Las Vegas is like Disneyland for grown-ups, right? Well, many people don't think Sin City has much to offer in the way of a family vacation. I'm here to set the record straight- we recently took a trip with our three kids and discovered many kid-friendly activities in Vegas. You just have to know where to look.
Best Things to Do in Las Vegas With Kids- Free and Inexpensive Activities
Discover a list of the best things to do in Las Vegas with kids. Yes, there are not only inexpensive activities to keep the kids entertained, but free ones as well!
A Family Trip to Vegas? No, You're NOT Crazy!
Okay, it's true- some people thought my husband and I were off our rockers when we decided to take a family vacation to Las Vegas. We heard comments like "that's not really a kid-friendly vacation" and "I thought Vegas was only for grown-ups." Well, rest assured we did our homework before leaving. We talked to people who'd gone on trips there with their children. Before we knew it, we'd compiled a long list of things to do in Las Vegas with kids. In fact, we didn't even have time to do everything we'd planned on doing! And we were there for four and a half days. So, if you're thinking of heading to sin city with your young ones, read on!
Vegas Hotels for Kids
Our first line of business was figuring out where to stay. Some of our friends highly recommended Excalibur as one of the great Vegas hotels for kids. Check out the picture above and you can see why! It looks like a castle in Disneyland... When our kids first saw this hotel, they were sad they weren't staying there... Frankly, the hotel is nice...but according to my friend the rooms are a bit plain.
We got a great deal at the MGM Grand AND the rooms had been recently renovated. But, the main reason we chose the MGM was for its insanely cool pool area. It's called "water republic" and it lives up to the republic part. It has a total of five pools, covering a total of 6.6 acres. The best part of the whole complex is the lazy river. With a moderate current, you can float, swim or walk your way around and around this amazing loop. Our kids could not get enough of the pool area... it's a surefire winner!
We have a large family, so we had to get two rooms with the double queen beds. They were quite nice and the views were lovely. One room had a nice view of New York-New York, the other DID have a view of Hooter's... but it was still a nice city view.
The rooms were clean and surprisingly quiet! Because of the carpet, we couldn't hear anyone tromping above us. Of course we'd hear the occasional "WOO HOO!" late at night, but you'd get that anywhere in Vegas. We never heard the neighbors on either side, either.
We stayed on a non-smoking floor, but we could still smell the smoke emanating from the casino. Although they do their best to filter out the smoke, you'll still find you smell like cigarettes.
The MGM Grand is the second largest hotel in the world. You will be immediately struck by its magnitude the minute you walk in the door. You could easily spend a few days just exploring the hotel! Fortunately, it's well marked with signs, so getting lost wasn't too much of an issue. It has numerous restaurants scattered throughout the first floor and it has a food court (complete with a McDonald's), which was nice. The food court isn't cheap, mind you... The cheapest restaurant in the MGM Grand is definitely the McDonald's (but even their prices are elevated). If you walk just a block or so down the strip, there's a food court that's a bit cheaper. Our kids ate at the Panda Express there.
There's also some fun shopping inside the hotel. We ended up buying a few t-shirts for their souvenirs.
World of Coca Cola- By Hard Rock Cafe
Fountains At Bellagio About to Begin
Outside Paris Hotel
Inside Paris Hotel
Bronzed Elvis Along the Strip
Free Vegas Activities with Kids
M&M World- 3785 Las Vegas Blvd S
True to Las Vegas style, M&M World is huge, flashy, colorful and total eye candy (literally). It's a total of five floors, so it's worth at least an hour of your time poking around with the kids. They also offer a free 3-D movie on one floor... The t-shirts are a lot of fun, but make sure to check out the clearance racks. If you are staying at the MGM, it's only a couple of minutes down the strip.
World of Coca Cola- 3785 Las Vegas Blvd S
In the same strip you will find the World of Coca Cola... you can't miss it with the huge bottle of Coke as its landmark. Like M&M World, this place is huge and stuffed full of Coca Cola memorabilia. Make sure to check out the little cafe upstairs where you can taste test a multitude of fun flavors from around the globe.
