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How To See Las Vegas for Free

by andrew June 2010 - last edited Tuesday by Moderator

Gambling, stag and hen parties, weddings, pure curiosity…whatever you’re in Las Vegas for, there’s plenty to spend your money on. And spend it you will, with a smile on your face.

However, you needn’t be dropping dollars 24-7 and if you have gambled away your last dime, there's still plenty to see in Sin City that won’t cost a red cent. Here are just a few of our favourite free spots:

 

Here Come The Jets

The Bellagio fountains are among the world’s most wow-inducing water features, though that term doesn’t exactly do them justice. The amount of science (and money) behind the display is quite astonishing, but you needn’t understand how it's done to enjoy this dazzling dance of light and music.

 

 

Bellagio fountains - Time to say goodbye from Koppeltje16 on Vimeo.

Though the fountains go off every 30 minutes in the afternoon, the splendour isn’t really revealed in full until after dark. A room at the hotel may afford you an aerial view, but you can still hardly miss the jets (they reach a height of 460 ft /140m) from the street. Our top tip though is to grab a drink at the Fontana bar for the full front-row experience.

 

Nature vs Neon

If you do happen to pass by a little earlier, the Bellagio’s other free attraction, the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, is great for whiling away an hour-or so. The seasonal colours and vibrant natural beauty offer a great contrast to the night’s neon, but the giant bugs, spades and trowels let you know you’re still in Vegas. Kew Gardens this ain’t.

 

 

Ring of Fire

Less dangerous and a lot easier to pronounce than Eyjafjallajökull, the Volcano at The Mirage is still able to stop traffic, the pedestrian kind anyway. A Strip staple since 1989, the swanky hotel’s big draw recently underwent a redesign by Bellagio fountain team WET, to the tune of $25 million. Bigger, better and louder, the choreographed fire dance now features music by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, who actually studied the science of volcanoes as research for their composition. A true spectacle, it’s perhaps the most awe-inspiring on the Strip.

 

 

New volcano at The Mirage from Jeff Keller on Vimeo.

 

City of Lights

If somehow you haven’t quite had your fix of lights on The Strip, the Fremont Street Experience downtown is the other big draw. Here where the city “began” – first hotel, first paved street - you can celebrate vintage Vegas in futuristic fashion, for free. The four block-long mall’s “Viva Vision” canopy is the biggest big screen in the world with 12.5 million LEDs. Current audiovisual evening extravaganzas include tributes to Queen, KISS and The Doors. Just try to get a good leaning spot if you want to avoid a stiff neck; it’s difficult looking at slots and blackjack tables when your head’s stuck at a 70-degree upwards angle.

 

FSE’s two stages also have concerts and/or DJs virtually every night and this summer is a 70s spectacular with free concerts from Sweet, Gloria Gaynor, Jefferson Starship and others.

 

 

Fremont St Experience by YoTuT on Flickr

Fremont St Experience by YoTuT on Flickr

Floods and (more) Fire

Vegas has made enough myths of its own over the years, but it also knows how to put a spin on the ancient tales. The Fall of Atlantis show at Caesars Palace Forum Shops is an every-hour-on-the-hour animatronic display telling the story of the destruction of the underwater metropolis.

 

Fall Of Atlantis show by Ben Mason on Flickr

Fall Of Atlantis show by Ben Mason on Flickr

 

If you crave still more ancient gods in animatronic action, the more sedate Festival Fountain show at the other end of the complex, has Bacchus, Venus, Apollo and Pluto in conversation.

For more on how to make the most of your Las Vegas adventure, check out our post The Best Side Trips from Las Vegas.

And for getting there, check out flights with Virgin Atlantic here or visit Virgin Holidays for a tailor-made trip.

Photos by YoTuTBen Mason and Jen SFO-BCN. Have you been to Vegas recently? Any more tips for free fun in Sin City? Let us know in the comments section.


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Comments
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TheBestSide-T March 2011
shot.For more Vegas-centric advice, see our tips on getting married in Vegas and how to see the best of Las Vegas for free.Virgin Atlantic fly to Las Vegas daily from London Gatwick, and from the 3rd April 2011 we’ll
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HarryGreen April 2011
FREMONT STREET is not just a light show. Fremont is a pedestrianised area full of shops, casinos, hotels etc. A bustling mini metropolis, Fremont is THE place to chill out and enjoy the best of Vegas. The spectacular light shows vie with street entertainers, stage performances by various groups and bands, showgirl parades, classic car and bike exhibitions and all manner of, virtually non-stop, free entertainment.

