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!

Las Vegas 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

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 that aren't quite so sinful.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ride the roller coaster at New York, New York ($15)
  • Go behind the scenes of CSI at the MGM Grand ($31.50 – book here!)
  • 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 ($29 per person, or $116 for a private 2-person ride)
  • 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 $18 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 April 2019.*)

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

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

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 ($22 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 ($27), and the Neon Museum ($22), the place where many of Vegas' neon signs have gone to die.

Bellagio, Las Vegas
Chihuly ceiling at the Bellagio

Visit Fremont Street

Fremont Street is know as the “old” Las Vegas, and is perhaps actually more outlandish than The Strip. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even zipline above the action here.

Las Vegas

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

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 3, 5, or 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, tickets to CSI: The Experience, 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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Things to do in Las Vegas when you're under 21


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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 Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour and Botancial Cactus Garden is a fun (and delicious) spot.
    Having a Dutch Baby (pancake) from the Original Pancake House (I forget the street)
    We love Red Rock Canyon when the glitz and lights get too much.
    Glad you had a great trip!

      There’s a chocolate factory there?? How did I miss that?? Haha. Next time…

    I often visit Vegas without drinking or gambling – I can attest to the fact that it CAN be done – now if you said without eating….that would be a challenge as that is one of the best things to do in Vegas!

      My sister and I didn’t have time to indulge in much of the food, but I agree that it’s a great alternative to some of the other activities in Vegas.

      Awesome to hear of someone else enjoying Vegas without doing the “typical” Vegas things!

    We were just in Vegas and had a great time. You hit all of the highlights we did…I actually did the Fremont St zip line which was awesome and only $20 (cheap in Vegas). I would also suggest hitting the Jean Phillipe Patisserie at the Bellagio for some delectable sweets:)

      I didn’t realize the zipline was so cheap! Definitely affordable for Vegas.

    One thing in vegas that you will not find is any clocks so make sure you wear a watch! Another thing you will not find is a smoke free environment, there are only a few small casinos that have banned smoking.

      Good point on the smoking — there definitely is a lot of that everywhere in Vegas. But I had so much fun, it didn’t really bother me too much!

    Vegas is the place that visit over and over each year. I’ve probably been 45 times in the last 15 years. I go for the gambling, but I’ve done many of the free things you’ve mentioned, often because I’ve lost all my money! Just so you know, prostitution isn’t legal in Las Vegas. The closest place where it’s legal is about an hour away with most of the legal brothels being in Carson City. Not that you’ll be needing that information, but just an FYI. 🙂

      45 times! Wow! That’s impressive.

      And thanks for the heads up on the prostitution — someone told me that it was legal! I’ll have to go and fix that.

    Vegas was never somewhere that ever appealed to me, but I can’t believe there are so many non-gambly/drinky things to do!

    The neon museum sounds SO AMAZING!

      I was never very gung-ho about visiting Vegas, either, so I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. I have friends who absolutely hate it, though, so it’s definitely not for everyone! But even as someone who doesn’t drink or gamble, there was still plenty to do!

      A friend of mine (the one who hates Vegas) went to the Neon Museum and really liked it. The only downside is that, while they will let you take photos there if you make an appointment, they won’t let you post any photos online! But it would still be cool to visit.

    I went to Vegas when I was 23. Even though I could drink I didn’t go to Vegas to get smashed. And I did gamble, but my budget was very, very, very low ($5/day). What really convinced me to go to Vegas was hearing coworkers and friends talk about going, and how there were other things to do there. I actually found walking through the hotels and casinos themselves to be interesting and a lot of fun. But yes, definitely bring a good pair of walking shoes.

      I love your gambling budget. 🙂 I think people just automatically assume that Vegas is really expensive, but it doesn’t really have to be. I thought walking through the hotels was really fun, too!

