You may be surrounded by more casinos than you’ve ever seen in your life while strolling down the Las Vegas strip, but a vacay in Sin City doesn't mean you have to part with your money at every turn - far from it. Yes, Vegas is a place synonymous with extravagant living and wild parties, but if you’re savvy about it, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it all on the cheap.
As much as we might like to believe in the opulent, untouchable Vegas we’ve seen in the movies or heard Elvis crooning about, having a blast in the bright neon city can be more affordable than we think. Look beyond the extravagance of Caesar’s Palace and all the hot spots and you can experience Vegas as you never noticed it before – a place with interesting historic sites, intriguing art and fun attractions that kids can enjoy as much as the adults!
Despite its reputation as an adult only playground, Vegas is a place that’s just as great for a family vacation as a wild bachelor party weekend. Adventure play parks, roller coasters, and a chocolate factory are just some of the less frequented gems in Sin City – and unlike a lot of spots, they’ll each give you something in return for your cash! From exploring the lesser known activities in the city to tips on how to plan your trip on a budget, here are 20 ways anyone can live it large in Vegas.
20 Take In The Iconic Fountains Of Bellagio - completely free to enjoy
Anytime you see swooping shots of Vegas in movies or holiday promotions, they almost always feature the fountains on display at the Bellagio hotel resort. The fountains on show are as much a part of the city’s identity as the casinos, but unlike the casinos, this iconic landmark of Vegas is completely free to enjoy.
The Bellagio fountains are so much more than the kind you’ll see at your local water park – they’re a showstopper in their own right. Hundreds of tourists stop and stare at the stunning nightly display of these 1,2000 fountain jets as they dance 250ft high to a light and music show. Spectacular. You can’t visit Vegas and not check this out!
19 Sign Up To The Hotel’s Membership Program - Start Saving Instantly
This is a great tip in general when you’re traveling but particularly important for a trip to Vegas since the hotel rates can be a little steep. When booking your accommodation, consider signing yourself up to your chosen hotel’s loyalty scheme and you’ll start saving immediately.
A lot of the major hotels in Vegas offer customers a “gaming club” card which will grant you access to discounted rooms and helps you save when you’re out and about.
Cards like Total Rewards and the Grazie loyalty program, for example, let you earn while you play and offer free parking and special access to certain attractions.
18 Stay In The Middle Of The Strip - And Save On Uber/Taxi Rides
While staying in the middle of any city centre will mean paying slightly higher hotel rates, it’s a smarter choice in the long run since you’ll save a considerable amount on taxi rides to and from all the main tourist spots – and paying a little extra to stay in the middle of the Vegas strip won’t disappoint.
Staying in the hub of the action means iconic sites like Caesar’s Palace, Planet Hollywood, and Las Vegas Boulevard are all within walking distance, so all those saved Uber rides can go towards making memories while you experience the city for yourself and grab a bite to eat.
17 Check Out The Free Chocolate Factory & Botanical Garden - Free Chocolate? Yes, Please!
Whoever said Vegas was just for adults clearly neglected to mention the Ethel M Chocolate Factory minutes away from the strip. Kids and adults with a sweet tooth can make a day trip out of discovering how the much-loved gourmet chocolates are made (and getting to sample them afterward!).
Once you’ve had your fill of candy, the four-acre long Botanical Gardens within the factory grounds are the perfect way to walk off the calories and give your little ones a magical time in the process. If you plan your trip around the holidays, the gardens are lit up in all the colors of the rainbow – looking like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (minus Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompas).
16 Avoid Planning Your Trip During Conventions - No Need To Pay More For A Room...
Most travelers come to Vegas purely to attend some form of convention, from fashion and business conferences to the hugely popular Vegas Comic Con held each year, but if you’re not about that life then
you may want to steer clear of visiting Vegas during a convention weekend since accommodation rates inevitably spike.
To ensure you save some extra spending money on your trip to Vegas, be sure to keep an eye out for convention dates in advance. A quick Google search will let you know which hotels are hosting what, so make sure you don’t get caught out paying more than necessary.
15 Explore Old Las Vegas At The Neon Museum - An Inexpensive Trip Down Memory Lane
For as long as Las Vegas has been around, the bright lights and neon signage have been a major part of the city’s character. But as bright as the lights remain in Vegas, modern times have replaced a lot of the old-fashioned neon bulbs with LED signs and displays, which has hurt a little of its romance.
