In 2022, Las Vegas had 38.8 million visitors, around 20.5% more than in 2021 when pandemic restrictions were in place. Tourism to Las Vegas is still bouncing back in a big way, and now is the time to plan your trip.
If you’re on a strict budget, you may wonder how to fit everything into your Vegas itinerary. Luckily it’s possible to see the coolest sights in Vegas on a budget; you just need to know what to include on your list.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to create the perfect Vegas itinerary on a budget and not miss out on the best places!
Visit Red Rock Canyon
While you might think of Las Vegas as all lights and shows, you can find beautiful natural scenery right off the Vegas strip. Red Rock Canyon gives you a taste of nature without breaking the bank.
One of the best parts of Red Rock Canyon is the gorgeous 13-mile scenic drive. You can also go hiking on one of the 26 trails to take in wildlife like deer, birds, and bighorn sheep. Spring is a fantastic time to visit since you’ll be able to see the wildflowers in bloom.
You’ll need to book in advance between October 1st and May 31st by purchasing a time reservation. You don’t need reservations if visiting the park from June 1st to September 30th. It’s only $20 per vehicle for the day, and you can buy an America the Beautiful annual pass if you plan to visit different parks during the year.
See the Hoover Dam
Visiting the Hoover Dam is a must when planning your Vegas vacation. The Hoover Dam is a massive structure built in 1930, measuring approximately 726 feet tall. It controls the water flow from the Colorado River and is on the border of Nevada and Arizona. In fact, it’s only 30 minutes from Las Vegas and will give you the breathtaking scenery you’ve been looking for.
Self-guided tours are available for $10; you can get guided power plant tours for $15 and guided dam tours for $30. However, some scheduled maintenance is occurring, so you’ll need to check what tours are available when you visit.
Check Out the Neon Museum
Visiting Las Vegas always involves seeing the huge neon signs that light up the night. You can see these signs in an entirely different way when you visit the Neon Museum. The Neon Museum opened in 1996 and preserves and collects iconic Las Vegas signs. They collect these signs for historical and cultural education.
Make sure to visit the Neon Boneyard, the museum’s main collection. It consists of over 250 unrestored signs and many other restored signs. There are also other collections like the North Gallery. You’ll find more unrestored signs along with sights and sounds that make these signs come back to life.
General admissions tickets for adults are only $20, and children under 7 are free. If you want a guided tour at night, you’ll only pay $28. The Neon Museum “Double The Glow Experience” gives you a guided tour and a 45-minute show.
Make sure to book your tickets in advance since they tend to sell out quickly.
Experience the Fun of Fremont Street
Freemont Street is right at the core of Las Vegas’ history, and in 1925, it became the first paved street in the city. It’s known as the birthplace of Las Vegas and full of the marquees and neon signs that Vegas is known for.
Fremont Street also had the first gambling club called the Northern Club, which was one of the first legal casinos in Las Vegas. It was also the center of commerce, with many bars and shops, making it a famous hangout for celebrities, showgirls, and everything in between.
Today you can enjoy the six blocks of this famous street, including casinos, shops, restaurants, and shows. Four blocks of Freemont Street have a canopy with thousands of LED lights allowing you to enjoy video shows during the day.
Zip lines and race cars driving round out the experience. The best part is that it’s open to visitors 24/7, with no admission fee. In addition, you’ll find that most events and concerts are also free.
Don’t Miss the Atomic Museum
As far as Vegas museums go, the Atomic Museum should be at the top of your list. The National Atomic Testing Museum, a science and educational institution, details the history of America’s nuclear weapons testing program and the atomic age and pop culture it created.
Nevada Testing Site
Between 1951 and 1992, the Nevada Test Site (NTS) was America’s most prominent nuclear weapons proving ground. After World War II, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was formed to track the development of atomic science. During the 1950s, nuclear weapons rapidly expanded due to the fear of other countries building their own atomic weapons.
People could see mushroom clouds from nuclear tests from their Las Vegas Strip hotel more than 100 miles away. People would also have atomic parties with appropriately themed cocktails in designated viewing areas.
Atomic Museum Exhibits
The Atomic Museum is one of the few national museums with rare artifacts from the atomic testing program. You’ll be able to see the nuclear reactor that was used when the nuclear rocket was first developed.
Other exhibits include the Davy Crockett, a backpack bomb developed in the US. You’ll also get to see Phoebus-2A, a nuclear reactor designed for a project known as Project Rover. You can then learn more about nuclear weapons production and research. Don’t miss the SPY exhibit, which highlights the gathering of intelligence and data during the cold war.
There are also artifacts on display, like comic books, TV shows, and toys that showcase the pop culture of that era.
To ensure you don’t miss out on this unique education in Vegas, you’ll need to buy tickets in advance. The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm seven days a week, and tickets are affordable, only costing $29 for adults. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to tour the entire museum.
Creating the Perfect Vegas Itinerary
Now that you know how to plan the best vegas itinerary on a budget, your trip to Las Vegas will be an experience you’ll never forget.
With your itinerary in place, you’ll need to start buying tickets for the must-see attractions on your list. Of course, visiting the Atomic Museum should be first on your list. The Atomic Museum is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the history of the nuclear weapons testing program at the Nevada Test Site.
Make sure to plan your visit to the Atomic Museum today.