At the beach in Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

By Norbert Figueroa, an experienced architect, travel writer, long-term budget traveler, and photographer with over 13 years of travel experience in over 139 countries and counting. @globotreks


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Las Vegas is popularly known as Sin City, and for good reason. It’s the place where the parties never end, and the stakes are always high, especially when you’ve just gambled away your plane ticket back home with the roll of a dice! It’s no secret that Las Vegas is full of activities and attractions. The only catch is that these often cost quite a pretty penny.

However, I’m here to share a little secret with you. Among all the gambling and parties, Las Vegas is also a city full of freebies. I’m not talking about cheap attractions that aren’t worth paying to see. I’m talking about quality, free Las Vegas shows that surpass those offered in most major cities around the world.

Once you know where to look, finding these free shows and attractions isn’t just easy; it’s a money-savvy way to enjoy Las Vegas without sacrificing your plane ticket home.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 12 best free shows in Las Vegas.

1.  Fountains of Bellagio

Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Location: Bellagio Hotel; 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
  • Times:
    • Monday – Friday: Every 30 minutes between 3 pm and 6 pm; every 15 minutes between 7 pm and 12 am
    • Saturday, Sunday & holidays: Every 20 minutes between 12 pm and 6:30 pm; every 15 minutes between 7 pm and 12 am

Some of the best free shows in Las Vegas don’t look like typical shows at all. But then again, Las Vegas isn’t just your typical city.

With an 8.5-acre lake representing a miniature version of Lake Como in Bellagio, Italy, the Bellagio Las Vegas has created a stunning water stage that never fails to dazzle passersby with enchanting water choreography and beautiful music.

In fact, it’s so enchanting that the Bellagio Fountains has even been described as the “most ambitious, choreographically complex water feature ever conceived.”

Each performance includes 1,214 dancing fountains that shoot illuminated water up to 460 feet in the air. The water shimmies, twirls, and spins in perfect sync with whichever song is playing (which can be anything from Broadway to Opera classics).

The Bellagio has even added an EDM show to the lineup after it teamed up with DJ Tiësto. His act joins stars like Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles.

What I love about free Las Vegas shows is that you do not necessarily need to stay at any of the Las Vegas hotels mentioned in this article to experience them. That’s right, they are completely open to the public. Although, I have to admit that staying at one of these hotels adds to the Vegas experience!

Fun fact: If you look across the street from the fountains, you’ll see the iconic Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas!

While you’re hanging about the Bellagio Hotel, I highly recommend you go and check out its Botanical Gardens, located to the right of the hotel lobby.

Each season, the 14,000-square-foot Botanical Gardens transforms into a showcase of inspiring sights, sounds, scents, and colors. Not only is this a bit of a hidden gem, but it’s also absolutely free to visit!

Get the best deals at the Bellagio Hotel or check its TripAdvisor reviews.

2.  Circus Circus Act

Circus Circus Act at Las Vegas
  • Location: Circus Circus Hotel; 2880 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
  • Times: Every hour
    • Monday – Thursday: From 1:30 pm
    • Friday – Sunday: From 11:30 am

This is the world’s largest permanent circus and one of the most fun, free shows in Las Vegas.

From jugglers and unicyclists to acrobats, aerialists, and balancing acts, you can see it all for free right at the Carnival Midway, in the Circus Circus Hotel.

The best thing is that each show has a different troupe of performers per each 10-minute show. So, if you’re spending a decent time at the hotel, you could see a different show each hour!

With only a few seats available, the stands start to fill up about 15 minutes beforehand. If you miss out on a seat, I suggest you grab a drink and stand on the other side of the stage or near the fishing game that juts out from the midway.

The nice thing about the Carnival Midway is that it caters to the whole family with a selection of over 200 games and various prizes to be won along the floor. While you will have to pay to play the games, you’ll still be rewarded with a fantastic free show every hour.

Get the best deals at the Circus Circus Hotel or check its TripAdvisor reviews.

3.  Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street in Las Vegas

  • Location: Downtown Las Vegas; Fremont St, Las Vegas
  • Viva Vision times: Monday – Sunday: Every hour from 6 pm to 2 am

The Fremont Street Experience is mainly known for its Viva Vision light show.

This free nightly show features 16.4 million pixels displayed along the 1,375 ft long and 90 ft wide roof of a “street.” This is paired with 550,000 watts of sound to create a spectacular display of lights and technology, to say the least!

