34 Free Things to Do in Las Vegas — On and Off the Strip

A woman vacations in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Las Vegas. Sin City. The entertainment capital of the world. No matter what name you use to refer to Nevada’s most famous (notorious?) city, one thing’s for certain: There’s so much to do — and spend money on — in Las Vegas.

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But if you’re blowing through your savings and racking up debt to stay at luxury resorts, dine at high-end restaurants, see headlining performers at shows and gamble until the sun comes up — your financial woes will follow you home.

This has always been the danger of a Vegas trip, even before record-setting inflation — and now it’s even easier to overspend in the current economic climate.

But if you play your cards right, you can enjoy fabulous Las Vegas without having to empty your wallet. Here are a few dozen free things to do in Las Vegas.

34 Free Things to Do in Las Vegas

Whether you’re trying to save money on vacation or you’re a Las Vegas resident looking for some low-budget entertainment, try these 34 free things to do.

Must-See Entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is a 24-hour, neon-lit party. It covers a stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard south of the city limits, lined with resorts, casinos and performing venues.

1. The Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

At the start of The Strip, you’ll see the iconic sign that reads: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. A photo of yourself under this 25-foot-tall sign is a tourist’s best free souvenir.

There’s free parking at the Las Vegas sign. However, if you don’t have a car, there are ways to get up and down the Strip without paying for a ride share or walking in the desert heat. There are free trams run by select casinos which take you from Mandalay Bay to the Excalibur via the Luxor, from Park MGM to the Bellagio via the Aria and from the Mirage to Treasure Island.

2. Street Performers on the Strip

There’s no telling what you might see or who you’ll run into while walking up and down The Strip. Street performers, also known as buskers, dress as Elvis, Spiderman, Mickey Mouse and any other character you can imagine. You might do a double take when what you thought was a statue starts to move.

While a busker’s act is technically a free show, note that street performers do work for tips.

3. Bellagio Fountain Show

The Bellagio Hotel & Casino boasts one of the tallest fountains in the world. Every day you’ll see the fountains come to life with a water show synchronized to music.

The Bellagio Fountain Show occurs every 30 minutes from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. (or from noon to 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays). From 8 p.m. to midnight, the Bellagio Fountain Show runs every 15 minutes.

4. The Volcano at The Mirage

Heat up your nights by visiting the famous volcano show at The Mirage. Witness explosions of flames and fire balls choreographed to a soundtrack by Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead and Indian composer and tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain.

The Volcano at The Mirage erupts nightly at 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The Paris Las Vegan status is seen in an aerial view photograph in Las Vegas.

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5. Paris Las Vegas

Transport yourself to France by visiting replicas of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. This hotel and casino has great photo ops for you to add to the ‘Gram.

From sunset to midnight daily, Paris Las Vegas hosts an Eiffel Tower light show every half hour.

Also make sure to catch the dueling pianos at the Napoleon Lounge each day at 5 p.m.

6. The Light Shows at Grand Bazaar Shops

Every day, the Grand Bazaar Shops by Bally’s puts on a light show set to music.

Don’t worry about missing out on the action. The show happens every 15 minutes from dusk to about midnight Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, the light shows run from dusk until nearly 1 a.m.

7. Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian Resort

You don’t have to book a trip to Italy to witness St. Mark’s Square in Venice. That is, if you’re okay with a replica.

The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian are modeled after St. Mark’s Square and are filled with upscale shops and restaurants. You can even take a gondola ride along the resort’s indoor canals to travel through the shopping center.

At the Grand Canal Shoppes, you’re also likely to spot roaming street performers singing, juggling, walking on stilts or acting as living statues.

8. Fashion Show Mall

Fashion Show Las Vegas is a shopping destination on The Strip with more than 250 stores and eateries. It hosts regular pop-up runway shows with live music that are completely free to spectators.

Cheap eats can be had at the mall: Every day through Jan. 1, 2023, visitors can score Free Eats at the food court and the Capital One Cafe offers $1 handcrafted beverages every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the month of August.

Depending on when you visit, you might also see an art exhibit or two at this fashion show mall.

9. The Lake of Dreams at Wynn Las Vegas

Every night, the Wynn holds a light and sound show called the Lake of Dreams, which features giant puppets, thousands of LED lights and a 90-foot waterfall over the lake. The free shows run every half hour starting at dusk.

10. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

If you enjoy ancient Roman architecture, make your way over to The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. It’s home to over 160 shops and restaurants, but if you don’t feel like spending money, you can always just take in the views while you window shop and people watch. The ceiling even changes colors throughout the day.

The Forum is known for its popular Fall of Atlantis Show — a free attraction that tells the legendary tale of the city of Atlantis through animatronics. It shut down for a few years during the pandemic but is open once again, with showtimes every half hour from noon to 8 p.m. The show is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

11. The Rainstorm Show at the Miracle Mile Shops

It’s not often you’ll come across a rainstorm in the desert.

