You can still have a lot of fun in Las Vegas without spending a ton of money. I’m sharing low-cost things to do and budget-friendly places to eat so that you can have extra money to splurge on bucket list adventures while you are in town.
1. Start your visit at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ Sign
No visit to Las Vegas is complete without a visit to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada sign located at 5200 S Las Vegas Blvd.
There is a small parking lot available for visitors and if you are lucky you might be greeted by an Elvis who is known to frequent the area when you arrive.
You might notice a line of people waiting to take a picture but if you move to the right side of the sign off of the turf you can still get your picture without the wait or people in your shot.
2. Hike Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is located less than 30 minutes from downtown Las Vegas and I highly recommend planning a visit while you are in town. You can visit the park for $15 admission fee per car/truck.
The Calico Tanks trail takes about 2 hours and is considered moderate to strenuous. It’s the perfect blend of gorgeous scenery mixed with some challenging parts on the trail that will make you feel like a champion after you figure out how to to get over them.
The trail isn’t always marked clearly so expect that you might blaze your own trail at a few points along the way on accident. Don’t worry, you will figure it out eventually and get back on track pretty easily.
Once you get to the very top the views are totally worth every ounce of sweat and you can see the skyline of Las Vegas in the distance.
Make sure that you bring a backpack with water and sunscreen and wear shoes with good traction because the sandstone can get slick.
3. Enjoy a Meal at Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill
Fresh and affordable menu items in a fast casual environment, Sharky’s has two locations in Las Vegas conveniently located not too far from the entrance and exit of Red Rock Canyon. You can fuel up before your hike or reward yourself after.
Even though the environment is fast casual, the food quality is anything but. The menu items are made fresh to order with as many organic, natural, and locally sourced items as possible.
Make sure that you order the guacamole and try the sangria or craft beer along with your tacos or burrito. With menu items averaging around $7, you can enjoy a great meal without breaking the bank.
4. Explore the Fremont Street Experience
There is a lot to see and do on Fremont Street. The people watching alone is pretty fascinating and you will find live music throughout as you walk the street. You can watch zipliners above you along with the free Viva Vision light shows that happen hourly after 6pm. There are even free slot pulls at Binion’s and Four Queens where guests could win up to $2500.
5. Check out the Downtown Container Park
A mix of stores, restaurants, bars, and entertainment, the Downtown Container Park has something for everyone. Kids will enjoy playing on the Tree House & Play Zone at the Container Park and being greeted by a 55-Foot Preying Mantis as they enter the open-air complex.
The Container Park also offers free movie nights and other events to the public and is made up of over 40 shipping containers. I’m guessing that you already figured that out by the name. Make sure that you go up a few floors to check out the shops and the great views.
6. View the Street Art Downtown
I LOVE street art and I try to find it whenever I visit a city. After a visit to the Container Park, you can take a self-guided Downtown Art Mural Tour.
You will discover lots of different styles within a few block radius. Each corner is like discovering a new artistic treasure. I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites so I’m sharing a lot of them so that you can see and appreciate the variety.
You can click on each individual image for a better view. There is a high concentration of murals around 7th street and for a comprehensive guide to the street art click here.
7. Enjoy a Happy Hour Dinner at Esther’s Kitchen
Purchase an alcoholic beverage and get pasta half off when you dine in and sit at the bar from 5-7 pm at Esther’s Kitchen.
What’s even more amazing is that that the pasta is already priced at a reasonable amount and the pasta and bread are all made in-house. Get the housemade sourdough bread with cultured butter and olive oil. Trust me on this one!
The pizza made with a natural sourdough crust is also very good. Basically carb up and know that you will end up walking it off in Vegas anyway, it’s worth it!
Esther’s Kitchen also sources its food as organically and locally as possible. The staff at Esther’s will make you feel like family or an old friend that you have known for years. The food will leave an impression that will last beyond your visit and trying to figure out how you can fit in another visit.
8. Watch a Free Mermaid Swim or Dive Show at the Silverton Casino
Visit a 117,ooo gallon aquarium for free at the Silverton Casino Hotel where you will see sharks, stingrays & real-life mermaids. Check out their schedule so that you can time your visit with a stingray feeding dive show or a mermaid swim.
