How to Have Fun in Las Vegas Without Gambling and Booze

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I know, I know. You're probably saying to yourself, “Can you really visit Las Vegas if you're under 21? What could there possibly be to do in Vegas that doesn't involve gambling and/or alcohol?” Well, the truth is, a lot!

Most people go to Sin City for the casinos, the party atmosphere, and the potential for lots of debauchery. But Las Vegas doesn't have to be all about shotgun weddings and pool parties if you don't want it to be. It can actually be a really fun (and really affordable!) destination for people of all ages.

Yes, you CAN go to Las Vegas when you're under 21!

Things to do in Las Vegas when you're under 21

I found this out myself when I spent 2 days in Vegas with my sister, who wasn't quite 21 at the time. We couldn't get into any clubs or bars (they're serious about carding at most places), and we couldn't hang around by any slot machines – under 21s can't linger in any gambling areas. So we were forced to learn about everything else Vegas has to offer.

And you know what? We had a great time!

Las Vegas, Nevada
The Strip at night

So if you're not into partying or gambling, are under 21, are traveling to Vegas with kids, or just want a cheap Vegas getaway, here are some “other” things you can consider doing in Sin City that aren't quite so sinful.

Things to do in Las Vegas when you're under 21

1. Enjoy The Strip at night

Seeing the Las Vegas Strip at night was on my bucket list. It's one thing I feel like a lot of people want to see before they die. And for good reason – it's loud, bright, and never boring. (It IS long, though, so bring your walking shoes.)

And also don't forget your sense of humor. The Strip is not for the faint-hearted, as it's usually filled with a mixture of drunken revelers (most likely with open bottles, which are legal here), street performers, and men passing out trading cards with half-naked women on them.

But instead of being overwhelmed or getting offended by it all, just enjoy the absurdity.

Las Vegas
Vegas Eiffel Tower at night

Even if you're not staying at a hotel in the thick of things, you can hop on a bus that does a giant loop up and down The Strip. You can get a 24-hour bus pass for less than $10, though it should be noted that it takes forever to get through Vegas traffic.

Las Vegas, Nevada
The Strip at night

If you prefer some commentary as you explore the Strip at night, you could also book a nighttime open-top bus tour, which is an excellent way to see all the bright lights at night. This 3-hour tour is one of the more popular ones in Vegas, and is suitable for the whole family! (Book here.)

2. Visit hotel-casinos during the day

While the bright lights are dimmed when the sun comes up, there's still plenty to do and see on The Strip during daylight hours. I recommend just taking in the sights at night, and saving exploration of the hotel-casinos for the daytime.

Even if you're not 21, you can still go into most of the hotel-casinos, as long as you don't loiter around the gambling areas.

Las Vegas
Vegas during the day

Here are some of the coolest things the Strip hotels have on offer:

  • Ride the roller coaster at New York, New York ($19)
  • Check out the amazing Chihuly glass ceiling at the Bellagio (FREE)
  • Roam through the Bellagio conservatory, which is usually decked out according to a specific theme (FREE)
  • Watch the Bellagio fountains put on a show (FREE; frequently throughout the day and night)
  • Ride in a gondola at the Venetian ($39 per person)
  • Visit the shark reef at Mandalay Bay ($25 – book here!)
  • Get your adrenaline pumping at the top of the Stratosphere, where thrill rides abound (or you could just take in the awesome view from nearly 1,000 feet up) ($20+ for observation deck admission; rides extra)
  • Train at the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at Treasure Island ($34 – book here!)
  • Watch the volcano erupt at Mirage (FREE; every hour from dusk to 11 p.m.)
  • Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris (starting at $22 during the day – book here!)
  • Eat at a buffet (there are tons of delicious ones!)

You can also enjoy views of the Strip from the High Roller, a new 550-foot tall Ferris wheel. Check prices here!

Las Vegas
Thrill rides atop the Stratosphere

And you can save on many of these attractions (plus much more, like Madame Tussaud's or the Mob Museum) with a Las Vegas Explorer Pass.

(*NOTE: All prices current as of July 2021.*)

3. Go shopping

There's plenty to do along The Strip outside of the hotels, too. Go shopping at one of the many stores that line the road, or check out some of the themed shopping areas, such as the ones at Luxor and the Venetian.

Stop in to MnM's World for some sweet souvenirs, or maybe even splurge to drive your “dream car” for the afternoon.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Dream car rentals in Vegas

(If you end up renting a dream car for a day, take the family to Valley of Fire, which is my favorite day trip from the Strip!)

4. See a show

Along with gambling, Las Vegas is also known for its over-the-top entertainment. Here you can find everything from Cirque du Solei performances to the Blue Man Group to sexy burlesque shows to intense magic shows to comedy/improv to concerts by some big-name stars.

Sometimes you can get a good deal on shows through your hotel, but, if not, check out the half-price Tix4Tonight ticket stands around town. Similar to how you can buy cheap Broadway tickets at TKTS in New York City, unsold tickets for that night's Vegas shows can be purchased here for up to 50% off.

