Las Vegas is one of the most famous, bucket-list destinations in the USA. Everyone’s gotta go there once in a lifetime. Or, if you happen to live in California, everyone’s gotta go there at least once a year. The parties are as lit as the neon signs, the food is amazing, and there’s no shortage of nightlife or entertainment – and we haven’t even gotten to the casinos yet!
However, despite Las Vegas being one of the most beloved cities in the USA, we have to be totally honest: it’s not really our scene. Mostly because we are kinda old and really lame and totally cheap, and gambling at a casino seems about as fun to us as throwing our money away in a trash can, which we can do at home for free (which is also why you won’t find much about gambling in this guide).
We have to admit, though, that Las Vegas can be hella fun – even for cranky old grumps like us! On Lia’s last (and 2nd ever) trip to Las Vegas, she spent 4 straight hours eating at a buffet, took herself to a Britney Spears concert (DREAMS DO COME TRUE), and then walked herself home to sleep comfortably in a super cheap hotel off the strip. It was a 1-night -only solo Vegas adventure with absolutely no drinking, dancing, or partying, and y’all – it was so fun! And cheap, too.
All that to say: WE didn’t write this guide to Las Vegas on a budget. Instead, we asked Monique from My Perfect Itinerary to write it for us. She’s a Las Vegas local who’s way more fun, hip, and young than us! She did such a fantastic job that we even found ourselves wanting to visit Vegas again … who are we??
Enough rambling from us. Take it away, Monique!
Psst: Planning a trip to Las Vegas? Here are some other posts that you might find helpful:
- The Perfect Weekend in Vegas: 3 Day Las Vegas Itinerary
- The Perfect 10-Day Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary
- The 6 Best Day Hikes in Zion National Park, Utah
Looking for more USA inspiration? We have a MASSIVE travel guide for all our favorite places in the US and handy advice, packing tips and travel guides. Click the link below to download!
Las Vegas At-a-Glance ✍
Here’s a bite-sized snapshot of everything you need to know to plan your trip!
- When to Go: Between February and April, when the weather is mild.
- Where to Stay: If you really want that full Las Vegas experience, stay in a themed hotels along the Strip like the Excalibur or the Luxor. We also love this budget-friendly condo with a cute balcony to unwind in peace watching the bustle of the city.
- How to Get Around: Most of Las Vegas around the Strip is pretty walkable, and for everything else you can take a Lyft or Taxi. If you do rent a car, use Kayak to find the cheapest option.
- Top 3 Highlights:Walking the strip, experiencing FlyOver Las Vegas, and drinks at The Chandelier inside The Cosmopolitan.
- Before You Go: Pick up a Go City Las Vegas Pass to save $$$ on attractions. Also read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (or watch the movie)!
A couple of things come to mind when people think of Las Vegas: Elvis impersonators and unhealthy amounts of drinking.
How about the abundance of free things to do, best chefs from around the world, or epic party scenes?
Vegas is a lot more than just the strip, but without a local who is in the know, you will likely get caught in the many tourist traps. I promise I will never recommend anything that is not worth your time and money because there is nothing worse than driving 30 minutes outside of town to see things like strange, painted rocks in the middle of the desert.
Yes. People actually do that.
Including me. Living only 10 minutes away, I had to see what the hype was about and disclaimer… the hype is NOT real. Although yes, it does make for a pretty cool looking photo. In fact, that’s my first piece of advice on this guide: the Seven Magic Mountains are not worth a precious day of your vacation in Vegas!
But while Las Vegas has been a popular travel destination for over 75 years (seriously… whenever I say I’m from Las Vegas when I am abroad, people just start singing VIVAAA LAS VEGAS to me. Every. Single. Time), it has been my home since birth. I see this city in such a different light than travelers and I want to share that with you today.
In this jam-packed guide to planning a trip to Las Vegas on a budget, I will outline where to stay in Las Vegas on a budget, the best time to go to Las Vegas, a roundup of my favorite FREE things to do in Las Vegas, local tips and tricks, and even how to get into nightclubs for free. Plus, the best Instagram Spots in Vegas! It’s everything you need to visit Las Vegas on a dime. Let’s get started.
Is a budget Las Vegas trip worth it?