If you want a meal that doubles as an experience make sure that you make a reservation for Meals with a Mermaid.
9. Sample Coca-Cola From Around the World
It might be a small world but when it comes to taste, Coca-Cola varies quite a bit depending on the country. For around $10 you can get a Coke Sampling tray with 16 flavors of Coca-Cola from around the world at the Coca-Cola beverage bar on the second floor at the Coca-Cola Store on the Las Vegas Strip.
My husband and I decided to share a sample tray which worked out perfectly. Realistically you are not going to drink all of them because some of them are not really that enjoyable. It’s still fun to try all of them either way and learn about popular flavors in other countries.
10. Watch the Fountains at the Bellagio Day and Night
A MUST when you visit Las Vegas, the fountains at the Bellagio are truly a modern marvel. Each show is different in song selection and choreography so you will want to see it more than once and at least one time during the day and at night.
There are more than a thousand fountains that dance enhanced by music and light souring as high as 460 feet in the air and 1,000 feet in width. Make sure that you allow enough time to find a good viewing spot because the fountains are a popular attraction.
The show takes place every 30 minutes from 3pm to 8pm Monday through Friday and every 15 minutes from 8pm to midnight. On Sundays, the show starts at 11am every 30 minutes until 7pm when the show goes on every 15 minutes until midnight. On Saturdays and Holidays, the shows start at noon every 30 minutes and change to every 15 minutes from 8pm to midnight.
11. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane at the Pinball Hall of Fame
With games ranging from $.25 to $1, you can have fun without breaking the bank. You can also feel good about your gameplay because all proceeds from the Pinball Hall of Fame go to charity.
They don’t pay to advertise and the 10,0000 sq. ft Pinball Hall of Fame is truly a labor of love of classic pinball games. You will get to play on the world’s largest pinball collection open to the public with games ranging from the 1950s up to the 1990s.
12. Fill Up With Breakfast at Omelet House
The Omelet House is a bit of a time capsule. It’s been around since the late 1970s and you can literally feed two people for the price of one because each omelet is made with 6 eggs! There are 38 types of omelets but you can still find other breakfast and lunch menu items to choose from if you don’t go with their namesake.
I would also suggest trying the homemade bread with your omelet like banana or pumpkin instead of the toast when given the option because they are really delicious.
13. Take a Tour of the KA Theatre at MGM Grand
Whether it’s your first introduction to a Cirque show, or if you just enjoy behind the scenes access, the KA Theatre tour is a great way to learn more about the production and theatre where the Cirque show KA takes place.
Guests can learn more about the 360-degree theatre experience with a free tour every Tuesday and Saturday at 12pm and 12:30 pm at the MGM Grand.
14. Explore the Las Vegas Strip via Monorail
When you visit Las Vegas you are going to do A LOT of walking so plan accordingly. This is not the time to test out a new pair of shoes. You need comfort first, stylish second. My husband and I walked between 17,000- 20,000 steps during our visit. If you want to save on some steps to see the sights I suggest purchasing a Monorail pass.
The trains arrive every 4-8 minutes at seven stations on the strip ( MGM Grand, Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, Harrah’s/The LINQ, Las Vegas Convention Center, Westgate Las Vegas and the SLS Las Vegas Station.)
Check out a few points of interest along the way on the Las Vegas Strip
- The Volcano at The Mirage
- Caesars Palace
- Forum Shops and Fall of Atlantis show at Caesars Palace
- The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian Las Vegas
- Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
- Waterfall Atrium at The Palazzo Las Vegas
- Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio Hotel and CasinoWalk to Caesars Palace to The LINQ Promenade
- Walk to The Venetian Las Vegas
- Walk to Fashion Show
15. End Your Visit With the Las Vegas Sign
Visiting the Las Vegas sign before you depart is a little bittersweet but you will be taking back lots of great memories in between your first pic of the sign and your last.
Thanks again to Visit Las Vegas for hosting my visit. All opinions are my own.
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