Las Vegas

14 Ways To Celebrate Indigenous People's Day in the Southwest

State parks, art museums, and Native marketplaces.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya
Hyatt Regency Tamaya
Hyatt Regency Tamaya

More than 20 percent of the Native American population lives in the Southwest United States, with an especially strong presence in New Mexico and Arizona. The culture, art, and commerce of the region’s indigenous people is reflected in businesses, landmarks, and tourist attractions built on heritage that’s often thousands of years old. There’s much to learn and explore. When planning visits, check in advance for the latest information and operating hours. Visitation may be temporarily limited due to COVID-19 concerns.

Sky City Cultural Center/Haak'u Museum
Sky City Cultural Center/Haak’u Museum
Sky City Cultural Center/Haak’u Museum

Acoma Sky City

Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico
Just west of Albuquerque, you’ll find Acoma Pueblo, which consists of four Native American communities. Most famous is Acoma Sky City, where 250 adobe dwellings reach into the sky on an elevated sandstone cliff. The Acoma people have lived there for centuries and continue to do so today. Tourism is a big part of their economy with handmade pottery for sale and endless resources found in the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum. Break for lunch at the Yaak’a Cafe, where you can order chilé stews, corn enchiladas, and other authentic native dishes. 

nootprapa / Shutterstock
nootprapa / Shutterstock
nootprapa / Shutterstock

Grand Canyon West

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Yeah, the Grand Canyon is a pretty big place. The west rim is operated by the Hualapai and draws a big chunk of tourism from Las Vegas. (Taking a helicopter from Sin City is worth the money over the longer, bumpy road trip.) Grand Canyon West is best known for the Skywalk — a glass-bottomed bridge that stretches out nearly 5,000 feet above the canyon floor. In addition to soaking in the majesty of the mammoth landmark, you can also get familiar with local culture (and do a little shopping) with the Native American Village at Eagle Point, which has performances by Hualapai “Bird Singers” every half hour. 

NuWu Main
NuWu Main
NuWu Main

NuWu Cannabis Marketplace

Las Vegas, Nevada
NuWu is more than just another dispensary in Las Vegas. Owned by the Paiute community on tribal land, it represents the strength and importance of Native American autonomy in a growing industry of the future. In addition to having the first drive-thru window for legal cannabis sales in Nevada, NuWu also opened the first and so far, only public consumption lounge. (Nevada state regulators are having trouble finalizing legislation to approve them on a widespread basis.) The original location is Downtown, not far from the casinos and hotels of Fremont Street. A second smaller location is in the northwest valley by the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.  

KOLI Equestrian Center
KOLI Equestrian Center
KOLI Equestrian Center

Koli Equestrian Center

Chandler, Arizona
Just south of Phoenix, the Kofi Equestrian Center is one of the best ways to experience the culture of the Gila River reservation. Trail excursions are open to riders of all levels, including beginners. Instead of traveling single file, participants are encouraged to spread out side-by-side while exploring the desert terrain of Wild Horse Pass. Carriage and hay wagon rides are well suited for families and kids. Plan a visit in the early morning to avoid the peak heat, and then visit the Huhugam Heritage Center with exhibits dedicated to the art, culture, and history of two tribes: the Akimel O’otham (Pima) and the Pee Posh (Maricopa).  

Zachary C Person / Shutterstock
Zachary C Person / Shutterstock
Zachary C Person / Shutterstock

Downtown Historic District

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Downtown Santa Fe offers eye-opening exposure to not only Spanish colonialism, but Native American culture — much of it reflected in the city’s reputation as an art mecca. Explore Native American works in the galleries of Canyon Road or the art and jewelry shops in the center Plaza. Take a short excursion to Museum Hill and visit the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and Museum of International Folk Art. If possible, plan your trip around the annual Indian Market, which takes place in August — and will hopefully return next year after going virtual in 2020.

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Casa Grande

Coolidge, Arizona
A visit to the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument may leave you with more questions than answers. The mysterious remains date back to about 1350, when the Sonoran Desert people developed a somewhat sophisticated trade stop with a widespread irrigation system. Abandoned in 1450, the site is punctuated by Casa Grande itself (or as translated, the “big house”). The once four-story adobe structure is now protected from the weather by an overhead canopy and surrounded by houses and offices from the late 1930s that are so old and true to native architecture, they’re now considered historic as well.  

