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12 Best Things to Do in Henderson, Nevada

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Henderson is in Clark County, Nevada, about 16 miles southeast of downtown Las Vegas, with a scorching desert climate. This city has been ranked among America’s best places to live, and there are plenty of fun activities for visitors. These are the best things to do in Henderson.

Surrounded by top tourist attractions and places to visit, Henderson has an easy-going culture that appeals to many. Vegas, and by association Henderson, has a fun and eclectic mix of top tourist attractions.

A vast array of casinos on the famed Las Vegas Strip are balanced with resorts and outdoor adventures that you can visit without having to venture too far. In addition, family adventures abound with the secrets of the deep ocean at the Shark Reef Aquarium.

Moreover, there are numerous family-friendly top tourist attractions to do with your kids in and around Henderson, Nevada. Your kids will love the Lion Hatch Ranch and Clark County Museum.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also enjoy the many nature spots. The city is a natural jumping-off point for Hoover Dam and Lake Mead to the north. You can ride the River Mountain Loop Trail connecting Boulder City and Hoover Dam or make a Grand Canyon tour part of your travel itinerary.

There are also helicopter tours that offer a bird’s eye view of rocky rises and towering hoodoos of the River Mountains and Sloan Canyon. Yet, this isn’t all there is to provide in Henderson. So, let’s explore some of the fun and best things you can do in Henderson.

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmarkHoover Dam
  • Park to visit – Henderson Birds Viewing Preserve
  • Free activity – Sloan Canyon National Wildlife Reserve
  • Activity for kids – Cowabunga Bay Water Park
  • Activity for adults – Las Vegas Distillery
  • Place to eat – Pasta Shop
  • NightlifeM Resort Spa & Casino
  • Place to stayThe District at Green Valley Ranch Casino

Things to Do in Henderson, Nevada

1. Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam, an excellent day trip from Las Vegas, Nevada
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Hoover Dam, Nevada 89005, USA

Okay, it’s not in Henderson. But it’s the freaking Hoover Dam, yo! And it’s right on the figurative doorstep! Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression in the 1930s in the Black Canyon of the mighty Colorado River and is fewer than 30 minutes from Henderson.

The dam is a feat of human ingenuity and strength, built by thousands of men who came to tame the mighty Colorado River. It’s a colossal wonder of the engineering world and an iconic location in many movies. Ultimately, Hoover Dam is a unique landmark and a top tourist attraction southeast of Las Vegas you cannot miss.

Tourists can walk through the historic inspection tunnels at the dam’s center and ride the original elevator to the gravity-defying top of Hoover Dam, where they can enjoy a breathtaking view from the new Hoover Dam bypass.

When you visit, you will feel the vibration of the rushing water through the pipe as you stand on the 30-foot diameter penstock. You can also enjoy an immersive historical experience when you walk through the original exhibit building, where the Bureau of Reclamation offers a fascinating insight into Hoover Dam’s construction history.

Hoover Dam draws over a million visitors annually. With tickets ranging from $10.00 to $30.00 per person, you certainly don’t need to have deep pockets for the family to spend the day touring Hoover Dam. Take a Grand Canyon West Rim bus tour, helicopter rides, and day trips to Lake Mead over the vast Grand Canyon and spend the day at one of Henderson’s top tourist attractions.

See Related: Things to Do in Reno, Nevada

2. Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Image by James Marvin Phelps used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Address: 350 E Galleria Drive, Henderson, Nevada 89011, USA

Seeking one of the best places to visit in Henderson to get some nature viewing? The Henderson Birds Viewing Preserve is on the eastern edge of the Pacific Migratory Flyway.

It is a specialized habitat for migratory water birds, with over 270 resident desert birds who call the Mojave Desert home. Every season is unique in this preserve; different birds and wildlife species call this home during different seasons.

Situated within the Water Reclamation Facility, visitors can walk along paved trails through a network of nine treated wastewater ponds (which are wheelchair accessible) that allow for excellent bird viewing.

Named “Best Place for Birding” by local enthusiasts and publications, the area has drawn nature lovers, birders, and photographers from around the globe. When visiting, you should wear sturdy shoes, comfortable clothing, and hats with adequate water and sunscreen.

