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Fun Things Teens Can Do in Las Vegas (Both Free and Paid)

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When I brought my teenage daughter to Las Vegas, I was worried there wouldn't be anything for her to do. I couldn't have been more wrong!

When I earned a company all-expenses-paid trip for myself and my family to Las Vegas, one of my first concerns was whether or not there would be anything for my teenage daughter to do. With just a few months before she turned 18, I wasn't sure there would be enough to do to hold her interest for the five days we'd be there. I started looking online for activities she might like.

I was surprised to learn that Las Vegas has an incredible array of activities to entertain kids of all ages. I'll summarize some of the activities we found and share with you some of the experiences we had while there.

Graffiti Art in the Arts District in Downtown Las Vegas (c) Copyright KCC Big Country

Graffiti Art in the Arts District in Downtown Las Vegas (c) Copyright KCC Big Country

Free Activities for Teens in Las Vegas

This is a list of FREE activities that teens can experience while visiting Las Vegas:

  • The Fountains of the Bellagio: The fountains are impressive any time of the day or night, but the night-time shows are simply beautiful. Come early for best viewing. The show runs every 30 minutes from 3 to 7 pm and every 15 minutes until midnight.
  • The Volcano at the Mirage: We stayed at the Mirage and had an excellent view of the volcano from our 15th-floor hotel room. By day, this man-made rock formation is covered in waterfalls. By night, it becomes a fire-spewing volcano shooting flames and water high into the air. The show runs every 15 minutes from dark until midnight.
  • The Freemont Street Experience: This is a must-see for any age. There is simply nothing like it. The Freemont Experience is a huge domed screen that covers the entire street from side to side and end to end for over four city blocks of downtown Las Vegas on Freemont Street. This screen comes alive with lights and music too incredible to describe. You are immersed in the experience as you stand below it with your jaw agape. There is also a lot of live music here. My daughter absolutely loved the '80s cover band that performed while we were there.
  • The Graffiti/Art in the Arts District: The 18b Arts District in downtown Las Vegas has an impressive amount of artistic graffiti on display. We visited during mid-day on a Saturday and were able to get a number of great photos.
  • Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health: Drive by or stop to take photos of this incredibly fascinating artistic architecture by the famous architect Frank Gehry.
  • Pool: Take advantage of the swimming pool at your hotel. Teens love to play in the water or work on their tan.
  • The Sirens at TI: This will probably appeal to the teenage boys more than the girls, since the pirates are scantily-clad women. This show runs at 7 pm, 8:30 pm, 10 pm and 11:30 pm.
  • Have your photo taken in front of the iconic "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign: They have created a small parking lot just for visitors to this sign since it sits in the median. All of the times we passed by, the parking lot was pretty full with buses, limos and rental cars.
Meet the Mad Hatter and Batman—two of the many characters you can meet and have your photo taken with on Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

Meet the Mad Hatter and Batman—two of the many characters you can meet and have your photo taken with on Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

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The Escape Game-Las Vegas

The Escape Game-Las Vegas

Budget-Friendly Activities for Teens in Vegas

This is a list of activities that may cost you a little bit for teens to enjoy:

  • The Escape Game: The Escape Game is a 60-minute adventure where you and your team will work together to find clues, overcome challenges, and ultimately complete a mission! Grab some friends, or meet some new ones there, and test your skills!
  • Shopping: There are places to shop all over the place in Vegas. You can find souvenirs everywhere and for any amount of money. There are incredible bargains to be found at The Fashion Show Mall across the street from TI (Treasure Island) and the Miracle Mile Shops inside Planet Hollywood.
  • Red Rock Canyon: For less than $10 a car, you can take a 13-mile trip through the Red Rock Canyons just west of the Las Vegas Strip. Red Rock Canyon is part of the Mojave Desert. Horseback rides are also available for a fee.
  • Bowling: Some of the hotels have bowling alleys located within them. Sam's Town on the Boulder Highway is one of them.
  • Roller Coasters and Rides: Adventuredome Theme Park indoors at Circus Circus, the breath-taking rides on top of the Stratosphere, the roller coasters at New York-New York and the Sahara are some of the best rides available for thrill-seekers.
  • M&M's World and Gameworks: Four floors of shopping in the Showcase Mall next to the MGM Grand Hotel and over 250 games and attractions.
  • Hard Rock Cafe: They have two locations, one on Paradise Road and one on the Strip next to MGM Grand. Teens love seeing the rock and roll memorabilia and celebrities are known to pop in places like this.
  • Gondola ride: The Venetian Hotel has a waterway with gondolas you can ride at the Grand Canal Shoppes for $12.50 a person.
  • Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum: Located in front of The Venetian is an interactive wax museum.
  • Indoor Skydiving: Flyaway Skydiving on Convention Center Drive is an indoor vertical wind tunnel that allows you to simulate the freefall aspect of skydiving. I have friends who have done this and say it's a blast.
  • Racing: Pole Position Raceway has indoor go-kart racing, arcade and billiards. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway has the Petty Driving Experience that allows you to drive or ride in a Winston Cup style car. They also have Indy-style racecars you can drive or ride in at the Derek Daly Academy. Las Vegas Mini-Grand Prix has go-cart racing. The Sahara has racing simulators.
  • Blue Man Group at the Venetian: This one-of-a-kind show thrills people of all ages. Watch the YouTube video below for a taste of what it's all about.
  • Cirque du Soleil's "Mystere" at TI, "O" at the Bellagio, "The Beatles LOVE" at the Mirage: Any Cirque du Soleil performance you can find will be an incredible experience. I have seen "Alegria" ,"Mystere", "Ovo", "Crystal", "T'was the Night Before", "Kooza", "Kurios", "Amaluna", and "Corteo" live. No videotaping or photography is allowed at the shows.
  • Take a Limo Ride: Watch for specials and coupons and you and a group of friends can catch some good deals on limo rides. Teens love being chauffeured around like rock stars.
  • Bootleg Canyon Flightlinez: Slide down a zipline at speeds in excess of 60 mph located about 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas.
  • Photo with an Impersonator: There are impersonators on the Strip and downtown. They love posing for photos with you, but they do expect a tip. $1 is customary. Impersonators we saw included Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Brett Michaels, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Woody from Toy Story, Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and Prince.
  • Critters: For fees ranging from $5 and up, you can see dolphins, white tigers, lions, flamingos, sharks, exotic fish, etc. at places like Wildlife Habitat at The Flamingo, Sharks Reef at Mandalay Bay, Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage, Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand, the huge aquariums at the Silverton Hotel, Caesars Palace, and The Mirage, and the pool at the Golden Nugget.
  • The Sports Center: Here, you'll find an indoor rock wall, go-karts and arcade games.

If you have a bit more time and money to spend:

  • ATV tours
  • Helicopter tours
  • Bus tours

Helpful Tips for Traveling in Vegas With Teens

  • Be sure to bring more than one swimsuit because one will probably be wet when they're ready to go to the pool again
  • Leave room in your luggage for bringing home more clothes and shoes than you came with. With all the new luggage restrictions on airlines you don't want to end up paying extra money to bring home all of the goodies you bought.
  • Be sure to bring comfortable shoes for walking because you'll be doing plenty of it even if you rent a car. Just from the lobby of our hotel to our hotel room door was over a quarter of a mile walk one way. Flip-flops are popular choices for teens, but the typical flip-flog does not support the feet enough for the amount of walking they will be doing.
  • Make sure your teen eats and drinks regularly. They tend to dry out quickly and feel nauseated from the heat quicker than adults. Soda doesn't count as a hydrating liquid. Make sure they drink water.
  • For teenage girls, make sure they bring a purse they are comfortable carrying around all day. Over-the-shoulder bags work great.
  • Vegas does have a curfew and children and teens under 18 are not allowed unescorted by an adult past 10 pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends.
  • The layout of the hotels and casinos is such that you almost have to walk through a casino floor to get anywhere. They realize that kids will often have to go through these areas, but they are expected to be escorted by an adult and they should keep walking without stopping. There are even slot machines at the airport. If you want your child or teen to watch you play, ask an attendant how close they can stand or sit to watch. My daughter was able to watch from a short distance as I played $5 while waiting on our departure flight.

© 2010 KRC

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