There’s a reason why Las Vegas is SO popular. It’s one-of-a-kind with unique themed hotels that match every famous city you can think of. Even though you are just traveling to Las Vegas, you feel like you are traveling to cities from all over the world!
And it’s been a hotspot for over 75 years. In fact, before Las Vegas had the luxurious and modern “Strip,” it was originally an old western town that thrived on prostitution, gambling, and mobsters settling and building more hotels. Most of the older hotels on the Las Vegas Strip were built by mobsters as a drug front! You can learn all about Las Vegas’ wild criminal history at the Mob Museum.
- Fun Fact: Did you know that it’s illegal for the local University, UNLV, to have a greek row? Having that many women live in a house is considered a brothel (AKA prostitution house) under Nevada Law!
That said: When most travelers think of Las Vegas, they think high-rollers, ballers dropping bands at a blackjack table, ridiculous entry fees for epic dance clubs, and celebrity chefs cooking in luxury restaurants. Not exactly budget-friendly.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can actually visit Las Vegas for under $100 per day. It’s a total misconception that a trip to Las Vegas HAS to be expensive! There are plenty of free and cheap things to do in Las Vegas, and if you time your trip right (hint: go midweek!) you can score insane deals on hotels, too. Heck, you can even manage to haggle your way into one of those fancy nightclubs (more on that later).
I’m here to show you that a budget Las Vegas trip does NOT have to mean an un-fun Las Vegas trip.
Since I was born and raised in Sin City, I’ll help you walk right past all the tourist traps to the tried and tested tips that have saved me thousands of dollars each year.
With the right mindset and a local to guide you (that’s me!), you can absolutely visit Las Vegas on a dime. Just don’t, like, throw a bunch of money away in a casino. That’s tip #1.
Where to Stay in Las Vegas on a Budget
First and foremost: you will find a HUGE price difference in absolutely any hotel i. Las Vegas if you book for midweek rather than on a. weekend.
You will want to stay either on the Las Vegas Strip or Downtown. That will put you close enough to the action to walk or transit everywhere you want to go.
That said: keep in mind that just because the hotel/hostel has a Las Vegas Blvd address, does NOT mean it is on the Strip. The Strip is located between Sunset Rd & Sahara Ave. Please refer to my handy-dandy map below:
Budget Las Vegas Accommodation on the Strip
If you really want that full Las Vegas experience, there are a few themed hotels along the Strip that have surprisingly budget-friendly rates during certain times of the year (and on weekdays). Check prices for the Excalibur and the Luxor – you can sometimes find rooms for well under $100!
There are also some surprising on-strip hotel deals to be found, like Circus Circus, with prices hovering around $55 (just … keep your expectations down. It’s a lil’ bit old and a tad dingy. But hey, it’s a cheap place to stay and the location is great)!
Or, if you don’t mind being a 7-12 minute walk off-strip, the Ellis Island Casino & Brewery is where Lia stayed on her most recent trip to Las Vegas – it’s dirt-cheap and as a far as dirt-cheap hotels go, perfectly fine.
Even when you can’t find a good deal for a hotel along the strip, you can often find a great deal on VRBO. I’ve seen everything from apartment or room rentals for under $50/night to entire condominiums for rent, and even this MGM Balcony Suite for around $100/night! Be sure to scour VRBO for deals if you want to stay on the Strip. This budget-friendly condo is on the strip and has a cute balcony to unwind in peace watching the bustle of the city. We recommend booking directly through VRBO because it has fewer fees and more flexible cancellation policies than Airbnb – also, we’re not fans of Airbnb’s unethical track record and lax security.
That said: if you’re truly on a shoe-string budget, a hostel is the least expensive option for Las Vegas accommodation on the strip. There are two hostels that are just a block off the strip, averaging only $30/night. Sin City Hostel and Hostel Cat both have fun social events like drinking games, BBQ’s, bar crawls and more! To get a great deal we recommend using Kayak to price-compare prices on hotels for your trip!
Budget Las Vegas Accommodation in Downtown
I would highly recommend staying in Downtown Las Vegas. For only a little more per night than a hostel, you will be in a better area of town with a significantly nicer room.
