With more than 40 hotels, casinos and resorts providing lavish shows, you don’t have to look hard for diversion in Las Vegas. In addition to the offerings of various casinos, there’s the nightly Fremont Street Experience light-and-sound show, held in a pedestrian mall (every hour on the hour, 6 pm-midnight). The events listed below are in addition to Resort/Casino-related offerings.
Late January: Las Vegas Marathon. More than 7,500 runners compete in the full marathon (26.2 mi/42 km), half-marathon (13.1 mi/21 km) and 5K Friendship Run. A post-marathon party and health-and-fitness expo are also part of the festivities. For information, call 702-240-2722.
Late February—World Archery Festival. Archers compete in the first leg of the new 3 Star Tour for one of the largest purses offered in indoor archery competitions. Also a trade show with the newest equipment and accessories in the archery industry. Riviera Hotel and Casino, 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. S. For information, call 909-794-8512, or toll-free 888-739-4527 or 800-811-2331.
Mid March: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
. This two-day celebration of Irish heritage features the Sons of Erin Parade along Fourth Street, Celtic- and Irish-themed music on two stages, green beer, a block party and more. The Fremont Street Experience. For information, call 702-678-5777, or toll-free 800-249-3559.
Late Marc: Laughlin River Stampede Rodeo. The country’s best cowboys compete in various contests in this PRCA-sanctioned event. Laughlin Events Grounds, Laughlin (90 miles south of Las Vegas). For information, call 719-589-9444, or the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce toll-free at 800-227-5245. Continues through early April
Early March: NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series Racing. More than 100,000 spectators are anticipated at the Nextel Cup UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and Busch Series Sam’s Town 300. Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N. For information and tickets, call 702-644-4444 or 702-644-4443.
Early March: Race Jam Weekend. Five city blocks are filled with a classic car show, a demonstration racetrack, appearances by NASCAR drivers, entertainment on two stages and more. For information, call 702-678-5777, or toll-free 800-249-3559.
Early-Late April through early September: Minor-League Baseball
. The Las Vegas 51s, a Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, play regular-season home games at Cashman Field, 850 Las Vegas Blvd. N. For information and tickets, call 702-386-7200. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 702-798-7825 or 702-474-4000.
13-17 April: World Cup Show Jumping. Show jumping’s prestigious World Cup championship comes to Las Vegas with more than 40 top international competitors. Thomas and Mack Center, 4505 Maryland Parkway, UNLV campus. For information, call 702-260-8605. For tickets, call toll-free 866-388-3267.
Late April: City of Lights Jazz Festival. A lineup of top national jazz musicians performs for 10 hours in Desert Breeze Park with a view of the Las Vegas skyline. Spring Mountain and Durango roads. For information, call 702-228-3780. For tickets, call toll-free 800-969-8342.
Late April: Laughlin River Run. The West Coast’s largest motorcycle show features stunt demonstrations, a trade show and traveling museum, along with casino games and live entertainment. Along the Colorado River, Laughlin For information and tickets, call 714-694-2800, or toll-free 800-357-8223.
Mid April: Golf. Top female golfers from around the world compete for US$1.1 million. Las Vegas Country Club, 3000 Joe W. Brown Drive. For information and tickets, call 702-898-4653.
Mid April (date varies each year depending on the liturgical calendar): Mardi Gras Festival. This free annual festival celebrates Mardis Gras Vegas-style with elaborate parades, sound-and-light shows, live entertainment on three stages and more. The Fremont Street Experience. For information, call 702-260-8605, 702-678-5600, or toll-free 800-249-3559.
Early-Late May: Laughlin Mile Dragon Boat Challenge. This ancient Chinese sport comes to Laughlin as local and international teams of 20 rowers, a steersman and a drummer paddle 44-ft. -long Chinese war canoes down 1 mi/1.5 km of the Colorado River. The best viewing spot is the River Walk, where a cultural festival with drumming contests takes place. 90 miles south of Las Vegas. For information, call the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce toll-free at 800-227-5245.
Mid May: Las Vegas Cruise. This annual event showcases pre-1972 classic cars in the Show and Shine, in addition to a poker run, photo ops with the owners and drivers of vintage cars, and other free entertainment. The Freemont Street Experience. For information, call 702-678-5777, or toll-free 800-249-3559.
Early May: Cinco de Mayo. This commemoration of the 1862 Battle of Puebla showcases the Banda Festival with well-known bands performing. Organized by the Mexican Patriotic Committee. Freedom Park, Washington and Mojave. For information, call 702-649-1198.
Mid June: National Open Chess Tournament. Dozens of national and international chess masters of all ages compete in nine sections, including a qualifier for the U.S. championship. Riviera Hotel and Casino, 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. S. For information and tickets, call 702-734-5110, or toll-free 800-634-6753.
5-15 August: International Police and Fire Games. Las Vegas hosts these biennial games with police, fire and military personnel and their spouses from around the world competing in more than 40 sports events, ranging from baseball, basketball, swimming and cycling to skeet, horseshoes, darts, bench-pressing and arm wrestling. Various venues. For information, call 702-259-6350, 702-259-6351, or toll-free 800-863-9676.
27-29 August: Harvest Festival. More than 200 exhibitors showcase handmade crafts and specialty foods. Cashman Center, 850 Las Vegas Blvd. N. For information, call 707-778-6300, or toll-free 800-321-1213.
Throughout August and September: Minor-League Baseball. The Las Vegas 51s, a Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, play regular-season home games at Cashman Field, 850 Las Vegas Blvd. N. For information and tickets, call 702-386-7200. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 702-798-7825 or 702-474-4000.
