A trip to Las Vegas does not have to leave you impoverished. Surprisingly, there are a wide variety of things to see and do which won't empty your wallet. While you may wish to do some gambling, that doesn't have to be the all encompassing purpose of a sojourn in Las Vegas.
Lets just take one example. The incredible fountains outside of the Bellagio go off every fifteen minutes and are free. Did you know that they dance in time with the music? The best time to visit them is at night.
If you can control your inner spender, the Forum Shops have plenty to see and do for free as well. The mall is massive, and the talking statues can be quite entertaining. It is also a great place to eat or get souvenirs for your trip. The Cheesecake Factory, Spago, and Bertollinis all offer excellent meals at affordable prices, often with portions big enough to share. Unfortunately, the cost of shopping may be rough on your pocket book, so try to limit yourself to just browsing whenever possible if you are trying to stick to a budget.
If you have come to Vegas for the gambling, consider Slots of Fun Las Vegas. The gambling, food, and drinks are cheaper here than at some of the other casinos. Limit yourself to the lower limit tables and you may be able to walk away without leaving behind half of your life's savings.
If you are in downtown Las Vegas at night, be sure to see the Freemont Street Experience. It is a free light show that comes to life every half hour. Downtown also has lower room rates and lower limit tables than some of the bigger hotels up on the Strip.
Another great free show is the Masquerade in the Sky at the Rio. The show goes on nightly, and if you sit near the buffet you can also watch the entertaining antics of the flair bartenders at the same time.
If you enjoy a more relaxed, natural atmosphere, take a break in the Gardens at the Bellagio. The gardens are beautiful and give you a nice, quiet break from the fast paced workings of the casinos and gambling. At the same time, speaking of fountains, wander a little through the ground floor, and you'll enjoy seeing the world's tallest chocolate fountain in a rainbow of colors.
Another nice mall to walk through is the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Hotel. You can browse the shops, watch the gondolas go buy, or sit and just enjoy the music and the people. The Postrio and the Canonita both offer menu items for dining that will not totally break the bank as well.
If you have kids, there are inexpensive things for them to do as well. The Lied Discovery Museum has a childrens museum that encourages children to touch, seek, and explore. Located just a few blocks from downtown, it offers a chance for families to do things together at a relatively low cost.
Another relatively inexpensive thing to do with the kids is to spend an afternoon at Circus Circus in the Adventurdome. There are a number of thrill rides inside the indoor theme park that the kids are sure to enjoy, as well as arcade games, miniature golf, and a rollercoaster.
If you can keep the kids from wanting to buy everything in sight, another free destination can be the FAO Schwarz store inside of the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Besides toys galore, the talking statues and giant fish tank are sure to be a hit. There are also motion machine rides available for a low cost as well.
Always keep in mind that the primary aim of Las Vegas hotels and casinos is to stimulate you to spend money. The glitz, the lights, the entire atmosphere -- are all calculated to induce you to use the slots or belly up to the gambling tables. Stay away from the main gambling halls as much as you are able and you're pocketbook will surely benefit.