Thankfully though, lovers of vintage Vegas can take a trip down memory lane and get a feel for old Vegas at the Neon Museum and Boneyard. This colorful graveyard of more than 100 neon signs that lit up Vegas in the 1930’s has become such a popular tourist spot that many travelers even have their wedding photos here – beats the outside of a cheesy wedding chapel, I guess!
14 Enjoy Some Incredible Views From Stratosphere Tower - admission is only $20
As long as you don’t suffer from vertigo, you should definitely check out the view from the Stratosphere Tower in Vegas (and adrenaline junkies may even want to sample the thrill ride pictured - more about this below!).
At an impressive 869 feet high, standing on the observation deck is one of the best ways to take in all the unique city lights and sights below.
The tower’s viewing point is the tallest in the US and the second tallest in the entire Western hemisphere, beaten only by the CN Tower in Ontario. The view from this observation deck is great night or day, but if you head up to it just before sunset, you'll get a glimpse of Sin City that you won’t forget. Admission to the Stratosphere is only $20 – a bargain price for a 360 view of Vegas in all its neon glory.
13 Spend A Day At The Downtown Container Park - Money well spent
If you don’t plan on playing while in Vegas - and you’d be surprised by how many people don’t! - then a much better use of your money and time can be spent at the city’s Downtown Container Park. Part art installation, part shopping center,
the container park is home to a collection of shops, bars, and galleries housed inside and around actual shipping containers.
Whether you come to window shop for souvenirs or take a stroll around one of the galleries, there’s plenty to see and do in this compact and quirky part of town. There’s also live entertainment and an outdoor cinema on the park lawn at night, making for a chill end to a crazy Vegas day.
12 Avoid Traveling During The Super Bowl - why pay hiked up amounts?
When visiting Las Vegas on a budget, it’s a pretty good rule of thumb that you’d do well to avoid planning your trip near the Super Bowl, as everything gets a little crazier and more expensive. If you love your sports, Vegas can be a dream mini break to have with friends, but for families and couples planning an anniversary trip, the crowds and hiked up prices aren’t so fun.
Not only will every major bar and restaurant across the strip be throwing Super Bowl viewing parties, Super Bowl season is also the time when more music festivals and shows than ever before all come to Vegas. Plan your trip out of sports season to take in live entertainment at a slower pace (whilst avoiding sky-high room rates too!).
11 Ride The Rollercoasters - For all you thrill-seekers
Proof that there are plenty of highs to be had in Vegas that don’t involve liquor or blackjack are the many awesome roller coasters and thrill rides throughout the city. Fun seekers will love a day at the New York, New York resort where you can loop de loop on the Big Apple roller coaster.
But those in search of a bigger adrenaline rush may want to brave the thrill rides at the top of the Stratosphere Tower – The Insanity and X-Scream rides involve dangling and spinning off the edge of the tower, 900ft above the strip. Healthier than a round of casino cocktails, but like a wild night at the bar, you may need new underpants after too many of these rides...
10 Channel Drizzy At The Colorful Akhob Art Exhibit - Free admission
Recognize this art installation from somewhere? That’s because Drake made it famous with his bizarre dad dance moves in his video for Hotline Bling.
Admission is free to the Akhob exhibit which you’ll find hidden in the Louis Vuitton department of the Crystals shopping mall, but due to popularity, you’ll need to reserve a slot if you want to walk around and dance like Drizzy.
For those unfamiliar with Drake’s video (you don't know what you’re missing), this installation created by LA artist James Turrell has vibrant hues of color which bleed seamlessly into one another as you walk through the two chamber spaces of changing the light. Definitely worth checking out.
9 Spend An afternoon At KISS Mini Golf - the best of both worlds
If KISS happens to be your favorite rock group of all time and you love yourself some putting, then you may think you’ve died and gone to heaven at this place. Of course, regular mini and crazy golf fans will likely get a kick out of this too.
In true Vegas style, this entire 18-hole putting course is decked out almost entirely in glow in the dark neon colors, making for a pretty colorful time whether you happen to hit the bars beforehand or not! The best feature of which is probably the giant Gene Simmons head with his protruding tongue slide. Nightmare or psychedelic dream come true – you decide.
8 Live It Up In The Adventuredome At Circus Circus - Unleash your inner child
As we said, Vegas is for adults and kids (and big kids) alike and there’s no better way to unleash your inner child than a day at the Adventuredome play park. The Circus Circus hotel resort and casino is home to the biggest indoor theme park in the US so whether parents want to hit the slots or revert to childhood at the carnival, no age group is going to be bored here.