Excalibur, Las Vegas

5. Check out a museum

Museums probably aren't the first things that come to mind when the average person thinks about Las Vegas. But there actually are some cool ones here!

The most popular is definitely Madame Tussauds wax museum, located in the Venetian ($27 if you book online ahead of time). Here you can spend hours posing with lifelike wax models of all your favorite celebrities.

There's also a Pinball Hall of Fame (10 minutes southeast of The Strip), the Mob Museum ($30), and the Neon Museum ($20-$28), the place where many of Vegas' neon signs have gone to die.

Bellagio, Las Vegas
Chihuly ceiling at the Bellagio

6. Visit Fremont Street

Fremont Street is know as the “old” Las Vegas, and is perhaps actually more outlandish than The Strip.

Here you can enjoy live music, light shows, and more. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try to SlotZilla Zipline and fly high over all the action.

Las Vegas
Showgirls in Vegas

7. Take “The” Vegas photo

No, I'm not talking about a photo with a showgirl or half-naked Chippendale dancer. I'm talking about the photo in front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

The sign is located just south of Mandalay Bay on The Strip, and actually has a whole parking lot dedicated to it so you can stop on your way in or out of the city.

Las Vegas, Nevada

8. Take a day trip from Vegas

Vegas is situated in the southernmost part of Nevada, making it close to a lot of nearby attractions that make great day trips. Such places include:

And here are some great tours to take you to these spots from Las Vegas:

Hoover Dam
The view from the Hoover Dam

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list. There's so much more to do in Las Vegas than listed here. You could easily spend a week in Vegas and never once pull the arm of a slot machine.

Las Vegas hotels for when you're under 21

When I visited Las Vegas with my under-21 sister, I was luckily over 21 – meaning we had no trouble booking a cheap hotel room on The Strip (many hotel-casinos on the Strip offer discounts since they assume you'll spend money gambling).

But if no one in your party is 21 or older, you will not be able to book or check in to a hotel room on the Strip. That's just how it is, and I'm afraid there's really no way around it!

However, don't stress out – there ARE hotels in Las Vegas that will rent a room to you if you're 18-20.

Check out these hotels, which only require you to be 18 in order to make a reservation and check in:

Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations The Elara is located within walking distance of the Strip (it's adjacent to the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino complex), has a nice outdoor pool, and offers free garage parking to guests. (Read TripAdvisor reviews here | Book here!)

Golden Nugget This Fremont Street hotel has modern rooms and a pool that includes a water slide that passes through a 200,000 gallon shark tank aquarium! You'll need to either catch a bus or an Uber to get to the Strip, though, as it's not really within walking distance. (Read TripAdvisor reviews here | Book here!)

You can also check out off-Strip chain hotels like La Quinta Inn & Suites or Holiday Inn Express; basically, if a hotel doesn't have a casino, there's a better chance that they'll let under-21s make reservations.

Check out the Las Vegas GoCard

If you're spending a bit of time in Vegas and want to get the most bang for your buck, I recommend checking out the Las Vegas Explorer Pass, which can save you money on multiple attractions. You can choose anywhere from 2 to 7 Vegas attractions from a list of more than 45 and save up to half off the normal ticketed price.

Attractions included are things like Madame Tussauds, a hop-on hop-off bus tour, the Stratosphere Observation Deck, a Fremont Street walking tour, entrance to the Mob Museum, comedy shows, and more. Learn more about the pass here.

What other things do you suggest doing in Las Vegas?

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"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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69 Comments on “How to Have Fun in Las Vegas Without Gambling and Booze

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  1. The Strip is definitely fun regardless of what your age might be. If you have more time, there’s a lot of gems around Las Vegas that you can check out and there’s always new places popping up! Sometimes, just driving around the city helps you see what there is to do and that’s pretty fun in itself!

    I went on a tour to Area 51 and it was really cool! Anyone who is curious about aliens and about the history should definitely go check it out! And it was so funny that we got to eat the “alien burger” lol Moreover the hot air ballon ride was amazing as well. When we were in the sky, it was wide, quiet, and super comfortable! One more dream completed… And I recommend Nvstarr for their outstanding service!

    Even though there is plenty to do in Vegas for under-21’s, I’d just wait until you do turn 21 to take a trip there, and go somewhere else in the meantime. It seems like such a waste to go to Vegas and not get the true “Vegas experience”…

      I guess it depends. I don’t think families need to skip Vegas. And for me (a person who doesn’t really drink alcohol or party), I had a lot of fun doing everything in Vegas with my under-21 sister.

    This post is awesome, it’s really impressive that you found so much to do while on your trip to Vegas! I live in Vegas and just made a post about 21 things that you can do in Vegas if you’re under 21. It’s crazy how much more there is than gambling & going out.
    Awesome post!

      Exactly! There’s plenty to do there even if you aren’t of-age.

    Great idea a day trip or lunch buffet. I enjoyed the pictures.

    Wow I am going to enjoy this today, Vegas can be fun sober!

    […] Las Vegas Under 21 – Things to Do – A Dangerous Business … – So if you’re not into partying or gambling, are under 21, or just want a cheap Vegas getaway, here are some “other” things you can consider doing in Sin City … […]

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