Downtown will give you a completely different feel of Las Vegas. The Strip is expensive, luxurious, and extravagant while downtown is trendy, laid-back and full of art districts.
You can even join in on the hipsters wandering the streets looking for the nearest thrift store and trendy coffee shop!
Downtown has old-style hotels that are not nearly as expensive as The Strip and you will be staying in an area with a lot of nightlife and food.
As long as you are not coming on a holiday weekend, you can find a nice hotel for only $40-$100 a night. My go-to hotels for Downtown are each located in a prime location on the most popular street in Downtown, Fremont Street. Here are my recommendations:
- Golden Nugget: Best known for its hotel pool with a water slide going through a shark tank! If you are traveling to Las Vegas in the summertime, this will be your best option to utilize their pool (trust me, you’ll need it). This isn’t the most budget-friendly option, but you can find decent deals on certain days – and the value is excellent!
- Four Queens: The Four Queens screams, “Old School Las Vegas.” Known for its gigantic flashing sign, you can spot it from the end of Fremont Street!
Best time to visit Las Vegas
Las Vegas is blessed with year-round, GREAT weather! Our winters are not too cold, but you will not get to enjoy any of the swimming or day club activities. The time of year that is best will depend on the type of vacation you plan on doing.
Let’s break it down by season:
Okay, I know I said the weather is always great, but if I had to rule out one season in Vegas, it would be winter. The city is borderline deserted and the weather is too cold to swim (correction, you will always see some Canadians in the pool in 40-degree weather).
We don’t even decorate that well for Christmas!
I’d only recommend visiting in the Winter if you prefer uncrowded streets and don’t mind a lack of pool time fun. For the rest of you, let’s just skip to spring.
Spring’s weather is really beautiful because (most) of the season, it’s around 60-70 degrees. The only downside of traveling to Las Vegas in the Spring is that the weather changes often. Some days it’s beautiful and sunny, and other days we’re in the middle of a hurricane.
But hey, you are coming to Las Vegas to gamble, especially since the sports betting Canada laws are so frustrating, so why not gamble on the weather too, am I right!?
- Side Note: Day clubs are one of the best things to do in Las Vegas and don’t open until late spring. I will touch on that later, but definitely keep that in mind when planning a visit!
Summer in Vegas is hot as hell. There’s just no way to sugar coat it. Be prepared for dry, 100+ degree weather where your skin feels like it is melting off your body.
The good thing about summer is that the weather is extremely consistent. You will rarely have to worry about your short vacation being ruined by rain or wind and even though you’ll be sweating in places you didn’t even know you could sweat in… there’s luckily a lot of pool activities/events going on.
Summer will be the busiest out of all the seasons, but the only downside to that is the prices are typically higher. Las Vegas is one of the only cities that is more fun to go to during the high season. Why? Because no one likes to party when it’s empty!
Think of it this way: would you rather be at a packed house party with tons of people welcoming you with a shot OR an awkward house party with only two people attending, drinking boxed wine on the couch with their cat? Ya, that’s what I thought.
- Lia & Jeremy Say: *Ahem* we would absolutely choose option #2, which is why we recruited someone else to write this guide instead of writing it ourselves. Nobody wants our boring, old-AF guide to staying inside and doing nothing in Las Vegas. Carry on!
Fall is by far my favorite month of the year weather-wise. It doesn’t rain too much, the weather cools off to about 75 degrees, and the prices drop slightly.
I would recommend Fall for anyone who wants to spend a day hiking, wandering The Strip, and trying to save some money.
Just keep in mind that Day Clubs close in late fall, so just be sure to check the day clubs closing dates before coming so you don’t miss out on the fun (again, more on that later).
To get extra specific since Fall is a few months long, come in late September or early October so you have the chance to experience the day clubs and the beautiful weather!
How to Get Around Las Vegas on a Budget
Not only are there endless cheap things to do in Las Vegas, but the majority of Vegas’ best activities and. sights are also so close together! The Las Vegas Strip (where all the magic happens), is only 2 miles in length. The hotels are practically on top of each other, making it extremely easy to see multiple things in a day.