Also, remember to bring your camera and binoculars, or you can borrow a pair from the shop. The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is also a beautiful and fun place for kids to visit with Tino, the resident tortious who features in books such as Tino the Tortoise: Adventures in the Grand Canyon.

Get to know the “wild side” of Las Vegas at the Henderson Preserve. Open daily from 7:00 am-2:00 pm. Summer Hours: June-August 6:00am-Noon. Do note that feeding animals here is not only uncool but also illegal. They do not eat human food; if they do, they can become ill or die.

See Related: Best Hotels in Las Vegas

3. Petroglyphs at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

Petroglyphs at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Image by James Marvin Phelps used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Address: Nawghaw Poa Road, Henderson, Nevada 89052, USA

Why not get dusty and enjoy traversing the wild Sloan Canyon National Wildlife Reserve by mountain bike, horseback, or two feet?

Henderson’s wildlife reserve is an awe-inspiring destination with all the rugged ochre-hued rocks, such as the iconic wild Red Rocks. The whole area is crisscrossed with miles of walking trails, making it a great place to explore this cacti-peppered backland using routes such as Dutchman Pass and the Hidden Valley.

Yet, while walking, it is essential to keep your eyes open for lizards, snakes, cougars, bighorn sheep, and bears. Additionally, for hikers seeking solitude, 30 minutes from Henderson, there is Sloan Canyon’s North McCullough Wilderness area.

You can hike the Petroglyph Canyon Trail through a shallow ravine to perhaps one of Nevada’s most important archeological sites. Some hail the enormous Sloan Canyon as the “Sistine Chapel of Native American Rock Art.”

It is well known for its Petroglyph designs of indigenous art on the rock walls, with over 300 panels and 1,700 individual plans from the ancient indigenous people up to the 19th Century.

Visitors must refrain from touching the walls to prevent damage to the rock art and carvings, which date back over a remarkable 10,000 years. Even without being able to handle the walls, the Petroglyph rock art offers hikers some of the best things to see in Henderson.

Sloan Canyon is a day-use-only area. Before entering, all visitors must check in at the Sloan Canyon Visitor Contact Station, and access is limited to groups of 20 people. Due to the intense summer heat, hiking in the fall or winter is a better option.

See Related: Best Hiking Trails in America

4. Lion Habitat Ranch Source

Lion habitat in Henderson Nevada
Image by Terry Ott used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 382 Bruner Avenue, Henderson, Nevada

The famous Lion Habitat Ranch in Henderson is just a twenty-minute walk from the M Resort Casino and is a great place to learn about how lions live on the African plains and how the ranch strives to protect these wild lion habitats. 

You can book a self-guided tour of the facility or a 90-minute “behind-the-scenes” tour to learn about these beautiful creatures. With experienced trainers, you can witness the animals’ daily feedings, bathing, and watering.

Additionally, you can book a time to feed Ozzie the giraffe and the lions, enjoy a painting session with Ozzie, or catch one of the ranch’s famous lion grooming sessions. You should also get ready to experience the thrill of almost touching the lions, with just the thick glass between you and one of nature’s beasts – kids will love this.

You can also pull up a table and dine alfresco with these mighty beasts in a space accommodating up to 20 people. Enjoy this fantastic wildlife sanctuary outside Las Vegas’ vibrant neon strip, closed only on Tuesday and Wednesday. This affordable family fun from $10 is one of the best things to do in Henderson with kids.

See Related: Best Family Hotels in San Francisco, California

5. Visit the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden & Chocolate Factory

Ethel M Chocolate Factory
Image by Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 2 Cactus Garden Drive,  Henderson, NV 89014

Located in the arid Nevada desert at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson is the breathtaking 3-acre Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden. This is Nevada’s most extensive and prolific cacti collection, with over 300 plants on campus.

This unique garden is free and fun. It features a living water treatment facility using bacteria, snails, algae, and fish. The garden recycles 100% of the wastewater from the chocolate factory without using chemicals.

