Obviously Las Vegas doesn’t offer freebies without an agenda behind the action. They want you to spend as much money as you’re willing, so they entice you with inexpensive hotel rooms, free shows, drinks and cheap buffet services. If you’re not particularly fond of the casinos though and have no intention of spending all of your money in Vegas, you can spend your time enjoying the freebies and watching shows like Zarkana at ARIA resort instead. A walk along the Strip is free, and if you pass by the fountains of Bellagio, you’ll witness a choreographed dance to classics like Hey Big Spender and Luck Be a Lady (performances happen every 30 minutes from 3pm-8pm).
There are lots of exhibitions to visit while you’re in Vegas too. Check out the Gunther von Hagens exhibition Bodies under the Luxor hotel. The scientific spectacle shows you preserved human bodies in various stages of dissection. Or if you’re a little squeamish you could always visit the Titanic. Well, parts of it. The exhibition tells you all about the history of the ship, from construction to the details of its first and last voyage across the ocean. Pieces have been recovered from two and a half miles beneath the Atlantic ocean and a recreation of the Grand staircase can be observed.
Valley of Fire
Overwhelmed by the dazzling lights and crowds of the Vegas Strip? Take a trip away for a while. Around an hour’s drive from the Strip are stunning views of the south-western American desert. Striking red rock formations which were millions of years in the making, make up the Valley of Fire state park, which is open all year-round. Perfect for any of you hiking and camping enthusiasts. Beware of the temperatures though. The desert can get up to highs of 50c during the day before plummeting at night time.
Americans can head to the canals of Venice without ever leaving the country. All they have to do is go shopping in Vegas, where Venice turns into French Boulevards and themed shopping malls make for some entertaining (if somewhat tacky) retail experiences. It’s almost serene to take a gondola ride where you can window shop from afar, knowing full well the chaos of Vegas awaits you later. Even if you’re not a big shopper and have been dragged along by the Mrs, you’ll still be entertained by fashion shows, singing gondoliers and moving statues. Try out the Town Square mall.