To make the most of your carnival experience, I suggest you walk up and down a few blocks under the lighted canopy. You can also hop between casinos, kiosks, and shops along the street.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can also zip line from end to end under the canopy! It was quite a spectacle being able to experience this while dozens of moving images shined all over me.

Apart from the Viva Vision light show, impersonators, street performers, and other quirky acts can be seen walking about at the street level to create the ultimate modern-day Vegas experience.

If you’re into a bit of old Vegas, you can go to the east end of the street and visit the outdoor Neon Museum, which features some of the old hotels’ neon signs.

Haven’t had enough of the freebies yet? The Fremont Street Experience also hosts free concerts as a part of their Downtown Rocks series. While they haven’t released their 2024 lineup yet (January 2024), keep an eye on their website to see if any of the announced acts align with your Las Vegas trip.

4. The Sphere

The Sphere Free Show in Las Vegas
  • Location: 255 Sands Ave, Las Vegas
  • Times: The exterior can be viewed 24/7

Being the world’s entertainment capital, Las Vegas has never shied away from pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. In a city known for its iconic landmarks, The Sphere stands as a shining testament to innovation, entertainment, and architecture.

The Sphere measures 366 feet (112 m) high and 516 feet (157 m) wide in diameter. As the largest spherical building in the world, this exciting new venue is revolutionizing how people experience their favorite forms of entertainment.

The 18,600-seat auditorium, which opened in the summer of 2023, is known for its immersive video and audio capabilities, which include a 16K resolution wraparound interior LED screen, speakers with beamforming and wave field synthesis technologies, and 4D physical effects.

Besides hosting concerts and other shows, The Sphere hosts an exclusive 50-minute-long ‘Postcard from Earth’ movie directed by Darren Aronofsky (the Oscar-nominated director behind films like Black Swan, Mother, and The Whale).

It is an immersive experience unlike any other, complete with 4D technology and a crystal clear screen with the highest resolution in the world, measuring nearly 400 ft.

Just remember that you’ll need to book your tickets for The Sphere Experience tickets well in advance, especially since this is the newest and hottest attraction in Las Vegas at the moment.

While you will have to buy a ticket to see its interior, the exterior is just as impressive with its 580,000 sq ft of LED displays (with a resolution just as high as the interior screen). It’s also completely free to look at!

The exterior screen displays fun images of the moon, planets, emojis, ads, commemorative videos, and more throughout the day and night. It’s so popular these days that even the crowds watching on the sidewalk create traffic jams near the venue.

Right now, The Sphere is one of the best things to see in Las Vegas, so make sure you don’t miss it, even if it’s just to stand on the outside!

5.  The Silverton Casino Aquarium & Mermaid Swims

The Silverton Aquarium in Las Vegas
  • Location: Silverton Casino; 3333 Blue Diamond Rd, Las Vegas
  • Mermaid Swims times: Every 30 minutes
    • Monday – Wednesday: 4 pm to 8 pm
    • Thursday – Saturday: 12 pm to 8 pm
    • Sunday: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm

The Silverton Hotel houses a 117,000-gallon reef aquarium that is home to more than 5,000 exotic fish from around the world. They have over 160 species, including stingrays, sharks, parrotfish, tropical fish, angelfish, and other sea life.

What makes this aquarium extra fun is the real-life mermaids swimming about in the tanks! They swim among the fish and do everything from blowing bubbles to interacting with kids watching from the outside.

But the most exciting part is seeing them doing synchronized swimming while flipping, twirling, and dancing.

All the fun aside, this act forms part of the Mermaid Project, which aims to create awareness around the Save Our Beach Foundation. So, not only is it fun, but it’s also for a great cause!

You can also catch divers feeding the stingrays between 1:30 pm and 4 pm daily. These divers have a built-in speaker in their suits to answer any question the audience may have and share some other fun facts about the aquarium. There’s also a guide outside the tank during feeding times to take such questions.

Just sit and relax on one of the comfortable benches around the aquarium and enjoy the show.

The Silverton Hotel is not located on the Las Vegas Strip, but you can take their free shuttle from the Strip. The hotel is located 5 miles away, but it’s totally worth a visit to see the Mermaid show and aquarium.

Get the best deals at the Silverton Hotel or check its TripAdvisor reviews.