The ponds attract local bird life and provide water for the gardens. When visiting, you can slowly walk through the naturalistically designed gardens of drought-tolerant ornamental cacti.

You can also enjoy viewing the native succulents from the American Southwest, desert trees and shrubs from South America, the Southwestern United States, and further afield from Australia thrive in this environment.

Additionally, the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden hosts several community events throughout the year; the holiday lights show hosted in November and December is one for the kids to enjoy.

You can also look forward to seeing how their delicious fresh chocolates are made in the heat and the heart of the desert. Free and open year-round, you can book your self-guided tours and Cactus Garden Tasting Tours online. 

See Related: Best Restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip

6. Hit the Rides at the Cowabunga Bay Water Park

Hit the Rides at the Cowabunga Bay Water Park
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 900 Galleria Dr, Henderson, Nevada 89011, USA

Calling all thrill seekers, vacationers, and people looking to relax. When the scorching heat of southern Nevada becomes searing, the 23-acre Cowabunga Bay Water Park is the place to visit in Henderson with kids.

Located on the northern fringes of Henderson, this theme park offers visitors the opportunity to chill out by the pools and sun-splashed cabanas or enjoy thrilling rides. With its patchwork of winding water slides, splash pools, tubing rivers, and wave ponds, it is one of the best in America.

You and your family can splash around in the 1950s drive-in-theatre wave pool or enjoy a relaxing slow float down the lazy river, which features features such as giant surfboards and a VW bus.

Additionally, the whole family can enjoy the most popular rides. Hop on Beach Blanket Banzai’s dingy twisty ride, the Point Panic ride of light shows, or feel high-speed adrenalin bursts on the Surf-A-Go-Go, where you ricochet around a chamber while riding on a rubber ring.

Yet that’s not all; you can also look forward to mouth-watering inexpensive treats and cool drinks that will keep you well-fed and hydrated in the scorching desert heat. The water-themed park offers unlimited ways to have clean fun with something everyone can enjoy during their visit, whether solo, with family, or in a group. Experience all the non-stop family fun right here!

See Related: Things to Do in Primm, Nevada

7. Las Vegas Distillery

Las Vegas Distillery
Image by TripAdvisor

Address: 7330 Eastgate Road #100, Henderson, Nevada 89011, USA

The Las Vegas Distillery is located on Eastgate Road near Henderson in one of the famed parts of the Las Vegas Booze District. Those visiting Henderson will have the opportunity to visit the first Nevada post-Prohibition distillery and producer of craft spirits.

This distillery uses the “grain in glass” brewing method to craft some of the city’s most iconic whiskies, which range from ryes to malts and blacks to oak brews. They also make spirits, like gin, rum, vodka, and moonshine, in-house in the distillery’s two pot stills, Rose and Swan, known as the Las Vegas Angels.

Plus, there is a guaranteed tipple for every whisky connoisseur. Fascinating distillery tours and whiskey tastings lasting 50 minutes are offered on weekends and weeknights – upon appointment only. When visiting, you will get a warm welcome from an owner passionate about his craft.

The Las Vegas Distillery is also a spectacular venue for your unique activity, including corporate meetings, workshops, birthday parties, weddings, and private excursions. It is just 15-20 minutes from the Vegas Strip.

Speaking of which, if you need a place to crash that isn’t too expensive, check out this reasonably-priced rental. So yeah, visit the distillery and raise a glass to life! Cheers!

8. Clark County Museum

Tourist entering Clark County Museum
Image by Ron Mader used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 1830 Boulder Highway, South Henderson, Nevada 89002, United States

Step into Southern Nevada’s past! The Clark County Heritage Museum features numerous exhibits within its 30-acre location, with a timeline exhibit detailing southern Nevada from pre-historic to modern times. This is one of the best things to do in Henderson for history buffs.

You can explore Heritage Street’s unique collection of restored historic buildings and homes. These homes are furnished with phonographs, TVs, record players, and various other vintage appliances that offer a doorway into daily life from different decades.

