November 28, 2022

Alex o'Loughlin

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9 ways to do Vegas like a high roller without spending like one

Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Perhaps you placed a bad Vegas bet and lost all your cash. Or maybe you came to Sin City on a budget, but still want to feel like a high roller. Either way, here are the city’s best steals and deals those don’t even know they are missing.

RELATED: 10 things every Vegas visitor should do at least once

Get unlimited activities

High Roller Las Vegas | Flickr photo by Tony Webster

Let’s face it: Every single thing you do in Vegas tends to cost a small fortune. But if you purchase the Go City All-Inclusive Pass ($189 per adult for three days), you get unlimited activities, which include a Las Vegas helicopter tour over the Strip, a leap off the tallest building in Nevada (SkyJump at the STRAT), a ride on the world’s tallest observation wheel (High Roller), a half-day guided tour of the Hoover Dam, and more. Our family tried this and couldn’t squeeze all the activities into three days—we simply ran out of time without spending an extra dime, and literally saved thousands.

Get out of this world

Photo: Danielle Braff

Bellagio’s free fountain show is super cool, but if you’ve been to Vegas in the last two decades, chances are, you’ve already seen the synchronized water production. (If you haven’t, check it out stat.) The newest, coolest free technology show is at Resorts World Las Vegas, a $4.3 billion resort where a 50-foot globe sits in the center of the lobby, composed of 8,640 triangular panels. These panels transform into different shows every hour on the hour from noon to 1am daily. We caught the space-themed show, and it was just as good as the *very expensive* production we paid for at our local planetarium. 

Eat around the world

Close-up of sushi rolls in nori with caviar on top lined up on rectangle sushi plate

You simply can’t go to Vegas without going to a buffet. It’s basically a rule. But the buffets have gotten pretty pricey, some reaching upwards of $100 per person. Fortunately, Excalibur Hotel realizes that we all want to eat, but we don’t all want to spend a mortgage payment stuffing our faces. The 35,000-square-foot Excalibur buffet is open only for brunch daily, from 8am–3pm, and is $27/adults, $15/kids. They have all the standard fare you could want, including pricier foods like shrimp cocktail and mussels, along with a carving station, Latin food area, Asian area complete with sushi, and a gigantic dessert station. We ate at 11am, and weren’t hungry again for 24 hours.

Play with dangerous animals

For just $29 per adult ($24 for kids 5–12; free for 4 and under), you can experience one of the best under-the-radar aquariums in the country. Within Mandalay Bay is the Shark Reef Aquarium, home to more than 2,000 animals, including sharks, endangered sea turtles, piranhas, and even a Komodo dragon. Feeling brave? You can schedule a shark dive. Not as brave? Try feeding a shark with a long tong. 

Tour a private art collection

Want to see a Picasso? Head to Picasso the restaurant at Bellagio where several are on display, but that experience will cost you several hundred dollars. Instead, book a tour of the art collection at Louis Vuitton City Center. The capstone of the experience is James Turrell’s “Akhob,” a fully immersive only-in-Vegas installation that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. The experience is completely private and completely free.

Have a life-changing French dinner

Guy Savoy at Caesars and Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand are Vegas legends, but both will set diners back around $500+ per person. Instead, head to Partage in Chinatown (where many of the city’s best restaurants reside). This wonderful French restaurant offers an inventive and upscale prix fixe dinner for around 1/3 the price of its strip competitors and both service and food are incredible. With the money saved, you can easily afford a limo to/from the restaurant.

Catch a free circus show

You could spend a few hundred on Cirque du Soleil tickets. Or, you could head over to Circus Circus, and check out their incredible free circus shows, which take place throughout the day and are totally legit. They’ve got clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers, and more starting every hour on the hour at 1:30pm. (11:30am on weekends) and the shows are about 10 minutes long. Bonus: No tickets necessary.

Park your car

Perhaps not the sexiest free deal, but this one will save you a ton of cash. Fortunately, there are a few casinos that still offer free parking—even if you’re not a hotel guest. They include Circus Circus, The Venetian, Treasure Island, Palazzo, Tropicana, Sahara, STRAT, Wynn, Encore, and Casino Royale. Don’t have a car? You can take the Deuce Bus, which is $6 for a 2 hour pass, or $8 for 24 hours.

Get your gaming fix… for a quarter

At most slot machines, a 25 cents won’t get you very far. But head to the newly renovated Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame across from the big Welcome to Las Vegas sign (also a free tourist attraction), and you’ll get to play about 200 vintage arcade and pinball games for about a quarter a machine. (Prepare for major nostalgia vibes!) Bring $5 or $10, and you’ll be busy for at least an hour. Oh, and the parking here is free, too.

Tagged: Las Vegas

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