The Strip justifiably gets a lot of attention from tourists, but no Las Vegas vacation is complete without also exploring the downtown area—A.K.A. the birthplace of Sin City. While there’s plenty of gambling and drinking to be done in downtown Las Vegas, this is also a great place to hang out if you’re a little low on cash. Check out our top picks for the best free things to do in downtown Las Vegas.
Antique Alley Mall in the Arts District
Admittedly, Antique Alley Mall doesn’t look like much from the outside, and certainly no different than any other secondhand store you’ve passed by before. But step inside and you’ll find yourself in the midst of a sprawling collection of some of the most unique and downright strange vintage wares in all of Las Vegas.
This 12,000 square foot retail space is home to vintage furniture, clothing, records, jewelry, art, collectibles, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. From Victorian glassware to rock and roll memorabilia to old ashtrays and playing cards from now-imploded Las Vegas hotels, there’s no shortage of trinkets, oddities, and the occasional antique gas pump or Coca-Cola vending machine.
You can spend hours wandering this amazing treasure trove, open seven days a week. For more “dead people’s junk and cool crap”, be sure to also visit shops like Vintage Vegas, Main Street Peddlers, and Main Street Mercantile while you’re in the area.
Downtown Art Murals
Las Vegas hasn’t always been thought of as the most artsy or cultured city, but local artists are slowly infusing the downtown area with bright, eye-catching murals and graffiti. Many of these murals can be found along Main Street in the Arts District or on walls, buildings, and alleyways on Fremont Street.
You’ll also find murals on Las Vegas Boulevard, North 7th Street, East Ogden Avenue, and Stewart Avenue. You can book a guided tour of the downtown art scene through DTLV Art Walk, or you can just as easily discover them all on your own for free just by wandering around or using the MASA Street Art app.
Downtown Container Park
Giant playgrounds. Drum circles. A huge praying mantis that spews fire into the sky. You can experience it all at Downtown Container Park, just steps from the Fremont Street Experience. This open-air shopping center is lined with restaurants, bars, and shops made from repurposed shipping containers. In the middle lies a truly epic playground that’s great for kids (and, to be honest, we’ve seen adults playing on it, too). There’s also a main stage where you can catch free musical performances and film screenings.
You don’t even have to go inside to enjoy Container Park. As you walk by on Fremont Street, be on the lookout for a 40-foot metallic praying mantis (an old relic from a Burning Man festival) that periodically erupts in fire. Another great free photo op in front of the park includes the Love Locket, where you and your partner can join in the tradition of locking your love forever. Or, just sit back, relax on the steps, and enjoy some good old-fashioned people-watching.
First Friday in the Arts District
First Friday is finally back after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the first Friday of every month, locals and visitors gather in downtown Las Vegas to connect, inspire, and support their local artists, musicians, makers, and more. First Friday is a completely free event made possible by the nonprofit First Friday Foundation, which supports artistic opportunities for Las Vegas students.
Enjoy live music and art performances, wander through local art galleries like the Arts Factory, and check out booths by local vendors selling their wares—including original art, clothing, handmade jewelry, natural beauty products, and more.
If you get hungry, grab a bite or a cocktail from one of the many local food trucks who set up shop. First Friday is an excellent way to immerse yourself in local culture, meet new people, and support the community. If you happen to be in Vegas on the first Friday of the month, attending First Friday is a must!
Free Slot Pulls at Four Queens and Binion’s
Whether you’re not much of a gambler or you already blew all your money on said gambling, why not try your hand at a few free slot pulls at the Four Queens and Binion’s Gambling Hall while you’re hanging out downtown? The Four Queens free slot play machine is located at the entrance of the casino near Casino Center Boulevard.
You might just win $2,500 cash (or some other cool prizes). The Binion’s Gambling Hall free slot pull machine can be found close to its entrance, too, and also boasts a potential $2,500 win. (Sure, the odds are against you, but aren’t they always? Plus, you can’t go wrong with free.)
