Cultural diversity is evident all along the world-famous Strip, with attractions representing the far corners of the globe - from the deserts of Egypt to Monte Carlo, from Paris to Venice, from the wonders of the South Seas to the skyline of New York City. But diversity doesn't stop there. It's also reflected in the rich history of Southern Nevada and its residents. The dynamic multicultural lifestyle of Las Vegas, far from the mystique of the Strip, helps contribute to the destination's uniqueness and appeal.
Native American Heritage
The history and heritage of Native Americans, the first settlers in Southern Nevada, add texture to Las Vegas' rich cultural tapestry. Native American contributions to the region's culture are found in a variety of attractions and recreational areas in and around the region. American Indians currently account for 1 percent of the Clark County population.
Explore ancient Native American artifacts and petroglyphs at:
- Lost City Museum - Built by the National Park Service in 1935 to exhibit artifacts that were excavated from Pueblo Grande de Nevada. These Anasazi Indian sites were threatened by the waters of Lake Mead as it backed up behind the newly built Hoover Dam.
- Red Rock Canyon - Several tribal groups have lived in the Mojave Desert over the past 2,000 years. The northern and eastern portions, for example, were occupied by the Kawaiisu, Kitanemuk, Serrano, Koso and Southern Paiute bands, including the Chemehuevi.
- Valley of Fire - Prehistoric users of the Valley of Fire include the Basket Maker people and later the Anasazi Pueblo farmers from the nearby fertile Moapa Valley. Fine examples of rock art left by these ancient people can be found at several sites within the park.
American Indian Associations:
- Inter-tribal Council of Nevada, 775-355-0600
- Las Vegas Indian Center, 702-647-5842
- Nevada Urban Indians, 1-888-885-8447
- Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, 702-386-3926
- Moapa Band of Paiutes, 702-865-2787
Annual Native American cultural celebrations include:
- 24th Annual Snow Mountain Pow Wow, May 26 - 27, 2012
- Native American Festival (November)
- Indigenous People Festival (November)
- Annual Invitational Native American Festival (April)
Hispanic explorers were among the first settlers in Southern Nevada and were pioneers in many of the early industries in Nevada, including mining. They also provided Las Vegas with its name - which translates into The Meadows. The influence of the early settlers on today's residents is ever present, as Latino traditions enrich the cultural landscape, influencing architecture, cuisine, art and music in Las Vegas. Today, Hispanic residents constitute 27 percent of the total Clark County population.
- Boricua Association, 702-307-1710
- Central American Coalition of Nevada, 702-321-2412
- Chilean Club of Las Vegas, 702-431-7922
- Comite Patriotico Mexicana, 702-649-8553
- Fomento Cultural de Arte Latino, 702-649-6601
- Guatemalan Unity Committee of Nevada, 702-385-1991
- Hispanic Museum of Nevada, 702-229-1515
- Latin Chamber of Commerce, 702-385-7367
- Nevada Association of Latin Americans, 702-382-6252
- Nevada Hispanic Services, 702-826-1818
- Sociedad Cultural Hispana, 702-736-3881
- Student Organization of Latinos, email@example.com
Area Hispanic cultural events include:
- Colore La Strada (April)
- El Dia de los Niños (April)
- Cinco de Mayo Festival (May)
- Mexican Independence Day festivals (September)
- Festival de Las Americas (September)
- Miss Hispana Pageant (November)
Once known as the "Black Entertainment Capital of the World," Las Vegas showcased many of the most popular African-American entertainers of the time. Sammy Davis, Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne graced the stages of the Las Vegas Strip. Today, Las Vegas continues to host some of the top African-American performers in music, comedy and sports.
Many people of African descent from all regions of the globe have enhanced the culture of Las Vegas. Their influence can be seen in shops and boutiques featuring wares from Africa, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. Culinary delights from Ethiopia and the Caribbean, as well as American "soul" food, are among an ever-broadening range of cuisines featured throughout the valley. Blacks/African-Americans currently account for 9 percent of the Clark County population.