Depending on what type of vacation you plan on doing, you won’t even need a rental car. And honestly, I would not recommend renting a car in Las Vegas unless you plan to do a lot of day trips or hiking excursions. Parking can be very expensive at the hotels (although I’ve got a few tricks up. my sleeve in that department … more on that later) and driving along the Las Vegas strip should be avoided at all costs!!
The easiest way to get around Las Vegas is by Uber/Lyft, but these can be expensive during high times.
Luckily, there are surprisingly a lot of free (or extremely inexpensive) ways to get around Las Vegas, let me break them down by area:
Las Vegas Strip
Walking: Excluding summer, walking is always an option because all of the hotels on the Las Vegas strip are extremely close together. Don’t plan to do a lot of walking in the summertime because it is insanely warm. It’s not a joke people, Vegas is HOT.
Trams: Many of the hotels are owned by the same company and will have a FREE tram service that will take you to and from their “sister” hotels. While these trams may not take you exactly where you would like to go, they may take you fairly close and you will need to walk the remainder of the way. The three trams are:
- Park MGM → Aria → Bellagio
- Mandalay Bay → Luxor → Excalibur
- Mirage → Treasure Island
Monorail: The monorail takes you to the main hotels on the Las Vegas Strip and is still fairly inexpensive. For roughly $11 per day (or they give you a discount for multi-day passes), you can get unlimited monorail rides around the Las Vegas Strip. These prices may fluctuate based on holiday weekends, seasons, etc. You can find current pricing and ticket options here.
To get to/from downtown from the Las Vegas Strip, you can take the “Strip and Downtown Express,” which is a public bus that strictly goes to the tourist spots, not residential neighborhoods. This is a lot faster than a standard bus, and stops at each location every 15 minutes!
A 2 hour pass is $6, a 24 hour pass is $8, and a 3 day pass is $20. This is a great option if you plan to stay in downtown, but still want to see a lot of the touristy spots on the Las Vegas Strip. Click here for more information on the express bus.
If you are downtown and want to explore the area, there is a FREE Shuttle bus takes you to the Arts District, Mob Museum and Fremont Street. This area is extremely easy to walk around, just be cautious of your belongings because it pickpocketing happens often, especially on Fremont street where the crowds are larger. Click here for more information on the free shuttle.
From the Airport
A lot of the hotels will offer free shuttle service to/from the airport, but if not, there are shuttle buses with very fair rates. There are MANY airport shuttles that have comparative pricing, but the most reliable one in Las Vegas is SuperShuttle. The cost for a round-trip shared ride is roughly $10.00. Click here to book your ride in advance.
- Budget Travel Tip: Booked a flight yet? We recommend using Kayak to price-compare flight deals & dates before you book to save money on your flight.
Outskirts of Town
The Las Vegas Strip is such a small portion of Las Vegas! While that little area offers SO much to experience, it’s nice to step outside of the touristy areas to see what it’s really like to live here.
If you plan to do a lot of hiking, day trips, or exploring local spots, renting a car would probably be your best option. By the way, I created a whole guide to the 15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas!
The city is very spread out and hiking locations are on the outskirts of the valley. Taking a public bus will take a VERY long time and Uber/Lyft/Taxi will be extremely expensive.
Local Tips to Save Money in Vegas
Living in Las Vegas means I’ve learned a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to saving money in Las Vegas.
These aren’t your typical “fill up at your hotel’s free breakfast so you can skip lunch” or “head to a grocery store and stock up on snacks when you arrive” kind of budget-friendly travel tips (although … those are both tried and true classics). These are like, low-key slick. After all, you’re in Vegas, baby!
Dance the night away at a Las Vegas nightclub … for free!
Want to know how to get into the nightclubs for free? There are club hosts walking around the Las Vegas strip like little cockroaches just begging you to come on their guest list.
While this sounds creepy AF, they really do just want you to come on their guestlist for free access to the nightclub. They may even throw in a free drink with entry too!
Ahem: If you find yourself NOT being bombarded by free club entrances as you stroll the strip, check to make sure you’re not wearing cargo pants, flip-flops with socks, or other not-Vegas-Club worthy clothing. Nothing kills a vibe more than cargo pants, people.
Want to drink for free? Just head to the nearest casino.
To pregame before your night out at the club, you COULD just get alcohol to drink in your room like a normal person… OR, you could hit the casinos!
