While heading to Las Vegas always sounds like a good time, it can also become a pricey trip, especially if you intend on hitting the casinos. But there are a surprising number of ways to enjoy Vegas, all without spending a dime. Whether you’re a frugal travel enthusiast, or you happened to stay too long at the Blackjack table, here are a few great free things to do.
A Different Shade of Green
The Bellagio has long been known for its outdoor synchronized water fountains, but it isn’t the only nature-based free attraction. Believe it or not, there is an impressive botanical garden located just past the lobby area. The 14,000-square foot Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden offers over 57,000 flowers and hundreds of other trees and plants in a rotating display schedule.
The current display, Tour of Italy, features a scale replica Italian-inspired town. However, the displays do change out throughout the year. The discarded plants are also recycled to help reduce the amount of waste produced. When you want to enjoy nature but still want to be indoors, this is the free attraction for you.
Go Watch Mermaids
No, this isn’t a new Cirque du Soleil show. While the Silverton Hotel isn’t directly on the Vegas Strip, it is only about 5 miles away. The indoor aquarium that can be enjoyed here is well worth the short distance.
The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel is one of the most impressive free things to do in Sin City. Open 24 hours each day, visitors can tour an 117,000-gallon tank filled with over 4,000 fish. These fish come from over 160 different species, and real-live mermaids (or just women in fish tails).
This display is far from being a little fishy. The diving mermaids interact (safely) with the tank residents. In addition, the visitors can watch them as they gracefully dive for 15 minutes at a time. If you’re lucky, you can watch the sea creatures being fed, as well as ask the experts questions during the feeding.
Enjoy Shade on the Strip
It seemed like it wasn’t all that long ago that Vegas was trying to be the next big cement grid-style city. But one summer trip is all it takes to know how hot the Strip can get. Luckily, a relatively recent edition is offering a welcome reprieve during your stay.
The aptly named The Park can be found between New York-New York and the Monte Carlo casinos. Here, visitors are treated to six acres of dining, entertainment, and outdoor artwork. Although food is going to cost money, you can walk through and enjoy the shade structures and public art works for free.
One of the most impressive art displays at The Park is the Bliss Dance statue. This 40-foot tall feminine form art piece weighs over 7,500 pounds and is covered in LED lights. It is at the center of The Park, and it truly must be seen. In addition to stunning art pieces, cuisine and beverages from many different flavors and styles can be found along the way.
Free Chocolate Tours
Although both M&M’s World and Hershey’s Chocolate World can both be found on the Strip, sometimes you just need a classic demonstration. Just a short 15-minute drive away is the Ethel M Chocolates Factory and Cactus Botanical Garden. This free attraction just isn’t a mouthful to say but is one of the best-kept tourist secrets.
This is the only Ethel M Chocolate factory in the entire world, and it has been in operation since 1981. Unlike other chocolate producers, this company is still using the original recipe to create some of the best treats around. And if you still aren’t convinced, you will be once you enjoy your free sample.
Most free attractions would end here, but directly next to the factory is the botanical garden. This three-acre park features over 300 different species of desert plants, including cactus, agave, aloe, flowers, and more. There are even specialty seasonal events and displays to look forward to as well.
Enjoy Art on the Cheap
While the Bellagio has long been known for having an impressive art gallery, it also costs about $20 to get in. Instead, the University of Las Vegas campus is just three miles away and has a great gallery of its own.
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is a collection of contemporary works, historical artifacts, and experimental forms of art and art performance. For over 50 years, this collection has been a leading authority in collection and curation. Although its main focus is to remain centered on the greater Las Vegas area of the southwest, they have a surprising amount of diverse works to check out.
Technically, admission is free, but they do suggest an admission of $5 as a donation. Even still, that’s a fraction of Bellagio’s, and you don’t have to go out of your way to get to it. There is usually a free performance or lecture that can be watched, as well as appointment-based film viewing and special events throughout the year.