Vegas on a Budget, or what to do there if you don’t Gamble?

Vegas on a Budget, or what to do there if you don’t Gamble?

I’m not a gambler, so when I had to go to Las Vegas for CES this January, I had to do some serious research on how to spend my free time out there. Turns out, there’s plenty to do! Here are my findings and tips I gathered from locals on what to do in Vegas if you don’t gamble. Or if you lost all your money.

1 / Explore The Hotels

Las Vegas Hotels are unlike anything I have ever seen. They are not just a place where you lodge during your stay. Nor are they  a place where simply you dine, party, gamble, shop, or go to the spa. Las Vegas Hotels are a Production. There’s no other word for it. They are massive, impressive, and are done with so much attention to detail, they fill you with wonder at what man can do with enough money and creative liberty.

Each hotel has it’s own character and feel, so exploring them is an experience in itself. You never know what discoveries you will make…

Price: Free

2/ Watch the Bellagio Fountain Show

No, this is not a sponsored post. I just think it’s one of those iconic and really impressive things that you absolutely must do when you’re in Las Vegas. They run every 20 minutes and every time it’s to a different tune. Stand on the side of the Bellagio Hotel to get the stunning views of the strip and the local Eiffel Tower.

Price: Free

3 / Ride a Gondola

Always wanted to take a romantic trip down a canal in Venice while the gondolier serenades you and your lover? Well you can do that right at the Venetian in Las Vegas for just $29! Step back in time and surrender to the romance of a serenade being a total tourist as you float along the Grand Canal that runs through one of Las Vegas’ most renowned resorts. Float beneath bridges, beside cafes, under balconies, and through the vibrant Venetian streetscape. You can choose between the outdoor or indoor ride, and if you’re really into it, you can even get pro tips on how to become a Gondolier. The daily program, limited to nine participants, shares the “ins and outs” of piloting a gondola. Upon completion, you will receive a gondola hat and t-shirt, a souvenir photo and a degree certificate from Gondola University. It’s like a parody of itself. So bad that it’s good.


Shared Gondola (Seats Four): $29.00 per person
Private Gondola (For Two):$116.00

4/ See at least one Show

As you probably already know Vegas is one huge, elaborate and extraordinary expensive production. So when in Vegas, seeing an actual show is a must! With so many to chose from, all you have to do is decide which one.

I am a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil, so of course, I went to see “O” (from the french eau ) –  the aquatic show inspired by the “infinity and elegance of water’s pure form”. A group of 150 stage technicians assist in the production of the show, the cast of which consists of 85 performers: international acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and divers. I sat in the 3rd row (splash zone) and spent most of the show catching my breath and emitting pathetic squeals as the performers launched themselves into the 1.5-million gallon pool that transforms into to a stage at the drop of a hat. Worth every penny.

Tip: Check this website for special offers and discounts. Also, some theaters will do discounts if you book at least 7 days in advance, so check their websites if you’re booking ahead of your trip.

Price: from $60


4 / Visit the Art Galleries

There is art everywhere you look in Las Vegas. For example there’s a casual $28 million statue of Popeye by Jeff Koons standing in one of the hallways at the Wynn. Check out the famous Bellagio Gallery Fine Art, where you can gain new knowledge of different techniques. There is also the Peter Lik Fine Art Gallery, which has locations around the city (including a new one at Caesars). The gallery carries photographs by Peter Lik himself and works from artists all over the world, like Dale Chihuly, Richard MacDonald and Brett Wesley.

If you’re feeling adventurous and have wheels, why not venture off the Strip and into the desert to check out Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains? These neon rock installations measure 30- to 35-feet high and are particularly beautiful at dusk (or dawn). A little longer drive is the ghost town of Rhyolite, which has a unique collection of outdoor sculptures.

Price: Free

5 / Eat in one of the Food Courts

Like everything else in Vegas, even a food court is not your average dining experience. While it may not seem very glamorous at first, it’s a fun and ironically, authentic way to dine in Vegas without blowing the bank.

While exploring the Venetian, I stumbled upon a place called Lobster Me and couldn’t resist the temptation. Their menu has everything lobster – from rolls, to sandwiches, bisques and lobster mac & cheese.

Quick, cheap and cheerful.

Oh and also much tastier than the $40 pasta I had in one of the “real” hotel restaurants.

Bon apps!

6 / Head Downtown!

Sadly, most people never make it off the Strip when they come to Vegas, which is understandable, given all that’s on offer.  But Downtown is the original Vegas and while it underwent a significant renovation, it still retains that old charm. It is also where all the locals go out. I was actually lucky to befriend one local who took me out and gave me a tour of the place. But that’s a story for another day…


Have you been to Vegas? What’s your favourite thing to do out there outside of the casinos? Let me know in the comments!

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