    I’ve never been to Vegas, but when I go, it’s nice to know there’s more to do than drink and gamble (although I suspect that they will feature heavily ;))

      It does tend to feature heavily for most people… 😉

    I’m not sure I could handle Vegas without drinking haha. But, I did promise my hubby that I would take him here now that he’s in the States. Plus, I’m dying to visit Abby!!!

      If I was a drinker/partier, it would seriously be my Disneyworld. Lol.

    I didn’t do any gambling in Vegas, mainly because I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing! Can’t say the same for the drinking however 🙂 But I was amazed by how much free stuff there was to do. Just walking down the strip at night, there were loads of different shows to watch, from the Bellagio Fountains to the Treasure Island pirate show and the Mirage volcano. A very versatile place for friends, couples and families alike.

      Yes, there really is plenty to do for free or very cheap. And, if you do have a few drinks beforehand, the really cheesy stuff doesn’t seem nearly as bad! Lol.

    Great post! My wife and I drive to Las Vegas from Phoenix several times a year. Although we do drink and gamble in moderation, we stick to a modest budget and do most of our indulging a few blocks off the Strip, where the food and drinks are cheaper and the table minimums are lower. And, as you’ve pointed out, the most entertaining sights on the Strip can be seen for free by anyone of any age. Las Vegas can be a fun, inexpensive destination, if you want it to be.

      “If you want it to be” – EXACTLY. Vegas doesn’t have to be made up of over-the-top splurging; actually, Vegas was one of the cheaper places my sister and I visited on our road trip!

    This is a great, comprehensive list of Vegas activities.

    A few of my favorites include Madame Tussaud’s at the Venetian, and the CHEESY but hilarious pirate show outside TI. Not sure if it’s still in existence, actually.

    As for shopping, I really loved the shops of the Palazzo. Very fancy.

      I forgot about the TI pirate show! As far as I know it’s still running, though we didn’t see it while we were there. Thanks for the feedback though, Kate! I know you’re a big Vegas-lover, so I’m happy to hear I hit all the main points!

    I really want to go to Las Vegas not to gamble but to have fun, tour around and eat a lot!!

      Well you can certainly do all of those things in Vegas!

    Everyone wants to go to Vegas and You can include me with that…

    I don’t know…seems to me that booze, good cigars and gambling is way more fun then seeing a fake volcano Just saying!
    Anyways I’d probably do the same if I was in Vegas, because I’m a cheapskate like that and hate gambling when I have a small budget. Love the booze and cigars though…

    My cousin moved to Las Vegas last year and was telling me a lot about all the amazing things to do there. I definitely want to visit soon!

      There’s definitely a lot to do! Much more than the movies would lead you to believe…

    I went to Vegas in 2009 for my ex’s birthday and we had a really fun, relatively sober week. While we did have one night of hurricanes and $2 Coronas, the majority of our time was spent doing all five of the things you listed above.

    Dig Vegas a lot 🙂

      Awesome! Sounds like you had a fun Vegas trip then. 🙂

    Most of our visits to Vegas are sans booze and gambling. Lol. We just like to watch the shows and over-eating at the buffets. Haha.

    Great recommendations! I think Fremont street is absolutely one of the best attractions for those who think Las Vegas might not be their cup of tea. It’s such a different side of Vegas, yet still so unique.

      Thanks John! I think Vegas still may not be everyone’s cup of tea… but I think it might be surprising for a lot of people (in a good way!).

    This is one of my favourate places in the world, I have been and I ususally do end up getting drunk and stumbling around clubs but I am going later this year for longer than normal and planning on doing some looking around and relaxing too which are not things you might associate with vegas but I am sure it will be a refreshing change!

      Yes, I’m sure that will indeed be a nice change from the Vegas you’re used to!

    I last went to Vegas when I was 12 with my dad. So much has changed since then. I would love to go on any of the rooftop rides, but I have a feeling I would chicken out when I got up there!

