You have probably seen a list of free attractions before, for someplace you have visited. Often, the list includes a rather drab set of options. But in the Las Vegas area, there a number of attractions that will leave you saying, “I can’t believe we can do that for free!”
Pinball Hall of Fame
The NEW Pinball Hall of Fame just opened at 4925 South Las Vegas Blvd., across from Mandalay Bay. The new location opened in April 2021, expanding to 25,000 square feet, much larger than its previous location on Tropicana.
You can play the games! Not only is this huge warehouse of nostalgia like a time machine to decades past, but you are actually allowed to play the pinball machines—all of them! This is not your formal Hall of Fame like you might expect. But a living, breathing cultural collection. You can walk around and admire all of them. Some machines may remind you of times past. Some may be much before your time, and some are modern versions full of cool technology. Most of small cards to read which give you just enough information to help you appreciate the machine. You can see what year it was made, and perhaps some details about the manufacturer or characteristics it has.
There is no entrance cost. You are free to roam around and enjoy the vintage displays without spending a dollar. But if you choose to, and hopefully you will, you can spend a couple quarters, or a few dollars’ worth, and select which machines you want to try. It is really fun. Many of the older machines only cost 25 cents to play. It is pretty difficult to find anything you can spend a quarter on now days—let alone something that is fun to do.
One of the best things is that the Pinball Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit 501c3, and donates what it receives to charities like The Salvation Army. Tim Arnold, who established the PHoF, has been very generous over the years and is excited to keep the momentum in helping communities.
You get to play vintage machines, make good use of a few spent quarters, and even help charities to improve the lives of others. So do your part by visiting this incredible attraction to have fun making a difference!
The Shelby Heritage Center absolutely FREE and open to the public 7 days a week! They also offer Behind the Scenes tours with a tour cost, that includes a gift bag filled with authentic Shelby merchandise. Self-guided, free tours are welcome any time!
Established in 2013, Shelby Heritage Center is home to over 30 Shelby vehicles and shares the story of Carroll Shelby along and the company he started in 1962. The 15,000 square foot Heritage Center sits adjacent to the 150,000 square-foot production facility. The production facility is where customers can bring or send their Mustangs, trucks or other vehicles to be rebuilt with high performance components, converting them to a Shelby vehicle. Visitors can see through the windows into the production facility and watch the transformations taking place.
The recent film Ford Vs. Ferrari brings many of the details and history to life, and this facility further explains and displays some of the fascination background to the legacy of Carroll Shelby.
Adjacent to the Heritage Center is the Carroll Shelby Store which offers a variety of collectibles, gifts and apparel. Everything Shelby can be found. The Shelby Museum is located at 6405 Ensworth Street, about 10 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip.
Hemenway Park, Boulder City
Hemenway Park is a medium sized city park, with the usual grass, picnic areas, and children’s playground. But this park has an amazing, unique feature—wild Bighorn Sheep!
Most every day, at varying times, there is a herd of bighorn sheep that frequent this park. They wander in, eat the grass, and meander around. Visitors can get close enough for good pictures, keeping enough distance to stay safe and not scare them off.
This is a very unique way to experience native wildlife in a relaxing park setting. There is no guarantee to see them, but most days will delight visitors with their appearance. The address is 401 Ville Drive, Boulder City, Nevada, which is about 45 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip.
The Las Vegas Welcome Sign
The iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is a favorite for visitors to snap pictures and get some of the vintage Las Vegas feel. The 25-foot sign has arguably become the most famous and recognized sign in the world. It was designed by Betty Willis, who did not copyright the sign, therefor allowing many other companies to use it, or a version of it, and further increasing its popularity.
In 2008, a parking area near the sign was completed, allowing safe and legal access to visitors who wish to take pictures of, or in front of the sign. Since then, it has grown in popularity as a must-see attraction when visiting Las Vegas.
The sign is located, on the Strip, at 5100 South Las Vegas Blvd. It is less than five minutes south of Mandalay Bay and Tropicana. Parking is free as well.
Freemont Street Experience
In Vintage Downtown Las Vegas, free nightly shows are available under the light canopy at Freemont Street Experience. This dazzling display of lights offers a stunning show of light and sound after dark.
The free light shows at Fremont Street Experience are an incredible diversion in Las Vegas. Over 24 million Las Vegas visitors experience the Viva Vision light shows with offer high-resolution imagery and 600,000-watt, exhilarating sound. The Viva Vision screen is comprised of 49.3 million LED lights which offer a phenomenal display! Shows generally run at the top of every hour during the evening.
Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden
Within the beautiful Bellagio Hotel, you can visit the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden. This picturesque setting changes with the seasons, and offers unique experiences every few months. With incredible attention to detail, the engineering and horticulture teams create masterpieces that amaze visitors. The fresh smells of flowers and plants mix with the stunning visual beauty under the glass enclosed ceiling to inspire and delight all who enter. This is a must-see for any visit to Las Vegas.
Hoover Dam Museum, Boulder City
There is a very informative museum, located inside the Boulder Dam Hotel, that offers free entrance and good details about the Hoover Dam. The Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum tells the story of the people who built the dam. Boulder City is the town that housed the workers who built Boulder Dam, later renamed Hoover Dam. There are some excellent displays and detailed information about the construction in the 1930’s and the history of the city.
You will discover photographs, oral histories, sounds of the construction, and artifacts which combine to help you understand more about the real people involved with the construction of the dam. This was a town run by the federal government, and very different from other emerging towns at the time.
Admission is free. The historic hotel, which houses the museum, is also worth visiting, along with the art gallery that offers a variety of local artists’ collections on display.
The Fountains of Bellagio
This is probably the crowning jewel of free attractions in Las Vegas. Whether you have seen videos, or even commercials, there is nothing that compares with standing in front of them, watching the spectacle, hearing the music, and feeling the mist. The fountains are grand! They are fantastic. They do not disappoint. Each “show” is a finely choreographed display of active water cannons and lights, set to a particular song. Watching just one presentation will make you want to return for more.
The Bellagio Fountains are the most ambitious water feature ever imagined in terms of complexity, scale and execution. Over 1,000 thousand fountains dance to the music. The display spans more than 1,000 feet. Water soars as high as 460 feet into the air.
The company that designed the founts is Wet Design, which also created the Mirage Volcano and Glacia inside City Center.
The fountains usually perform every 30 minutes in the afternoons, and every 15 minutes after 8:00 PM. Times vary. Check the schedule to make sure you can become part of the action.
Venetian Canals and St. Mark’s Square
It doesn’t matter if you have been to Venice, Italy. If you have, this will bring back fond memories. If you haven’t this will surprise and delight you, and perhaps even inspire you to plan an Italian vacation. The canals and floating gondolas of The Venetian are a modern masterpiece, reflective of the age of the Renaissance. The details are breathtaking. One of the best places to enjoy the splendor is St. Mark’s Square, full of atmosphere. Sit down, relax, enjoy a snack or a meal, and watch the world pass by you. There are often music ensembles or street performers to entertain the visitors. There are cafes and snack options in St. Mark’s Square. The ceiling is painted like a blue sky with clouds and you will feel that you are outside in perfect weather.