Blake Walsh

16 Free Things to Do in Henderson, NV

  • Published 2022/11/18

You won’t have to worry much about your budget when visiting Henderson in Clark County, Nevada, with the number of extraordinary destinations you can enjoy at no cost.

It’s just minutes away from the bustling city of Las Vegas, but Henderson welcomes its visitors with a fantastic experience at a different pace.

You’ll find wonders in every direction in Nevada’s second-largest city, sprawling more than 103 square miles.

Various recreational opportunities are accessible yet “far from ordinary,” from touring the most popular sites to exploring a part of Southern Nevada’s great outdoors.

Read further about the free things to do in Henderson, Nevada!

Step Closer to Wildlife at Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve

Scenic view of Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve

Felipe Sanchez /

Within a water reclamation facility, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve serves as a specialized habitat for various native and migratory birds within a water reclamation facility.

It consists of nine ponds making it the third largest body of water in Southern Nevada, next to Lake Mead and Lake Las Vegas.

The lush oasis in the desert has attracted shorebirds and migrating birds since the late 1960s.

During the 1990s, the city took a huge step to formalize bird viewing and broke ground for the public preserve by changing its maintenance routines.

Lesser yellowlegs on Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve's water

Kit Leong /

Wear comfortable clothes and bring binoculars to make the most of your visit to Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve on East Galleria Drive!

There’s a paved path approximately 3/4 of a mile long and soft surfaces for easy walking and bird watching.

Regardless of the season, you can expect to see plenty of birds visiting Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

If you’re lucky, you may also meet a tortoise named Tino in his new home at the preserve.

A blackbird at Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve

twogiraffe /

Learn about Landscaping at Acacia Demonstration Gardens

Acacia Demonstration Gardens is part of Acacia Park, located on Casa Del Fuego Street.

It was made possible through the efforts of the city, the Conservation District of Southern Nevada, and local groups.

Take an educational stroll through Acacia Demonstration Gardens, featuring beautiful and water-efficient landscapes suitable for the desert climate.

Encounter different types of plants and learn from the informative panels on display in the gardens.

Examples of the demonstration gardens you can tour here are Mediterranean Garden, Native Garden, Outside Living and Entertaining Garden, and so on.

Acacia Demonstration Gardens also presents workshops every spring and fall, so check them out if you want to learn more about the landscapes!

See the Petroglyphs at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

Petroglyph site at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

rawaccess /

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area spans approximately 48,438 acres, designated in 2002 to protect a portion of the Mojave Desert.

It’s famous for its Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site, which encompasses more than 300 rock art panels and 1,700 design elements.

According to experts, native cultures created these petroglyphs from the archaic to the historical periods.

Drop by the visitor contact station to hike on the Petroglyph Trail and visit Petroglyph Canyon to take photos and sketches of this remarkable cultural resource.

It’s recommended to go there in the morning from Monday to Thursday.

Located at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is the 14,763-acre North McCullough Wilderness, volcanic in origin.

Go hiking and spot wild animals here: mammals, reptiles, and birds.

Don’t miss the spectacular sights at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area on Nawghaw Poa Road!

Entertain Yourself at Water Street Plaza

There’s always something new happening at Water Street Plaza, Henderson’s top entertainment destination.

Water Street Plaza is near Henderson City Hall on South Water Street and spans 125,000 square feet.

To ensure that people have a great time, it has an amphitheater with stadium seating, a lower plaza’s viewing area, and a 42-foot-wide digital screen perfect for viewing parties.

There’s also a splash pad for families visiting with kids.

Check out the public artworks in the shade structures near the playground and viewing area.

Catch some of the festivals, concerts, and community events happening at Water Street Plaza and have a good time.

Catch Picturesque Vistas at Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden

A tree at Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden

Chris Lawrence Travel /

While in Henderson, don’t miss the chance to explore Nevada’s largest botanical cactus garden along Cactus Garden Drive.

Wander the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden and discover over 300 species of plants on its three-acre grounds.

See different cacti and succulents native to the American Southwest.

View several desert trees and shrubs from the Southwestern United States, Australia, and South America.

Desert flowers at Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden

Chris Lawrence Travel /

The scenic Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden is an outdoor feature of Ethel M Chocolates Factory, which also has a self-guided viewing aisle.