Monique… if I’m trying to save money, why would I go gambling? Well, because you get to drink for FREE if you’re actively gambling!
There are very small minimums at most tables, so you can gamble very small amounts and get a few free drinks out of it. And who knows, you might just win! Just… you know, walk away after you do.
If you must drive on the Strip, there are a few hotels that will let you park for free.
I’ve already suggested skipping the rental car, relying on public transit, and avoiding driving on the Strip at all costs. But just in case you didn’t listen, I’ve still got some budget-friendly tips up my sleeve.
Parking on the Las Vegas strip used to be free, but now hotels are charging anywhere from $8-$20 just to park your car in their garage, THE NERVE! However, there are some hotels remaining that don’t charge for parking. Here, I made you a handy-dandy map:
- Travel Tip: Bookmark this page so you can come back to this map of free hotel parking lots in Las Vegas during your trip!
Do like a local and get off the Strip.
Locals avoid the Las Vegas Strip at all costs, so if you want to come hang out with us we love Town Square (REALLY close to the strip), Downtown Summerlin, and The District!
These are three of our popular outdoor shopping malls (don’t ask why we’re so fond of outdoor shopping in the blistering heat) and are home to cute restaurants with great happy hours, outdoor patios and adorable twinkly lights!
Exploit your special occasions for free stuff!
Are you celebrating a special occasion in Las Vegas? Make sure you mention it to EVERYONE… or better yet, bring a sash with you to the bars and nightclubs!
This is a very common thing for your birthday or bachelorette party and you will get many people buying you drinks. Now, we’re definitely not saying to pick up this birthday sash and wear it every night in Vegas whether it’s actually your birthday or not, but if you did … we’d understand.
- If you have a birthday coming up, I have an awesome guide on how to spend your Birthday in Las Vegas!
Planning to visit a couple of museums, or attend a couple of shows?
The more you want to do in Las Vegas, the pricier it gets. Enter the Go Las Vegas Pass. You’ll get entry into a TON of Las Vegas hotspots and activities for a bundled price.
For example, the 3-choice Explorer Pass lets you pick 3 activities for $84, while a 3-day all-inclusive pass is $135. That’s $135 for as much Vegas entertainment as you can cram into a weekend!
It’s worth it to take a look and see if a few of the activities included with the pass strike your fancy – if you can find a few options, the pass easily pays for itself.
Best FREE Things to do in Las Vegas
There are SO many fun things to do in Las Vegas that are completely free! Yes, I mean actually fun, not things like reading through tourist pamphlets at the visitor center.
I have an intense list of 40+ FREE things do in Las Vegas (actually worth doing), so be sure to check that out here! To summarize the best, here are my top 5 favorite things to do in Las Vegas that are completely free:
Bellagio Conservatory + Fountains
The Bellagio is a luxury hotel located in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip that was inspired by Lake Como in northern Italy. The conservatory and fountains are the most popular, free things to do in Las Vegas, and for good reason!
The Bellagio Conservatory is located just past the Bellagio Hotel’s main lobby and holds beautiful sculptures made out of real flowers! Once you enter the conservatory, there will be a small walking path with unique sculptures towering all the way to the sky-lit ceiling. On my recent visit, they had a display of horse races where the horses actually moved! The detail that is put into every inch of this place will truly make your jaw drop.
What is extra cool is even if you’ve seen it before, it changes every season and is never the exact same. Even locals go down to The Bellagio to see the beautiful designs as they change.
While you’re at the Bellagio, be sure to head out towards the valet to see my secret spot of the Bellagio Fountains! If you are facing Las Vegas Blvd standing near the valet, head left and take the walkway that wraps along the Bellagio lake. From here, you will get a beautiful shot of the Paris Hotel (with its replica of the Eiffel Tower) with the Bellagio Lakes!
- Like this tip? I have a full guide on Instagram Spots in Las Vegas with exact directions on how to get to each spot!
Hiking in Mount Charleston
Did you know that Las Vegas has a forest less than one hour outside of the city? Most people don’t!
Mt. Charleston is a green contrast from the dry and hot Las Vegas desert. It is home to hundreds of hiking trails for all fitness levels or snowboarding / skiing during the winter months. A popular hike that I recommend is called Mary Jane Falls. This is an easy, 1.5 mile hike that is the perfect length to sweat out some of the alcohol you’ve consumed thus far on your vacation!