The Stand
The Stand
The Stand

The Stand 

Scottsdale, Arizona
Not to be confused with a nearby burger joint of the same name, The Stand is a roadside open-air kitchen that’s earned bucket list dining status when exploring the Native American culture of central Arizona. Tree stumps are used for seats and the menu is relatively simple, featuring tacos made with a choice of tortillas or fry bread — a puffy, chewy fried dough. While in the area, pay a visit to the Huhugam Ki Museum, dedicated to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Lost City Museum
Lost City Museum
Lost City Museum

Lost City Museum

Overton, Nevada
The Lost City Museum is a fascinating dig into the archeology of Native American history in Nevada and Arizona. Most of the artifacts were recovered from sites that would eventually be flooded by redirected water due to the construction of the Hoover Dam. The museum is just outside the Valley of Fire State Park, where ancient Native American petroglyphs were discovered among the colorful sandstone formations. Even if you stay in your car, it’s one of the most scenic road trips near Las Vegas.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya
Hyatt Regency Tamaya
Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Who says you can’t get familiar with indigineous culture while enjoying luxury accommodations at the same time? The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort is owned and operated by the Tamayame people on the vast Santa Ana Pueblo outside Albuquerque. Guests are invited to ride horses, take part in pottery classes, and watch authentic tribal dances. Ask for a room with a view of the Sandia Mountains.

Puye Cliff Dwellings
Puye Cliff Dwellings
Puye Cliff Dwellings

Puye Cliff Dwellings

Los Alamo, New Mexico
Think of them as old-school, high-rise apartments. The Puye Cliff Dwellings were the home of more than 1,500 Santa Clara Pueblo inhabitants between 900 and 1580. The dwellings include two levels of caves on the side of the Pajarito Plateau with additional homes on top of the mesa. Tours are available on the hour to all parts of the cliff. The Harvey House is an old bed and breakfast from the early 20th century that’s now a gift shop and exhibit hall. If you’re wondering whatever happened to the Santa Clara people, they moved about 10 miles east to the Santa Clara Pueblo, where they still live today. Book a room at Inn at the Delta, which has 10 suites and an impressive collection of Native American and Spanish Colonial art.   

Wisanu Boonrawd / Shutterstock
Wisanu Boonrawd / Shutterstock
Wisanu Boonrawd / Shutterstock

Navajo Nation

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah 
Navajo Nation covers more than 17 million acres, making it the largest reservation claimed by a single tribe in the United States. (If it was a state, it would be larger in land mass than at least 10 others.) So yes, there’s lots to explore, especially the colorful rock formations of Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, and the capital Window Rock, named after a distinctive sandstone landmark with a large, circular hole in the middle. For something more contemporary, visit the street murals of the Painted Desert Project, an effort in beautifying buildings and other structures in the nation for more than 10 years. Save most of your dollars for the Hubbell Trading Post, which has been selling native art and other items since 1878.  

Dan Kaplan / Shutterstock
Dan Kaplan / Shutterstock
Dan Kaplan / Shutterstock

Taos Pueblo

Taos, New Mexico
Dating back nearly a thousand years, Taos Pueblo is considered the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. It’s built entirely from sun-dried adobe bricks with more than 150 indigenous people still living there year-round. The town of Taos is just south with hundreds of shops, art galleries, and restaurants overloaded with Native American authenticity. Nearby Blue Lake was claimed by the U.S. government at one point, but returned to the Taos people. It’s a scenic destination for ambitious hikers. However, it’s considered sacred and photography is forbidden.  

Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.
Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.
Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.

Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. 

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bow & Arrow Brewing Company was founded by two Native American women, Shyla Sheppard and Missy Begay, who honor their ancestry while brewing some of the most robust, complex craft brews in New Mexico. The business is relatively new, opening in 2016, but is already earning raves from beer lovers around the country — especially for the line of inventive sours. The Albuquerque taproom is a charming, rustic space for enjoying a drink. It’s a five-minute drive from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which features a rotating lineup of exhibits dedicated to 19 Pueblos and the Pueblo Harvest Cafe.

