The Best Things to Do in Vegas (for FREE)
Updated: Apr 29
If you aren't careful... Vegas can be a pretty expensive trip. The casinos are VERY good at getting you to spend your money, and everything is always over-priced. But believe it or not, there are quite a few things in Vegas you can do for free! There are several free shows, and because Vegas has so many ~interesting~ characters walking around... People-watching can be more entertaining than usual!
Grand Canal Shoppes
1) Walk the streets of "Venice"
The Venetian Resort has an expansive, indoor mall with tons of shops and restaurants. What sets this mall apart from all of the other shopping centers in Vegas is that the entire mall is set to look like the streets of Venice! A canal runs down the center with bridges that allow people to access shops on both sides of the water. The ceiling is painted like the sky, and even the shops have storefronts designed to look like buildings!
While there are plenty of ways to spend money here, it's also a nice experience just to walk along the canal and people watch. There are plenty of benches and public tables where you can take a seat and enjoy the Italian atmosphere.
2) Watch the Street Performers
As if the canal, sky, and buildings weren't enough, there are also street performers to give you something to watch! There are a few different types; some stand along the canal on different small stages, pretending to be a statue for pictures, and trying to move without getting caught. Others have booths where they draw caricatures of people who are interested, and in the main hall, there are shows every few hours.
In those shows, jesters, singers, and clowns on stilts sing, dance, and do tricks with a set of musicians accompanying them. On our second day, we sat down at one of the tables in the main hall to eat our lunch, and ended up with front row seats to the performance! This show is one of the many free shows you can take advantage of if you don't want to waste your gambling money!
3) Listen to the Gondoliers Sing
While a ride on the famous Venetian gondolas starts at $30 a person, if you want to get some of the experience without the cost, you can sit on one of the benches by the canal and enjoy being serenaded by the gondoliers as they float up and down. Because you are actually inside, the sounds of their singing bounces off the halls and ceiling and creates a rich sound that is really beautiful to listen to!
Fountains at Bellagio
Another well known attraction of Vegas is the fountains in front of the Bellagio hotel. They do their show 2-4 times an hour starting at 3 pm and running for the rest of the night until midnight. The most impressive thing about this fountain show is the sheer size of the fountain and the height the water reaches. The display is over 1000 feet long, and the water reaches heights of almost 500 feet!! The first time we saw the water, we were actually much further down the strip, and we happened to look back at the right time to see the water shooting up from behind a building!
Fremont Street Experience
1)Take in the Old-fashioned Casino Lights
While there are plenty of things to do on Fremont street that are free of charge, if you are staying on the strip, you will have to find some way to get there, as it is several miles off the main drag. We took an Uber, and it was about $10-$15 both ways.
When you get to Fremont Street, the first thing you notice is the old-fashioned casino lights on many of the buildings. Fremont Street is the older part of Vegas, so you definitely get a different vibe while walking around in the lights. I personally really prefer the softer look of the small bulb lights covering the fronts of buildings as opposed to the harsher, neon light look that you get on the main Vegas Strip.
2) Watch the Street Performers and DJs
All along the street there are lots of people using the crowd as an opportunity to perform. There are lots of dancers, musicians, and even a magician or two that you can watch as you wander down the street. There are also two or three main stages where bands and/or DJs will perform and gather pretty large crowds.
3) Watch the sky
There are two pretty cool things you can see by looking up on Fremont Street. First, there are periodic light/music shows. Almost the entire length of the street is covered in a giant video screen, over 1,500 feet long that is synced to music in the Viva Vision Light Show. The show plays for 6 or 7 minutes every hour from 6 pm-1 am.
Additionally, if you look up while you walk along the street, you will see people flying down the street on one of two zip-line tracks! They have one going in each direction from a midway point on the street, and four people race down the lines at a time. While the zip-lining itself isn't free, it's still pretty entertaining to watch if you're looking to find some cheap entertainment!
Volcano Eruption at the Mirage
Ironic that while this was the place we stayed, we never actually managed to see the volcano show! This show doesn't run quite as often, but it's one of the other big attractions on the main strip. The volcano erupts at 8, 9, and 10 every night, and features music and wild pyrotechnics!
1) The Forum Shops
Similar to The Venetian, Caesar's Palace has a large mall inside that you can walk through, but of course the theme here is Ancient Rome. Large marble statues of gods and elaborate fountains decorate the atmosphere under the blue painted sky. While I would say this mall is less of an immersive experience than the Venetian, it is bigger, so there are still plenty of things to see if you just want to browse.
2) Visit the Fountain of Atlantis
If you are there at the right time, the Fountain of Atlantis puts on a pretty cool show with water, fire, and moving characters that rise up out of the fountain! It tells the story of the Lost City of Atlantis and why it was sent to the bottom of the sea. (Hint: it was family drama of course!)
However, if you do miss the show, the fountain has an awesome aquarium underneath/behind it with lots of swimming creatures to check out! There are benches all the way around the outside, so it can be tricky to find a spot to watch the fish, but once you do there are all sorts of things swimming in the water, from sharks to eels to exotic fish!
3) Check out the Fountain of the Gods
Another big attraction of the Forum Shops is the Fountain of the Gods. With it's huge marble pillars and beautiful flying horse statues, it's a popular place for taking pictures. Because it's such a high traffic area it's also a great place to sit and people watch! People watching is always something that entertains me, but Vegas provides even more