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

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You may have placed a bad bet in Vegas and lost all your money. Or maybe you came to Sin City on a budget, but still wanted to feel like a high roller. Either way, here are the best deals and deals in town that you don’t even know were missing.

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Get unlimited activities

High Roller Las Vegas | Flickr photo by Tony Webster

Let’s face it: everything you do in Vegas costs a small fortune. But if you purchase a Go City All-Inclusive Pass ($189 per adult for three days), you’ll get unlimited activities, including a Las Vegas helicopter tour over the Strip, a jump from the tallest building in Nevada (SkyJump at the STRAT ), a tour on the world’s highest observation wheel (high roller), a half-day guided tour of the Hoover Dam, and more. Our family tried this and couldn’t limit all the activities to three days – we simply ran out of time without spending an extra cent, and saved literally thousands.

Get out of this world

Pictured: Daniel Braff

The free Bellagio fountain show is absolutely gorgeous, but if you’ve been to Vegas in the past two decades, chances are, you’ve already seen the simultaneous water production. (If you haven’t, check the stats.) The latest and greatest free tech show is at Resorts World Las Vegas, a $4.3 billion resort where a 50-foot-high globe in the center of the lobby is made up of 8,640 triangular panels. These paintings turn into different shows every hour from noon until 1 am every day. We caught the space-themed show, and it was as good as the *expensive* production we paid at the local planetarium.

Eating around the world

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

You simply cannot go to Vegas without going to a buffet. It’s basically a base. But the buffets are getting pricey, some running as high as $100 per person. Fortunately, Excalibur knows 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 breakfast and lunch daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is $27 for adults and $15 for children. They have all the standard fare you could want, including more expensive foods like shrimp and mussels cocktail, along with a carving station, a Latin food area, an Asian area complete with sushi, and a huge dessert station. We ate at 11 am, and for 24 hours we never felt hungry again.

Play with dangerous animals

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

Take a tour of a private art collection

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

Eating a French dinner that changes your life

Jay Savoy at Caesars and Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand are both Vegas legends, but both will set diners back close to $500+ per person. Instead, head to Participate In Chinatown (where many of the city’s best restaurants are located). This wonderful French restaurant offers innovative, upscale dinners at a fixed price for about 1/3 of the price of its bar rivals, and the service and food are incredible. With the money saved, you can easily buy a limousine to/from the restaurant.

Get a free circus show

You can spend a few hundred on Cirque du Soleil tickets. Or you can head to circus circus, and check out their great free circus shows, which take place throughout the day and are completely legit. They have clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers, and more starting every hour on the clock at 1:30pm. (11:30 a.m. on weekends) and shows last about 10 minutes. Bonus: No tickets necessary.

park your car

It might not be the most attractive free deal, but this one will save you a lot of money. 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 ride the Deuce Bus, which is $6 for two hours, or $8 for 24 hours.

Get your game solution… for a quarter of a year

On most slot machines, 25 cents won’t help you much. 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), you’ll be able to play about 200 arcade and pinball games for about a quarter of a machine. (Get ready for major nostalgia!) Grab a $5 or $10, and you’ll be occupied for at least an hour. Oh, and parking here is free, too.

Tagged: Las Vegas

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