Soon enough, you’ll know it’s summer in Las Vegas because all your friends will start posting unbelievable photos of their dashboard thermometers to social media. One hundred degrees in the grocery store parking lot? Easily. Two hundred after parking at work all day? Sometimes it feels like it.
Do yourself a favor and take some wisdom from the native desert wildlife: When the sun is out in the summer, burrow away and stay inside. We promise you won’t miss anything, except a nasty sunburn. But that doesn’t mean a Nevada summer is all about isolation. To the contrary, after the sun sets it’s time to break free. Las Vegas has always excelled at after-dark activities, and in the summer months, there’s still lots to do. Here’s your handy guide to some of the best options, from patio dining to outdoor recreation to live concerts. So get out there and live it up this summer. No sunscreen required.
PATIO DINING (& DRINKING)
Chef Stephen Blandino’s upscale, lakeside restaurant in Desert Shores is one of those hidden gems you have to experience firsthand. Enjoy market oysters or lobster and foie ravioli on the waterfront, nightly until 10 p.m. 2620 Regatta Drive #118, 702-331-5565.
Atomic Liquors & The Kitchen at Atomic
Downtown’s booze mecca is home to not one, but two great patios: the big corral at the corner of Fremont and 10th, typically filled with happy humans sampling from Atomic’s next-level beer and cocktail lists; and the smaller, more secluded porch adjacent to the Kitchen, where you can nibble on Justin Kingsley Hall’s standout creations (while also drinking, of course). Liquors: 917 Fremont St., 702-982-3000; Kitchen: 927 Fremont St., 702-534-3223.
It’s a beerhall on the Strip, complete with live music, trivia nights $4 beer and hot dogs happy hours. The patio, which overlooks the Park, is also one of the best spots to watch Golden Knights games. 3784 Las Vegas Blvd S., 702-692-2337.
When the late Kerry Simon launched his Downtown venture in 2014, it was an immediate hit with residents of the city’s energetic core. The rooftop patio adds extra metropolitan flair, and it pairs a little too perfectly with foie gras cream meatballs, charred octopus and a tall glass of the #simonsays sangria. 124 S. 6th Street, St. #100, 702-473-9523.
Crown & Anchor
There’s no better place to enjoy an order of fish & chips, a pint of Smithwick’s and some fresh air than the patio at this University District mainstay. 1350 E Tropicana Ave., 702-739-8676.
One of the most secluded and relaxing outdoor spaces on the Strip, Herringbone’s garden-oasis of a patio is the perfect place for a late dinner (tuna poke, smoked trout Caesar salad), and the coastal cuisine complements the ambiance. Aria, 702-590-9898.
There are few places more classically hip than this Paris Las Vegas kitchen, which recently opened another concept next door, Alexxa’s Bar, providing even more space for you to sip Strip-side. Gnocchi pomodoro, pan seared scallops and Australian Prime Wagyu rib eye are just a few delectable offerings available until midnight daily. 702-331-5100.
Award-winning Las Vegas chef Julian Serrano crafted a unique Mediterranean menu for his newest restaurant, a perfect match for the beautiful white patio looking over Bellagio’s famous fountains. Bellagio, 702-693-8865.
Mon Ami Gabi
Ah, Paris Las Vegas when it sizzles. This French bistro appeals to local and tourist alike, for one reason above all: Its patio offers a spectacular view of the Strip and the Bellagio’s fountains. 702-944-4224.
Mt. Charleston Lodge
Escape the heat and the city hustle at this beloved spot on Mount Charleston. The dog-friendly patio has grand mountain views, there’s live music on weekends and the bar, recently purchased by Ellis Island, now features local draft beers. Bonus points if you hike before eating. 5375 Kyle Canyon Road, 702-872-5408.
Oak & Ivy
Hiding among Fremont East’s hip bar scene is this gem of a cocktail lounge, where you can perch on the patio or up on the roof to take in some Container Park people-watching and sip a well-crafted, memorable libation. Downtown Container Park, 702-553-2549.
Bring your tourist friends to this trendy spot at New York-New York to people-watch on the Strip-facing patio. With a wide selection of upscale comfort food, it’s a prime place to grab a bite before a concert or a Knights game. 702-740-6766.
Put on your walking shoes for the Downtown Arts District’s free monthly festival. Art, vendors, food trucks and other cultural offerings are great reasons to get outside after the heat of the day wanes. ffflv.org.
Goldstrom’s Night Swap at ReBar
On the third Friday of each month, this Arts District favorite invites owners of vintage cars and motorbikes to show off their rides alongside a major nighttime swap meet—clothes, musical instruments, local art, auto parts, you name it. 1225 S. Main St., 702-349-2283
Jazz in the Park
Next year will mark the 30th anniversary for this free, outdoor institution, but there’s no reason not to pack a picnic basket and grab a blanket for the remaining dates of year 29: vocalist Diane Schuur on May 26, trio Groove Project (Marcus Anderson, JJ Sansaverino and Oli Silk) on June 2 and saxophonist Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers on June 16. Government Center Amphitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.
