12 Free Las Vegas Attractions
For years, Las Vegas has maintained its ranking as THE top destination in the world. While it’s still at the top of the pack, the economic downturn is hurting the mega-destination. Last week, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport reported a 15.2 percent year-over-year decline for travel to-and-from the airport in February. Of course, capacity cuts are a contributor to the decline, with 11 percent fewer seats available.
But, anecdotally speaking, many travelers are holding off on a trip to Sin City simply because they end up spending too much money when they get there. Siting this particular reason, several people in my own circle of friends tell me they are cancelling their annual guys getaway.
With airfare on the decline and hotel rates taking a plunge, Las Vegas is actually a high value destination right now. That is, if you have the discipline to stay away from Blackjack. So, why go to Vegas if not for the gambling, you ask?
I posed the same question to Travelocity’s Vegas-based destination expert, and he came up with 12 totally free reasons to go. Yes, people! Free! With a little restraint, Las Vegas can be a budget destination.
Go during the day:
- Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
- Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
- MGM Grand Lion Habitat
- Caesar’s Forum Shops Fall of Atlantis show
- Tribute to Heroes at New York New York
- Botanical Cactus Garden at Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory
Go in the evening:
- Fountains of Bellagio
- Fremont Street Experience
- Treasure Island Sirens of TI show
- Mirage’s new volcano
- Neon Museum
- Show in the Sky at Rio
Put your discipline to the test, and check out these Las Vegas deals. So tempting!
Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member pack-light.
Find me on Twitter @jennifer_gaines
My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.
(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)
Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!
My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!
Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.
View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!