I’m sure you know the phrase, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” right? Well, it seems to me that everything is also bigger in Las Vegas, Nevada. The casinos are large enough to get lost in, the nightlife is reminiscent of the movie The Hangover, and the conventions draw tens of thousands of people. Every casino is vying for your attention and cash, and they do this with flashing lights, show girls and free entertainment. Take advantage of this healthy competition and enjoy some of the many “freebies” Vegas has to offer. Below are my favorite free shows, some of which are nice enough to charge admission (don’t get any ideas Las Vegas)!
1.) The Fountains of Bellagio – The Bellagio Fountains are amazing, and it’s hands down the best free show in Vegas. Over 1,000 fountains dance and shoot water in the air as high as 460 feet. Combined with music and light, this show is a beautiful pageant that wows no matter how many times you’ve seen it. With shows at least every 30 minutes (every 15 minutes in the evenings), it’s easy to catch this mesmerizing display.
2.) Freemont Street Experience – After dark venture off the strip to Downtown Las Vegas for the loose slots and the Freemont Street Experience. This show lights the night with a 1,500 foot long canopy that covers about 4 blocks of the pedestrian promenade on the downtown strip. The canopy is covered with 12.5 million LED bulbs, and the lights are choreographed in dazzling patterns to a concert quality sound system. Shows play at the top of every hour from 8pm to midnight, so while you’re waiting to be submersed in this spectacle of lights, belly up to the bar and order a super cheap margarita or try your luck on those slots.
3.) The Fall of Atlantis at Caesar’s – In the middle of Caesar’s Forum Shops lies a glorious fountain that spurts water around Greek statues that are mounted on tall pillars. Suddenly the lights dim, the fountain is illuminated, and the statues give way to a throne and several talking animatronic characters. This show incorporates water, epic music, lighting effects, and fire to create a captivating performance that takes place at the top of every hour.
4.) The Volcano at Mirage – Watch out for lava on the strip after dark. That’s when the volcano out front of the Mirage is set to erupt! If you like obscene amounts of fire, then this is your show. The soothing music, rolling smoke, and flowing lava is just an appetizer for what’s to come. This enthralling display of shooting fire and water only occurs Friday and Saturday at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm, and Sunday at 8pm and 9pm, so plan accordingly because you don’t want to miss it.
5.) Sunset Stampede at Sam’s Town – Drive or take the free shuttle from Freemont Street or Harrah’s to Sam’s Town to experience their one of a kind show with a Western flair. A relaxing waterfall, birdsongs, and low lighting makes a peaceful escape from the ringing and clinking of the gaming machines until a wolf howls and the Sunset Stampede Laser Light and Water Show begins. This exciting show includes lasers, water fountains, and music that will make you feel like you’ve entered America’s frontier in the Wild West. Shows run at 2pm, 6pm, 8pm and 10pm each day.
6.) Fish Feeding and Mermaid Swim at Silverton Hotel – Silverton Hotel is about 13 miles off the strip, but it’s worth the trek, especially if you take the free shuttle from Caesar’s. Kids and adults alike will love the giant 117,000 gallon aquarium with daily interactive fish feeding shows that take place at 1:30pm and 4:30pm. A diver feeds the fish, sharks, and stingrays while answering audience questions. The live Mermaid Swims are also fun to watch for a little while, and they occur nearly all day (starting in the afternoons with periodic breaks) Thursdays through Sundays.
7.) Circus Acts at Circus Circus – Even if you don’t like clowns or have kids with you, head to Circus Circus for some fun variety acts like trapeze, acrobatics, aerial silks, and juggling. The stage is set in the middle of a carnival midway, so it feels like you’re truly at the circus. Daily shows are every half hour from 11am to midnight, so while you’re desperately trying to win that stuffed teddy bear, you can probably catch more than one of these acts.
8.) Big Elvis at Harrah’s – Elvis is alive at Harrah’s Piano Bar! Well, Big Elvis is, anyway. He dresses, talks, and sings like Elvis, so it will make you ponder for at least a moment if he’s the real deal. He performs Elvis songs and takes requests for Rock n’ Roll hits, so don’t assume you have to be a “big” Elvis fan to enjoy this show (pun intended!). He rocks out in a lounge environment on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons only at 2pm, 3:30pm and 5pm.
9.) Fountain Shows and Harbor Rainstorm at the Miracle Mile Shops – While spending all of your hard earned cash or gambling winnings in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, pause for one of the two water shows in this mile-long mall. The fountain show features music, water bursts up to 50 feet, and vivid lights that change the water color. It occurs at the top of every hour from 10am to 11pm. During the Harbor Rainstorm, a thunderstorm slowly rolls into the mall, bringing dark clouds and rain showers. But don’t worry, you won’t need an umbrella! This one of a kind show happens at the top of every hour Mondays through Thursdays and every half hour Fridays through Sundays.
10.) Light Show at the Grand Bazaar Shops – At the entrance to the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s, there’s a beautiful Swarovski star burst that has 900 rays and 1,800 LED lights. Every 15 minutes starting at 8:05pm, this grand starburst illuminates and sparkles to a fun soundtrack. It glows so brightly that the light bounces off the shops and creates some festive mood lighting that’s reminiscent of the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square.
As you can see, Las Vegas isn’t just for gambling. It’s also for entertainment! It’s a glitzy city that’s full of excitement and new experiences, so even if you’re not interested in gambling, don’t let that keep you away from this town. There’s plenty to keep you busy for a few days without shelling out any money. In addition to catching all of the free shows, walk around and discover each of the fun casino themes, and discover street performers around every turn. No matter what you do you won’t be bored!
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