Like I mentioned, Mary Jane Falls is a popular hike and the trailhead should easily show up on your Google Maps. Once you arrive at the trailhead, you will walk about ¼ a mile into the forest before taking steep switchbacks up to the waterfalls. There will be two waterfalls and a beautiful view once you reach the summit. The waterfalls are more of a trickle flowing down the rock unless you go after it rains, but in Las Vegas we have to take what we can get! Regardless if the waterfall is flowing, the view at the summit is still beautiful!
- Local Tip: Be sure to continue walking past the waterfalls to the left where you will reach a cave. At this cave, you will have a beautiful lookout point of the forest and have the cave almost all to yourself!
Drink FREE wine
Rock N Roll Wine hosts “Wine Lounge Thursday” every Thursday! To attend, all you have to do is to reserve your spot online and they will tell you where the location is that week.
- How to RSVP: Go to Rock N Roll Wine’s Website, click on the Events tab at the top and select “Wine Lounge Thursdays.” From there, select “RSVP Here,” and it will tell you the details of the location and time for that week. Don’t forget to continue to register so they can properly plan their volume of wine!
First Friday Art Festival
First Friday is an art festival that is celebrated in Downtown Las Vegas on the first Friday of every month. Think of this as a huge block party that has art vendors, food trucks and music playing! This is not only a tourist attraction; a lot of locals enjoy attending as well.
If you happen to be in town for First Friday, you can find this fun block party in the Arts District (Charleston & Main St) from 5pm-11pm. This is a super fun way to try new food without spending much money! The food trucks change every month and offer every type of food you can imagine. Even if you have been to First Friday before, it will likely be a completely different experience the second visit!
Free Line Dancing Lessons at Treasure Island
Want to learn how to country line dance? Gilley’s at Treasure Island (located on the Las Vegas Strip) provides FREE line dancing lessons Monday-Friday at 7pm.
You do not need to reserve this in advance and can just show up! Click here for more information on drink specials.
Best Happy Hour Spots in Las Vegas
For anyone who knows me, you know this is SO hard to narrow down! I am a happy hour FEEN.
But, I will do my best… Here are my top 5 happy hour spots:
The Golden Tiki
Golden Tiki is the best happy hour in all of Las Vegas, no question. A prime spot for locals and tourists alike, this bar is a true hidden gem! The decor of this bar is so unique, the service is outstanding, the craft cocktails are delicious (AND strong), and it is in a great location.
The Golden Tiki is located in China Town off the Las Vegas strip. Make sure you get there early because this place gets crazy crowded!
What’s included in their happy hour?
- Daily from 4-7pm
- ½ off select cocktails
- ½ off select appetizers
If you like beer, lawn games and a good time, look no more! Beerhaus is located in the Park by the T-Mobile Arena and has a large bar, endless games and picnic style tables on their patio. If you happen to be in town for a Golden Knights hockey game (that’s our first professional sports team), Beerhaus will be such a fun and lively atmosphere to watch the game!
What’s included in their happy hour?
- Daily from 4-6pm
- $5 appetizers
- $4 beers – local, craft beer (not just Bud Light or Corona!)
Bin 702 is located downtown in the Container Park. What is the container park, you ask? It’s a free shopping center that is made entirely of recycled shipping containers! I love this happy hour spot because you not only get to enjoy happy hour, but make an entire night out of it. After you get your buzz on, you can stroll through the vintage shops, catch a free concert or just hang out at the park!
What’s included in their happy hour?
- Daily from 3-6pm
- $5 beers
- $6 well drinks
- $7 wine
Located at my FAVORITE hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, the Venetian. If you’ve ever heard of the baking show Cake Boss (which, if you haven’t… are you living under a rock?!), you will love the Italian restaurant and bakeshop owned by the Cake Boss star, Buddy Valastro.
Start out with appetizers and wine at Buddy V’s for happy hour. After you’re done with happy hour, don’t forget to walk next door to the Cake Boss’s second shop, Carlo’s Bakeshop for some out-of-this-world dessert!
What’s included in their happy hour?