- 100 Black Men of Las Vegas, 702-567-0366
- African American Cultural Society Heritage, 702-636-1625
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee, 702-648-8440
- NAACP, 702-638-1300
- The Detroit Connection, 702-649-2892
- Nevada Urban Chamber of Commerce, 702-648-6222
- Las Vegas Urban League, 702-636-3949
- The Walker African-American Museum, 702-649-2238
Black/African-American annual events and celebrations:
Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration (January)
- Remembering the Freedoms African-American Heritage and Arts (February)
- Duke Ellington, Sacred Concert with the UNLV Jazz Ensemble (February)
- Black History Month celebrations (February)
- Juneteenth celebration (June)
- Kwanzaa celebrations (December)
Asian immigration to Southern Nevada began in the 1800s, as Chinese laborers, miners, ranchers and doctors played an integral part in the early settlements. Today, Las Vegas has benefited from the cultural influence of countries as diverse as the Philippines, China, Japan, Korea, Laos, Thailand, the Pacific Islands and India. These wide-ranging influences can be experienced in the local cuisine and in retail and gaming. Asian influence is also represented in the Las Vegas entertainment scene with such shows as the Society of Seven with Lani Misalucha and the Imperial Hawaiian Luau. Asian/Pacific Islanders account for 7 percent of the Clark County population.
Asian/Pacific Islander Associations:
- Asian Chamber of Commerce, 702-737-4300
- Asian Korean League, 702-433-7361
- Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce, 702-873-9888
- Japan American Society of Nevada JASN, 702-455-8259
- Japanese American Citizens League JACL, 702-221-0414
- Las Vegas Hawaiian Civic Club, 702-382-6939
- Las Vegas Korean Association, 702-731-5575
- National Federation of Filipino Americans Association NaFFAA, 702-732-3631
- Organization of Chinese Americans Las Vegas, 702-327-1007
- Singapore Association of Nevada SAN, 702-595-5880
- Thai Association of Las Vegas, 702-256-0525
- U.S. Cambodian Community, 702-303-7492
- Vietnamese Community Association of Nevada, 702-734-3804
- Chinatown Plaza, 702-221-8448
Annual Asian/Pacific Islander events and celebrations:
- National Acrobats of Taiwan (January)
- Chinese New Year (February)
- Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
- May Day Lei Day (May)
- Thai Cultural Arts Festival (September)
- Ho'olaule'a Pacific Islands Festival (September)
During the early 20th century, Las Vegas was known as a safe haven for those seeking economic opportunity and religious tolerance, thus spurring the migration of Jewish Americans and later, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.
The influence of the Jewish community played a significant role in the development of the gaming industry. From the '40s through the '60s, people of the Jewish faith dominated the ranks of hotel owners, executives, casino managers and entertainment directors, and their contributions to a flourishing community continue today.
Learn more about the Jewish culture:
- Jean Weinberger Museum of Jewish Culture, 702-732-0556
Annual Jewish events and celebrations:
Middle Eastern Heritage
- Purim Carnival (February)
- Passover (April)
- Rosh Hashanah (September)
- Yom Kippur (October)
- Hanukkah (December)
People of Middle Eastern heritage have influenced the cuisine, art and architecture of Las Vegas and have contributed to the rich cultural mix of Southern Nevada. Recent émigrés with national origins from countries such as Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran and Iraq have chosen Las Vegas as their American home.
Annual Middle Eastern events and celebrations:
- Iranian New Year (No Ruz) celebrations (March)
European settlers came to Southern Nevada during the 16th century when Spanish explorers first settled in the area. French and British settlers followed in the 1800s and contributed to the growth of the region in the areas of ranching, farming and manufacturing. Union Pacific Railroad's expansion into the West brought many Europeans to the area in the early 1900s. Today, European heritage and influence from diverse countries such as Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Russia and Poland can be found in all walks of life.
Annual European events and cultural celebrations:
- St. Patrick's Day Parade and Block Party (March)
- San Gennaro Street Fair and Food Festival (September)
- Greek Food Festival (September)
- Las Vegas Basque Festival (October)
- Oktoberfest (October)