Heard Museum
Heard Museum
Heard Museum

Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art 

Phoenix, Arizona
Often mistaken for an old home due to its warm and welcoming feel, the Heard Museum was built in 1929 to house a private family art collection that’s only grown in size and scope over the years. There’s a heavy emphasis on western U.S. Native American art, including more than 1,200 katsina dolls, some of which were donated by Barry Goldwater. On any given visit, you can trace the history of Native Americans through more than 3,600 pieces, ranging from historic artifacts to contemporary works. The Heard Museum is unique in its eagerness to showcase pieces from newer, younger artists, making frequent return visits worthwhile.  Sign up here for our daily Vegas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.

Las Vegas

Where to Watch Fourth of July Fireworks in Las Vegas This Year

Your Sin City guide to watching the rockets' red glare this Independence Day.

Photo courtesy of Palace Station
Photo courtesy of Palace Station
Photo courtesy of Palace Station

Great news: The Fourth of July falls on a Monday this year, which means you get to wrap up a long holiday weekend of booze, food, and other summer fun with a spectacular display of fireworks. Independence Day celebrations have been relatively limited over the past few years due to the pandemic, but things are getting back to business as usual in 2022. Check out our comprehensive guide to fireworks shows and viewing parties in Southern Nevada.

Can you Shoot Off Your Own Fireworks in Las Vegas?

It happens every year. Las Vegas looks like a war zone on Independence Day, with countless fireworks shot off from parks, streets, and backyards all over the valley. It’s quite the spectacle, especially if you’re watching from an elevated vantage point or happen to be flying into Harry Reid International Airport at the time. Is this do-it-yourself approach legal? Well, kinda. Clark County (which includes Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Laughlin) only approves the sale and use of certified “Safe and Sane” fireworks June 28–July 4. These are usually limited to sparklers and that kind of stuff. Booths selling “Safe and Sane” fireworks are easy to spot all over town, especially in grocery stores, gas stations, and shopping centre parking lots. Their use is limited to private property.

More intense fireworks like Roman Candles, Cherry Bombs, and Bottle Rockets are legally sold outside Clark County in Pahrump (Nye County) and on Native American reservations. Lots of people make the drive to buy these items only to return and set them off in Vegas, where it’s against the law to do so. (It’s even against the law to set them off in Pahrump-with the exception of a single fairground launch site.) It’s also against the law in Clark County to launch fireworks of any kind after midnight. Does that stop it from happening? Not really. So be smart, use your best judgment, and if nothing else, make sure your pets are in a safe, contained space. The Animal Foundation always reports a spike in stray dogs and cats who run away after getting spooked by firework noise.

Las Vegas Fireworks Shows

Las Vegas Ballpark
Saturday, July 2–Sunday, July 3
Summerlin
The Las Vegas Ballpark will have fireworks two nights in a row following games between the Las Vegas Aviators and the Round Rock Express (worst name ever) from Central Texas. Both games begin at 7:05 pm with tickets starting at $15. The fireworks should also be visible to those in or near Downtown Summerlin and the Red Rock Resort.

Night of Fire
Sunday, July 3
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Bullring at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway welcomes the annual Night of Fire with NASCAR short-track racing at 5 pm, followed by a fireworks display after dark. General admission tickets are $15. Kids 12 and under get in free and can enjoy raffles, big wheel racing, and other activities.

Boulder Station
Monday, July 4
Boulder Strip
Boulder Station hosts a fireworks extravaganza at 9 pm. Admission is free and the general public is welcome to view the show from the parking lot.

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau
Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau
Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau

Caesars Palace
Monday, July 4
The Strip
Caesars Palace is hosting the only fireworks celebration on the Strip this Independence Day. Fortunately, the resort is centrally located and should be easy to view from up and down Las Vegas Boulevard. The best sightlines are from the fountains, Roman Plaza, and Spanish Steps outside the front door of the resort, as well as The LINQ promenade across the street. The fireworks are scheduled to shoot off from the rooftop of the Julius Tower at 8:30 pm.