6. Fall of Atlantis at Caesars’ Forums Shops

Fall of Atlantis in Las Vegas
  • Location: Caesars Palace Forum Shops; 3500 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
  • Time: Thursday – Monday: Every hour from 12 pm to 8 pm

The Fall of Atlantis free show, located inside the Caesars Forums Shops mall, is an animatronic display of fire, water, panoramic video displays, and nine-foot-tall talking statues recounting the myth of the lost city of Atlantis and its demise.

In the show, you’ll see how siblings Gadrius and Alia fight to win the favor of King Atlas, their father, to rule Atlantis’ throne. You also can’t miss the flaming sword wielded by Gadrius and, of course, the 20-foot winged dragon!

The costumes and props were created by the same team who worked on Pirates of the Caribbean and Thor, so it’s no surprise that they’re astonishing and very detailed. And with over 400 moving parts per statue, you’d be surprised how life-like they look!

While these shows can get pretty crowded, it’s still fun to watch.

Get the best deals at the Caesars Palace or check its TripAdvisor reviews.

7.  The Volcano at the Mirage Hotel

The Mirage Volcano in Las Vegas
  • Location: The Mirage Hotel; 3400 Las Vegas Blvd S Las Vegas
  • Times: Monday – Sunday: Every hour from 8 pm to 11 pm

This list would not be complete without the freebie that started the Vegas freebie trend: the volcano at The Mirage Hotel.

As you walk in front of the hotel along Las Vegas Boulevard, you’ll see a volcano beside a tranquil lagoon. Right after sunset, the slumbering volcano wakes and erupts, spewing water, steam, and massive fireballs 12 feet into the air.

All of these visual effects are choreographed to the hypnotic music score courtesy of Mickey Hart, the legendary Grateful Dead drummer, and Zakir Hussain, an Indian tabla player and composer. And, in true Las Vegas fashion, the volcano sounds come from recordings of actual eruptions!

The volcano now includes two volcano systems, a lagoon, and fire shooters that shoot flames on demand. It also features waterfalls with surrounding pools, including even more fire and smoke effects.

Even though this is the “oldest freebie,” the show you see today uses state-of-the-art technology with impressive visuals and sounds that allow you to feel the rumble.

The best view of the volcano show is right in front of the hotel – standing close enough to even feel the heat! If you’re staying at the Mirage Hotel and are on the 14th floor or above, you can experience a unique aerial view of the attraction.

From there, you can also take beautiful photos of the Las Vegas skyline.

Get the best deals at the Mirage or check its TripAdvisor reviews.

8. Lake of Dreams at the Wynn Las Vegas

Lake of Dreams in Las Vegas
  • Location: Wynn Las Vegas; 3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
  • Times: Monday – Sunday: Every 30 minutes from dusk until 11:30 pm

While the Lake of Dreams show is fully enclosed and visible only to customers staying in the Wynn Hotel, it’s free to walk in!

You could see the show from many points of view, but the most popular one is out on the show terrace for a water’s edge view.

Simply take the circular escalator from Parasol Up to experience the dazzling shows while enjoying a delightful cocktail at Parasol Down. Alternatively, dine at the open-front Lakeside or SW Steakhouse for another excellent vantage point.

This spectacle is full of music, puppetry, holographics, and imagery created by over 4,000 lights. And if that wasn’t enough, the whole interactive show is set against a backdrop of a 40-foot waterfall and pine-topped mountain.

Get the best deals at the Wynn Hotel or check its TripAdvisor reviews.

9. The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

Flamingo Habitat in Las Vegas
  • Location: 3555 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
  • Times: Monday – Sunday: 7 am to 8 pm

This wildlife habitat in the middle of the bustling Las Vegas Strip often surprises unsuspecting visitors.

The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is home to flamingos (obviously), ducks, swans, turtles, koi, pelicans, and a whole lot more. Its lush, green landscaping, full of waterfalls, palm trees, and manicured bushes, makes for great pictures.

This is also a great spot to break away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas, offering a relaxing space that lets you get up close and personal with pink flamingos and other animals.

Get the best deals at the Flamingo Hotel or check its TripAdvisor reviews.

10. The Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour 

Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Las Vegas
  • Location: 2 Cactus Garden Dr, Henderson
  • Times: Monday – Sunday: 10 am to 6 pm

Want to take a break from the Las Vegas Strip? Why not head to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory to see how chocolate is made and even get some free samples?

Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden are located on the southeast side of town, only a 15-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip.