- Daily from 4:30pm-6:30pm
- $5 beers, house wine, sangria, & bloody mary
- $6 appetizers
Blue Martini at Town Square
Located just a block off the Las Vegas Strip, you can experience local living and local prices. Blue Martini is a rooftop bar that has a fantastic happy hour until they turn the entire place into a nightclub! If you are a lady and sign up for their FREE Lady Blue card, you will receive a free martini after 8pm DAILY.
What’s included in their happy hour?
- Daily from 4-8pm
- ½ off drinks
- ½ off appetizers
Best Budget-Friendly Restaurants in Las Vegas
It’s impossible to name every good restaurant in Las Vegas, because the list is endless! Best restaurants in Las Vegas truly deserve a full guide, but I will recommend my favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner spots.
Breakfast / Brunch
EAT in Downtown Las Vegas. It’s a very casual cafe that has a few locations in the Las Vegas valley. If you are a fan of truffles, get their truffled egg sandwich and I promise you will not be disappointed! Click here for their menu!
Secret Pizza at the Cosmopolitan. The name comes from this place being a secret pizza joint that gets its business solely from word-of-mouth! You can’t even find it listed on the Cosmopolitan website!
To find it, go to the third floor of the Cosmo near the restaurant, STK. Directly across from STK, you will see a discrete hallway that is decorated with vinyl CD covers. Head on in!
If you refuse to leave Las Vegas without at least ONE ridiculous, overwhelming, ridiculous, indulgent buffet experience, try the Mandalay Bay Buffet. A lunch buffet is $21.00. Come right as lunch is closing around 2:30, and fill up so you can skip dinner for maximum budget-friendliness. Think of it like a fun challenge. Like your own personal eating competition. Whee!
For a specific dinner recommendation for Las Vegas, I would recommend Ocean One Grille at the Miracle Mile Shops for some surf & turf. This is one of the rare, fairly priced restaurants located on the Las Vegas Strip. They also have a 3-for-1 drink special going on all day, every day. !
If you’re not from the West coast (or even if you are… nobody loves this place more than Californians), the obvious choice for a budget-friendly dinner is In N Out burger. Yes, it is that good – and totally budget-friendly, too!
Top 5 Instagram Spots in Las Vegas
Do you like photography? Or just want to step up your Instagram game? Las Vegas was made for photos, and spending a day sightseeing and taking photos is a fantastic budget-friendly way to spend a day!
- Psst: don’t miss my full guide on the Best Las Vegas Instagram spots detailing the exact location, the best time to go, & photography tips.
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
You can’t leave without letting all your friends know you are in Las Vegas, right?! Taking a picture in front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is a MUST on any Las Vegas itinerary.
This sign is located in the center of Las Vegas Blvd just north of Sunset Rd. There will be a small parking lot and grass patch in front of the sign, so be prepared to wait in a short line to get your instaworthy shot!
New York New York Hotel
The best spot to photograph the New York New York hotel is across the street at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino. If you go to where the valet entrance meets Las Vegas Blvd, you will see fake grass lawns just waiting for you to take a picture at them.
Forum Shops Replica of the Trevi Fountain
This replica of the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome is located near the Las Vegas Blvd entrance of the Forum Shops. If you come out of the shops, exit right towards Caesars and you will find the fountain located on the corner!
This area is very high traffic, so in order to get a good shot I would recommend going early in the morning.
Have you ever seen the big Ferris wheel in the middle of The Strip? That’s the Linq!
The Linq hotel doesn’t have too much to offer, but the Linq Promenade is adorable and newly renovated. The promenade is the outdoor shopping mall that has fountains, cobblestone walkways and a perfect view of the High Roller (aka the Ferris wheel).
The Luxor is the pyramid-shaped hotel in the middle of the Las Vegas strip. There are two picturesque spots worth mentioning: The Sphinx and the Luxor Sign.
The Sphinx is an enormous statue located where the hotel entrance meets the tram/monorail station. If you are walking from Las Vegas Blvd, you will be able to see the large sphinx head from the street.
The second picturesque spot of The Luxor is the Luxor sign on Las Vegas Blvd, directly in front of the hotel. It’s hard to miss!
That’s a wrap! I hope this guide was borderline too informative, but most importantly you love Las Vegas as much as I do.
Now that you know the best time to travel, how to get around, free activities actually worth doing, local tips to save you money, and the best photo spots, you are prepared for the perfect vacation to Las Vegas!
If you want more guides on Las Vegas, click here to read more!
About the Author: Monique is a Las Vegas native who doubles as an HR Manager & travel junkie. Her love for travel has taken her all over the world at only 22 & she strives to share her travel knowledge to inspire YOU to see this beautiful world we live in! When she is not traveling, she is watching Gilmore Girls for the 13th time, making itineraries she has no immediate plan to use, and drinking wine while writing for her travel blog, My Perfect Itinerary. You can follow along on her journey on Instagram & Pinterest!
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Ready to pack your bags and take off on a trip to Las Vegas? What budget-friendly Las Vegas tips surprised you the most? Drop us a comment below!
Psst: Planning a visit to Nevada or nearby? Check out some of our other posts to help you plan your trip!
- 14 Unreal Outdoor Adventures You Need To Try In Carson Valley, Nevada
- Self-Guided Beachside Brewery Tour of Los Angeles, California
- 10 Best Hikes in Southern California (a Local’s Guide)
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Our Top Travel Tips & Resources
- Booking Flights: To score flight deals, search on Google Flights or Kayak. Money-saving tips: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on only on a budget airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
- Accommodations: We usually stay in budget-friendly vacation rentals, boutique hotels or private rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to book hotels (we love their flexible cancellation policy) and Hostelworld to book hostels (low deposit, easy change/cancellation, and excellent reviews). For vacation rentals, we prefer to book using VRBO because they've got lower fees and better support than Airbnb, and we're not fans of Airbnb's unethical track record. You can also book vacation rentals on Expedia and Hotels.com. We also use TrustedHousesitters as both hosts (for our home and our fur-child) and travelers!
- Travel Insurance: We always, always, ALWAYS buy travel insurance for international trips, and we STRONGLY suggest it - visit our Travel Insurance Guide to find out why. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing for international travel insurance. SafetyWing is one of the few policies that covers Covid-19, and they have excellent monthly policies that are perfect for Digital Nomads and long term travelers!
- Travel Credit Card: We book all of our trips on our favorite travel credit card. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card offers fantastic travel perks like travel insurance, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, which helps protect us on our travels. Learn more here.
- Vaccines & Meds: We use the travel guides on the CDC website to research recommended medications and vaccines for international trips. We always recommend getting every vaccine recommended by the CDC! You can get them at your primary care doctor's office or a walk-in pharmacy.
- Tours: We love booking guided tours, especially food tours and walking tours, to get a local's perspective and a history lesson while sight-seeing! We book our tours using Viator and GetYourGuide.
- Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to figure out how to get from place to place, and book local transportation online using Bookaway wherever we can. When we book a rental car, we use DiscoverCars to compare rental companies and find the best deal.
- Luggage Storage: Whenever we're checking out early or taking advantage of a long layover, we use LuggageHero to safely store our luggage while we're running around. Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
- VPN Service: A VPN keeps your digital information (like website login details, bank info, etc) safe, even when you're connected to an unsecured network while traveling. Plus, it lets you use Netflix & other streaming sites abroad! We use NordVPN. Use the code WANDERLUSTPROMO when you sign up!
- What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we bring on every trip. We also have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and many more. Take a look at all of our packing guides!
Ms. My says
That’s great! Renting a car is a fantastic option if you intend on leaving Las Vegas for a day or two. If, on the other hand, you want to remain near the Strip and Fremont Street, I’d recommend renting a car and relying on other modes of transportation.
Gern Blanston says
Wow thanks for the great travel tips like “Las Vegas is hot” and you can get free drinks in a casino. Brilliant! You mentioned that Las Vegas doesn’t decorate well for the holidays. Did you ever go in the Bellagio Conservatory around the holidays? It’s gorgeous.
Jenny B says
OMG!!! I love your blog!! now im sure that after covid-19 im going back to vegas to use it.
Matthew Meier says
Wow great post! Great idea to get a local to write it, we always love tips from the locals, they always seem to know best. Thanks for sharing.