Vegas on a Budget! Needs Ideas

Updated on July 14, 2014
I.M. asks from Arcadia, CA
16 answers

Hello Mamas,

My husband and I have been given a great deal on lodging for 3 days in Vegas. This came up quite suddenly and we really will not have a chance to put very much aside for entertainment like we usually like to do before a vacation as it is coming up in the next 2 weeks. It was the kind of thing that we had to take it or leave it and the deal was too good to pass up. And since we really haven't had a real get away or vacation in a few years, we decided to go for it.

The room has a kitchen so we'll be able to save on food and not eat out every meal. My 7 year old daughter will be with us. Normally when we do Vegas we would book a few shows and do our fair share of gambling. There will not be that much gambling this time if any at all. The shows I've checked out are in the $300 range for all 3 of us. That is too much for us this trip.

Any "budget" conscious things we can do with a 7 year old in Vegas. The pool is a must, but we would love to do something like watch some sort of show that's not going to break the bank and/or another activity too.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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answers from Washington DC on

the strip is full of fun things to see. just strolling along, watching the bellagio fountains, the statues come to life in caesar's palace, and the great dim interior of luxor are fun. with 3 days and a kid i'd just plan to walk as much as she's prepared to, and wander in and out of the big casinos. most of them have huge dining and shopping areas that are separate from the gambling floors.

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answers from Phoenix on

In addition to the fun things below, there is a great pool at the Golden Nugget that has a slide that goes THROUGH a shark tank! A lot of the smaller casinos have deals where you get a buffet and a show for one price. Mystere is great, if you have not seen it yet, and since it is an older Cirque show you can get tickets for around $40 each instead of $80. Also, look at, you can win rewards points pretty quickly. Summertime in Vegas is slower, so you can probably find lots of deals! Maybe even call a concierge desk or two to see what is available at the moment.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would just take my 7 year old around to all the hotels on the strip and see the sites. Most of which are free. In front of the Treasure Island there is a show, the Bellagio fountains go off, Mirage has (had?) the volcano out front. MGM has the Lion on display inside. Ceasars palace has some places inside where the statues come to life, and FAO Schwartz is in there I think. Bellagio has the cool indoor garden. Walking around inside the Paris and New York New York is fun, just for the "fake" feel of being in the city. You might pay a few bucks and ride the roller coaster that goes around the outside of NY NY. Or you can spend a few bucks and go up to the top of their fake Eifell Tower. Also in Paris is the Sweet Shoppe, I forget what it's called, near the restaurant Mon Ami Gabi, it is basically a restaurant for candy and desserts. Manadalay Bay has a Shark Reef Aquarium that costs money but not nearly what a show would cost. I also think they have the white tigers outto look at for free in Mandalay Bay And there is a dolphin habitat in there somewhere maybe? Off strip you can go to the top of the Stratosphere Hotel.

The Wynn and the Encore and gorgeous inside and there is lots to look at just walking around. The Wynn has a cool fountain screen thing over a lake, that you can sit on a patio (Parasol Up I think it's called) and have a beverage and watch the various random shows they have, every 15 minutes or so.

Entertaining a 7 y/o on a budget should be pretty easy. I would pack a lunch and spend the day touring the hotels. That will tire her out anyway! I would just make a plan because the hotels are all spread out even though they look close together. It could be a lot of walking! Will you have a car? Parking is free everywhere, you could do it in "chunks" and some of the hotels are connected by a monorail (Luxor and Bally's and something else I think).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It has been several years since I have been to Vegas, but there are lots of things to do for free that are family friendly. if you google "free things to do in Las Vegas" there are several web sites that list many things. Here's the info from just one
** The Aquarium at the Silverton Located within the cozy Silverton Hotel, a 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium provides entertainment on a scale one can enjoy only in Las Vegas.
**Bellagio Conservatory Crafted by a team of 100 horticulturalists, the Bellagio's conservatory features elegant, elaborate arrangements of plants and flowers in its bright, airy atrium.
**CBS Television City Research Center Ever thought you could do the job of a network executive, deciding which shows are put on the air and which ones end up in the waste bin? The network jobs are hard to come by, but you can weigh in on the decision-making process by letting your opinions be known at the CBS Television City Research Center at MGM Grand.
**Circus Acts at Circus Circus Jugglers, unicyclists, trapeze artists and acrobats perform death-defying stunts and exciting acts every half-hour at the World's Largest Permanent Circus.
**Ethel M Chocolate Factory Ethel M Chocolates panders to the sweet tooth in all of us. Located seven miles from the Strip, its free admission entices us to the factory, through which many a visitor goes for a behind-the-scenes look at the candy-making (and tasting) process.
**Fall of Atlantis at Caesars No civilization put on a greater spectacle than ancient Rome, and now you have a chance to witness the glory for yourself at Caesars Palace's Fall of Atlantis
There was also a nightly pirate show outside one of the hotels that was a lot of fun. You could also take a ride out to see Hoover Dam (not sure what the cost is) Have a fun trip!

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answers from Las Vegas on

I just responded with a list of inexpensive things to do in Vegas, but it is gone. I will quickly try to list them again for you.

Station Casinos are local hotels off the strip with family fun. You can put your child in kid quest while the two of you have a little fun. Call them for details because I know you will need the immunization record.
You may want to get their players card for the discounts.

I will stop here and edit to be sure this one sticks!!!!
Mount Charleston, Red Rock Canyon, Spring Mountain Ranch, & Calico Basin, are all cooler, off the strip, places to hike, enjoy the scenery, and have a nice lunch. Some small fees may apply.

