeserving kids will rule the throne of Atlantis.
And while you’re there, you should check out the 50,000-gallon aquarium nearby containing 300+ saltwater fish.
Hours: Every day, every hour on the hour starting at 11 am.
7. Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo – Flamingo
Just across the street from Caesars, you’ll find the next free item on our list at the Flamingo.
The Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo features, well, flamingos. This lush habitat is home to a flock of Chilean flamingos, a host of colorful birds such as Ring Teal ducks and Sacred Ibis, pelicans, swans, ducks, koi fish, and turtles.
You can even get your picture taken with one of the resident parrots!
Hours: Daily from dawn till dusk.
8. The Volcano – Mirage
Cutting back across to the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard brings us to our next free activity.
The Volcano at the Mirage features an eruption with fireballs, explosions, lights, and music that both kids and adults will enjoy.
Hours: Monday – Sunday from 8 – 11 pm.
9. Painted Ceilings of the Venetian – Venetian
Almost directly across the street is the Venetian, which hosts our next of the free things to do in Las Vegas.
The Venetian pays tribute to the Italian city of Venice, and a stroll through the hotel lobby and shopping areas makes you feel as if you’re actually there. Don’t forget to look up while you stroll to admire the beautifully painted ceilings throughout, which Italian artists painted.
You can even take a gondola ride through the canals of this Venice replica, although that will cost you.
10. Circus Acts – Circus Circus
The last of the free things to do in Las Vegas on the Strip takes us to Circus Circus, one of the oldest and most iconic casinos in Vegas.
At Circus Circus, you’ll find the world’s largest permanent circus, known as the Circus Acts show. The show features flying trapezes, jugglers, clowns, contortionists, and many other amazing acts.
Hours: Shows start at 1:30 pm from Saturday to Monday and 3:30 pm on Thursday and Friday.
Off the Strip
Now that we’ve explored the Strip let’s jump in an Uber and see what else there is to do. Here are 2 other free things to do in Las Vegas that are off the Strip.
11. Freemont Street Experience Light Show – Freemont Street
The first of our free things to do off the Strip is the Freemont Street Experience featuring the Viva Vision Light Show.
Freemont Street is in historic downtown Las Vegas, and the Freemont Street Experience is a five-block entertainment stretch that any visitor to Vegas can’t miss. The central experience of Freemont Street is Viva Vision, the world’s largest video screen. The screen is 1,375 feet long, 90 feet wide, and suspended 90 feet above the street. Additionally, it is made up of 49.3 million LED lights and a 600,000-watt sound system.
Freemont Street also features live concerts and entertainment on its three stages and a host of street performers and other attractions.
Hours: 24/7 with Viva Vision shows every night of the week.
12. Ethel M Chocolates – Henderson
Okay, this last one isn’t technically in Vegas, but it’s only about 20 minutes away in Henderson.
The Ethel M Chocolates Factory offers the best chocolate experience in Las Vegas with chocolate and wine tastings, a self-guided factory viewing tour, and a three-acre cactus garden.
Hours: Daily from 8:30 am to 7 pm.
Bonus Extra Free Attractions
We’ve just covered 12 super cool free things to do in Las Vegas both on and off the Strip, but they aren’t the only things.
Here are 5 more attractions you can check out for free.
The Conservatory – Bellagio
The Conservatory at the Bellagio is a 14,000 square foot atrium with 55-foot ceilings and a lush botanical garden for you to enjoy.
Chocolate Fountain – Bellagio
Also located at the Bellagio on the promenade of the Spa Tower is a 27-foot-tall chocolate fountain. It’s worth a look as you’re exploring the hotel and casino.
Hours: Runs daily from 7 am to 11 pm.
Eiffel Tower – Paris
The half-size Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris hotel and casino is an iconic landmark of Las Vegas’s mid-Strip. There is a restaurant located inside the Tower, and you can pay to go up to an observation area, but it’s completely free to take a look at the Tower from the outside.
Sphynx and Pyramid – Luxor
Another iconic section of the Strip features the replica Sphynx and Pyramid Tower at Luxor.
The Sphynx is 110 feet tall, which is two stories taller than the original. The black pyramid is also the largest in America. However, it wasn’t built taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza to not interfere with nearby McCarran International Airport.
Even so, the Xenon light that shines into space from the top of the pyramid was supposedly able to be seen by planes in Los Angeles 275 miles away when it first opened. Since then, the beam has been reduced in wattage to be less distracting for pilots.
Both are free to view, and you can explore the inside of the pyramid.
Gaming Lessons – All Major Casinos
Last but not least, if sightseeing and shows aren’t your thing, you could stop into most of the major casinos in Las Vegas and get a free gaming lesson.
Free lessons introduce novice players to casino games’ rules and strategies and are offered for blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, and others.
Check out this site for a list of casinos that offer free gaming lessons and their hours.
Moral of the Story
Sin City isn’t just about drinking and gambling, although plenty of debauchery is found.
But even if the high life isn’t your thing, you can still find plenty of fun and free things to do in the City That Never Sleeps. The list above includes 12 free things to do in Las Vegas, along with 5 bonus-free activities.
Remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas; just make sure that doesn’t include all your money.
Talk about Money Saved.
Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night.
She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a pretty successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer.
Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.