The Miracle Mile Shops, an indoor shopping center, has a free rainstorm attraction complete with fog, changing sky colors, thunder, lightning and rain. The shows are held hourly from 10 a.m to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and every half hour from 10 a.m to 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

12. Light Show at The LINQ Promenade + Experience

Giant ferris wheels can be expected in big tourist-y cities, and Las Vegas is no exception. The LINQ Promenade + Experience is home to the 550-foot-tall High Roller observation wheel, which is featured in its free nightly light show. Rides aren’t free, but the wheel which is featured in its free nightly light show.

In addition, The LINQ Promenade + Experience is also a great spot to see 3D murals and free live entertainment.

When you’re done with Las Vegas, head to the Windy City to check out 45 free things to do in Chicago.

trapeze act at circus circus, las vegas

Photo courtesy of Circus Circus

13. Circus Acts at Circus Circus

See trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, acrobats and more perform each day on the center stage of the Carnival Midway at Circus Circus.

These free circus performances start at 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

Fun Off the Strip

While there’s plenty of action along Las Vegas Boulevard, there’s no shortage of free entertainment off the Strip.

14. Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience is a hub for entertainment, attractions and dining in downtown Las Vegas.

Every night starting at 6 p.m., you can enjoy free live music. Every hour from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. is the Viva Vision light show. Viva Vision is said to be the world’s largest video screen measuring at 1,375 feet long and 90 feet wide.

Another notable Fremont Street Experience event is the Downtown Rocks Free Concert Series. On select Saturdays through Nov. 19 you can catch free shows from chart-topping acts like Stone Temple Pilots, X Ambassadors and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

15. Gold and Silver Pawn Shop

Visit the place where The History Channel’s Pawn Stars is filmed.

Gold and Silver Pawn Shop is located on Las Vegas Boulevard just north of the Strip. The hours to browse the showroom are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, but there’s also a 24-hour window for pawn/buy transactions.

Keep an eye out for celebrity sightings! Gold and Silver Pawn Shop frequently hosts autograph signings with some of the stars from the reality show.

16. Hand of Faith at the Golden Nugget

Forget the casino jackpots. The real treasure is a 61-pound nugget of gold on display in the lobby of the GoldenNugget Las Vegas.

Called the Hand of Faith, this gold nugget is said to be the biggest in existence. It was discovered in 1980 in Australia and was later sold to the Golden Nugget for over $1 million.

17. Sunset Stampede

Sunset Stampede is a daily laser light show at Mystic Falls Park, located within Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall. It features music and dancing animatronic animals. The show takes place at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

When the show isn’t running, you can walk through Mystic Falls Park and observe the trees and water features in the middle of the casino.

Family-Friendly Attractions

Save money when the entire family is exploring Las Vegas. Here are some free things to do that kids will love.

18. Hershey’s Chocolate World

This flagship store in the New York-New York Hotel and Casino features over 800 Hershey’s chocolates and candies. There are entire walls showcasing flavors of Hershey’s Kisses and Jolly Ranchers.

While you’re at Hershey’s Chocolate World, make sure to stop for a photo op at the sculpture of the Statue of Liberty made from nearly 800 lbs of chocolate. The kids can also have fun starring in a mock TV commercial for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

19. Hoover Dam

Your kids may have learned about the Hoover Dam in school, but here’s an opportunity to see it live and in person on your Vegas vacation.

The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge stretches across the Colorado River where Nevada and Arizona meet and gives you great views of the Hoover Dam. You can park for free at the foot of the bridge and walk across.

The bridge is a 37-mile drive from Las Vegas, but close enough that you’ll want to take the trip.

20. Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden

Located in Henderson, Nevada, just a short drive from Las Vegas is a sweet and prickly attraction — the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden.

You can take a self-guided factory tour and witness how the chocolate, fillings and pecan brittle are made.

Then meander outside to check out the 3-acre cactus garden, which includes more than 300 species of cacti, succulents, desert trees and shrubs.

During the holidays, the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden is decorated with over 1 million lights.

21. Las Vegas Coca-Cola Store

The Las Vegas Coca-Cola Store is located on the Strip close to the MGM Grand and New York-New York Hotel and Casino.

Fans of the iconic beverage brand can take advantage of photo ops next to a giant glass Coke bottle or next to the Coca-Cola polar bear.

22. M&M’s Store

If you have the willpower to not buy all the M&M’s you see, a trip to the Las Vegas M&M store is a sweet free attraction.

Your kids can see mascots, take photos with life-size M&M’s character displays and watch a free 3D movie. They can also check out a replica of NASCAR driver Kyle Busch’s M&M’s sponsored race car.

23. Bob Baskin Park

It can get into the three-digit temperatures during the summer in Las Vegas. Cool down with the family at the Bob Baskin Park splash pad, which is free to visit.