Walk through the viewing aisle and see chocolatiers and machines at work!

Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden and the self-guided tour at Ethel M Chocolates Factory are open year-round.

A trail at Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden

Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Appreciate Local Art at the City Hall Art Gallery

To showcase the talents of artists from Henderson and Southern Nevada, the city displays their works on the first and second floors of Henderson City Hall.

The Henderson City Hall Art Gallery hosts artists’ receptions and seasonal exhibits of artworks like paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other art forms.

Take time to see and reflect on the artworks in the gallery’s spotlight.

Find a personal connection to the artist’s masterpiece or explore what message it wants to convey.

Meet the artists behind the beautiful art pieces if you have the chance.

Soak up a little culture inside Henderson City Hall Art Gallery on South Water Street.

Go Window-Shopping at Galleria at Sunset

Exterior of Galleria at Sunset

Luxury Fred Sherman /

Shopping malls are an attraction in and of themselves in Henderson.

One of the places you can visit is Galleria at Sunset on West Sunset Road.

Galleria at Sunset is an indoor premier mall with over 100 stores and dining options.

Enjoy a relaxing tour inside and feast your eyes on the merchandise displayed.

Interior of Galleria at Sunset

Laurens Hoddenbagh /

Take Instagram-worthy shots of the interior and exterior features of Galleria at Sunset.

The mall also hosts entertaining events and activities to keep the excitement going.

A game center in Galleria at Sunset

Kit Leong /

Play with Pets in Bark Park at Heritage Park

Are you traveling with your dogs?

You’ll have a blast at Bark Park at Heritage Park, the city’s largest and most unique dog park.

In case you don’t know, Forbes Advisor included Henderson in its list of best cities for dogs in 2022, noting its dog-friendly amenities and parks.

Go for a run with your dogs and hone their skills with the on-site agility course.

Update your Instagram account with photos of your visit to Bark Park at Heritage Park, filled with dog bone-themed benches and drinking stations.

Make them happier at the splash pad, which is available just for dogs!

Kids will have extra fun with Barkules, a cute puppy mascot six feet tall and 18 feet long to serve as a play structure.

Create unforgettable moments with your furbabies on Bark Park at Heritage Park along South Racetrack Road.

Stroll through the District at Green Valley Ranch

Night scene at The District at Green Valley Ranch

Kit Leong /

The District at Green Valley Ranch is a mixed-use development featuring specialty retailers, excellent restaurants, residences, and office space.

Located at I-215 and Green Valley Parkway, people praise it as a pleasant and beautiful outdoor setting to take a break.

Meet with your friends or spend a wonderful time with your family in The District at Green Valley Ranch’s pedestrian-friendly central street plaza and well-maintained park.

Buildings at The District at Green Valley Ranch

Kit Leong /

Spice up your Instagram account with the beautiful photos you can snap in this lifestyle hub.

Moreover, enjoy the events and entertainment in the District at Green Valley Ranch.

A shop at The District at Green Valley Ranch

Kit Leong /

Walk among Dinosaurs at Shan-Gri-La Prehistoric Park

See yourself among creatures of the past at Shan-Gri-La Prehistoric Park, located off Greenway Road.

Steve Springer, a retired school teacher, opened the park in 2006 to share his passion for dinosaurs and provide everyone with a fun and educational experience.

You may even spot Dinoman Steve around the city on the Dinomobile and get a free dinosaur.

Shan-Gri-La Prehistoric Park welcomes more than 20,000 visitors annually, and it’s especially packed during Halloween.

Bring your kids and say hi to over 50 dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures!

Pose with the Giant Tortoise and other enormous creatures displayed at Shan-Gri-La Prehistoric Park.

Browse the inner exhibit loaded with games, toys, and candies, and ring the bell for a park tour if Dinoman Steve is available.

The park constantly changes as seasons do, and exciting events await you aside from Halloween!

Enjoy a Laid-Back Afternoon at Cornerstone Park

A lake at Cornerstone Park

Readin Wilson /

Henderson takes pride in its excellent parks and recreation system.

It manages over 60 city parks to provide better living conditions for its residents and things to do for visitors.

One of the most beloved parks is Cornerstone Park on Wigwam Parkway, which opened in 2012.