Fountains at Bellagio- 3600 Las Vegas Blvd S- Mon-Fri 3 pm - 12 am, Sat-Sun 12 pm - 12 am
We easily walked from the World of Coca Cola to the Fountains at Bellagio. You will find you can take detours inside many shopping centers and hotel/casinos on the way, too. The fountain shows run every 30 minutes, so you'll never have to wait long for one. Speakers bellow beautiful music both before and during the performance. Water sprays high up into the air, literally dancing and perfectly choreographed to the music. Our kids were totally mesmerized, as were we. Not to mention, it's simply a beautiful area. You can't get much better for free in Vegas!
Paris Hotel and Casino- 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S
Both you and your kids will love spending some time exploring the Paris Hotel and Casino. In the main section of the casino, you will come across an awe-inspiring section that mimics being in the streets of Paris. Start outside and take a look at the Eiffel Towel replica- it's amazing. We decided not to go up in the tower to save money, but the views are supposedly stunning. We had fun admiring it from the outside and then strolling around the inside of the hotel. In the main section of the casino, you will feel like you are taking a walk down the streets of Paris. Look up and you will see an artificial blue sky scattered with clouds. The Eiffel Tower legs come down into the floor giving the illusion the Tower is ascending up into the clouds. There are quite a few quaint French restaurants you can check out, too. It conveys a vivid dream-like atmosphere you will all love.
Street Performers Along Strip
You will be amazed at the variety of street performers along various parts of the strip. Granted, they are asking for tips, but it's still a blast to watch. Don't miss Elvis or Hello Kitty!
Water Republic at MGM Grand
My kids could not get enough of this place! As I said, if you are staying at the MGM, make sure you take them to the Lazy River at Water Republic. Don't bother spending any money on their donut rafts, either. When people leave, they are more than happy to give theirs to you. We went numerous times and always got them for free. Most of the hotels in Vegas have stunning pools, so no matter where you are you will have some great pool time. But, it's hard to beat Water Republic!
New York- New York Roller Coaster: 3790 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Hours of Operation- Sunday - Thursday, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - midnight.
When I first saw this thing, I was shaking in my boots. It runs on top of the hotel and it looks like you are going way up in the air. But, since you begin the ride so high up, it's not that scary. It has a couple of pretty big drops and some loops, but it's actually pretty tame. If you want to increase the thrill, go at night! You can't tell when the next hill is coming. My kids loved it, but they are pretty fearless on rides. You must be 54" to ride the ride. It's $14 per head or you can buy an all day "scream pass" for $25 if you expect to ride it multiple times.
Cirque De Soleil's Ka at the MGM Grand- 3799 Las Vegas Blvd S
I'm going to say, I've never in my life enjoyed a performance more than Cirque De Soleil's "Ka". It was absolutely mesmerizing, fun, beautiful and shocking from start to finish. The MGM Grand has its own theater for Circue De Soleil and it's simply not to be missed. The theater itself is just spectacular! You might as well leave your cameras and cell phones behind or you might just get a little embarrassed! The costumes are just phenomenal, the scenery is unlike anything you've ever seen. A large portion of the performance is on a square, rotating platform. The effects are just crazy cool- the performers look like they're swimming, drowning, flying, you name it. My kids LOVED every minute of it. It's NOT cheap, mind you... but that's where we chose to spend our money... and it was worth every penny. There really aren't any bad seats in the house, but we found being towards the back was probably an advantage. Go to the concierge and do a little bargaining... there are always "deals" on the shows. Kids 12 and under are considerably less than kids, too. I can't quote you a price because they are constantly changing.
Rainforest Cafe at MGM Grand
The Rainforest Cafe at the MGM Grand
Oh my! What a blast this place is for kids! It has a rainforest/safari theme complete with moving animals, trees, rocks, a huge mushroom for the bar, etc... Fish tanks abound, one even runs overhead... Every so often, you will hear a huge blast of thunder and the animals will come to life. I must say, the food was pretty darn good too! We all had a good time... it's a definite GO TO restaurant if you have kids.
Trust me, there is no end to what you can do with your kids in Las Vegas. They will love seeing Caesar's Palace, The fancy Cosmopolitan, The Bellagio and the sharks at Mandalay Bay. We found ourselves racing around trying to do everything on our list... It's amazing how much fun it is just walking up and down the strip. There are all kinds of people dressed up in a variety of costumes, too. Your kids will enjoy seeing Ms. Kitty and the bronzed Elvis and his dog. Beware, though... he IS REAL. He looks like a statue and will scare you when you watch long enough, or get close enough. Bear in mind, these costumed people make their money from you taking pictures with them...