Bonnie Springs is also in the area and very inexpensive and for the most part free. Ghost town and small petting zoo with horse back riding option.
JR Pony Farm is a small farm that many of the kids have birthday parties at. They also have pony riding days and camp days. If it is a camp day, there are a couple of hotels within a couple of miles where you can watch movies, eat, gamble, and maybe bowl.

Ice Skating at Las Vegas Ice Center or the Fiesta hotel.

The links below are off the strip, fun, inexpensive, and sometimes cooler.


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answers from Los Angeles on

Every hotel on the strip has a gimmick/show/performance, etc. FREE or cheap. (Pirates at Treasure Island, statues at Cesar's palace)
Plan for a good deal if walking in the strip.

Buy milk, cereal, peanut butter/jelly, fruit & eat breakfast & lunch in ( your breakfast might be free at the hotel). Buffets are wicked cheap in Vegas.

I'd try to side trip to Hoover Dam if you'll have a car.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Excalibur hotel has a game room that my kids loved! But that was also the hotel we stayed in. M&M world, just walking around and seeing the fountains at the Bellagio, the Shark Reef in Montalay Bay ( cost $60 for 4 of us). Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam. Circus Circus has game rooms and other items for kids. We seen one show but got discount tickets after attending a timeshare presentation.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Great ideas from the other moms. I would add 2 websites to go to: and Both have lists of things to do for free in Vegas, and vegas4locals also has coupons for lots of discounts. If you don't have a car, check out the coupon for the double-decker, hop-on hop-off bus, or just check the regular bus pass. For shows, rather than the big production shows or headliners, check out some of the less well-known, but great, entertainers, there are several magic or comedy shows (including matinees) that all 3 can see for under $100. Red Rock and Valley of Fire are great, but if you're here in the summer they are really HOT, and I mean temperature. You don't want to hike Red Rock when the temps are over 100. Hoover Dam would be ok as a lot of the tour in inside the Dam.
There are also several new attractions in town: the High Roller wheel (don't know prices) and the associated shopping area the Linq, and the Hershey Chocolate store. Eating and gambling are cheaper off-strip. Head south on the Blvd to the Silverton, has an aquarium and mermaid show and the Bass Pro Shop (sounds funny, but it's an interesting place to visit -- lots of taxidermy animals); and South Point has a bowling alley and movie theaters. Oh, Town Square, just south of McCarran Airport, has lots of restaurants, shopping, and a movie theatre. Enjoy your visit :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

You can cook in your kitchen, but I would recommend going to Sams or Costco and buying a rotisserie chicken. Its much cheaper than buying fried chicken and you don't spend any time in the kitchen.

Buy a head of lettuce and some tomatoes and make a salad.

One of the large pizzas from Sams will probably feed the whole family for less than $10. And they cook it for you right there.

Bring some spices with you and you can cook inexpensively. Go to the hamburger joints and buy off their "99 cent" menu.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Austin on

I agree with Red Rock Canyon, and also Valley of Fire State Park. Valley of Fire State Park is about 30-45 minutes North of Las Vegas, and is a really neat place to go through......

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answers from New York on

Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam

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answers from Las Vegas on

My suggestions are all kid related, since I always have my son with me. Circus Circus (rides, free circus acts, and games), the Springs Preserve (although it's kind of expensive for out of state people, if they have an event/special exhibit going on it is worth it, but we also enjoy the normal exhibits there), there are free mermaid shows at the Silverton casino (check the times on their website) plus a bunch of aquariums at the Bass Pro beside it, and there is a great children's museum. If you want to escape the heat, I just discovered Mouth Charleston. It is about 30 degrees cooler, forested, about an hour away, and there is some nice hiking there. The Belagio fountains and their big changing exhibit are also fun to see, and free.



answers from Los Angeles on

-Imax Theatre at the Luxor
-Shark reef
-Swimming in the pool
-Bring comfy tennies for all the walking
-There's a roller coaster at New York New York
-Lion Habitat at MGM (free)
-Adventuredome Theme Park at Circus Circus
-Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo (free)
-Take them shopping & buy them some cute trinket or toy
-Saltwater aquarium at the CP Forum shops (free)
-Arcade at the MGM
-Bellagio Fountains outside to lights & music (free)
-Circus acts at Circus Circus (free)
-Bowling, movie theatre, arcade at Sam's Town/The Orleans etc.
-go for walks
-Grand Canal at the Venetian (neat to look at)
-Bring a DVD player & movies for the kids in the event they get restless.

Bring cereal, milk, bread, lunchmeat, cheese, crackers, fruit snacks, cookies, graham crackers, bottled water, juice boxes for the room.



answers from New York on

I agree with touring the hotels. Don't forget to see the Luxor and the Excalibur (kid shows in the lobby). Both will be great for your daughter. Definitely see the water show at the Bellagio - everyone will love that.

Freemont Street is cool, too! And of course, Circus, Circus!

Have fun!!



answers from Milwaukee on

Are you on Facebook? There is an app for smart phones and also a Facebook game called myVegas, It's just playing slots but you accrue actual loyalty points that can be used for lodging, meals and shows. They accrue pretty quickly and some of the stuff is really worthwhile.

If you have a car, I would go spend some time at Red Rock Canyon. It was really nice out there. I also wanted to go to the Hoover Dam too but we just did a helicopter ride over it so no one else wanted to go :(

Also, I would check the Groupon site and Living Social site and see if they have any deals for activities.



answers from Reno on

Check out groupon and living social. You can get some great deals on those for fun family and museum type things to do. Most of the shows they have on livingsocial are 50% off now.
There is the Ethel M factory and the M&M factory which are either free or really inexpensive. Also the new water park, but I'm not sure on the cost on that one. There are a ton of museums like the mob museum, the body museum, the titanic... We got a coupon through our hotel for bodies and titanic which saved us probably 60% on the cost of those.

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