There are so many potential activities to do in Vegas! It’s a place that you can visit multiple times and still fail to see everything the city and surrounding area have to offer.
You can spend hours sifting through the hundreds of activities available in Las Vegas, but we’ve done the work for you with this shortlist.
Here are 30 things to do in Las Vegas this year, including free activities, classics, yearly events, and a bonus list of fantastic day trips from Las Vegas to take.
Free Things To Do in Las Vegas
Some of the iconic things to do in Vegas don’t cost a thing. Free activities coupled with low-priced hotels and casual eateries make Vegas a surprisingly budget-friendly vacation destination. Here are five free things to do in Las Vegas, so you have more money in your wallet for a show, concert, or special meal out.
The Dancing Waters fountain show at the Bellagio is one of my favorite free things to do in Las Vegas. The show features fountain displays set to music and runs every day starting at 3 pm during the week and at noon on the weekends.
The show happens in the lake in front of the Bellagio Hotel, right at the center of the Las Vegas strip. No tickets or purchases are necessary: simply stroll along the sidewalks in front of the Bellagio or spend some time gazing at the lake. Shows run every 15-30 minutes, depending on the day and time, so if you wait long enough, you’re sure to see a show.
Freemont Street Experience
The Freemont Street Experience is a can’t-miss activity, especially for first-time visitors to Vegas. Freemont Street is in historic downtown Las Vegas, and the Freemont Street Experience encompasses a five-block entertainment stretch that is free to walk through and experience.
The main attraction of the experience is Viva Vision, the world’s largest video screen suspended 90 feet above the street. The screen is 1,375 feet long and 90 feet wide, is made up of 49.3 million LED lights, and contains a 600,000-watt sound system.
You’ll also find a host of live performances, street acts, and various other shenanigans on Freemont Street, as well as the historic hotels and shops that flank it. The Freemont Street Experience is open 24/7, with Viva Vision shows every night.
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is famous worldwide, but the real thing is surprisingly mundane. In fact, compared with the soaring hotels and lights of the Strip, many will completely miss the sign in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard just south of Mandalay Bay.
While not the most exciting thing to do, your first trip to Las Vegas wouldn’t be complete without a picture in front of the sign. There is also a convenient parking lot for people wanting to stop at the sign.
The Volcano at the Mirage
Have you ever seen a volcanic eruption? If not, you can safely see the next best thing at the Volcano at the Mirage. Every day from 7-11 pm on the hour, the Volcano comes to life in an eruption of fireballs, lights, music, and explosions that can easily be seen from the sidewalk on the Strip.
But hurry, the Mirage Hotel and Casino was just acquired by Hard Rock International this past year. With plans to build a 1,000-room guitar-shaped hotel on the Strip, it’s unclear whether the iconic Volcano will survive this change.
Merchant’s Harbor Rainstorm at Planet Hollywood
This one can really catch you off guard if you’re not ready for it! One minute, you’re strolling through an indoor harbor at the Miracle Mile Shops, and the next, it’s raining and storming inside!
The show features thunder, lightning, pouring rain, and fog, all of it inside, around the Merchant’s Harbor Pond. Shows run at the top of each hour from 10 am to 11 pm during the week and every half hour during the same period, Friday through Sunday.
Things To Do in Las Vegas – Classic Attractions
Now we’ll shift our attention to some of the regular attractions you’ll find in Las Vegas that do have a cost associated with them. If you can swing it, take in one of these classic attractions each night of your trip.
Take a Gaming Lesson
Casinos and gambling are at the heart of Las Vegas entertainment, but what most don’t realize is that you can take free gaming lessons at almost all major casinos.
If you’re a beginner interested in bettering your skills, these free lessons introduce you to the rules and strategies of casino games like blackjack, poker, roulette, and craps. Check out this site for a list of casinos where gaming lessons are offered and when.
See a Show
Las Vegas is almost as famous for its world-class shows as it is for its gambling, so it follows that seeing a show should be on your short list of things to do in Las Vegas. With a range of entertainment options for every visitor and budget, you’ll surely find something you can enjoy.
Shows range from entertainers in residence to magic, to comedy, to Cirque Du Soleil, and other unique acts. One of my favorites is the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur, which features sword fights and horseback riding and includes dinner.
Check out the list of Las Vegas shows and see what catches your fancy.
Visit the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
A great activity for a Las Vegas family vacation is the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. You’ll feel like you’re under the sea as you wind through underwater tunnels and pass through floor-to-ceiling glass rooms surrounded by more than 2,000 species of sea life. You’ll see sharks, rays, sea turtles, piranha, and many exotic fish.