      The rides on the Stratosphere roof look terrifying! Seriously. I’m not sure I’d go on them, and I’ve done some pretty extreme sports before! Lol.

    I think this is not a good place..For me gambling is not good..

      Ah well, you certainly don’t have to gamble in Vegas! (I didn’t.) But if you’re really against it or have some other issues with it, then, no, Vegas may not be a good destination for you!

    Great list! We visit family in Vegas often so, the gambling does get old for us, too. Last year we did a fun challenge; we went to every casino in one day. At each stop we bought 2 Chips.
    Very fun to see all the interiors and compare their betting chips. We got a great pile of souvieneers!
    Ours was done by car but if it’s not too hot and you’re into long runs, making it a marathon would be awesome.

      Oh what a cool idea, visiting all the casinos and getting chips as souvenirs! That would be fun!

    If any of your readers are staying at one of the large hotels (especially in the spring or summe rmonths), they might enjoy some time at the pool–which, in many cases, isn’t just an ordinary pool. During various trips to Vegas, our family has stayed at the MGM, which has a wonderful lazy river–rent an inner tube or just swim along with the current, as well as an adults-only pool area. The Mandalay Bay has a number of swimming options, including a wave pool, and the Luxor hotel has a five-acre pool complex made up of four separate pools. Swimming at the Luxor offers fewer bells and whistles, but I believe it’s open to those who are not guests at the hotel for a fee, and you have the opporunity to swim and sun in the shadow of this incredible glass-and-steel pyramid.

      Very good tip about the pools, Juna! My sister and I didn’t go swimming at all, but I have heard that it’s easy enough (and quite cheap) to do! I think a lot of the hotels will let in non-guests for a fee.

    I guess I’m kinda late to reply to this, but I’m sixteen and live in Vegas. And I can personally attest to this. (seriously, I’ve been down to the strip hundreds of times since I was two or so) As you said most nightclubs are really good about keeping minors out, but there are a few that have 18 & under nights. Not to mention the shopping is fantastic. (be sure to check out the Forum shops in Caesars and the fashion show mall). Glad you had fun!

      Thanks for the input, Riley! I feel like most people just assume you can’t enjoy Vegas unless you’re 21. But of course that’s not true! There’s SO much to see and do there.

    My family is actually planning on moving there in the near future and none of us drink and definitely don’t plan on really gambling. I knew there was a lot to do but I didn’t know there so many cheap things to do! I definitely want to zip line and see the Bodies exhibit at the Luxor. Tickets are only like $12, I think.

      Yes, Vegas can actually be pretty affordable if you know where to go (and especially if you don’t drink!).

    There are a lot of things to do in Vegas beside gambling. Going to a show is one of them. Been to The Dream at the Wynn and it was outstanding. You can also find a lot of good restaurants in Vegas. My favourites are : Charlie Palmer Steak house at the Four Seasons and Wing Lei at the Wynn.

      Yes, there’s definitely plenty to do in Vegas that doesn’t involve gambling!

    Nice post! Do hotels accept people under 21 by themselfe? My boyfriend and I are planning to go, but we are both 19…

      That’s a great question! I’m not 100% sure, but I *think* some hotels will let you book as long as you’re 18, but they’ll be very strict that you can’t be in the casino. I would call whichever hotel you’re looking at and double check though, just to be sure!

    Hi Amanda,
    Me and my sister are currently planning our road trip and Las Vegas is on our list, we’re having troubles with hotel rooms though (I’m not 21 for another month). I was just wondering what hotel you and your sister stayed at?

      Hey Kelly! We stayed at the Stratosphere, but I was 21 at the time, so we didn’t have any issues booking a room. My tip would be to look for the hotels (possibly off of the Strip) that don’t have casinos inside. Most of the 21+ rules apply to the casinos, so trying to book a room at a hotel-casino might be tricky if neither of you is 21 yet.

    […] 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 … […]

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

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

    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.

    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.

    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!

    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!

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