Top 12 Free Things to do in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is popularly known as the City of Sin, where casinos and luxury hotels line the famous Strip. But there’s much more to this desert city than gambling, nightlife, and entertainment.

Fremont Street ExperienceNightly entertainment, visual shows
Bellagio FountainsChoreographed water shows
Flamingo Wildlife HabitatLive flamingos and other animals
Ethel M Chocolate FactoryFactory tour, free chocolate samples
Red Rock CanyonNatural scenery, hiking trails
The Neon MuseumHistoric neon sign collection
Mirage VolcanoErupting volcano show
High Roller Observation WheelViews of Las Vegas (with discounted tickets)
Freemont Street SlotZilla Zip LineZip line experience
Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical GardensSeasonal floral displays
The Forum Shops at CaesarsShopping and entertainment
Container ParkShopping, dining, and entertainment
Sunset Stampede at Sam’s TownLaser and water show

Beyond the glitzy casinos and stage shows, you’ll find beautiful parks, captivating museums, and lively festivals that won’t cost you a penny.

Fremont Street Experience

Name and Location: Fremont Street Experience is a pedestrian mall and attraction located in downtown Las Vegas within the city’s original gambling district.

History and Significance: Constructed in 1995, the Fremont Street Experience revived downtown’s commercial corridor by transforming four city blocks into a lively pedestrian plaza protected by an illuminated barrel vault canopy featuring a 550,000 watt sound system and one-of-a-kind LED light shows each night.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, and classic hotels like Golden Nugget lining an open-air promenade filled with free entertainment and performers. Nightly light shows displayed on the vaulted canopy celebrate themes from sports to holidays with musical animations.

Visitor Information: The Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall is open 24/7 year-round with no admission fees. Families are common during earlier hours, with adult-oriented entertainment emerging later at night. Numerous casinos connect directly to the mall.

The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas is a must-see attraction, providing free nightly entertainment. The focal point is a barrel-vaulted canopy covering 5 city blocks, made up of over 12 million LEDs that transform into a stunning visual and musical show. Dubbed Viva Vision, these nightly light and sound shows occur every evening, with the canopy exploding into color and imagery choreographed to music. In addition to the spectacular displays overhead, you can catch free live music shows and entertainment on multiple stages below the canopy. The pedestrian-friendly Fremont Street sees performers, musicians, and eccentrics flocking to entertain the crowds.

Bellagio Fountains

Name and Location: The Fountains of Bellagio are elaborate dancing fountains choreographed to music located out front of the Bellagio Resort & Casino central Strip.

History and Significance: Unveiled in 1998 along Las Vegas Boulevard, the Fountains of Bellgio was destined to become one of Vegas’ most iconic free attractions using fountain technology unseen before. Performances feature an 8-acre manmade lake dancing artfully to operatic, Broadway and pop music favorites with timed lights.

What to Expect: Crowds gather to watch the majestic Bellagio fountains shoot water hundreds of feet into the air gracefully moving in aquatic “dance” routines ranging daily every 30 minutes during afternoons through late evenings accompanied by music from Pavarotti to Beyonce.

Visitor Information: The free fountain shows at Bellagio run daily every 30 minutes until midnight, with final shows starting at 11 pm. Prime sidewalk viewing spots fill up early, especially for evening performances. Show times may vary during windy weather conditions.

No trip to the Las Vegas Strip would be complete without watching the awe-inspiring water ballet that is the Bellagio Fountains. Located outside the Bellagio Resort and Casino, these award-winning fountains feature over 1,200 water jets choreographed to music and light, some shooting water up 460 feet into the air. Daily fountain shows run every 30 minutes during afternoons, while shows run every 15 minutes during evenings up until midnight. This 8-acre manmade lake set against Las Vegas Boulevard and the vibrant lights of the Strip makes for an iconic scene. Make sure to arrive early to grab a front-row spot for these magnificent dancing waters backed by the Bellagio.

Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

Name and Location: Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is a 15-acre tropical sanctuary situated within the center courtyard of the Flamingo Hotel & Casino located centrally along the Las Vegas Strip.

History and Significance: Originally opened in 1947 alongside founding of the famed Flamingo resort, Flamingo Wildlife Habitat features lush landscape housing exotic birds, fish, and turtles as a distinctive escape from neon and noise just beyond its garden walls in one of the Strip’s classic casino hotels.

What to Expect: Visitors follow winding paths passing through koi ponds, waterfalls, and island gazebos while encountering wildlife like swans, ducks, pheasants, hummingbirds, flamingos and giant Japanese koi imported especially for the habitat. Botanical gardens, streams and bridges add serene backdrop appealing to families and photographers.

