There are plenty of fun ways to spend your money in Las Vegas. The city is, after all, known of its decadent and luxurious attractions. However, what Las Vegas isn't known for is its spots where visitors can have fun without ever opening their wallet. For those that managed to lose it all at the tables, Las Vegas is filled with ways to whittle away the time before that the back end of that round-trip ticket comes around.
Watch the Bellagio Fountains
This aquatic show is one of the most obvious free options in Vegas. Visitors don't even need to go out of their way to see it; it is more likely that they will happen across the show by coincidence while prowling the Strip. The fountain outside of the Bellagio Hotel puts on a water show every 15 minutes in the evening that has become iconic to the city of Las Vegas. The spectacular water cannons shoot metres into the air, choreographed in perfect synchronicity to music like Celine Dion or Frank Sinatra.
P3Studio at The Cosmopolitan
It has occasionally been said that Las Vegas has no culture. However, The Cosmopolitan has amassed one of the most exclusive art collections in the United States which serves as a welcomed reprieve from the bare skin and penny slots elsewhere in the city. On the posh third floor lies the P3Studio where The Cosmopolitan displays - and sells - a rotating series of artwork that is commissioned by some of the hottest modern artists. While some of these pieces will cost a mint, it is perfectly free to look. It is also worth browsing The Cosmopolitan's public spaces for media instillations by Yoko Ono, T.J. Wilcox and other famous digital artists.
Watch the Circus at Circus Circus
This family-friendly spot on the less glitzy end of the Strip has long entertained visitors to Las Vegas with its Carnival Midway and circus acts. The Circus Circus resort is home to the largest permanent circus in the world, featuring a rotating cast of jugglers, aerialists, acrobats, and a series of stuntmen. Of course, those who don't want to open their poorly healed wounds of clown phobia may want to give their free circus a pass as the resident clowns Dave, Huel, Scotty and Tonya will be sure to give guests a proper razzing.
Visit the Wildlife Habitat at Flamingo
Visitors will likely encounter more than a few colourful creatures in Las Vegas, but for those that want to see a different kind of flamboyance, the wildlife habitat is full of it. Visitors can walk the open habitat and enjoy the view of swans, ducks, hundreds of koi fish in the pond and turtles. Of course, their prime exhibit is their flock of Chilean flamingos. Located next to the pool, the wildlife habitat is free to anyone who wants to spend time with their animals.
Be a Pinball Wizard at the Pinball Hall of Fame
As one of the lesser known attractions of Las Vegas, the Pinball Hall of Fame is actually the world's largest collection of pinball machines. Visitors are invited to come in to this non-profit museum and touch all the exhibits to their heart's content. With more than 200 pinball machines and arcade games, visitors could easily spend their whole Vegas vacation here.
Tour Ethel M Chocolate Factory
Las Vegas is certainly no Belgium or Switzerland when it comes to chocolate, but who can say no to free chocolate? The Ethel M Chocolate Factory offers up free tours of its facilities that may or may not be populated by the tour groups heading out of town to the Hoover Dam that stop there. After detailing their chocolate-making process, everyone is treated to some complimentary sweet treats. Before leaving, be sure to check out their cactus garden that uses all the excess water waste they produce on site.
Watch TV at the CBS Television City Research Centre, MGM Grand
While sitting around watching TV might not be the avid traveller's first activity of choice, the CBS research centre allow visitors to sample the pilots for upcoming shows and opine on their effectiveness after their free hour-long screening. Visitors need only pick up a free ticket at the MGM Grand Hotel and head into the studio for offerings from CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon and other Viacom-owed channels.
Watch the Volcano at the Mirage
Not unlike the Bellagio Fountain, the volcano that erupts outside of the Mirage is another Las Vegas attraction that may be stumbled upon by happenstance. Best seen at night, the volcano outside of the Mirage lights up the night as 150 fire shooters explode fireballs choreographed to music like the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussein. The show always ends with a stunning fire eruption that reaches heights of 20 metres in the air.
Enjoy the Fish at the Silverton Aquarium
Instead of spending money at the Silverton casino, take the time to enjoy their free aquarium. This beautiful display showcases 4,000 different species of fish, three species of stingray and three species of shark, all behind the biggest piece of convex curved acrylic in the United States. The aquarium also features two interactive feeding shows throughout the day and a mermaid swims in there on the weekends.
Get Trendy at the Container Park
For those that want to wander off the lustrous Strip into the significantly less glamorous Las Vegas city, the town may be a bit of a disappointment. However, it does have its odd treasures like the Downtown Container Park. This tribute to the city's ingenuity houses local shops, restaurants and music venues within a complex of 40 brightly coloured shipping containers. Visitors are greeted by a metal, fire-spitting preying mantis and the odd home, toy and jewelry shops just get more weird from there.
What's your favourite thing to do in Las Vegas?
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