Doing Vegas on the Cheap: The Top Free and Nearly-Free Entertainment in Sin City

Everything in Las Vegas seems to cost an arm and a leg. It’s the top tourist attraction in America, so you should expect highway robbery. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time without taking out a second mortgage. In fact, there are numerous fun activities for people of all ages that don’t cost a dime. We’re constantly asked for advice on how a family or couple on a budget can afford a trip to Las Vegas. And to that we always say other than flight and hotel, there’s no need to spend a fortune.

Can you have MORE fun with a bigger vacation budget? Of course you can. But you most certainly can bring very little spending money to Vegas and still have a great time. Never spend more than you can afford on your trip. So many people make the mistake of spending far more money than they can afford and it doesn’t hit them until they get back home. If you don’t have the budget to party it up at the fanciest clubs or take a helicopter ride above the Strip, don’t worry about it. The following activities are free (or nearly free) and a whole heck of a lot of fun!

Bellagio Fountains

Bellagio Fountain Show

You could watch the fountain show outside of the Bellagio 100 times and still be amazed by it. Every hour, Bellagio puts on a show for those passing by their fabulous hotel. The fountains shoot up in the air in unison while soothing music plays. It’s best viewed after dark. Make sure you get there a few minutes before the start so you won’t have an obstructed view. The closer you get to the water, the better.

Mirage Volcano

Catch the Volcano eruption right outside the front of the Mirage at 8:00pm every hour until 12:00am. You will hear big bangs, and see giant explosions and fireballs.

Pirate Show at Treasure Island

Pirates and beautiful women – it’s the perfect combination! That sums up this entertaining free show outside TI resort. Each evening, a large crowd gathers to witness a marvelous production show with male pirates and female dancers as the stage crew.

Fremont Street Experience

Downtown’s famed Fremont Street was formerly known as The Strip. Now it’s old-school Vegas. In the evenings, at the top of the hour, there is a free Light Show that you just have to see to believe. They also have daily free concerts in the center of Fremont Street, with bands that cover some of the greatest hits of all-time. Fremont Street has a great party atmosphere, but also entertainment for the kids.

BONUS: There may not be a better place in the country to people watch than Fremont Street.

Free Drinks

If the kids are tucked away in bed (with a babysitter, of course) and you’re ready to go out and let loose without spending their College fund, go out and have some free drinks. How do you get free drinks in Vegas? By gambling. Yes, gambling costs money…if you don’t know what you’re doing. Take a $10 bill, stick it in a penny slot machine and act like you’re really playing the machine. Wait for a waitress to come over and order a drink. Tip her $1.

You might think this will be a pain in the butt, but you’re wrong. Here’s a tip: find a waitress that is dropping off some drinks and sit at a slot machine in that section. That way you won’t have to wait for one to come over. After getting your drink, get up, follow another waitress to her section, get another drink. Rinse and repeat.

You don’t even have to stay in the same casino. You can walk around outside with open containers of alcohol in Vegas. By going from casino to casino, it gives you an opportunity to

do the following…


Mountains are pretty and the beach is relaxing, but nothing compares to Las Vegas sightseeing. The bright lights will amaze even the most boring people. Assuming you’re able to walk long distances, you can spend an entire day walking up and down the Strip. Start at one end of the Strip and work your way to the other end. If you don’t want to walk quite so far, you can condense the walk by starting at the Wynn and only walking down to City Center. You’ll catch most of the best hotels along the way (Wynn, Venetian, Mirage, Caesars, Bellagio, Aria, etc).

Las Vegas can be done for those on a limited budget. Stay at inexpensive hotels (Riviera, Circus Circus, Excalibur, or somewhere off-Strip), don’t rent a car (take The Deuce bus instead), search around for affordable flights, and avoid the most expensive restaurants. Don’t succumb to certain temptations that will cost you more than you can afford on your trip. Remember, you have to come back home and pay bills after your vacation is over. Most of all, have a good time and do it within budget!