I don’t gamble, so I’m often asked why I visit Las Vegas at least once a year. The answer? Free attractions make Las Vegas a frugal traveler’s paradise (and we’ll save the dinner discussion for another article). Almost all casinos have some kind of free trick to attract players. In this article, I’ll cover what I consider to be the must-sees to give tourists a taste of Las Vegas.
The fountain show at Bellagio
With dusk comes the fountain shows at Bellagio. In the huge pool of water on the Strip side of the casino, illuminated spirals of water dance to a variety of music, popular, classical and even opera. They generally operate every 15 minutes (check with the casino to make sure), with a different song and show each time.
Every night, off Treasure Island on the Strip, a battle takes place between sexy mermaids and rogue pirates. Usually there are four identical children’s programs every night. Get there early for better viewing (especially if you have vertical problems). Stand close and you could get a little wet.
Circus circus shows
About every half hour at the Circus Circus casino on the Strip, there are free but world-class intermediate acts including jugglers and trapeze acts. I stayed for three shows and all three were different.
Freemont Street Experience
Las Vegas is more than the Strip. Located in the heart of downtown, the historic Freemont Street Experience is a pedestrian walkway, covered by what they advertise as the largest big screen on the planet. There are street performers, vendors and every night, at multiple times, a sound and light show.
Ethel M’s Chocolate & Cactus Botanical Garden Tour
Want to get away from the Strip and do something for free? Check out the Ethel M Chocolate Factory (One Sunset Way). A must see for chocolate connoisseurs (I have bought chocolate from all over the world for my mom, her favorite is Ethel M’s), there is a self guided tour, free samples and products for sale.
Outside is the Cactus Botanical Garden with more than 350 types of cacti, succulents from the area and from around the world (also free entry).
Note: There is an Ethel M at the airport if you are worried about the chocolate melting (check the opening hours every time I go, it is closed).
There are many, many other free attractions in Las Vegas. Attractions that are changed often to ensure the city remains fresh, exciting and a haven for frugal travelers.