Damboree
Monday, July 4
Boulder City
Boulder City welcomes back Damboree, named after the town’s proximity to the Hoover Dam. A full day’s worth of activities get underway at 7 am with the long-running Rotary Pancake Breakfast at Bicentennial Park, followed by a jet flyover and parade throughout downtown at 9 am. Visit food and beer vendors at Broadbent Park (beginning at 10 am) with more festivities at Veterans Memorial Park at 4 pm. Fireworks take place at 9 pm. Parking is $20 per car.

Photo by David Becker
Photo by David Becker
Photo by David Becker

Green Valley Ranch
Monday, July 4
Henderson
Green Valley Ranch is shooting fireworks off the resort’s rooftop at 9 pm. A viewing party gets underway at the Backyard pool deck, starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets ($25 for those 12 and older, $10 for kids 2 to 11 years old) are available at the hotel’s two gift shops. Live entertainment is scheduled all weekend long throughout the property’s bars, restaurants, and pool.

Heritage Park
Monday, July 4
Henderson
Heritage Park is celebrating America’s birthday with a free evening of country music. Lonestar performs at 7:30 pm, followed by a holiday fireworks show at 9 pm. Doors open at 6 pm. Look for the stage in the southwest corner of the park near Racetrack Road and Newport Drive.

Photo courtesy of Lake Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of Lake Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of Lake Las Vegas

Lake Las Vegas
Monday, July 4
Henderson
Watch fireworks erupt over the water at Lake Las Vegas in a spectacle designed to coincide with the show at Heritage Park. The fireworks are free to watch with the best vantage points from The Village, Westin, Hilton, and Reflection Bay Golf Club. You can even watch the extravaganza from the 320-acre lake while paddling on a kayak or sipping on a cocktail during a yacht cruise.

The M Resort
Monday, July 4
Henderson
The M Resort is bringing back its annual fireworks show at 9 pm. The best views are from the hotel’s pool deck. Admission is $10 (or free for hotel guests) with a live performance by Cover Lane at 8 pm.

Photo by David Becker
Photo by David Becker
Photo by David Becker

Palace Station
Monday, July 4
Off the Strip
Palace Station celebrates Independence Day with a fireworks show at 9 pm. The casino resort is just west of I-15, which means most hotel rooms on the Strip should have a great view of the show. However, you can get an up-close look with free viewing from the parking lot. Tailgate Social will have a Red, White & Brew special with a cheese pizza and Bud Light draft for $20. The newly opened Tacos & Tequila will offer a special holiday Freedom ‘Rita with Cazadores Reposado Tequila, Aperol, watermelon liqueur, and watermelon juice on the rocks for $10.

Petrack Park
Monday, July 4
Pahrump
The annual Freedom Festival is 9 pm at Petrack Park in Pahrump. Expect one of the largest fireworks displays in Southern Nevada, lasting more than 20 minutes with a four-minute finale. The show is synced to music on 103.1 FM. About a mile away, the Bounty Hunter Saloon will host a viewing party with drink specials.

Photo courtesy of The Plaza
Photo courtesy of The Plaza
Photo courtesy of The Plaza

The Plaza
Monday, July 4
Downtown
The Plaza continues an annual tradition, hosting the only Fourth of July fireworks celebration in Downtown Las Vegas. The show will erupt from multiple locations on the hotel rooftop at 9 pm, with explosions high above the west end of the Fremont Street Experience (which happens to be hosting free concerts by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Mackenzie Porter, and Molly Hatchet the same night). The Plaza will throw a pool party with a DJ, barbecue, and cocktails from noon to 6 pm and then reopen at 7:30 pm for a private party for hotel guests with close views of the fireworks. Book a weekend room package at the Plaza and receive a $50 food and beverage credit, up to $50 in free slot play, and $50 table game match play.