This is the only Ethel M factory in the world, opened in 1981 by Forrest Mars Sr. The name Ethel M comes from his mother, who made chocolates from scratch in her own kitchen. To this day, the chocolates are still made with the original recipe and are hand-packed.

While in the factory, you’ll be able to peer through the windows to see how they make their chocolates, pecan brittle, peanut butter, and caramel candies. You’ll also be able to marvel at the series of pipes, conveyor belts, and tanks that hold over 20,000 gallons of chocolate! You’ll basically feel like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory.

Next to the factory is the unique, three-acre Botanical Cactus Garden. It features over 300 types of cactus, including agave plants, spotted aloe, yuccas, and Texas prickly pears.

Since Las Vegas is in a desert, it makes sense that this cactus garden transforms into a winter wonderland during the holidays – complete with lights, festive decorations, carolers, and even Santa visits!

11. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

Las Vegas Sign in Las Vegas
  • Location: 5100 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
  • Times: 24/7

This attraction is the ultimate icon, and no Las Vegas trip is complete without snapping a couple of selfies next to it.

For many years, the sign stood on a median on the city’s outskirts, but since the city has grown substantially, it’s now surrounded by hotels and other attractions.

The famous neon sign was designed by Betty Willis in 1959. Since then, it has welcomed millions of visitors to Las Vegas annually. It was even officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Don’t miss taking a selfie there!

12. Fashion Shows at Fashion Show Mall

12 of the Best Free Shows and Attractions in Las Vegas 1
  • Location: Fashion Show Mall; 3200 Las Vegas Blvd S Ste. 600, Las Vegas
  • Times: Friday – Sunday: 12 pm to 5 pm

Whether you’re a shopaholic or just love finding the newest fashion trend, you have to check out the free fashion shows at Fashion Show Mall, located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

Watch as models flaunt the latest in everything fashion along the 80-foot-long runway in the center of the shopping mall floor.

With various LED screens, fancy lighting, high-tech sound, and special effects, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported right into the middle of a New York Fashion Week show.

Once the fashion show has ended, you can browse the mall to secure all of the accessories, clothes, shoes, and trends that you just saw from one of the 250+ shops located in the mall. With stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue, you certainly won’t be struggling to find what you’re looking for!

How many of these free attractions and shows will you try to see in your Vegas vacation?

Want to see even more shows in Vegas? Check out these top shows, including Cirque du Soleil, world-renowned magicians, and more.

You can also head to Vegas.com to see more shows, concerts, tours, accommodations, and pretty much everything Vegas!

Lastly, I’ve also included this handy map below to help you find the location of all the free shows mentioned above.

11 of the Best Free Las Vegas Shows and Attractions

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 from Flickr Creative Commons. The Sphere Image from Wikipedia Creative Commons.

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17 Comments

  1. Vegas is one of my favorite over-the-top places to visit for just this reason…there is so much entertainment besides just the casinos, and a lot of it is free! I always try to make it by the MGM to see the lions;-)

  2. This is a great list, thanks for sharing. I’d also like to add that Vegas has one of the best exotic cars collection in US and on my last trip I rented a Lamborghini Aventador from LVC Exotic Rentals and it was the most thrilling experience of my life.

    1. Some hotels are reopening and some of these free shows and attractions are running, but I recommend checking directly on each hotel page or contacting them via social media as the situation can change and revert at any moment.

  3. Just watched the Bellagio fountain and the Mirage volcano on 5/15/21. Best to get to the bellagio fountain five to ten minutes early. It started early one time. Have fun.

  4. There is so many more free things to do in Vegas then the 11 things that you have listed here. Like the pirates of T.I., the botanical gardens of the Bellagio, the electoral-light-water show at Sam’s Town, there is a radioactive museum based on the old test bombing sites, a old car museum that is free to walk through, and the shops at Ceaser’ Palace in between shows of the Fall of Atlantis aquarium show has a guided tour of the underground part of the aquarium where you can learn about the fish that are in the aquarium and parts of the show. It runs like every 15 minutes. Plus there are some Hawaiian dancers down the strip near the New York New York casino in an out door mall featuring dancers, and fire twirling. Even a 3D show up stairs of the MnM factory close by the out door Hawaiian mall. All real good places to make sure you get a chance to see.

  5. The heat you feel at the Volcano is infrared. You don’t have to be close and you can easily feel the heat from across the street.

  6. Also check out the indoor thunderstorm at the miracle mile shops and get your free picture with a million bucks down at Binions.