Early-Late September—through May: Performance. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Performing Arts Center draws national and international ensembles and artists in opera, ballet, classical music, jazz and other performing arts. Corner of Maryland Parkway and Cottage Grove Street, UNLV campus. For information and tickets, call 702-895-2787 or 702-799-3267.
16-19 September: Las Vegas Bike Fest. Events include a motorcycle show, the world’s strongest biker competition, rock concerts on Freemont Street and a custom bike show with more than 100 entries. Fremont Street Experience and other downtown venues. For information, call 702-450-7662, or toll-free 866-245-3337.
18 September: Las Vegas International Mariachi Festival. This annual one-day festival showcases the sounds of the classic Mexican guitar, accompanied by traditional Latin vocals and performed by some of the world’s finest mariachis. Aladdin Resort & Casino Theatre for the Performing Arts, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S. For information and tickets, call toll-free 800-637-1006.
18, 19 September: Ho’olaule’a. Festival celebrating the culture of the Pacific Islands, with entertainment, crafts demonstrations and other activities. Lorenzi Park, 3333 W. Washington Ave. For information, call 702-382-6939.
19 September: Mexican Independence Day Celebration. One of the city’s two largest community Hispanic events features a Mariachi Fieston with groups from Arizona, California and Mexico performing, along with Mexican arts and crafts and food booths. Organized by the Mexican Patriotic Committee. Freedom Park, Washington and Mojave. For information, call 702-649-1198.
25 September: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The Las Vegas Speedway hosts the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Las Vegas 350. For information and tickets, call 702-644-4444 or 702-644-4443.
Late September—May: Dance. Nevada Ballet Theatre presents classic and contemporary balles at the Judy Bayley Theatre, UNLV campus, and other venues. For schedule and venue information, call 702-243-2623. For tickets to most performances, call the UNLV Box Office at 702-895-2787
Mid September: San Gennaro Feast. This popular celebration of Italian-American culture features an ethnic food festival, carnival midway, live entertainment from national names and children’s activities. Corner of South Rampart Boulevard and Alta Drive. For information, call 702-286-4944.
Mid September: Great American Motorcycle Experience. Motorcyclists, dealers and manufacturers participate in the Motorcross Championship and road, dirt, drag and desert racing, in addition to demonstrations, concerts and fireworks. Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N. For information, call toll-free 800-202-8832. For tickets, call 702-644-4444, or Ticketmaster at 702-474-2000.
—Nevada Day. Public holiday.
Late September; early October: Professional Bull Riders World Finals. The top 45 national bull riders compete in the Pro Bull Riders championship. For information, call 719-471-3008. Mandalay Bay Events Center, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S., and Thomas and Mack Center, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, UNLV campus. For tickets, call the Mandalay Bay box office toll-free at 877-632-7400,
Early-Late October—April: ECHL Hockey. The Las Vegas Wranglers play regular-season home games at the Orleans Arena, 400 W. Tropicana Ave. For information, call 702-471-7825. For tickets, call 702-284-7777, or toll-free 888-234-2334.
Early-Late October – Continues through early May: The Las Vegas Philharmonic, one of the newest and largest arts organizations in Nevada, performs classical-music concerts at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, UNLV campus. For information and tickets, call 702-258-5438 or 702-895-2787.
Mid November: Aviation Nation. The largest free public event in Nevada features the USAF Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron and the second-largest air-racing event in the U.S. Flying demonstrations by U.S. military and civilian performers. Ground displays showcase more than 100 vintage and new-model aircraft. Nevis Air Force Base. For information, call 402-652-7556, 702-652-5697 or 702-497-9885.
28-30 November – early December: Miss Rodeo America. Preceeding the National Finals Rodeo, Miss Rodeo America Inc. crowns its scholarship winner in this annual rodeo competition. Orleans Hotel and Arena, 4500 W. Tropicana Ave. For information and tickets, call 719-948-9206.
Early-Late December—Holiday Festival. This festival kicks off with a tree-lighting ceremony and includes appearances by Santa Claus and live entertainment. Live theatrical shows on two stages continue throughout the monthlong festival. The Freemont Street Experience. For information, call toll-free 800-249-3559.
2 December: Downtown Hoedown. The 17th Annual Downtown Hoedown kicks off the National Finals Rodeo with music from top country singers on stages along five blocks. The Freemont Street Experience. For information, call 702-678-5777, or toll-free 800-249-3559.
2-11 December: Cowboy Christmas Gift Show. At the National Finals Rodeo’s crafts show, approximately 400 exhibitors display a variety of western-themed gifts, including western clothing from spurs to belts, jewelry, southwest Native American arts and crafts and pottery, and official PRCA souvenirs. Also rodeo contestant and celebrity autograph sessions, fashion shows and other entertainment. North Hall, Las Vegas Convention Center, 3150 Paradise Road. For information, call 702-260-8605.
3-12 December: National Finals Rodeo. Top national rodeo contestants compete for big prize money in the world’s premier rodeo. Also fashion and awards shows, country-music concerts, bronco and bull sales, a golf tournament and more. Thomas and Mack Center, UNLV campus, and other venues. Tickets may be hard to come by. For tickets, call 702-260-8605, or toll-free 866-388-3267.
31 December: America’s Party New Year’s Eve. This large New Year’s Eve celebration features a spectacular fireworks show over a 5-mi/8-km stretch of the Strip and live concerts by international superstars. For information, call 702-206-8605.