Aerial shot of Vegas lit up at night
Although Las Vegas is synonymous with blowing big bucks, it doesn't have to be that way.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / sreenath_k

Vegas on a Budget: Sinfully Cheap Ways to Enjoy the Thrills

Vegas on a Budget Has Never Been Easier

Welcome to Las Vegas, where the world comes to gamble, and gamblers and tourists alike can, in turn, see the world. Or as much of it as fits into a hotel/casino complex.

Although Las Vegas isn’t known for being a cheap travel destination in the US, visiting there doesn’t have to mean blowing big bucks. If you’re there on a girls weekend getaway or even with your family, you can enjoy many of the best things to do in Vegas without emptying out your bank account, we promise.

Las Vegas budget travel starts with some preliminary planning, from finding free things to do in Las Vegas to seeking out less costly accommodations and restaurants. Upon your return you can tell everyone that you managed to have a wild time in Vegas without losing a fortune. Just don’t tell them how. After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Free Entertainment

Have a sweet tooth? You’ll love taking a factory tour of the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden. It’s the only manufacturer of Ethel M chocolates in the world.

You’ll witness exactly how they make their chocolates, which is the same recipe the owner’s mother Ethel used to make in her very own kitchen. Admissions is free, plus you’ll get free samples!

After your tour, head next door to the three acre Botanical Cactus Garden where over 300 types of cactus are growing.

Another popular attraction is the dancing waters in the lake outside the Bellagio. The Bellagio Fountains offer a spectacular light, music and water show set against the Las Vegas skyline. Shows run on a half hour or 15 minute basis throughout the week, so there’s plenty of opportunity to catch a glimpse of this spectacle. View specific dates and times here.

The Bellagio also contains an awestriking Conservatory and Botanical Garden filled with flowers and plants which undergoes a complete transformation for each season.

Don’t forget to check out the Viva Vision Light Show at Fremont Street Experience, featuring a 1,500 foot long, 90 foot wide video screen suspended 90 feet above Fremont Street Experience’s pedestrian mall. The light and music shows last six minutes and run every hour between dusk and midnight.

Keep in mind there are eight million other people who want to see something for free as well. Thankfully there are tons of free things to do in Vegas — just make sure you hang onto your wallet and find a football lineman to follow through the crowds!

Cheap Entertainment

Don’t think you’ll be getting to Venice anytime soon? Thankfully The Venetian offers indoor gondola rides, allowing you to glide along the Venetian streetscapes to the tune of your gondolier’s trilling voice. A shared gondola seating four costs $29.00 per person.

The Manhattan Express, at New York-New York, is a roller coaster with what’s described as a heartline twist. That means, with speeds in excess of 60 mph, your heart leaps in a straight line into your throat.

You’ll pay $14 for a first ticket and $7 for a second, or $25 for an all-day scream pass to experience the thrill of this coaster.

The view from the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas is spectacular, especially at night when you can look down at the Bellagio water show from some 500 feet overhead. The Eiffel Tower Experience costs $14.25 per person.

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Cheap Accommodations

Since you probably won’t be spending too much time in your hotel room, there’s really no need for extravagance when it comes to your accommodations. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo comfort, however!

The Golden Gate is located right beside Fremont Street Experience, putting you close to the action. The hotel claims to be the “last Vegas original” having opened in 1906, a year after the city of Las Vegas was founded. Queen beds average $24 a night.

Just a short walk north along the Strip is the Monte Carlo. The CityCenter is right next door, which contains a casino, shopping, dining and entertainment. Room rates starts at $36 a night.

Stratosphere won 22 Best of Las Vegas awards in 2016. With its casino and restaurants claiming fame to many other accolades and awards, there’s a good reason why the Stratosphere is a great place to stay. Rates start at $40.00, plus a resort fee of $24.99.

Located off the Strip, The Orleans is a cheap option if you don’t mind being a little further from the action. With a family-friendly atmosphere and a reputation for being clean and tidy, rooms are a steal with rates starting at $46.

Cheap Meals

Meal prices change quickly in Vegas, but there are some places you can check out that are notorious for giving you the best bang for your buck. Buffets are definitely the way to go in this city.

Ports O’ Call Buffet at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino contains seven live cooking stations and food you’ll be going back for third and fourths for. Their prime rib dinner buffet is $15.99.

The Garden Court Buffet at Main Street Station was voted the best buffet in downtown Vegas, and for good reason. They offer breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner all for under $15.

Bistro Buffet at Palms Casino Resort is open around the clock and offers over 150 items daily. Plus what’s more fun than watching live cooking?

Firelight Buffet at Sam’s Town offers a New York strip loin and seafood buffet for $19.99 every Friday night. If you’re looking for something a little less fancy, their breakfast buffet is only $5.99 with lunch at $7.99.

Written by John W. Ireland and Heather Beaton

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