It’s always nice to mix it up while in Vegas, so once you’ve hit the bars and clubs, it’s surely time for a sugar and dizzy high that only a theme park can provide. Fun times!
7 Eat At Resort Buffets Instead Of Restaurants - And save Money!
No matter where you go in Vegas, eating out can be a pretty expensive venture, but the trick to saving money is to have most of your meals at your actual hotel. The majority of hotel resorts in Vegas have an all-day buffet service and
when you compare an all-you-can-eat deal for $20-25 to the price of $30 per head at a typical restaurant on the strip, spending your meal times at the buffet is a no-brainer.
A hack to save even more money is to time your buffet meals just as the menu is in transition from brunch to dinner. So say you plan an early dinner at 3, you can enjoy a dinner buffet at your resort at a brunch price, saving you around $10-15 per person.
6 Book Any Shows And Events Beforehand Online - Spontaneity won't save you any money for these...
Other than hitting up the casinos and bars, another worthwhile experience to be had while you’re in Sin City is to take in a typical Vegas show. Unfortunately, most of the events and stage shows in Vegas can stretch well beyond most visitor budgets if they’re visited on a whim, which is why you should always try to book your seat to some of the best shows well in advance.
Spontaneity is a great thing during a weekend break in Vegas, but not when it comes to spending double the online fee. As with any concert or theater tickets, there’ll always be multiple sites to book from (and plenty with ongoing promotions and discount codes), so be wise and always book a show-stopping Vegas experience online.
5 Hit The Casinos That Provide Free Drinks - have the quintessential Vegas experience for less
Instead of sinking your travel funds into buying your party endless drinks at the hotel bar or club on Vegas Boulevard, there’s a way you can have the quintessential Vegas experience and sip on some holiday cocktails for less – by hitting the casinos.
It may sound counterproductive, but if you hang around long enough on any casino floor in Vegas, you’ll soon make your money back with all the complimentary drinks coming your way (provided that you actually play a few slots while you’re there!). If you pace yourself and tip the staff well, there’s no reason why you won’t be able to score a night of free drinks for you and your buddies!
4 If You Love Nightclubs, Don’t Visit Vegas Without 'The Card' - clubbing on a budget
Partying hard in Sin City will result in more than a physical hangover, it will also leave your wallet dangerously dehydrated if you don’t plan ahead. Thankfully, having a wild time in Vegas doesn’t have to drain your funds as well as your energy the morning after and those wishing to go clubbing on a budget should not be without the V Card.
The V Card Nightlife Pass will get you and your friends VIP access into more than 30 of the top nightclubs and bars in Vegas. The pass can only be used on a one-time basis, but if you’re celebrating a girls'/boys' weekend to remember, there’s no better way to use it!
3 Take The Vegas Monorail Instead Of Taxis - A much cheaper alternative
Unless you book your accommodation slap bang in the middle of the strip, chances are you’re going to be a fair distance from all the main attractions and you’ll find you might need to rely on taxis and Uber rides for your entire trip.
To save yourself a small fortune on your tour of Sin City, you may want to opt for a ride on the Las Vegas monorail instead. At a reasonable $5 for a single ride or $12 for an all-day pass around the city,
the monorail can take you to the iconic sites of the MGM hotel and Caesar’s Palace to the convention center if you’re on business. Best way to travel on a budget!
2 See More With The Vegas Explorer Pass - At a fraction of the price
Anyone who comes to Vegas other than to channel Hunter S. Thompson presumably likes to take the time to see the sights and attractions the city has to offer. But if you plan on paying the individual admission prices for each attraction, this can quickly add up to a small fortune on your trip.
The best way to see as much of Vegas as possible on your vacay is by getting hold of the Las Vegas Explorer Pass. This allows you to see up to 5 Vegas attractions such as Madame Tussauds, VEGAS! The Show and VIP access to the Stratosphere observation deck at a fraction of the price.
1 Skip The Room Service - Or get it for free
Ordering room service should be a no-no for budget travelers in general, but ordering a midnight feast in a Vegas hotel? You may as well bet your entire travel fund on a bad roll at the roulette wheel. If it's a meal you’re after, you’ll always be better off eating at your hotel’s buffet or bar for a more affordable meal, especially if this can be included in the price of your stay.
Believe it or not but even in Vegas where the rates are sky high, there are ways of getting complimentary room service if you know where to look.
Certain room packages and loyalty programs will offer free amenities and room service within the price, so shop around for deals in advance of your stay.