The aquarium is open daily, and tickets start at $29 for adults, $27 for seniors, and for children aged 5-12 at $24. An undersea Explorer VR Theater is also included in the price of admission, and extra funds can get you access to animal encounters or diving with sharks.
Ride the Roller Coaster at New York, New York
For those who love amusement park rides, no Vegas vacation is complete without a ride on the Big Apple Coaster at a New York, New York hotel. This one-of-a-kind roller coaster winds around the hotel’s towers at 67mph and features a 203-foot drop and a 180-degree “heartline” twist dive maneuver.
Rides start at 11 am daily, and tickets start at $19 per ride. Re-ride tickets can be purchased for $10, and all-day passes and other bundle deals are available.
Thrill Rides Atop the Stratosphere
If the Big Apple Coaster doesn’t get your blood pumping, try your hand at the SkyJump at the SkyPod on top of the Stratosphere. This bungee jump features a leap off the top of the Stratosphere from 829 feet up and a fall that’ll reach 40mph. Various packages are available starting at $129.99 for a jump, and reservations are encouraged.
If bungee jumping isn’t your thing, try out one of the other three thrill rides offered at the SkyPod. You could strap into the Big Shot, which will shoot you 160 feet in the air at 45 miles per hour in seconds, or ride the X-Scream, which will propel you 27 feet over the side of the Stratosphere. Last but not least is the Insanity, a ride that whirls you at speeds up to three Gs while being suspended 64 feet over the edge of the SkyPod.
For non-adrenaline junkies, you can simply experience stunning views from the observation deck of the SkyPod for $30 a person.
Go on a Gondola Ride at the Venetian
The hotels in Las Vegas are known for replicating magical places from around the world, and one of the most amazing is the replica of the Venice canals at the Venetian Resort, complete with gondola rides.
Take a romantic float down the Grand Canal beneath bridges and balconies and alongside cafes made to look like you’re beside the streets of Venice. Indoor and outdoor gondola rides are available daily for $34-$39 per person.
Visit the Neon Museum
Vegas wouldn’t be Vegas without the bright lights of its neon signs. And if bright city lights are your thing, you need to check out the Neon Museum of Las Vegas.
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is dedicated to collecting and preserving the iconic Las Vegas signs that make the city what it is. The campus includes a 2.5-acre outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, where visitors can see the signs that formerly graced their favorite hotels and past ones.
Visit the museum in the evening to see the signs lit in all their glory or explore Brilliant!, an audiovisual immersion experience of the history of Las Vegas. General admission during the day is $20, but visitors can also take guided tours at night for $28 and experience Brilliant! for $23.
Ride the High Roller at the Linq
If you want to see all the sights Vegas offers without the adrenaline of the SkyPod thrill rides, then take a Ferris wheel ride on the High Roller at The LINQ. You can ride the wheel every day of the week during the day and at night until 12 am. Daytime tickets run $23.50 for adults, and night tickets are $34.75.
The High Roller is the largest observation wheel in North America, and guests can soar above the center of the Vegas Strip in one of 28 cabins. Each rotation takes 30 minutes, so guests have plenty of time to enjoy the fantastic 360-degree views.
Check Out the Pawn Stars Shop
Are you a fan of the TV show Pawn Stars? Did you know that the shop is located in Las Vegas? That’s right, Rick Harrison’s Gold and Silver Pawn Shop is located on Las Vegas Boulevard just north of the Strip and is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
It’s free to visit the shop and to park. However, the show stars generally make unscheduled appearances, so it’s hit or miss whether you’ll get to meet them. You might also take a trip next door to the Pawn Plaza, where you might see Rick and Chumlee. You could also meet Rick at his bar, Rick’s Rollin Smoke BBQ and Tavern, on Friday and Saturday.
If you’re a mega-fan, you could sign up for the new VIP experience tour with a guaranteed private meet and greet.
Visit the Mob Museum
It’s no secret that the Mafia had a huge impact on the growth and popularity of Las Vegas following the building of the Hoover Dam, so take an afternoon to learn about the history of organized crime at the Mob Museum.
Located a few blocks north of Fremont Street, you’ll learn about famous mobsters, see Mob artifacts, and even use the online nickname generator to give yourself a Mob name. General admission is $29.95 and goes up if you’d like to partake in interactive experiences.
Take a Dip in the Stadium Swim Pool at Circa Resort
One of the newest and hottest activities in Las Vegas is to spend the afternoon watching sports in one of the 6 pools at Stadium Swim at the Circa Resort. And the good news is you don’t need to be staying at Circa to enjoy Stadium Swim. The cover charge is $20 but can increase based on demand.