Visitor Information: Flamingo Habitat is open 24 hours for free self-guided tours as a public attraction, though late night access requires casino hotel entry. Weddings can be booked inside the gardens. The habitat connects directly to Strip-facing hotel amenities.

If the neon lights of Vegas start to make you miss nature, head over to The Flamingo Hotel & Casino. Here you’ll find the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat, home to a flock of (you guessed it) Chilean flamingos, plus black swans, ducks, koi fish, and turtles. Visitors can meander around the habitat’s ponds, waterfalls, streams, and tropical foliage—all with a view of the Strip in the background. It makes for a surprising natural oasis amidst the glamour of the Strip, and a perfect spot to take a peaceful stroll to enjoy the sights, sounds, and beauty of live flamingos right in the middle of Las Vegas.

Ethel M Chocolate Factory

Name and Location: Ethel M Chocolates encompasses a working chocolate factory crafting premium confections alongside a picturesque three-acre Botanical Cactus Garden located just off the Las Vegas Strip in Henderson, Nevada.

History and Significance: Founded in 1981 by Forrest and Ethel Mars, makers of M&M’s and Milky Way candies, Ethel M Chocolates produces specialty chocolates, candies and desserts combining fine ingredients with artisan handcrafting traditions using both modern and antique chocolate-making machinery. The site is also acclaimed for displaying 350+ cacti and desert plant species (with seasonal holiday lights) for public enjoyment alongside sweet tastings and museum-like chocolate viewing areas enabling visitors to learn about chocolate production processes through large viewing windows.

What to Expect: Guests can explore rooms showcasing vintage chocolate molds and packaging equipment detailing the evolution of candy-making technology while watching chocolatiers handcraft assorted sweets today. Botanical cactus gardens containing themed trails, a wedding gazebo, and central fountain offer scenic backdrops for photos or serene strolling. A gift shop sells Ethel M treats like CLIX mixes, nut/caramel clusters or signature sip chocolate liqueurs for taking home — often with tasting samples available.

Visitor Information: Free self-guided tours operate daily from 8:30 a.m until 6:00 p.m across museum-like chocolate viewing zones and picturesque cactus gardens (with holiday season lighting displays illuminated dusk-dawn between Thanksgiving through early January). The on-site chocolate shop and cafe welcomes visitors for sweet treat purchases, or affordable public group tours can be reserved in advance online with extended evening garden access.

Chocolate lovers won’t want to miss Ethel M Chocolates—Nevada’s very own chocolate factory and botanical cactus garden, located just a few miles from the Strip. The factory provides free self-guided viewing access into the Ethel M kitchen to see how their gourmet chocolates and confections are made. After observing the behind-the-scenes chocolate creation process, browse Ethel M’s expansive selection ofFine Chocolates and sample a few free samples along the way. The adjoining three-acre garden is also open to guests, making for a sweet escape featuring hundreds of cacti and desert plants amidst murmuring fountains and flows year-round.

Red Rock Canyon

Name and Location: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area comprises a stunning desert preserve featuring geological wonders like red sandstone cliffs, canyons and natural landscapes located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

History and Significance: Established in 1967, the 195,000-acre scenic drive area contains petroglyphs hinting at indigenous culture as well as remnants from historic mining and mid-20th century ranch sites capturing elements of how people have connected to the Mojave Desert region over time. As a stark counterpoint to Las Vegas today, it offers world-class rock climbing amid picturesque vistas and outdoor adventure less than an hour from the Strip’s indulgences making it a classic Sin City sidebar trip.

What to Expect: Visitors drive, bike or hike through Red Rock’s photogenic valley destinations like Calico Hills or Pine Creek Canyon accessing overlooks and nature trails showcasing striking natural architecture formed over 200 million years through iron oxide tinting some Vista points feature Native American petroglyphs providing archaeological insights into indigenous cultures while the scenic loop’s varied stops cater to day hikes, horseback rides, roadside photography or observing wildlife in their desert habitats far from city lights.

Visitor Information: Red Rock Canyon is open 365 days a year from dawn until dusk across 13 mile scenic drive and surrounding recreation lands. An entry fee of $15 per vehicle applies. Guest services like trail guides, camping and weddings exist through on-site vendors and the Visitor Center also contains artifact exhibits alongside outdoor patio spaces with food truck dining options.