The park, located west of Las Vegas Boulevard, also includes a playground, tennis courts, jogging tracks and picnic areas.

24. Children’s Memorial Park

The kids can get their energy out at Children’s Memorial Park. There’s a playground, roller hockey rink, tennis courts, volleyball courts, bocce courts and more.

The park is located about 15 minutes away from The Strip.

For Art Lovers

Beyond all the fancy venues selling tickets at top dollar, you can find a variety of art in Las Vegas that won’t cost you anything.

A comet is seen in the distance from the location of Seven Magic Mountains in Nevada.

The comet Neowise is seen in the evening sky above the artwork titled “Seven Magic Mountains” by artist Ugo Rondinone at Seven Magic Mountains. John Locher/AP Photo

25. Seven Magic Mountains

The Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale public art installation set against the backdrop of the Las Vegas desert. It featured seven towers of stacked boulders painted in bright neon colors. The colorful totem poles measure more than 30 feet tall.

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone created the art installation back in 2016, originally as a temporary exhibition. Due to its popularity, it has stuck around. The Seven Magic Mountains are located about 10 miles south of the Strip.

26. Downtown Container Park

Downtown Container Park is a Las Vegas shopping and dining destination that stands out due to the fact that its businesses are housed in recycled shipping containers. If you don’t want to spend your money on food or retail, there’s also public art installations and a stage for free concerts and performances.

If you’ve got little ones with you, check out the playground in the courtyard for free family fun.

27. Downtown Arts District

This pocket of Las Vegas is an art lover’s dream with 18 blocks of galleries, museums and art shops.

The Arts Factory is one of the hubs, where you can check out work from dozens of artists. On the first Friday of every month, a free block party is held in the Downtown Arts District.

28. Downtown Art Murals

Throughout downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find more than 30 murals created by artists from around the globe.

Many are created during the city’s annual Life Is Beautiful festival, where tickets run over $100. However, you can take your own self-guided walking tour when the festival isn’t happening and snap photos of all the street art you find.

29. Bliss Dance at The Park

Located at the intersection of New York-New York, Park MGM and the T-Mobile Arena is an outdoor entertainment space simply called The Park.

There you’ll find the Bliss Dance public art installation, a 40-foot-tall sculpture of a woman dancing. It was created by artist Marco Cochrane, who was inspired by his first experience at Burning Man. Check out The Park at night to see Bliss Dance all lit up.

30. Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art

The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is located on the campus of the University of Nevada — Las Vegas and is part of the school’s College of Fine Arts. With a mission to grant everyone access to the arts, the museum does not charge for admission to view exhibitions or attend workshops, lectures and community events.

This art museum features modern and contemporary pieces from diverse artists. Twice a year, it hosts community art days featuring live music, performances, storytelling and hands-on workshops.

For Animal and Nature Lovers

Explore the great outdoors and check out native and exotic plants and animals in the midst of the bustling city.

The Bellagio conservatory is shown.

Photo courtesy of Tory Kooyman/MGM Resorts International

31. Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Inside the Bellagio is a 14,000-square-foot botanical garden that changes floral displays with the seasons. The resort’s horticulture staff uses thousands of flowers and plants to create unique arrangements for spring, summer, fall and autumn — and a special display for Lunar New Year.

Due to its often-changing nature, this is one attraction you can come back to multiple times a year.

The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is open 24 hours a day.

32. Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

At the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel and Casino, you’ll get the opportunity to spot its namesake along with many other exotic wildlife. The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is home to flamingos, parrots, turtles, koi fish, swans and more.

It also boasts a tropical garden setting that includes waterfalls and meandering streams. Free daily Keeper Talks at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. are a chance to learn more about the habitat.

The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

33. Silverton Casino Hotel Aquarium

If you like tropical fish, make sure to visit the Silverton Casino Hotel Aquarium. The 117,000-gallon reef aquarium is home to thousands of tropical fish plus a few species of stingrays and sharks.

There are daily, interactive stingray feeding shows, and you might catch a mermaid swimming through the aquarium if you visit Thursday through Sunday. The Silverton Casino Hotel Aquarium is an off-the-Strip attraction. The casino was formerly Boomtown Las Vegas.

In addition to the main aquarium, there are two jellyfish tanks. The on-site Bass Pro Shops includes more water features and aquariums with koi fish, trout, catfish, bass, turtles, ducks and more.

34. Clark County Wetlands Park

Get your steps in walking the trails at Wetlands Park in Clark County. There are paved and unpaved trails — perfect for jogging, biking or dog walking.

At the Wetlands Park Nature Center, you can check out art and history exhibits, which educate visitors about the habitats and wildlife in the park. There’s also an indoor area with tables and chairs to enjoy a packed picnic lunch.

Nicole Dow was a former senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.