Recently opened in October 2020, Stadium Swim is one of the largest and best pool and sports bar combinations in the world. The 6 pools span three levels, and the centerpiece is the 143ft screen playing sports and other major events. There is even outdoor gaming.
Soak up the Sun at the Mandalay Bay Beach
How do you feel like you’re on a tropical beach vacation in the middle of the desert? Visit the Mandalay Bay Beach! This 11-acre site at Mandalay Bay offers a lazy river, a wave pool, lagoons, and 2,700 tons of real sand.
Admission is free for hotel guests, and non-guests can access the facilities for $20 per adult and $10 for kids 4-16 Monday through Thursday. Check availability before going because many Las Vegas pools are closed during the winter months.
Things To Do in Las Vegas – Annual Events
While there are plenty of great things to do in Las Vegas at any time of year, there are also several annual events that you may want to plan your vacation around. Here are four of the best annual events in Vegas.
See a Raiders Game
The Raiders are in their second season in Las Vegas after moving from Oakland in early 2020. If you’re a football fan visiting Vegas in the fall or early winter, one of the best activities is to attend a Raiders game in the brand-new Allegiant Stadium.
Attend the NBA Summer League
If you’re an NBA fan, the best NBA event you can attend outside of an All-Star game is the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Held in July or August annually at UNLV, Summer League features all 30 teams competing for seeding in a single-elimination tournament that caps off the two-week event.
Teams feature prominent rookies and other young players, and it isn’t uncommon to see the biggest stars in the game sitting courtside or walking around the facility. You’ll also likely see coaches, owners, and famous broadcasters. For the price of a general admission ticket of $30 and up, you’ll have all-day access to both arenas and 7-8 games played throughout the day.
Attend the National Finals Rodeo
If the country lifestyle is more your thing, another fantastic annual event is the National Finals Rodeo in December. Also held at the Thomas and Mack Center at UNLV, the National Finals Rodeo features nearly two weeks of broncs, bulls, and buckles. There are also live performances, autograph sessions, and other events.
Attend the Iheart Radio Music Festival
The last amazing annual event is perfect for music lovers. Every September, the biggest names in music turn out for a weekend of incredible live performances at the annual iHeart Radio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
While the lineup and tickets for this year aren’t yet available, if you’re interested in attending, you’ll want to keep your eye on things as the festival sells out quickly.
Bonus: 5 Day Trips From Las Vegas
Some of the area’s best sights are found outside of Las Vegas. Vegas is an excellent hub for enjoying several natural and man-made wonders in Nevada and surrounding states.
Built over five years during the Great Depression and one of the most famous New Deal projects, Hoover Dam powers much of the Southwest region today and was instrumental in the growth of Las Vegas. Just a 40-minute drive from Vegas, you can learn about the history of the dam and the men who built it, as well as take tours.
Red Rock Canyon
Just 20 minutes from Vegas and visible from the Strip, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area features large red rock formations and sandstone peaks. Visitors can enjoy a one-way 13-mile scenic drive or the 26 hikes and trails available throughout the canyon. Stop by the Visitor Center to see exhibits and learn more about the area and recreation opportunities.
Valley of Fire State Park
While somewhat under the radar, Valley of Fire State Park is 45 minutes northeast of Las Vegas and is just as spectacular as its more famous National Park neighbors. Must-see highlights include Elephant Rock, the Beehives, and the petroglyphs of Atlatl Rock. However, the top attraction is the Fire Wave, an amazing red and tan striped sandstone formation resembling a wave. It can be reached with an easy 1.5-mile roundtrip out and back hike.
Visit Lake Las Vegas
About 30 minutes east of Vegas, Lake Las Vegas is a luxury community featuring a water sports park. You can rent a plethora of water sports equipment and boats or enjoy a day of fun at the Aqua Park. Even if it’s just enjoying the shoreline, Lake Las Vegas has something for everyone and every budget.
Visit a National Park
The last item on our list is a 3-for-1 because Las Vegas is conveniently located within driving distance of three National Parks. They are the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Zion in Utah, and Death Valley in California.
Death Valley is the closest at 2 hours away, while the Grand Canyon is the farthest at 4 hours away. However, each national park is well within a day trip from Las Vegas.
A Variety of Fun-filled Things To Do in Las Vegas
There are thousands of things to do in and around Las Vegas, but we’ve combed through them all to bring you the most amazing things to do in Vegas this year. From budget-friendly to adrenaline-pumping, there’s something for everyone in Sin City.