With the glitz and glamour that’s on display 365 days a year on the Las Vegas Strip, it’s easy to overlook the thriving city scene that’s on full display just beyond the casino walls. Every month features plenty of events to keep you occupied when your bankroll begins to deplete, and Slots of Vegas is here to fill you in on all of your options. Whether you call Sin City home or you’ve got a trip to the desert planned in the next couple of weeks, now’s the perfect time to fill in that empty itinerary with affordable excitement. When you’re ready to take a break from the blackjack table or walk away from the slot bank, check out these May events.
VIFF! (Vegas Indie Film Festival)
If you’re a fan of cinema, the Vegas Indie Film Festival is currently underway and scheduled to run through the ninth. This uniquely Vegas festival is dedicated to promoting true independent films and filmmakers. MovieMaker Magazine hailed VIFF! as one of the country’s most worthwhile film festivals, pointing toward its efforts to further the art, craft and business of storytelling by inspiring the work of leading artists who leverage the language of film to share their visions with audiences. If you want to see which filmmakers walk away with the coveted Golden Bulb Award, which is created from a bulb certified to have lit the world-famous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign, you can attend a screening at The Palms, The Orleans, Golden Nugget and a number of other places around the city.
Las Vegas San Gennaro Feast
This annual Italian food and music festival has been held bi-annually for over a decade in honor of the Saint Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, Italy. Scheduled for May 4-8 at Craig Ranch Park in North Las Vegas, the festival is jam-packed with family-friendly fun, including a variety of ethnic food vendors, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, face painters, live international acts and amusement rides. This month’s event boasts 60 amusement rides and games and 50 performers and live bands for you to enjoy. Admission is just $10, while unlimited ride wristbands are available for just $25. Good luck finding a day’s worth of entertainment for $25 on the Strip!
First Friday Las Vegas
This event, hosted each month by a local non-profit organization, is designed to support local arts and culture in Las Vegas. This month’s event is an art walk taking a look at the history of art ranging from Leonardo da Vinci to Andy Warhol and beyond. Activities related to First Friday take place all over Downtown Las Vegas, but the primary Art Walk event will be located in the Arts District. If you consider yourself a connoisseur of the finer things, head to First Street on the evening of May 6, and let your inner critic run wild!
Lee’s 10th Annual Beer and Tequila Experience
If you prefer art that you can taste, look no further than this sizable beer and tequila event scheduled for May 7 at Sunset Station Hotel & Casino. Let your taste buds run wild with more than 300 handcrafted beers and over 70 of the finest tequilas available for tasting. Just so you don’t feel too bad about an afternoon of high quality libations, all net profits from this event go to Lee’s Helping Hand, a local non-profit organization. General admission begins at 4:00 pm, and tickets are $60 at the door. Enjoy the festivities!
With a history that spans back to 1934, Helldorado Days is the longest running civic event in the history of Las Vegas. Regularly attracting a crowd of more than 15,000 people, the event features a professional rodeo, a locals rodeo, a parade, a carnival, a facial hair contest called Whiskerino, a golf tournament, a poker tournament, an art show, an auction and so much more. The four day event, which kicks off on May 13, transforms Downtown Las Vegas into a scene from the wild, wild west, and it’s all for a good cause. Helldorado Days is produced by the members of Elks Lodge No. 1468, which is dedicated to investing in its community through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug free. Since its inception, Helldorado Days has raised more than $4 million for this worthy cause.
Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival
Fans of the independent music community unite each year for this four-day festival in Downtown Las Vegas. Included in the festivities are three days of outdoor festivals, four nights of club shows, a two-day long bowling tournament, hotel pool parties, a punk rock poker tournament, movie screenings and even comedy shows. Once the festival kicks off on May 26, it doesn’t sleep until it’s all said and done. All ages are welcome to attend the festival, but the club shows are restricted to guests who are 21 and over. Punk rock and a multi-day bowling tournament? Who knew Vegas had this kind of range?
Right about now, it should be pretty clear that Las Vegas has much more to offer than casino gaming. Sure, the city has every gambling option you could ever want on full display, but don’t be afraid to venture away from the Strip and take advantage of the numerous other attractions Sin City has to offer. At the very least, it’ll give you a chance to take some vacation photos while you’re in town. Casinos are notoriously camera shy!
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