In addition, you can take time to admire classic cars such as the 1959 Studebaker Larks and a 1948 Plymouth Coupe. Wait, there’s more! You can wander through a 1900s replica newsprint shop and historic buildings from the 1900s.

The whitewashed Candlelight Wedding Chapel was rebuilt at the site here after hosting countless weddings on the neon-lit Vegas Strip. Train buffs will love the old-time “crummy” (a pejorative nickname for a caboose because it’s crummy) with a 1918 Union Pacific steam engine.

Visitors can also venture back into the bygone era of train travel with a tour of the 1932 Boulder City Depot. Lastly, you can walk along a mining trail and restored ghost town and visit the nearby exhibits chronicling life at an ancient Native American Pueblo, the more recent Paiute, and the Pioneers. The museum is closed only on Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving.

See Related: Best Hotels to Book in Las Vegas

9. The District at Green Valley Ranch Casino

The District at Green Valley Ranch Casino
Image by kennejimaCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Location: 175 Cassia Way A-1110, Henderson, Nevada 89014, USA

Looking for recreational and business opportunities rolled into one? Located only a short drive from downtown Henderson, the District at Green Valley Ranch is an eclectic mix of hotels, restaurants, and nightlife.

The District is a beautiful maze filled with upmarket boutiques, antique furniture stores, and fun things to do with your kids. If you’ve done Vegas to death, this is one of Henderson’s top places to visit.

Green Valley Ranch offers a world-class off-the-strip resort experience with a pool and spa for visitors to relax after enjoying Sin City’s nightlife at one of the fine dining establishments.

The daily Stroller Strides program or Kids Quest has many fun family activities. Your kids will love the spectacular space filled with kid-friendly activities from ages six weeks to 12, or they can enjoy the Outdoor Picture Show.

Ultimately, the District is where you can both indulge in some retail therapy and swing on the golfing greens thanks to several of the conveniently located prestigious golf courses and fancy shops.

See Related: Cheapest Places to Fly Around the World

10. M Resort Casino

M Resort Casino
Image by Exothermic used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Address: 1 12300 S Las Vegas Blvd, Henderson, NV 89044, USA

No little flutter at the tables could be complete without a visit to the little sister of Las Vegas – the M Resort Spa & Casino located on the South Las Vegas Strip. The state-of-the-art suites with floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the mountains or the famed neon-lit Vegas Strip, where the fun never ends.

You can enjoy non-stop entertainment and fine dining at Anthony’s Steakhouse, Studio B Show Kitchen Buffet, Baby Cakes, an artisanal bakery, and a deli. Additionally, guests can indulge in specialty cocktails, craft beers, and wine with five on-site bars, and the free guest parking is a bonus.

Located on the southeastern edge of Henderson, the hotel offers all the recreation and hedonism of brightly lit Las Vegas. Expect to find one-arm bandits, flashy slot machines, spinning roulette wheels, and poker-chip-stacked blackjack tables.

After playing the tables and slot machines, it’s time to enjoy a refreshing afternoon cocktail at the private cabana poolside under a palm tree. The full-service spa offers treatments and massages, a great way to relax and unwind.

Top-rated golf courses are close to the resort, with some of the best golf instructors available to improve your handicap. And if, after all that, you’re hungry for more, the Fremont Street Experience (or just Fremont) and Central Las Vegas attractions are a 20-minute drive away.

See Related: Best Romantic Getaways in the USA

11. Sky Combat Ace

Aerobatic flight Sky Combat Ace
Image by TripAdvisor

Address: 1420 Jet Stream Dr #100, Henderson, NV 89052, USA

This one is for all the Top Gun fans! This aviation center aims to create smiles, joy, and adrenaline-pumping excitement at Sky Combat Ace. Here, you can get behind the controls of a fast turboprop “fighter” plane under the supervision of one of the highly trained SCA fighter pilots.

Whether you are living out a childhood fantasy or a bucket list dream, be sure to book your seat at SCA! Once you do, you can have your own Top Gun Experience, channel your inner Maverick, experience a no-holds-barred aerial dog fight against fellow pilots, or participate in combat action through the towering desert canyons.

