The Best Free Activities in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip Casinos, Caesars Palace, Free Sticker
Las Vegas has a lot of great, and some not-so-great, attractions. But you can bet that the “Sin City” offers more than just a few free attractions for tourists and residents alike.

Keep in mind that while we’re only going to explore the seven best free things to do in Las Vegas that we think are worth your time. If these aren’t your cup of tea, there are tons more fun, free things to do in the “Neon Capital of the World.”

Just walking through the city and checking out the lights is a fantastic and relaxing way to spend an evening if you’ve been gaming for a few days. Check out some of our favorite free activities in Las Vegas below.

1 – Many Cities in One

Every casino in Vegas has its own theme and, over the decades, they’ve grown to become almost fully-functioning replicas of some of the greatest cities in the world.

Most people don’t have the funds to visit a roaring volcano, gorgeous European fountains, or the canals of Venice all in one day. But in Vegas, you can see all three of these amazing places for free.

When you visit the Streetmosphere at the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian (which are generally open all day long), you can experience a realistic street atmosphere almost identical to the famous city.

Gondolas are available for a small fee, but simply walking around and seeing all the costumed performers costs you nothing but time. You’ll also find a variety of live shows taking place from dawn to dusk, including the Living Statues performers (which the kids love). The Grand Canal Shoppes open at 10 AM on most days.

In the evening, visit the Volcano at Mirage. This incredible realistic volcano is perched above a gorgeous lagoon filled by waterfalls. You’ll feel transported to an earlier time with the music and special effects.

You’ll hear the recorded sounds of real volcanoes erupting while huge explosions boom to a soundtrack from The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain. The Volcano can be seen daily at 8, 9, and 10 PM.

Once you’ve finished your island adventure and have reached deep down to your ancestral roots, move on to the incredible, refined, and beyond-iconic Fountains of Bellagio. The contrast between the two transports you from the far past into the beauty of the modern era.

Feel the romance of water, music, and a light show that weaves complex interplays of water into choreographed light and sound for an experience that’s both soothing and mesmerizing. Schedules vary, but you can usually see the fountain in the evening.

2 – Las Vegas Is a Circus

No casino captures the heart of Vegas quite like Circus Circus. This staple of Vegas is filled with madness, mystery, and fun at all hours of the day, but the free circus acts are a draw like nothing else.

Outside to the Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas

What makes the free circus acts so amazing? Circus Circus contains the world’s largest permanent circus in the world. While many circuses are known for traveling the globe and changing performers and acts, Circus Circus attracts the most talented performers in the world who appreciate the steady work and love performing for audiences who get to visit for free.

Gaze in awe at the daily daring performances on the center stage of Carnival Midway. Performances usually take place each day and generally begin around 11:30 AM.

Make sure you check them out! No visit to Vegas is complete without a little clowning around.

3 – Learn the History of Las Vegas’ Past

For better or for worse, Vegas was once associated strongly with organized crime. Modern Las Vegas is a safe, beautiful, well-protected city. Organized crime has long since been run out on a rail, but for history buffs or lovers of mob movies (or even just fans of Casino or The Sopranos), exploring the streets of Downtown Las Vegas is something that can’t be missed.

Even if you’re not interested in the mob itself, learning the origins of the city and the hard work that has been done to transform it into the beautiful, law-abiding city it is now presents a wonderful, solemn counterpoint to the neon and flashing lights that can become overwhelming at times.

Explore the site of Union Station, where Sin City first began. Walk through some of Vegas’ oldest casinos and neighborhoods. Check out the El Cortez, which used to be run by one of the most feared gangsters—Bugsy Siegel.

Stop by the Fremont Street and watch the city come alive. Stroll through the Arts District and browse the antiques and collectible items. There are plenty of unofficial historic sites that are free to visit and are great spots to kill time while visiting Las Vegas.

4 – It’s Not Vegas Without Elvis

Another enduring symbol of the Sin City is “The King” himself—Elvis Presley. Though Elvis passed away many years ago (or did he?), Elvis impersonation is as much a part of Vegas as apple pie is American.

Elvis Presley, Welcome to Las Vegas Neon Sign

Of all the Elvis impersonators in Vegas (and there are far more than you might imagine), Big Elvis has long been crowned the one true King. He’s a staple of Harrah’s Las Vegas and can be found performing for free at the Harrah’s Las Vegas Piano Bar, where you’ll also find the incredible Dueling Pianos performance by identical twins Kim and Tamara Pinegar, classic karaoke, and the Saxman Duo.

5 – The Famous Las Vegas Sign

No trip to Vegas would be complete without a visit to the sign read around the world, the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign. The sign was designed and constructed in the late 1950s and has been a symbol of every Vegas-themed movie and TV show ever since.

Back in the late 2000s, the decades-old sign finally got the recognition it deserved when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It even has its own parking lot now, but the city has grown so much during the decades following the erection of the sign that hotels now surround it.

If you leave Vegas without getting your picture in front of the sign, just be prepared to have family, friends, and everyone in between asking you what the heck you were thinking.

6 – It’s Not All About the City

While most people think of Las Vegas as a focal point of light, sound, and (a little) sin in the middle of a boring desert, the surrounding landscape is actually much more beautiful (and worth visiting) than you might think.

If you’ve spent multiple days gaming and need a little break, some fresh air, a lot of exercise, and the famous Nevada sun (wear sunscreen!), then check out Red Rock Canyon.

Guy With Backpack On Overlooking Nevada Desert, Red Rock Canyon

This gorgeous natural landscape has dozens of trails for the hikers in your party, but it also has an incredible scenic drive with plenty of points where you can stop and walk around a bit (if a 10-mile hike just isn’t on the agenda after a night on the neon town).

Just keep in mind that a small fee is required to get into the park. But if you came to Vegas, $15 for a whole day of hiking and driving is probably going to be the cheapest day of your trip. If you’re not satisfied with that, there are some areas near the canyon which you can enjoy for free, like the Red Spring Boardwalk.

The Clark County Wetlands Park is also a fun and free area to explore. It’s the largest park in the county and features miles of native plants. The park is located at the beginning of the Las Vegas Wash. There are plenty of walking paths for everyone in your party to enjoy. It’s also a great place to walk, run, and get some exercise in.

Just try not to visit in the peak of the summer heat. Temperatures are almost always in the hundreds and it can make hiking and walking dangerous if you aren’t prepared.

7 – Free Gaming Lessons

Do you find yourself stuck on slot machines because you’re too self-conscious or new to gaming to walk up to a table and start playing? The big US casinos hate that. They want you to play, and they’ll teach you for free!

Remember, at the end of the day, a casino is a business. If their customers are too frightened of breaking a rule they don’t know about or looking foolish, they lose out big time.

Almost all the major US casinos will be more than happy to give you free lessons on all the major games.

Depending on what your interest is, you might need to ask the staff to get personalized lessons, or you might be able to join a small crowd and learn with other newbies. Everyone in Las Vegas truly just wants you to have a good time, spend a little money (and a little more), then go home with some stories, some experiences, and the urge to come back some day and do it all over again.

Conclusion

You can probably guess that there’s more than SEVEN free things to do in Las Vegas (if you break even at Blackjack, you technically played for free), but nobody goes to Vegas thinking they’ll breeze through without spending a dime.

That being said, Vegas has a lot more to it than just casinos and free street performers. Learn more about visiting Sin City from our guide to Las Vegas, which can be found here.