Traveling to Vegas on a budget? Need something free to do during the day so you can splurge on a fancy dinner or a Cirque du Soleil show?
Here are the top free things to do in Las Vegas that’s worth your precious vacation time.
1. Explore the Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is a collection of casinos, hotels, dining, entertainment & shopping areas on Las Vegas Boulevard. Walking up and down the Las Vegas strip is one of my favorite free things to do in Las Vegas. Most casinos and hotels are free to enter even if you’re not a guest.
The distance from the MGM Grand to Wynn roundtrip is about 4.2 miles.
You can walk one half of the Strip in one afternoon, and then the other half the next day. Make sure you take plenty of breaks, wear sun protection, and if it gets too hot (or cold), take a break inside one of the casinos.
If you’re traveling with kids or someone under 21 years old, remind them to stay inside the main pathways of a casino and don’t venture into the gambling areas where the table games or slot machines are.
My favorite thing to do is eat at a buffet and burn the calories by taking my time walking up and down the Strip for the rest of the day.
Travel tip: It’s best if you block a day to explore the Strip without hurrying through the crowds for a show or dinner reservation.
Make sure you stop by the LINQ Promenade, a family-friendly shopping & dining area, and The Park by the T-mobile Arena, where you can watch a Vegas Golden Knights game on a big screen.
2. Hike for free at Calico Basin
Calico Basin is the best free thing to do in Las Vegas off-strip.
Calico Basin is a hiking trail and picnic area in Red Rock Canyon that’s free to the public. It’s about 30 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip. You will still be able to see the “red rocks” that Red Rock Canyon is known for, without the $15 entrance fee.
The easiest way to get there is from the Strip, head west on Flamingo Rd. and merge into 215 North in about 7 miles. Exit on Charleston and follow signs to Red Rock Canyon.
When you enter the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, look for a small sign on the right for Calico Basin. If you see a toll booth on the right for the Visitor Center & the Scenic Drive, you have already passed by Calico Basin.
If you’re taking a taxi here, make sure you also arrange for them to pick you up at a designated time.
Travel tip: Cellphone service is spotty in Red Rock Canyon/Calico Basin, so don’t rely on using your phone to call for transportation. You will get stuck there (it’s happened to my sister-in-law before…).
The $15 to enter the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area to access the Scenic Drive and its trailheads is totally worth it. However, if you’re going to hike daily, the fees can add up, and Calico Basin is a great, free alternative.
3. Free live music & entertainment at Fremont Street
Live music: 6 PM to 1 AM Monday to Friday; 2 PM to 1 AM Saturday & Sunday
LED show: On the hour from 6 PM to 1 AM, daily for 6 minutes
When our friends visit us here in Las Vegas, we always stop by Fremont Street for a night. Fremont Street is a street with free live music, street performers, and entrances to downtown casinos, bars, and restaurants.
You’ve probably seen photos of its colorful LED ceiling lights. There’s an hourly 6-minute light & music show from 6 pm to 1 am.
Fremont Street is the place to go if you don’t want to wait in long lines for the club or pay an entrance fee to a show. The cover bands and DJs in all three stages are free! There are also plenty of street performers walking around. Make sure you tip street performers if you want to take a picture with them, or if you’ve enjoyed their performance.
Check the Fremont Street Experience’s calendar to see which bands are playing the night you’re visiting.
4. Watch the Bellagio Fountains
Fountain show: Every 15 to 30 minutes during the afternoon & evening, daily.
There’s just something about the Bellagio fountains that feels grand. It really does make you feel like you’re in an Ocean’s Eleven movie.
It’s a mandatory stop I take my friends and family when they come to visit here in Las Vegas. The best part is you don’t have to wait too long for the next fountain show: it’s only 15 minutes away during the evenings.
5. Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden
Even though I live here in Las Vegas, I still like to stop by the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden to see its whimsical decorations. Bellagio changes its displays every season.
It will be straight across when you enter the Bellagio hotel & casino entrance. The best part is it’s open 24/7 and it’s free for anyone to visit even though you’re not a hotel guest.
It’s a great place to take a breather from walking down the Strip and take a group photo for the ‘gram.
Check Bellagio’s schedule to avoid planning a trip during their “dark dates.”
6. Get into a Las Vegas club for free
You know those club scenes in movies where everyone’s well-dressed and having a good time? Then you go to your local club and it’s -not- like that at all? Well in Las Vegas, it’s exactly like the movies.
The best part is you can go clubbing in Las Vegas for free by getting into a guest list. It works best if you’re a girl (sorry, fellas!) or you’re part of a big group.
To get into a guest list, ask the concierge of the hotel you’re staying at to help you get into a club in one of their properties. Keep an eye out for promoters while walking up and down the Strip.
Travel tip: You can also reach out to individual club promoters on Instagram by searching for the club’s hashtag (#hakkasan or #omnia, for example) on the app.
You should still exercise caution when giving out personal information. The most info I’ve had to give a promoter was my full name, gender & the number of people in my party. You can verify if that person is indeed a staff member through the club’s official website.
7. Take a photo with the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
There are plenty of photo opportunities in Las Vegas, so why not take a photo that’s part of Las Vegas history?
The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is just south of Mandalay Bay and is free to the public 24/7. There’s a small parking lot and a line of tourists waiting to take a photo, so plan to visit during uncommon hours if you want the sign all to yourself.
If you don’t want the hassle of driving, there’s a bus stop right by it.
8. Get a “free” drink
Do you know that you can get a free drink while gambling? It’s a well-known tip in Las Vegas, but if you’ve never been, you might not know!
While you’re playing on a slot machine or a table game, keep an eye out for a cocktail server. They’re usually wearing a hotel uniform and carrying a tray full of drinks. You can order bottled water, soda, a beer or a mixed drink for free. One caveat is it does take a while for the server to come back with your drinks (so you stay in the casino longer, perhaps?). Make sure you tip them at least a dollar or two. You want them to come back for a second round!
As you’ve noticed, this activity is not entirely free, since it involves gambling and leaving a tip. You must be 21 and older to gamble in Las Vegas.
Free Things to Do in Las Vegas
You don’t have to spend a lot to have fun in Las Vegas. The best thing about traveling here is meeting like-minded people, trying new things, and having fun with the ones you love (even if you’re by yourself!).
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