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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Free and Cheap Activities in Las Vegas

Okay, it's been a bit since I've been back from Vegas and I bet you thought I forgot about giving you all the dirty details of the free and cheap things we did there. I did not, but this month has been a crazy one, what with my annual Harry Potter party and other stuff going on. You'll notice that I somehow missed a few newsletters as well, and I apologize for that. Now I'm back to my normal schedule, so let's talk about Vegas.

Freebies can be found around ever corner in Sin City if one knows where to look. Luckily, I do, so I can pass it on to you.

here were are in front of the bus, and on the right there you can see one of the murals you'll see downtown

Downtown artwork

Downtown used to be a place you went to save a bunch of money, but not to do fun stuff or be safe, but the City of Vegas is changing all that, especially by beautifying the area. Now downtown is the cool place to be, and it's much quieter than The Strip. The city has commissioned local artists to beautify the area, and they are doing an amazing job.

While we were there, we stopped by the Container Park (see below) and was able to catch a ride on the Dragon Art Bus that was sponsored by Zappos and Lyft for a free art tour. It lit up, the ride was around 20 minutes and it was pretty awesome to see a different side of downtown without walking.

Wynn fountain and waterfall

I like the Bellagio Fountains, but it's always crowded and hard to see and you have to wait for certain showtimes. The Wynn has a fountain show (albeit much smaller) that runs 24-hours a day and there are no large crowds you need to compete with for pictures/videos. You can stop at any time of the day or night and watch the fountain waters dance...and if you head around the corner, you can see the awesome waterfall. It's a great place to grab a selfie for your Instagram.

Encore indoor garden

Okay, you all know that I will hit up the Bellagio Conservatory each and every trip to Vegas, but it's not the only indoor garden around. The Mirage has a rainforest, the Palazzo has a floral lobby, and the Encore has a totally unexpected walkway lined with trees and floral sculptures. 

If you want to see a fantastic water show, you'll have get a seat at their bar or outdoor restaurant. After dark, they have a water wall that comes alive with fountains and projected images. It's not free, but it is if you plan to take there anyway. We'll definitely be doing that on a future trip.

Downtown Container Park

I've talked about the container park before. It's basically an outdoor shopping center with tiny shops made from old shipping containers. There are restaurants, an arcade, a salon, a wedding "chapel", a large playground, and a fake grassy area where you can stake a spot on to watch a free movie on certain days.

After 9pm, the Container Park is 21+. You don't have to go in to enjoy the large metal mantis out front that spews fire. Every 15 minutes or so, music will start and the mantis rocks in time with it and also fire shoots out of its antennae. It's a fantastic light show and totally free. You'll also find the Dome here, which also used to be a Burning Man installation, but is now a mini theater, which you will see below.

Silverton Aquarium

Voted #1 free attraction in Las Vegas, the Silverton Aquarium has a ton of different marine animals and even seating for sitting and watching them swim about. You can walk all the way around it (it's not HUGE), and there's even a cute little mermaid gallery with artwork on display around the backside. 

Every day you can watch the rays getting fed and you can have breakfast while watching mermaids swim about and interact with the crowd. There's even a bar right there, so you can grab a drink and enjoy the aquarium. I was very glad that I went out of my way to check it all out, plus the machines there were paying out for me and I went home with much more than I started with.

Affordable Las Vegas

Cheap things can also be found in Vegas, despite there being a ton of luxury shops, spas and haute cuisine everywhere you look. 

The Dome LV

This year they have added a brand new attraction to downtown. The dome that was already a staple at the Container Park has been turned into a mini theater. Of course we had to try it out. They do light shows throughout the day with different themes. We sat in on the U2 show and were the only ones in there. 

While you can get an hour show for around $12 a person, if you book your shows online, you pay less. They even have a meal and show option that's only $15 per person, which is a fantastic deal in my opinion.

Two things I'll tell you: 
  1. If it's really hot outside, the temperature inside won't be much better. I would wait until it's dark to hit a show. It felt like we were in an oven, despite the fact that they have "air conditioning" in there. The air doesn't move at all, so it doesn't make a noticeable difference, except that the sun isn't beating down on you.
  2. If you get motion sickness, maybe skip this, as it can be very disorienting and make you feel like you're spinning through space at times.

Pinball Hall of Fame

This can be as cheap or as expensive as you like. The PHoF is full of vintage and retro pinball machines, with a few other games mixed in for fun. I think the most recent machine I saw in there was Terminator. I love this place, because machines are either one or two quarters (there are a LOT of 25 cent ones). You can stay for an hour or more on just $5, so it's a fun way to spend time and appreciate some games you either never saw or miss from the past. 

Each machine has a sign on it that tells you when it hit the market, which company designed it and a bit of history behind the concept. It's really interesting and easy to lose yourself here for hours at a time. It's a bit off The Strip and looks pretty shady from the outside, but don't let the building fool you. Inside is huge entertainment.

These are just a few of the things I love that are free and cheap in Sin City. If you look, you can find plenty of things you'll enjoy that don't cost much. Here's another post I did on it.

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