Top ten free things to see in Las Vegas
(also see my separate page about cheap thrills)
Last update: August 2021
On the strip
Bellagio lobby & conservatory. See the $10
million, 2100 square foot glass
sculpture on the ceiling of the lobby, featuring 2000
hand-blown blossoms that weigh about 40,000 pounds, supported by a
10,000-pound steel armature, all by renowned artist Dale
Chihuly. Every day it takes 27 person-hours to clean.
While there, also check out the 14,000 square foot conservatory
garden, a dazzling mix of plants, architecture, and lights,
which changes with the season.
- Bellagio Water Fountains. Amazing choreographed water fountains, set to popular music, right in front of the Bellagio hotel. The Las Vegas Sun says it cost $40 million to build. Shows begin at Noon on the weekends and 3:00pm M-F, running every half hour until 8:00pm, and then every 15 minutes through midnight.
- Circus Acts. In the Circus Circus Midway, every hour from 11:30am to 10:30pm (M-Th), to 11:30pm (F/Sun), and to 12:30pm (Sat). Way better than you'd expect for a free show. (more)
- Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Take your picture at an iconic monument, a Vegas landmark since 1959. It's in the median on Las Vegas Blvd. (the Strip), 3/4 of a mile South of Mandalay Bay. In 2008 the county finally opened parking lot in the median, then in 2015 added a signalized crossing, so tourists no longer have to risk death by running across Las Vegas Blvd. to get under the sign. Here's the Wikipedia article on the welcome sign. 5200 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Take the Deuce bus straight there.
- Flamingo Wildlife Habitat. See colorful Chilean flamingos, Ring Teal ducks, Sacred Ibis, pelicans, swans, ducks, koi fish, and turtles. Open dawn to dusk, pelican feedings at 8:30am & 2pm. (more)
- Lounge shows. Many of the casinos have free lounge shows with really good bands. These bands are good enough that you'd pay money to see them elsewhere, but in Vegas it's free. (more)
- Runway fashion shows. In the Fashion Show Mall on weekends, every hour from noon to 5pm, near Saks Fifth Avenue/Nordstrom. (more)
- Viva Vision. A massive overhead canopy is the world's largest video screen, over four football fields long, and filled with nearly 50 million LED lights. At night it comes to life, showing amazing animations choreographed to popular music. In the early 90s the megaresorts that had been appearing on the strip were sucking up tourist attention and nearly put the downtown casinos out of business, so the downtown casinos banded together to finance a spectacle to lure visitors to the downtown area. Before settling on the video screen, ideas such as a system of canals were floated (no pun intended) (okay, maybe a little). An upgrade to the resolution in 2004 (which I witnessed) took the video quality from cheesy to damn impressive, and it was upgraded again in 2019, quadrupling the resolution and making it seven times brighter. It's easy to find: just go to Fremont Street and look up. If you're on the Strip just hop on the Deuce bus which goes straight to Fremont. Note, the screen is often mistakenly called the "Fremont Street Experience"; technically, the FSE is the big pedestrian mall where the screen is located, and the screen itself is called Viva Vision. Shows are every hour on the hour, from 6:00 pm until 2:00 am. (Visit the official website.)
- Music concerts. On three different stages nightly. (more)
- World's Largest indoor TV screen. Circa casino has the largest sportsbook in the world, which features an incredible three-story, 78 million pixel TV screen.