For a break from the city, make a trip out to the stunning landscapes of Red RockCanyon. Just a 30-minute drive from the Strip transports you from glittering towers to a sprawling, serene desert conservation area. The canyon gets its red hue from sandstone formations that are up to 150 million years old. Hikers should tackle the Calico Tanks trail, which takes you past caves and “tanks” (natural cavities) filled with rainwater to offer a swimming option for cooling off. Or opt for the main scenic drive loop if you’d prefer admiring sweeping canyon views from your car. Either way, Red Rock’s vibrant geological elements set against desert wildlife and vegetation make it among the most awe-inspiring sites so close to the Strip.

The Neon Museum

Name and Location: The Neon Museum features an outdoor collection of over 200 retired neon signs as an electrifying walk through nostalgia located just north of downtown Las Vegas arts district.

History and Significance: Dedicated to preserving Las Vegas history, The Neon Museum contains signs saved from past casinos, hotels and businesses after closure or renovation representing cultural relevance from over 50 years of the city’s visual identity and evolution. Today visitors explore eras through Neon Boneyard daytime tours plus a newly restored lobby, lounge and Ne10 gallery educating about neon’s role in the city’s mythos.

What to Expect: Guests walk among relics like giant silver slipper sculpture and the original Aladdin’s Lamp saved from demolished hotels conveying nostalgia for “Old Vegas” during self-guided outdoor tours. Descriptive narratives and photograph put settings into context of motels long gone while tracing neon’s importance over decades VIP options add museum gallery entry or nighttime access when dazzling restored signs glow again.

Visitor Information: The Neon Museum offers timed tickets for 60-90 minute walking tours of the Neon Boneyard daily along with photography packages plus special event bookings. Nearby metered parking is available. Neon Museum Gallery indoor exhibits require separate ticket purchases to experience alongside visitor entry.

For a uniquely Vegas experience, stop by the Neon Museum to take an outdoor walking tour along their Neon Boneyard. Here you’ll get an illuminating glimpse into the city’s rich history through a collection of iconic neon signs. Many are marquee signs saved from long-gone casinos and hotels. Guides share stories behind the signs as you walk amongst towering remnants with glowing bulbs from Vegas’ past. Even in daylight when unlit, the towering signs surprise and delight around every turn. And for the full effect, opt for an evening tour to see the Neon Boneyard fully aglow in dazzling color. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture some eye-catching shots for the ’gram against colorful neon backdrops at every corner.

Mirage Volcano

Name and Location: The Mirage Volcano is a free simulated volcano explosion show attraction on the Las Vegas Strip located outdoors in front of the Mirage Hotel and Casino.

History and Significance: Premiering in 1989 alongside construction of the Mirage Resort itself, the iconic Mirage Volcano was conceptualized by hotel creator Steve Wynn to provide a dazzling free spectacle as sensory entertainment unique to the Las Vegas Strip. Controlled by three computers, volcanic eruptions are now choreographed nightly to fire shoots 60 feet synchronized with lights, fog bursts and soundtrack for up to five minutes.

What to Expect: Volcano “performances” run roughly every hour after dark erupting with flames and lights shooting high above an artificial backyard lagoon. Show times vary by seasons but displays usually begin around dusk lasting several minutes as fiery literacy flows down sculpted Polynesian mountainscape. Guests simply gather on sidewalks for views with prime spots being the Strip-side fountains.

Visitor Information: The Mirage Volcano operates daily, weather permitting, starting nightly shows around 8PM with continuing displays until midnight. Performance hours modify seasonally but occur on the hour after dark. No entry fees or tickets needed to watch these captivating fired-up shows from The Strip’s walkways.

Each evening on the hour from 7 PM to 11 PM, witness a fiery spectacle in front of The Mirage. This manmade volcano erupts with light and sound effects for several minutes as flames reach high into the sky, highlighted by colorful lights and atmospheric music. The free shows in front of the tropical rainforest-themed Mirage are relatively short, but the heat and excitement level make for an unforgettable Sin City spectacle. Arrive early to join visitors who flock to the front waters of the lagoon for an up-close viewing spot right alongside Las Vegas Boulevard.

High Roller Observation Wheel

Name and Location: High Roller is a 550-foot tall observation wheel attraction offering panoramic views from climate-controlled cabins located centrally along theLinq Promenade retail/dining district on Las Vegas’ central Strip.

History and Significance: Debuting in 2014 as world’s largest observation wheel, the 550-foot tall High Roller instantly became another engineering marvel drawing visitors to the heart of today’s Las Vegas Strip with unobstructed Strip to mountain views during peaceful rotations through the air taking 30 minutes to complete while riding within all-glass orb enclosures.