We have been going every other year for 30 years and would not stay anywhere else but Fremont.

And, due no doubt to its vigorous and cheerfull, police presence, not once in all that time have we felt unsafe or threatened.

THE STRIP is for the occasional visit, FREMONT is for staying in.

Harry & Edie, Liverpool, England

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Belinda April 2011
Hi Harry & Edie

When was you last in LV - we travel mid June this year.

Did you use any voucher booklets for dining, if so where did you pick them up?

Any other tips gratefully received.

Regards

Belinda

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DavidGarrett July 2011
This will be my wife and I's 4th Vegas holiday. the last was 2006 so we will see some wonderful new hotels ect. We love the buzz that comes with seeing so many people just enjoying themselves----never looking at the clock is great. How about it when the slots ring out in your favour!! It really is worth losing a few bob---for the sheer fun of it. Roll on I say live a little and to hell with it. Go on, go there and see for yourselves! You will be delighted.
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sarahb January 2012
My partner and I are returning in september of this year, to get married at the top of the stratosphere. We have been here 3 times and could not fault any of our visits. From experiencing the bustle of the strip to the calmer freemont street. There really is something for everyone. we are not huge gamblers, although I know this is portrayed as a gambling destination. There is so much more to it, and of course we will be flying virgin again.
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January 2012
Thanks Sarah and we agree - much more to Vegas than meets the eye. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials and while it's a way off yet, we hope you have a wonderful wedding and trip.
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Karl January 2012
In reply to Harry's comment. I could not agree more. If you listen to people who have never been, they will say the Fremont end is "slumming it". Far from it. I have been about 5 times. I've stayed at Caesars, Bellagio, but I would defiantely consider my favourite hotel as the Golden Nugget. Fremont is so relaxed and you dont have to walk forever to get between Casinos.
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TerryR April 2012
We've been going to Las Vegas for years now. We love it all. If your in Fremont Street try Hugo's Cellar, it's in the Four Queens. Great food, very old style feels like the rat pack are about to arrive at any moment. Martinis are huge and very very dry.
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April 2012
Thanks for the tip Terry!
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carlos May 2012
Freemont street is brill at night but can be a bit quite in the daytime the freeshows at the other end are out of this world.I have been to Vegas 5 times and i am going back in june too do the pool parties and be more of a tourist.wherever you stay it is only a 10min bus ride from one end to the other.Go to the Grand canyon and be a tourist dont just blow all your money on gambeling see a show or two but have fun.
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sarahb July 2012
Hi i was jsut wondering if you could tell if any of the newly remodelled aircrafts will be flying the lgw to vegas route? i ve heard so much about the investment but just wanted to know if we will be enjoying the benefit this time round? we fly september :-) thank you
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GrahamUnderhil July 2012
Sadly the Lions are no longer at the MGM Grand. They were taken out early February 2012
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Sarah1b August 2012
Oh no! Really? Do you know why? That's a shame was looking forward to see them!
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NathanNelson August 2012
Flying out later this week. Second time in Vegas and can't wait. We'll be flying out from Gatwick so I'll report back on the aircraft Sarah. I understand that it was heathrow which were receiving the priority refits but I thought the aircraft at gatwick last year looked pretty tired. I'll let you know.
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Claire September 2012
We went on Honeymoon to Vegas last year, really didn't think I'd fall in love with it like I did but it's absolutely brilliant. Check out the stunning crystal curtains hanging near the lifts, the giant stiletto shoes you can actually stand in and the glass wall of old sewing machines in the window of All Saints - all at Crystals/Aria...amazing. Going back in a few weeks on Virgin. Yipee!
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GaryS December 2012
I went most recently in April and am lucky enough to be going again in January; this will be my 15th time! One free show that I never miss is Big Elvis. He used to hang out at Bill's Gamblin' Hall, but has recently moved to Harrah's which is mid-strip. He does 3 free shows in a row 4 or 5 times a week from around 3 p.m. - I went with a 'Vegas virgin last time, and couldn't tear him away so we (quite happily) sat there all night. Cheap pitchers of beer too - fantastic!
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About the author: andrew

Andrew Bowman

Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.