No flight experience is needed because you will be under the direct supervision of experienced fighter pilots, with a complete set of controls to take over if necessary.

You can experience the thrill of flying through a complete aerobatic routine, where you can fly the plane. Once one of the SCA pilots instructs you on the different maneuvers, you take over the controls.

Included in the cost is a safety briefing with advanced instructions. So, consider bringing the whole family to this destination in Henderson. Open daily (though booking is essential – they aren’t just letting you rock up and nab a plane), you can leave your job behind and become a fighter jock for the day with SCA.

See Related: Best Whitewater Adventures in the World

12. The Pasta Shop

Meal at The Pasta Shop
The Pasta Shop / Facebook

Address: 2525 W. Horizon Ridge Henderson, Nevada 89052 USA

Are you looking for good food to captivate your eyes and enchant your tastebuds? Situated in the Las Vegas Valley is the vibrant Ristorante & Art Gallery, which doubles as a Pasta Shop that has thrived in the area for 30 years.

Since 1989, this delightful gourmet Italian restaurant has brought artisanal fresh pasta and excellent Italian food to the Las Vegas community. The furnishings are comfortable and bright, with the walls covered with original artwork by famed artist Ann Alenik.

You can look forward to menus inspired by the late founder and chef, who served as a personal chef to Frank Sinatra and Steve Wynn. Additionally, every dish uses the best quality local and imported ingredients, including vegan specialties.

Interestingly, fresh artisanal pasta is made daily at the restaurant and sold wholesale to the most popular restaurants in Las Vegas. Moreover, the menu caters to meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters with various pasta, salads, and fiery sauces.

When visiting, you should try the “humble” meatball dish cooked to order in their classic marinara sauce with fresh linguini pasta and basil. Don’t forget to leave space for indulgent desserts, like the pistachio ricotta cake and warm vegan brownie with a vegan vanilla bean ice cream.

Places to Stay in Henderson

1. Residence Inn Las Vegas South/Henderson Top Recommendation

Residence Inn Las Vegas South is situated in the heart of Henderson. The hotel boasts a central location, close to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and within 6 miles of several golf courses. It features spacious suites with separate living areas, equipped with free Wi-Fi internet access. Each room comes with a full kitchen, as well as a work desk.

2. Skyline Hotel and Casino

Skyline Hotel and Casino is a 3-star hotel with a restaurant, bar, shared lounge and garden in Las Vegas. With free WiFi, this hotel offers an ATM and a concierge service. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a coffee machine, a shower, a hairdryer and ironing facilities.

3. Best Western Plus Henderson Hotel

Best Western Plus Henderson Hotel is a one-minute walk from Jokers Wild Casino, and features an on-site restaurant and heated outdoor pool. Cable TV with HBO is provided in each room at Best Western Plus Henderson Hotel. The hotel also offers a lobby lounge and meeting facilities. A daily hot American breakfast buffet is served to guests at the hotel.

FAQ

What does Henderson, Nevada, have to offer?

Henderson is surrounded by many fun things to do. Take a trip down memory lane at the Clark County Heritage Museum. Stop at the acclaimed Las Vegas Distillery to taste the Nevadan whiskeys. Listen to the deep, vibrating roar of the majestic African Lion at the Lion Habitat Ranch and feast with the beasts. Spend the day riding or hiking the River Mountain Loop Trail or go for an evening helicopter flight.

Is Henderson, Nevada, a good place for kids?

With all the close-at-hand activities on Henderson’s doorstep, families with kids are spoilt for choice. Take a Grand Canyon tour, visit Hoover Dam with its ultimate Hoover Dam Tour, and stop at Lake Las Vegas. The Cowabunga Bay Water Park has never-ending water entertainment for kids and parents alike. Additionally, the kids will love the District at Green Valley Ranch Casino, and so will you!

Is Henderson, Nevada, walkable?

With over 80 miles of walking trails ranging from challenging mountain trails to paved neighborhoods. Hit the River Mountain Loop Trail with its many trailheads from Boulder City through Lake Mead. Take a long, leisurely walk through Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve and enjoy the beauty.

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