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!

Amanda at the Las Vegas sign
Me with a cup of coffee instead of a can of beer.

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!

Gondolas inside the Venetian
Gondolas inside the Venetian
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.)

Las Vegas after dark
Everything gets illuminated after dark

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 promo girls wearing lots of feathers.

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

Even if you're not staying at a hotel in the thick of things, you can hop on a bus called Deuce on the Strip 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 can take 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. Watch the Bellagio Fountains

Bellagio Fountains

This could be rolled in to exploring The Strip at night since nighttime is the best time to experience one of these shows, but the Bellagio Fountains deserve their own bullet point here!

Sitting in front of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino, these massive fountains are choreographed to music, and “perform” a couple times per hour. You can watch them from several different places, and I would definitely recommend stopping.

Bellagio Fountains in front of the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower
The fountains were “performing” to Lady Gaga here.

3. Visit hotel-casinos during the day

While the the sun comes up and the bright lights are dimmed, 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.

The Venetian Las Vegas
The Venetian during the day, complete with canal

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

  • Ride the roller coaster at New York, New York ($19-$23)
  • Check out the amazing Chihuly glass ceiling at the Bellagio (FREE)
  • Roam through the Bellagio conservatory, which has a different theme each season (FREE)
  • Watch the Bellagio fountains put on a show (FREE; frequently throughout the day and night)
  • Ride in a gondola at the Venetian ($34-$39 per person)
  • Visit the shark reef at Mandalay Bay ($25 – book here!)
  • Get your adrenaline pumping at the top of the STRAT, 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 ($40 – 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 $30 during the day – book here!)

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

High Roller in Las Vegas
High Roller

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 2022.*)

4. 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!)

5. 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.

Chihuly ceiling inside the Bellagio
Chihuly ceiling inside the Bellagio

6. 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 ($40+ 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, and the Neon Museum, the place where many of Vegas' neon signs have gone to die.

On my most recent trip to Las Vegas, I also spent time at the trippy Area 15 and inside Omega Mart by Meow Wolf. Omega Mart is difficult to describe, but it's kind of part interactive art museum, part escape room, and part playground.

Omega Mart entrance
Omega Mart entrance
Omega Mart products
Omega Mart products
Omega Mart in Las Vegas

On the surface, it looks like a supermarket when you enter. But the items on the shelves are not normal products, and if you poke around you can find passageways into an alien-like world behind the scenes. There's a storyline to follow and a mystery to solve if you have time, or you can just explore and interact with the space.

7. 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

If you're interested in the history of Old Vegas, you can book a walking tour of Fremont Street, which is a fun way to spend two hours.

8. 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 sign

9. 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.

If you have a car, some of the top day trips to take include:

The Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park
The Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park

And if you aren't renting a car, here are some great tours to take you to these spots from Las Vegas:

View from the Hoover Dam
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 Go City pass

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 Go City pass, which can save you money on multiple attractions. You can get a pass for anywhere from 2-5 days and save up to half off the normal ticketed price on 30+ attractions and tours.

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. 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.

    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!

    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!

    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!).

    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.

    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.

    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!

    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!

    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.

    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!

    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!).

    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.

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

      Awesome! Sounds like you had a fun Vegas trip then. ๐Ÿ™‚

    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…

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