Before it was developed into a park, it was a former gravel mine.

Cornerstone Park features a 31-acre lake and several amenities such as picnic areas, basketball and volleyball courts, a corporate plaza, and more.

Geese on Cornerstone Park's lake

Royal Flush /

The lake is not for swimming but offers scenic views and the perfect atmosphere to escape the daily grind briefly.

Bring your favorite book to read while resting on the open grass area.

Go for a picnic and have a peaceful stroll along the winding trails.

Don’t forget to use your camera to catch photos around Cornerstone Park, which is teeming with stunning scenes and local wildlife.

The grounds of Cornerstone Park

Kit Leong /

Get Active at Arroyo Grande Sports Complex

If you’re looking for an accessible sports venue, head to Arroyo Grande Boulevard to visit the Arroyo Grande Sports Complex.

The 56-acre complex houses several facilities like a baseball field, basketball court, and disc golf.

Go on a bicycle ride on Arroyo Grande Sports Complex’s terrain amenities.

Then, traverse the trails connecting to the sports park, including Pittman Wash Trail and Union Pacific Railroad Trail.

Let the kids spend their energy at the playground as you take in the outdoor views at the picnic areas.

You may also bring your furry friends to the dog park of Arroyo Grande Sports Complex.

Go for a Hike at Amargosa Trail

Mountain views from Amargosa Trail

Kit Leong /

You can access more than 220 miles of multi-use trails in Henderson to indulge your adventurous spirit.

You may traverse the Amargosa Trail for an easy hike, a paved pathway spanning ten miles.

Amargosa Trail has three trailheads near Shaded Canyon Drive, Paseo Verde Parkway, St. Rose Parkway, and Siena Heights Drive.

Dirt trail of Amargosa Trail

Kit Leong /

Relieve your stress by spending a few hours on the trail that crosses Siena Heights Park and Paseo Verde Park.

Enjoy splendid views of the city as you move forward on your hike.

Amargosa Trail has interpretive signage, educational kiosks, restrooms, and shade areas for taking breaks.

Rock formations at Amargosa Trail

Jennifer Agster /

Catch a Performance by Henderson Symphony Orchestra

Embrace the cultural landscape of Southern Nevada through the free concerts and events performed by Henderson Symphony Orchestra.

Founded in 1986, the organization aims to bring classical music closer to people from different backgrounds and cultivate the region’s cultural scenes.

The orchestra consists of volunteer musicians and professional guests performing in different venues throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Spend the evening with Henderson Symphony Orchestra to encounter various musical styles, genres, and periods.

Introduce your kids to classical music by catching events featuring young artists and concerts made for their appreciation!

Ride Your Mountain Bike on McCullough Hills Trail

Welcome sign of McCullough Hills Trail

Felipe Sanchez /

For a more challenging trail, you can try McCullough Hills Trail, which offers natural desert vistas to travelers.

McCullough Hills Trail is famous among hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.

McCullough Hills Trailhead is on Mission Drive with horse tie-ups and other amenities.

Wear appropriate attire as you’ll be traversing a natural-surface trail that’s eight miles long and crosses Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area.

There are educational kiosks and interpretive signage as well to guide your journey.

Catch Captivating Sunset Views at Whitney Mesa Nature Preserve

Desert landscape of Whitney Mesa Nature Preserve

Kit Leong /

Whitney Mesa Nature Preserve is another prominent place for a breather amid panoramic views of Henderson.

Spanning six acres, the preserve is distinctive for its geologic formations where various plants and animals flourish.

There are educational kiosks and interpretive signage to provide information about the site.

Follow the one-mile trail that passes by a stream and leads to the mesa offering breathtaking sunset and sunrise views.

Whitney Mesa Nature Preserve also has picnic areas and restrooms for taking breaks.

Spend your leisure time at the preserve on Patrick Lane near Whitney Ranch Recreation Center and Whitney Mesa Outdoor Science Laboratory.

Final Thoughts

You won’t have to break the bank to make the most of your vacation in Henderson, Nevada.

You can explore different nature preserves, picturesque gardens, and urban sites without spending money on admission fees.

Reward yourself with a hard-earned vacation and try these free things to do in Henderson, Nevada!

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