Recently I had the chance to take my parents to Las Vegas. It was a Christmas gift to them as they have never gone on any type of vacation for the last 10 years. They’ve worked hard to support me and my sister and I decided to surprise them with some tickets to the entertainment capital of the USA. Las Vegas is known for its famous casinos, lavish hotels, live shows, and performances by world-renowned artists and entertainers. Since COVID-19 many transformations have taken place on “the strip”, the area with congregated hotels and casinos. The culinary scene has become more luxurious as have many of the latest hotel renos.
My visit two weeks ago felt very different for another reason as well – the Formula One races that are happening now as we speak. It is an international auto racing for single seater formula racing cars. It consists of a series of races known as “grands prix” held on circuits around the world. Vegas was chosen as one of the destinations and the entire Vegas “strip” has transformed to accommodate these races. There were grandstands built along the sides of the street and many areas blocked off from pedestrians and local traffic. This made the experience different from the previous trips I’ve made myself. That being said, for my parent’s first time in Vegas, they were equally enamoured by the magnitude of the entertainment scene.
What are some free things to do in the city? Typically shows, dinners and gambling require a budget. If you’re an AU student hoping to spend a weekend in the city, here are some free or near-free experiences you can have without breaking the bank.
- Fremont Street Experience: The pedestrian mall in downtown Vegas offers free entertainment, including light shows, live music, and street performers.
- Bellagio Fountains: The Bellagio Hotel’s fountain show is a spectacular display of water, music, and lights, with performances every 30 minutes in the evenings.
- Mirage Volcano: The Mirage Hotel’s volcano erupts nightly with a choreographed display of fire and music.
Explore Hotel Attractions: Many hotels in Vegas have free attractions or displays, such as the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat or the lobby aquarium at the Silverton Hotel.
- Streetmosphere at The Venetian: Enjoy live performances by street entertainers in St. Mark’s Square inside The Venetian.
- Container Park: Located in downtown Vegas, this outdoor shopping center features art installations, live music, and a play area for kids.
- Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio: Admire the seasonal botanical displays inside the Bellagio Hotel, which change throughout the year.
- Circus Acts at Circus Circus: Watch free circus acts and performances at the Carnival Midway in Circus Circus.
M&M’s World and Coca-Cola Store: Visit these themed stores on the Strip, where you can explore and take pictures without spending money.
- Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign: Take a photo at the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign located at the south end of the Strip.