Photo by David Becker
Photo by David Becker
Photo by David Becker

Red Rock Resort
Monday, July 4
Summerlin
The Red Rock Resort will shoot off about ten minutes of fireworks from its rooftop at 9 pm. Wristbands for general admission viewing on the pool deck are on sale in the gift shop. Adults are $25. Kids 12 and under are $10. Doors open at 7:30 pm with cocktails and other drinks for sale. Live entertainment takes place at the resort throughout the weekend at casino bars, restaurants, and at the Rocks Lounge. Stop by Side Piece for a special Red, White & Blue pizza with pepperoni and blue cheese on a New York-style crust.

Photo by Joe Buglewicz, Courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau
Photo by Joe Buglewicz, Courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau
Photo by Joe Buglewicz, Courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau

Rockets Over the Red Mesa
Monday, July 4
Mesquite
A holiday tradition continues 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas in Mesquite. The Eureka Casino Resort hosts “Rockets Over the Red Mesa” with fireworks erupting over the mesa behind the property at 9 pm, set to a patriotic playlist broadcast over 88.1 FM. Spectators are encouraged to bring their own chair and tailgate. An All-American Buffet will serve food at Town Square 4-8 pm.

Photo courtesy of Rockets Over the River
Photo courtesy of Rockets Over the River
Photo courtesy of Rockets Over the River

Rockets Over the River
Monday, July 4
Laughlin
If you need a good excuse to visit Laughlin, this is it. Located on the southern tip of Nevada by the Arizona state line, the small gaming town hosts the annual “Rockets Over the River” fireworks celebration at 9 pm. The show is seen over the Colorado River, creating a colourful reflection in the water while synchronized music plays from nearby hotels and on 104.9 KISS FM. The show is easy to see no matter where you’re standing by the river.

Santa Fe Station
Monday, July 4
Northwest
Santa Fe Station has a fireworks show at 9 pm for those in Centennial Hills, Lone Mountain, and other Northwest Valley neighbourhoods. Viewing from the parking lot is free and open to the public.

Sunset Station
Monday, July 4
Henderson
The fireworks don’t start until 9 pm at Sunset Station, but the celebration starts early with a free viewing party with live entertainment inside the Sunset Amphitheater. Doors open at 7 pm.

Photo by Anthony Mair
Photo by Anthony Mair
Photo by Anthony Mair

Las Vegas Fireworks Viewing Parties

AREA15
Monday, July 4
Off the Strip
AREA15 has an Independence Day block party at Liftoff lounge (where you can enjoy a cocktail strapped to a seat that rises 130 feet into the sky) in the south parking lot. Enjoy views of the Caesars Palace fireworks (and possibly the ones at Palace Station too). AREA15 will also celebrate with specialty drinks at The Beast and glow-in-the-dark axe-throwing at Dueling Axes.

Cabo Wabo Cantina
Monday, July 4
Miracle Mile Shops
The tequila will flow at Cabo Wabo Cantina’s Fourth of July party on the restaurant’s newly renovated Stripside patio. Order Mexican food, beer, and cocktails, including the holiday-themed All-American, made with a red-white-and-blue combination of Absolut Citron, grenadine, and blue curacao for $15.20.

Legacy Club
Monday July 4
Downtown
One of the best rooftop bars in Las Vegas, the Legacy Club will have a patriotic party with 360-degree views from the 60th floor of the Circa resort. That means you can check out Strip and Downtown fireworks at the same time. Tickets are $100, standing room only, with an open bar of beer, wine, champagne, and select cocktails from 8-10 pm. Email the Legacy Club to upgrade to a table or VIP seating.

The Strat
Monday, July 4
The Strat
The 1,149-foot-tall Strat isn’t throwing an official Independence Day party, but a ticket to the SkyPod viewing deck (beginning at $30) on the 108th floor is one of the best ways to spot fireworks throughout the valley. Try free samples of Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co.’s sparkling rum cocktails (by Sammy Hagar, who’s performing at the resort July 1-2) at REMIX Lounge, View Lounge, and 108 Drinks from 7-10 pm. The Top of the World restaurant on the 107th floor has a special holiday menu with a Watermelon and Feta Salad, Braised Beef with Whiskey Molasses Glaze and Mustard Potatoes, and a Vanilla Sponge Cake dessert with Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

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Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He’s watching the fireworks from his backyard patio. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.

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