15 free things to do in Las Vegas that doesn’t suck
Spending a lot of money in Las Vegas isn’t a problem. In fact, it’s really easy! Just think of all the parties and gambling going on. Saving money, on the other hand, can be quite challenging. But surprisingly, there are a lot of free activities to do. Below I’ve compiled a list of the very best free things to do in Las Vegas that doesn’t suck. Hope you enjoy them!
1. Have your photo taken with one million USD
Have you seen one million US dollars in cash? I have and you can too if you’re in Las Vegas. You can see and take your photograph with the money at Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel on Fremont Street. Depending on the number of people that day, you can pick up your free printed photo in 30 minutes to an hour.
2. See the largest golden nugget ever found
The Hand of Faith is the largest golden nugget ever found with a metal detector. Kevin Hillier found it in Australia a mere 30 cm below the surface. The nugget weighs just over 27 kg and is worth well over one million dollars! You can see it on display in the Golden Nugget Hotel in Las Vegas. It’s a little bit tricky to find the nugget. Just head to the hotel’s reception desk and ask for directions.
3. Visit the world’s biggest gift shop
The world’s largest gift shop can be found in Las Vegas and is called Bonanza Gift Shop. And let me tell you, it’s massive and definitely worth a visit! It just goes on and on and on. If you’re into buying cheap travel knick-knacks, this is the store for you.
4. Marvel at robot bartenders
It’s happening…the machines are taking over the world, starting with the bartenders in Las Vegas! Who knows what will happen after that? Just kidding…Check out the two robots doing their thing at The Tipsy Robot, the world’s first land-based robotic bar. You don’t have to order a drink to see the robots in action.
5. Browse around the Aria Fine Art Collection
The Aria Resort and Casino has a great Fine Art Collection on display throughout its property. This is the first permanent collection of art in Las Vegas and features work by acclaimed artists, painters, and sculptors. Head to the concierge desk and request a free brochure/map of the art collection.
6. Walk the Las Vegas Strip
When in Las Vegas, you have to walk down the Strip! The best and exciting part of the Strip for me starts at the Encore Hotel and ends at the New York New York Hotel & Casino. You can walk the Strip during the night or day. During the day, it’s less crowded but very hot (especially during the summer months). At night, Vegas comes alive! All the neon signs light up and everything looks magical, but it’s extremely crowded. Don’t let the crowds scare you away though, you have to see the city at night.
7. Make use of the free trams on the Strip
Walking the Las Vegas Strip can be very tiring, especially in the Nevada summer heat. You’ll be happy to know that there are a couple of free trams to help you get where you want to go. Yes, they are completely free! There are three lines: The Aria express tram, the Mandalay Bay – Luxor – Excalibur tram, and the Mirage – Treasure Island tram. Make use of these trams when you can no longer put one foot in front of the other.
8. People watching on Fremont Street
Watching people can be very entertaining, especially on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. One thing’s for sure, you will definitely see some pretty interesting and colourful characters here, from old people wearing nothing but thongs to Las Vegas Show Girls (also wearing next to nothing). I saw a guy that was the spitting image of Tupac! I tried to sneak a photo but it turned out blurry… Fremont Street is said to be especially freaky on the first Friday of every month when anything goes…
9. Take a photo at the Las Vegas Sign
The most famous attraction in Las Vegas is probably the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Taking a photograph here is practically a rite of passage! I was very surprised to find a level of order here. People queue to take a photo with the sign and everybody respects the queue.
10. See the biggest bronze statue in the Western Hemisphere
Leo, the MGM lion, weighing a cool 50 tons is the biggest bronze statue in the Western Hemisphere. You can find Leo at the MGM Grand on the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard on the Strip.
11. See the tallest Ferris wheel in the world
Did you that the world’s tallest observation wheel can be found in Las Vegas? It’s called the High Roller and you can find it at the Linq Hotel & Casino. The High Roller stands tall at 167 meters over Las Vegas. If you have a couple of extra bucks to spare, complete the experience by riding the wheel.
12. Drive or walk by the Graceland Chapel
There’s no shortage of wedding chapels in Las Vegas. The most famous one is probably the Graceland Wedding Chapel. The chapel got its name from none other than Elvis Pressley when the star himself dropped by for a visit in the 1960’s. Since then, a lot of celebrities, from Jon Bon Jovi to Rob Zombie, got married or renewed their wedding vows here.
13. Fall of Atlantis show at Caesars Forum Shops
This is one of the best free shows to see in Las Vegas according to the locals. The Fall of Atlantis tells the story of a king’s anguish to decide which of his two children will succeed his throne. Expect to see animatronic figures and pyrotechnics. The time schedule for the show can be found here. The show is every hour on the hour. Arrive a couple of minutes early to secure a good spot. The closer you are to the fountains, the better.
14. The Fountains of Bellagio
The Bellagio dancing fountain show is beautiful, whimsical and romantic. See the water dance to different tunes, from Michael Jackson to Celine Dion. As the show runs regularly, you don’t have to worry too much about snagging a good spot. You can find the time schedule and more information about the music here.
15. The Mirage Volcano
This is my favourite free show in Las Vegas! The Mirage Volcano is a symphony of water, light, fire, and music! It’s difficult to describe the show, you have to check it out for yourself. I loved the atmosphere too – all the excitement in the air.
The volcano does not erupt as often as you might think – there are only a couple of shows every night and the shows are weather dependant. Check out the schedule here. To secure a great spot, right next to the railing in front of the volcano, arrive at least 20 to 30 minutes early. Believe me, it’s necessary because the show attracts quite a big crowd.
All these activities are free, but transportation is not. I recommend you purchase a 24-hour RTC transit pass. It’s the most cost effective way to get around Las Vegas. Now go and explore sin city on the cheap!