What to Expect: Guests soar above Las Vegas sights in fully-enclosed pods with bench seating enjoying 360-degree desert to urban vistas during a gradual singular rotation 500+ feet over ground. Day/night ride options exist including happy hour or specialty food/alcohol pairing flights adding luxury. In-cabin LED screens share Vegas history during rotations.

Visitor Information: High Roller operates daily year-round as walk-up rides or reservable cabins for groups wedding events. Standard 30 minute ride tickets start as low as $22-25 for day/night options. Booking ahead secures time choices or private cabins. Riders must be at least 40 inches tall and infants 2 years or under ride free when sharing a pod.

Said to be the tallest observation wheel in the world, the High Roller reaches 550 feet to deliver unparalleled 360-degree views of Las Vegas. Each fully-enclosed glass cabin can hold 40 passengers, slowly rotating during the 30 minutes ride above the dynamic city. Come nighttime, it becomes even more spectacular as millions of lights shine upwards and little activity whirs below. A ride aboard the record-breaking High Roller Ferris Wheel may not be free, but if you time it right during happy hour from 4:20pm to 7:00pm, you can score discounted tickets for less than $20 per person. Can’t beat panoramic views of the Strip during sunset/evening hours at a steal of a price.

Freemont Street SlotZilla Zip Line

Name and Location: SlotZilla Zip Line sends riders zooming 12 stories above Fremont Street Experience’s pedestrian promenade in downtown historic Las Vegas under the attraction’s LED canopy as a half-acre adrenaline zone with launch platforms and dual lines – Zoomline or SuperShot – catering to differing rider needs from tame to extreme.

History and Significance: As downtown Vegas transformed with more open-air attractions, SlotZilla answered demand in 2014 for heart-pounding rides letting tourists engage the Fremont Street scene from new aerial perspectives. Its unique twin design concurrent lets casual riders or speed thrill-seekers takeoff together from tiered launches experiencing Henderson’s urban core below their feet or the dazzling Viva Vision light shows above from unexpected viewpoints.

What to Expect: Harnessed guests step onto lower or upper platforms picking Zoomline for mellow gliding position or SuperShot launching straight down Superman-style reaching 40 mph before pulling up resting prone. Riders feel airtime excitement sailing under show canopy with views of neon museum, whiskey row, live music and street entertainment. Landings are assisted. Riders get certificates showing speeds and photos/videos captured mid-flight available for purchase.

Visitor Information: SlotZilla’s kickoff platforms are open daily starting at 1:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. nightly for riders over 48” tall able carry their own weight as required. Tickets start around $25 per ride with online or on-site box office purchases accepted. Multi-ride packages available. Weight limits apply. Waivers must be signed before participating.

Daredevils and thrill-seekers will revel in the SlotZilla Zipline on Fremont Street in downtown Vegas. This slot machine-themed zip line attraction towers 12 stories high, sending riders zooming 1,770 feet under the electric Fremont Street canopy and Viva Vision lightshow. The lower zip line levels offer a tamer “flyer” version as well, but arguably more exciting is upgrading to the higher “zoomline” for a more extreme ride experience. Lucky locals can score free or heavily discounted rides during special promotions—otherwise single rides are around $25 per person. Zoom through downtown Vegas and check out Fremont Street from a seriously epic perspective along the way.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Name and Location: Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens comprise an ever-changing indoor garden showcase located within the sprawling Bellagio casino resort and hotel central on Las Vegas’ iconic Strip.

History and Significance: Unveiled alongside the Bellagio resort in 1998, the Conservatory’s evolving flower displays and landscapes create jaw-dropping beds of bloom inspired by seasonal themes inside regal glass atrium. Concepts from Chinese New Year to India’s Holi Festival or autumn harvest reflect worldwide cultures. Over 102,000 flowers redesign space bi-monthly as the Strip’s preeminent botanical art attraction with events like weddings possible against breathtaking floral scene.

What to Expect: Visitors absorb tranquil vibes strolling through the Conservatory’s varied vignettes overflowing with vibrant flower mosaics, ornamental arbors, bridges and fountains from desert cacti to Japanese maple trees showcased differently every season both contrasting and accenting Bellagio’s opulence using nature as living art.

Visitor Information: Bellagio Conservatory’s displays rotate entirely every 2 months all year open 24/7 for free as self-guided walking tours – though full resort access is restricted to over 21. Peak visiting periods follow unveiling of new exhibits. Centrally located off Bellagio lobby across from registration near the shops.