Las Vegas 51s
New teams abound these days in Southern Nevada, but the Valley’s longtime Triple-A baseball team still makes for a relaxing night out—at affordable prices ($11-$17 per game) with tempting promotions (Dollar Beer Night Thursdays, Fireworks Fridays) to boot. Catch the squad in its final season at Cashman Field before it heads west to its new Downtown Summerlin digs. lv51.com.
Las Vegas Lights FC
Haven’t watched our latest Downtown sports team yet? You’re missing an affordable family-friendly outing that includes a lively tailgate party, nonstop field action and delicious Mexican street chips. Cashman Field, lasvegaslightsfc.com.
Last Friday, Just Add Water Street
Downtown Henderson gets festive monthly with this community hootenanny, featuring culinary and boozy offerings, kids’ activities, a farmers market and … arm-wrestling competitions! 200 S. Water Street, justaddwaterstreet.com.
Mandalay Bay Beach concerts
Get up to your waist in water or stay dry on the sand as headliners like reggaeton singer J Balvin (May 27), reggae bands Dirty Heads (June 29) and Mystic Roots (July 4) and rising country stars Kane Brown (July 22) and Brett Young (August 17)—plus a Retro Futura tour featuring ’80s throwbacks like Belinda Carlisle and ABC (July 21)—handle the soundtrack. 702-632-7580.
The folks at Wynn Nightlife didn’t invent the Vegas pool party, but they did perfect it, maintaining the ultimate luxury experience while doing big numbers at XS and Encore Beach Club. Nightswim fires it up four times a week and has become the quintessential summer Strip event. Encore, 702-770-7300.
See classic—and often family-friendly—movies under Vegas’ nighttime sky, at Wet ’n’ Wild, the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool, the District at Green Valley Ranch, Downtown Container Park, M Resort and Downtown Summerlin.
There’s something calming about watching planes take off and land, and McCarran International Airport’s viewing area, designed for parked cars, is a prime spot for it. No making out, please, Show some decorum. East Sunset Road between Eastern Avenue and Paradise Road.
Stargazing with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society
The nonprofit group of amateur astronomers holds regular stargazing events in natural settings just outside of town, where light pollution is less acute. Check the Facebook page (facebook.com/groups/81273219287) for the next look-up.
Super Summer Theater
From May through September, bring a picnic and your family to Spring Mountain Ranch for musical theater under the stars. This season includes Big Fish, She Loves Me, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz and Pirates of Penzance. 6375 Nevada 159, supersummertheatre.org.
Water Lantern Festival
If you’ve been failing at sunset serenity of late, launch a water lantern at Craig Ranch Regional Park’s May 26 event. The sight of hundreds of glowing lanterns is the reset button your psyche needs. $30-40, waterlanternfestival.com.
Bats of Red Rock
Red Rock Canyon ranger Jim Cribbs leads you on a field trip where you can see and hear the nocturnal flying mammals of Red Springs. 15 and up, 702-515-5367.
The popular sunset and moonlight excursions offered at Red Rock Canyon and Mount Charleston are as much about astronomy as they are the surrounding land. gomtcharleston.com, redrockcanyonlv.org.
About once a month, Spring Mountain State Park rangers lead guests on a dog-friendly moonlit hike through Sandstone Canyon. It’s about two miles and free with park admission. Bring water and a flashlight. parks.nv.gov.
Bootleg Canyon zipline tour
Flightlinez’s ziplines are twice as nice when you opt for the sunset tour—you literally fly towards the sun right as it disappears—or the later version offered during the full moon. $169-$179, flightlinezbootleg.com.
Not every pool open to the public has a DJ floating in it. The City’s Municipal Pool (431 E. Bonanza Road, 702-229-6309), the Desert Breeze Aquatic Center (8275 Spring Mountain Road, 702-455-7798), the Hollywood Aquatic Center (1550 S. Hollywood Blvd., 702-455-8508) and the Whitney Ranch Indoor Pool (1575 W. Galleria Drive, Henderson; 702-267-5870) all offer evening swims for a nominal fee.
UNLV bike rides
It might not be considered lush by most campus standards, but the greenery and tall buildings keep UNLV’s campus significantly cooler than most of Las Vegas, and come nighttime, some spots—specifically, the north mall that runs past the Holbert H. Hendrix Auditorium down to the old P.E. complex—don’t feel like the desert at all. It’s a wonderful reprieve from the summer heat, so hop on your bike and go.
Toast to another rotation of the Earth at Stratosphere’s 107 SkyLounge, or venture east to the base of Sunrise Mountain for panoramic views of the Valley. Hike the mountain trail or simply enjoy the views from anywhere on Hollywood Boulevard.