And while you’re at Binion’s, be sure to also check out the Million Dollar Pyramid. It’s exactly what it sounds like—$1,000,000 in cash displayed inside a see-through pyramid. You can even get a free souvenir photo of you with the Million Dollar Pyramid, which is located next to Club Binion’s.
Live Music and Street Performances on Fremont
No two trips to the Fremont Street Experience are ever quite the same. The entire pedestrian walkway is already a sight to behold—Slotzilla zipliners casually flying over your head, the massive Vegas Vic sign leering down at you, neon everywhere— but during the evening it transforms into a smorgasbord of scheduled live performances and street performers.
You might catch a concert by one of many classic rock cover bands on the Main Street Stage, listen to a dynamic bucket drum performance, or meet Elvis. Or perhaps you can have your picture taken with a scantily-clad flock of showgirls or just some man in a giant blunt costume. Either way, Fremont Street at night is a guaranteed booze-infused party. Even when there are no shows scheduled, there’s always some kind of music playing, and impromptu dance parties have been known to break out.
Main Street Station Antiques Museum
History buffs rejoice! Tucked away inside the seemingly unremarkable Main Street Station is a curated collection of antiques. Check out old-school slot machines from Las Vegas’ early gambling history, a real portion of the Berlin Wall (in the men’s restroom, of all places), chandeliers from both the Coca-Cola building in Austin, Texas and the Figaro Opera House in Paris, antique railroad station benches, a Pullman parlor car of the 1927 Louisa May Alcott, and so much more. This self-guided tour is free. Just stop by the front desk and ask for your complimentary brochure and map.
Vegas Toy Shack at Neonopolis
Children of the 1980s and 1990s will enjoy a trip down memory lane inside Vegas Toy Shack at Neonopolis. This store, whose owner has been featured on the TV show Pawn Stars, buys and sells a wide selection of vintage toys, figurines, and memorabilia. The small but mighty retail space is packed from floor to ceiling with Hot Wheels cars, Star Wars posters, superhero lunch boxes, Barbie dolls, GI Joes, Tonka trucks, classic board games, and all the childhood nostalgia you could ever ask for.
If there’s a rare retro toy you’re looking for, chances are that owner Johnny Jimenez, Jr. knows where to find it. Enjoy exploring this unique shop along with all the other cool places at Neonopolis, including the Little Neon Chapel, the Metropolitan Art Museum, and a videogame bar called The Nerd.
Vegas Vickie at Circa
Circa Resort and Casino opened just last year, and so far it’s really shaking things up in downtown Las Vegas. At nearly 500 feet tall, it’s the tallest building in the downtown area and the first hotel built from the ground up there since 1980. Circa hasn’t forgotten its roots, though. You can still experience a piece of iconic Fremont Street history by visiting Vegas Vickie’s cocktail lounge.
The 25-foot tall cowgirl counterpart to Vegas Vic debuted back in 1980 at the Glitter Gulch and now illuminates the Circa hotel lobby. Visitors will love the throwback feel of this cocktail lounge, which features mid-century design, walnut wood paneling, and retro lighting. Visiting is free, although we highly recommend indulging in at least one vintage Vegas-inspired libation while you’re here.
Viva Vision at the Fremont Street Experience
Any trip to downtown Las Vegas should include the center of it all, the Fremont Street Experience. Here, all you have to do is look up. Almost a hundred feet above your head is the sprawling, one-of-a-kind Viva Vision Light Show. With over 16.4 million pixels and at almost 1,400 feet long, this is the largest video screen in the world. Not to mention, it’s gotten about four times sharper and seven times brighter since a recent renovation in 2020.
You can catch up to six different shows each night, which feature musical artists like The Killers, Shakira, The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, and more. Featured shows run at the top of the hour from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. nightly. Additional 24/7 programming means there’s a dazzling spectacle to take part in any time, day or night.
There’s Always Something To Do in Las Vegas
Las Vegas may be a city of glitter and glamor, but there’s always something to do here, even if you’re low on funds. From the best budget hotels to the hottest no-cover nightclubs, Things To Do in Las Vegas has got you covered. For more ideas and tips for planning your next vacation, be sure to check out our blog and follow us on Facebook.