What to do in Vegas when you're broke

I usually go to Vegas two or three times a year, but I also usually have a decent amount of money saved up for gambling a bit. However, this week, I’m leaving for Vegas tomorrow morning and staying until Friday morning, and for a variety of reasons, I will essentially be broke.

I’m participating in a bowling tournament, but because of some bad scheduling, I don’t need to be at the bowling alley until about 7:30pm tomorrow night, and not until 10:30pm Thursday night. Oh, and have I mentioned I’m a morning person?

Normally when I’m bored in Vegas, I go bowling, but I don’t really need to do that since I’m up there specifically to bowl! So what kind of things can I do for free or close to free during the day to keep myself entertained? I’m not much of a window shopper, if that helps.

Your thoughts and suggestions?

There’s tons of stuff to gawk at in the big casinos, but I’d assume you’ve already probably done that stuff if you go often? The Bellagio fountains, the musicians and such at the Venetian, etc?

The Atomic Testing Museum isn’t free, but it’s only 7 bucks or so, which I don’t think will get you a square of toilet paper on the Strip. It’s very, very good.


Dude, we’re going to pass each other on the 15. We’re headed up to Vegas Friday afternoon for a Buffett concert this weekend.

Almost every hotel has something for free, I like to hang out at Circus Circus sometimes. Free acts every half hour? (unless they’re gone) Nursing a drink at any of the music bars, I love the one at NY NY. and go here: http://www.vegas.com/attractions/

and hanging out at Freemont street.

I knew I was forgetting something! I just have to find out if my wife will kill me for going without her, since neither of us has been and we’ve both wanted to go forever. Also, it’s right down the street from my favorite Vegas restaurant.

And silenus, that one is new on me. That’s a winner right there!

I should look and see if the Vegas 51s are playing while I’m in town, too. You guys are awesome.

The Atomic Testing Museum is really fun- I went on my 21st birthday. What? :stuck_out_tongue:

Anywho, I don’t gamble. Where are you staying? I suggest sprawling by the pool, but maybe that’s just more my thing. . .

The Erotic Heritage Museum is just behind the Mirage, and it’s a pretty interesting little place. And it really covers a lot of ground, from pornography to art. It’s $20 for admission, though. Unfortunately, in Vegas, that is cheap…

I think Freemont street is kind of freaky. I’ve only been down there twice, perhaps I hit it at the wrong times. There are a LOT of homeless people panhandling down there. Both times I visited Freemont street I had people repeatedly invading my space asking for and sometimes demanding money, it was unnerving.

Of course, maybe that’s because I don’t see homeless folks unless I travel pretty far. I’m from northern Idaho and I think it must be too cold for homeless people here 'cause you sure never see any about.

It’s pretty fun just to walk the strip. Duck in and out of casinos, try to see everything. It’s like mall walking on a much grander scale, and you can nurse a drink while you motate.

Texas Station, north of the Strip. I could have stayed just about anywhere considering Vegas is cheap right now, particularly mid-week. But TS is closest to the bowling tournament.

pepperlandgirl, thank you. I might spend the $20 for that – sounds interesting.

Have you seen the Hoover Dam? If you have your car (which you will it sounds like), drive out. The tours vary in price, but it’s a neat place to wander around and is only 20 or so minutes away. Red Rock Canyon is gorg, too.

I’ve been a few times, and I love it. Last time I went, though (in December), it took 90 minutes to get there because traffic was so bad. Left kind of a bad taste in my mouth. I probably won’t go back until they complete that new bridge over it.

Never been to Red Rock Canyon, though.

Nickel slots? Your drinks are still “comped”* as long as you’re playing. If you get to a blackjack table fairly early (say noon, when no one is really gambling), you can get into a $10 table. Even cheaper if you go to some of the more unseemly casinos. The best part is even when they up the minimum bet, pretty much every casino/dealer will allow you to be grandfathered in with the cheapo bet. I was once at a table with a $100 minimum betting $20, but was grandfathered in at $10. That’s how long I can drink and play blackjack, folks.

Or you can pay video poker, which is impossible to win at, but twenty quid can keep you entertained for about an hour.

*Even with tip excluded, we all know the drinks aren’t free. But at a nickel slot, pretty close.

Penny slots rule.

I once knew a drag queen named Penny Slots, but that is another story…

I have a section of my website called Cheap Thrills that might give you a few suggestions to kill some time while you are here for little or no money.

Spend $7.00 on a 24 hour bus pass, and you can bounce from one end of the strip to the other in relative ease. Off strip too, if you study the routes a bit.

I can tell you that the Pinball Museum is AWESOME! I go there a couple times a month to waste ten or twenty dollars.

Hoover Dam tours rock!

If you have a full day (early in the morning until 5pm or so) I highly recommend renting a kayak and paddling from Hoover Dam to Willow Beach. It’s an easy, fun and unusual thing to do. No experience necessary, as you can pretty much just float down river and make it to the pickup easily. Desert Adventures is who I get to drop me off/pick me up (I own my own kayak, so I just need the shuttle service). Cost may be an issue tho, as with the kayak rental I think it’s like $70.

Red Rock Canyon is just a few bucks to get in, and offers dozens of trails, most of them fairly easy.

Do you have a GPS? Become a geocacher and find some of my caches! Swag 1 & Swag 4 are both at Red Rock Canyon.

BTW, Texas Station is pretty far away from the Strip, on the north side of town. Is the bowling tourney across the street at the Fiesta?

If you don’t mind a drive, go do a bit of hiking.

Valley of Fire

I can attest, it is gorgeous. I also second Red Rock Canyon.

Nothing melts a hangover like a hike in the desert ;D

Another vote for Valley of Fire. It is unbelievable.

The drive up into the Spring Mountains to Mount Charleston is very cool – literally as well as figuratively. The day we did it, it was 110 in the valley and about 65 up on the mountain. Gorgeous granite peaks, pine trees, rushing mountain streams, awesome views of the valley.

I was in Vegas this time last year and we did Red Rock. There were a lot of dessert plants in bloom, which was really neat.

I’ve only been to Las Vegas once and I did almost no gambling. I spent an entire two days just walking the strip. I went into every casino and every mall just sightseeing.

One suggestion is to take along a roll of nickels (this might not work anymore since slot machines all seem to be ticket-in-ticket-out or use casino-specific tokens). As you walk into each casino, drop a nickel into a slot machine. Then you can say you’ve gambled at every casino on the Vegas strip. If you watch the cocktail waitresses carefully, you can drop that nickel and place your drink order and then wait for her to come back and drop a second nickel and get a free drink (as long as they see you playing, they comp the drinks).

If you’re hitting all the casinos like this, get in line at the Player’s Club if the line’s short and get a card. They might give you a free buffet or something just for joining and they’ll put you on their mailling list for other comps.

No, it’s actually at the Cashman Field Center, which is also up north. I’ve stayed at Texas Station before…very familiar with Vegas geography. As long as I know how to get to Texas Station, the Cashman Center, and Blueberry Hill, everything else is gravy. :slight_smile: