Las Vegas is a great city filled with much more to do than gamble at casinos, see expensive shows, and drop €15 a drink at the bars on The Strip. So what can you do in Vegas if you are on a backpacker’s budget?
Really Cool Monthly Events
First Friday celebrates Las Vegas’s local art community, music, food, and all that is Vegas, by shutting down a few blocks in the art district (yes, Vegas has an art district), and lining the streets with booths of local art, food trucks, and a music stage. The antique, vintage stores, and art galleries open their doors to the public and people of all ages are invited to come see what Vegas has to offer for art and culture.
Where: Commerce Street between Charleston Blvd and Wyoming Street, north of the Stratosphere.
How to Get Here: Take the Strip Buses or catch a shuttle from The El Cortez. There is also free parking lots around Main and Charleston Streets, but they fill up fast and early.
When: The First Friday of each month. Official time is 6-10pm, but often lasts longer depending on weather.
A food truck and music rally that serves to titillate your senses and feed your hunger, VegasStreats fills the El Cortez plaza with an array of Vegas’s best gourmet food trucks, a music stage that plays an eclectic mix from DJ’s to Rock Music, and some local business vendors and artists.
Where: El Cortez Plaza across the Street from the El Cortez, 6th and Fremont Street.
Cost: Free to get in, food ranges from €4-8
How to Get Here: Take the Strip buses north to Fremont Street District. They stop within a block of the Plaza. There is also minimal street parking and a large and cheap parking garage in the area.
When: Second Saturday of each month. Starts at 6pm, ends around 1am.
Awesome Cheap Bars
Insert Coins is a bar-slash-arcade-slash-dance floor, which is home to over 40 arcade games from the past decades. Grab a drink at their LED lit bar, and dance on their dance floor. You can also play free games at the bar, or rent a booth and nerd-out with VIP bottle service and HDTVs while playing games on your favourite game console of choice.
It is free or cheap to enter (check the website or social media to see what each night brings), drinks are decently priced, and most of what you spend is directly determined by how many quarters you have stuffed in your pockets. They also have celebrity DJ’s, like DJ Jazzy Jeff, come and spin tunes some nights.
Where: 6th and Fremont Street in the East Fremont District.
Cost: Free to cheap depending on the night and time. Check out their website for info and events.
How to Get Here: Take either Strip bus up to Fremont and walk. There is also street parking and a parking garage nearby.
When: Every night.
This hole in the wall, dive bar is west of the Strip and has pool tables, dart boards, live music, and a backroom that is home to Live Burlesque in Las Vegas – which happens the last Saturday of each month. Drinks are cheap and staff is super friendly.
Where: Sirius Ave between Sahara and Desert Inn, west of The Strip
Cost: Free to get in. Must be 21. Live Burlesque in Las Vegas costs €4-8. Most drinks under €8.
How to Get Here: Drive. There aren’t any close bus stops, and walking is cautioned late at night.
When: Open 24/7
Burlesque and Swing Dancing
Vegas is home to The Burlesque Hall of Fame (located inside Emergency Arts on the corner of 6th and Fremont Streets), a multitude of Burlesque shows, and the Las Vegas Burlesque Classes dance studio.
Las Vegas Burlesque Classes is open to both genders, and has drop in classes for $10 each throughout the week. Why not learn some 60’s style Go Go dancing, do some burlesque inspired jazz, or go to Burlesque 101 and learn some basic burlesque moves.
Where: 900 Karen Ave, Suite C-209 ( in the middle of the courtyard on the second floor),
Cost: €7.69 per class
How to Get Here: From The Strip, take any bus to Sahara, then take the Sahara Express east to State Street. Karen Ave is 150ft south of Sahara. Although only 1 mile east of Las Vegas Blvd, walking here is cautioned, and not recommended after dark.
When: Schedule varies.
Burlesque not really your thing? How about Swing Dancing and the Lindy Hop? The Thunderbird Lounge inside Aruba hosts free swing and Lindy hop dancing every Friday night. Head down at 7pm for Swing and Lindy hop lessons, and stay for the swing dance party which starts at 8pm. Dancing goes until 11 or later and all experience levels are welcome. Drinks are cheap, people are friendly, and all levels are welcome.
Where: 1215 South Las Vegas Blvd (in the wedding chapel and hostel district)
How to Get Here: The Deuce bus from The Strip stops a block away. Across the street from most Vegas hostels.
When: Every Friday night. Lessons start at 7pm. Open floor starts at 8pm.