The Bellagio has gained fame for its dancing fountains outside, though inside, the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens await to wow visitors with stunning horticulture displays that transform with the seasons. Five seasonal themes take over the sprawling 14,000 foot floral playground each year, ranging from Chinese New Year and springtime pastels to fall harvest and winter’s frosted holiday showcase. Somehow more than 6,000 flowers get arranged into a magnificent exhibit with towers reaching over 40 feet high. As you admire each seasonal spectacle, don’t forget to glance up—even the Conservatory’s ceiling boasts a vibrant flower arrangement. Truly an oasis of color and fragrance in the middle of the Bellagio’s high-end shops and bustling casino floor.

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

Name and Location: The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace form a hugely popular 636,000 square-foot premier shopping mall seamlessly connected inside the legendary Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino complex located center-Strip.

History and Significance: As Vegas focused increasingly on luxury tourism in the 1990s, Caesars Palace opened the nation’s most ambitious retail and dining complex in 1992 ushering in commercial amenities now standard for resorts but revolutionary then. Garnering instant fame for lavish architecture modeled on ancient Roman streets lined with timeframe statues and roaming animatronic figures, The Forum Shops cemented retail-entertainment fusion. Fountains, columns and mosaic tile floors made an ambitious $250 million wager on high-end shopping PAYOFF cementing the venue’s long success.

What to Expect: From Cartier jewelry to Gucci fashion housed inside marble-laden corridors under painted fresco ceilings The Forum shops translate excess as old Rome would have shown it through soaring gardens grand statues replicated historic icons. Customer find over 160 boutiques alongside restaurant row’s spiral escalator and Festival Fountain Shows animated hourly celebrating gods like Apollo, Venus and Bacchus in techno-enhanced performances where animatronic figures parade as visitors capture selfies with Caesar or chariot processions strolling about.

Visitor Information: As part of Caesars Palace’s interior amenities The Forum Shops operate exclusive hours reserved for hotel guests early mornings with typical retail open hours from 10:00am to 11:00pm Sunday through Thursdays until Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Numerous themed restaurants and a large spiraling aquarium amplify entertainment alongside curated museum spaces safeguarding coin/artifact treasures.

You may expect anything Roman-themed to require, well, ‘Caesars’ at Caesars Palace on the Strip. But the expansive Forum Shops at Caesars manages to impress without costing a thing. The 636,000 square foot luxury shopping mall spans themes around lavish ancient Roman streetscapes. Marble columns tower to painted azure skies, alongside statues of mythological gods, goddesses and legends of Roman times. Throughout the mall, animatronic figures perform choreographed shows adding to the experience of meandering this sprawling Roman plaza. Capitalize on air conditioning relief as you browse luxury stores and grab a bite, capping off your visit by witnessing Atlantis—a 4.5-minute animatronic fountain show enchanting crowds each hour.

Container Park

Name and Location: Downtown Container Park is an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex constructed from reused shipping containers and stacked into a modern village layout located just east of Fremont Street in trendy downtown Las Vegas.

History and Significance: Opened in 2013 as a $100 million green-constructed reinvestment transforming leftover land between downtown’s galleries and casinos, the Container Park revived urban space using scrap materials innovatively to build MongoDB boutiques, progressive art vendors, hip bars.

Head downtown to Container Park for a hip oasis of boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. True to its name, the outdoor shopping center is built completely from shipping containers stacked into unique structures harboring local businesses. The space also features play and climb structures plus an explorable treehouse for kids to enjoy. When hunger strikes, the park’s varied eateries have you covered, but the true gem lies in the giant, fire-breathing praying mantis sculpture that comes to life each evening at dusk with a musical lightshow. The nighttime experience transforms the quirky urban park into a treat for all ages—best enjoyed with a drink in hand while witnessing the flames.

Sunset Stampede at Sam’s Town

Off-Strip but worth the trip, Sam’s Town offers free amusement in the form of the Sunset Stampede laser, light and water show. Presented in the Mystic Falls Park, an indoor garden atrium complete with waterfall and animatronic wildlife, the spectacle centers around a laser “sunset” show over the waterfall. Featuring 200 characters coming alive to perform amidst vibrant lights and dancing fountains, shows cap off with a thunderous volcano explosion finale. Shows run every two hours starting at 2:00pm, with early arrival advised for a seat facing the falls. Western-themed Sam’s Town also provides complimentary daily entertainment from live singers to dueling pianos and more.

That sums up over a dozen stellar free attractions and activities to enjoy in Las Vegas, proving there’s much more to this desert oasis than casinos and shows along the Strip. Take time out to view dazzling light displays, explore visual arts, take in natural beauty, and generally enjoy hours of free entertainment during your Vegas getaway. No matter your interest, you’re sure to be wowed by at least one of these free Sin City gems.

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