One of the hardest parts about my early sobriety was keeping busy.
What was I supposed to do with all that time I used to spend drinking and nursing my hangovers?
And keeping busy (at least for me…) was key to keeping myself sober.
Even though I’ve been working on my sobriety for over two years, there are times where I still panic and think, “What am I going to do this weekend to make sure I don’t go to a bar and get wasted?”
In case there’s anyone else out there wondering where to find non-alcohol related events geared towards locals here in Las Vegas, I wanted to compile a list of cultural calendars.
Some of these I’ve already covered on the blog, some I’m working on covering, and some are just great resources for locals and out-of-towners alike.
A few websites included do from time to time feature different alcohol related special events, for example, KNPR has special beer and wine related events. Some places do have a bar inside that sells alcohol (like The Smith Center). However, I wanted to include them because they have so many more things to offer than just booze.
I also decided not to include concert venues even though I love concerts. Perhaps that will be for a different post at some point! 😉
Anyway, below are the calendars I check when I’m feeling restless and want to get out of the house to try something different:
18b: 18b is our downtown arts district, and this site always has info about upcoming art shows, openings, receptions, talkbacks, etc.
Black Mountain Institute: Black Mountain Institute recently acquired The Believer magazine, and in addition to events having to do with the literary mag, they also host author readings and talk backs.
Clark County Library Author Visits: The library system in Southern Nevada is incredible. I’ve listened to lectures, taken advantage of classes, and attended author readings over the years at many of the Clark County Library locations–all for FREE!
Community College of Southern Nevada: Live music, astronomy, workshops and meetups, CCSN hosts a really good variety of events throughout their campus.
First Friday Las Vegas: Many cities follow this tradition and Vegas does so as well, local artists and artisans showcase their work on the first Friday of every month downtown. Lately they’ve been giving themes to each month, so I try to check ahead of time to see what the theme will be.
Las Vegas Farmers Markets: Okay, so this isn’t exactly a ‘cultural’ item, but many of the locations will feature live music and performances, especially on weekends. And sometimes you want to get out and about but maybe don’t want the anxiety of having to be somewhere for an entire evening, so this offers some nice flexibility.
Las Vegas Little Theatre: This theatre has been part of the community for almost 40 years, you gotta love em! They also host the Fringe Festival every year which I love because I think it’s important to foster local talent.
KNPR: Our local NPR station often hosts their own events, but I like their site because they have an interesting curation of local events that they’ll also list.
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art: Located on UNLV’s campus this museum always has something fun happening. If they’re in a time of low events, it’s always good to see what they’re currently showing because a walk through the museum here is never disappointing.
The Neon Museum: As you all know, I’m a big fan! But what I didn’t cover in my post about the museum is how often they host lectures and events. I’ve been to numerous lectures here and at every single one I’ve learned something new about Las Vegas and its history.
Nevada Ballet Theatre: For 45 years this organization has brought ballet to the Vegas valley. I remember one of the first shows I ever saw was their performance (I think I was maybe 4 or 5?) and it sparked my love of live performance for life.
Nothing to Do in Vegas: I love love love the woman who puts this site together. I’m not sure if it’s this way everywhere, but growing up here people would always complain, “There’s Nothing to Do in Vegas” I love that she took this complaint and challenged it, updating the site almost every day with something cool going on here.
Red Rock Canyon: Of course you can go to Red Rock and explore solo, but the park does an amazing job of curating ranger talks, group hikes, and star gazing events.
Settlers and Nomads: Wendy Kveck, who is in my opinion a Vegas hero, puts together calendars of artist events and openings on this section of the Settlers and Nomads website. I love her passion for local artists and her mission to get the word out that we have world class art and artists here in Southern Nevada.
The Smith Center: When The Smith Center opened it really raised the bar for arts here in Vegas, and they continue to bring in amazing touring Broadway shows and world-class performers.
UNLV: I have seen some of the most incredible things at UNLV! They bring in musicians, authors, artists, professionals at the top of their game to do lectures–and often times it’s at a small cost if not free.
Winchester Cultural Center: This local arts center always has cool artist exhibitions and an eclectic mix of performances throughout the year. One time I saw a local band play through the entirety of Beck’s Song Reader!
This list is by no means comprehensive–there is so much more I’m sure I’m forgetting, and at some point maybe I’ll do an updated list! 🙂
But for now, hopefully this helps anyone who lives here and is trying to keep themselves occupied during sobriety. You are not alone, and this city has so much to offer you! <3