Entertainment

How Las Vegas is Reinventing the Pool Party in 2020

Goodbye dayclubs. Hello poolside lounges.

Elation Pool at The Strat
Elation Pool at The Strat

The pool party scene is looking a lot different in Las Vegas this summer. The traditional dayclub image of half-naked bodies grinding together in “nightclubs by the water” is on hold, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, pools are toning things down. Some notable dayclubs -- like Drai's, Jemaa, and DayDream -- remain closed. Others are tweaking their format, operating as poolside lounges with a limited number of guests allowed inside. Big name DJ headliners are off the table for now. Drinks still flow freely, but are almost entirely served directly by the staff. No walking up to the bar yourself. And yes, expect to wear a mask when not at the pool. It could make for awkward tan lines, but it’s the safe and courteous thing to do. If you can handle the new Las Vegas, here are the latest pool parties, lounges, and dayclubs you need to check out.

Wet Republic
Wet Republic

Wet Republic

MGM Grand
The longest running dayclub in Las Vegas was hoping 2020 would be bigger and better than ever. It began the year with a fresh new look, thanks to a multi-million dollar renovation that included an updated stage, sound system, video screens, cabanas, and bungalows (which come with their own plunge pools). But the champagne showers came to an end when casinos were ordered closed in March. As Vegas slowly reopened, Wet Republic Ultra Pool shifted into lounge mode. Headliners like Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Zedd, and Tiesto are gone for the summer. (So is the annual Hot 100 bikini contest.) Now, Wet Republic is effectively an extension of the main MGM Grand Pool area. However, it's still 21-and-over with dance music in the background.

Marquee Dayclub
Marquee Dayclub

Marquee

The Cosmopolitan
Marquee is doing its best to keep the energy up with a DJ Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the day and Friday and Saturday at night. However, the club is now operating as a lounge, almost like an outdoor restaurant. There’s a renewed emphasis on the food, so ask about the seafood towers. And you can order all the bottle service you want. Marquee is open to everyone -- not just hotel guests -- but daybed or cabana reservations are required. With that being said, one of the best ways to enjoy Marquee is by booking a bungalow -- a three-story hotel suite that overlooks the pool and has direct admission to the deck.

The LINQ
The LINQ

Influence

The LINQ
Although The LINQ Hotel remains closed, the rooftop pool is open for all Caesars property guests. Show up early with your hotel key for your best chance to avoid a wait. The signature pool party, Influence, has shifted from a casual week-long backyard-inspired bash with beer pong and cornhole to a more reserved gathering Friday through Sunday. The view of the High Roller wheel at the LINQ promenade never goes away. There are no live DJs, but plenty of EDM and top-40 in the background. The daily happy hour before 10am includes $10 mimosas, screwdrivers, Bloody Marys, and $7 beers. A nice perk is that you can order food from Virgil’s BBQ next door.  

Encore Beach Club
Encore Beach Club

Encore Beach Club

Wynn Encore
The expansive 60,000-square-foot deck at Encore Beach Club (or EBC Pool these days) offers something unusual in Vegas: a pool with space and room to breathe. That only makes social distancing easier, especially when cabana or daybed reservations are required for entry. EBC still has a DJ spinning music, but headliners like the Chainsmokers and David Guetta are sitting out this season. Instead, the emphasis is on the food and booze. Come by and hang out during the day Friday through Sunday.

Liquid
Liquid | Anthony Mair

Liquid

Aria
Matching the contemporary image of the Aria resort, Liquid has always been a little more intimate and upscale than other pool parties in Vegas. The venue is now taking things down a notch, officially rebranded as Liquid Pool Lounge, a secluded escape for those 21 and over Friday-Sunday. The comfortable wicker furniture is a nice touch, and the eight massive VIP cabanas -- which if needed, can be split into 16 cabanas -- come with their own private pools, TVs, and daybeds. The drink menu has four different takes on a mojito and a deep champagne list, ranging from $16 for a house glass to $20,000 for a six-liter bottle of Dom.

Daylight
Daylight

Daylight

Mandalay Bay
Daylight immediately sets itself apart from other pools in Vegas by having its own dedicated parking lot. That means you don't have to trudge through a casino lobby to get to it. Other highlights include 23 VIP Cabanas and two ultra-VIP bungalows. The ambiance is more chill this year, whether during the day Friday through Sunday or under the moonlight Friday and Saturday nights. Either way, expect a DJ playing a combination of house, top-40, R&B, and hip-hop. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, food and beverage minimums (as well as bottle service prices) have been lowered for the season. Reservations are strongly recommended to guarantee a spot.

Go Pool
Go Pool

Go Pool

Flamingo
With waterfalls, palm trees, and a twisting swimming pool, Go Pool has the feel of a tropical lagoon. It still operates seven days a week as a 21-and-over pool, while the neighboring Beach Club Pool remains all ages. You may notice some changes this year: no DJs, live performances, or celebrity guests. Lounge chairs have been removed from cabanas to encourage social distancing and the waterslides are strictly off limits. The good news -- if Go Pool seemed a little too cramped and crowded in the past, it’s now a far more comfortable place to enjoy the scenery. When you’re done swimming and tanning, visit the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat, just steps away from the pool deck. It’s one of the best free attractions in Vegas.

Aquatic Club
Aquatic Club

Aquatic Club

Venetian
With Tao Beach closed for renovations (which had nothing to do with COVID, actually), the Aquatic Club has been picking up the slack as the resort’s 21-and-over pool. Ahead of its time as a poolside lounge, the Aquatic Club is a secluded oasis on the Palazzo side of the pool deck with pop, dance, and hip-hop playing in the background. Mixologist Sam Ross helped put together the drink menus, so go for a fancy cocktail or a serving of Dole Whip with a rum float. The Venetian side of the pool deck has a fresh renovation for 2020, including two new infinity pools and lavish air-conditioned cabanas (almost like small apartments) with their own private plunge pools and courtyards. You may spot a DJ performing at Spritz, a new poolside restaurant that serves some of the chunkiest and tastiest chicken fingers on the Strip. The sangria towers are a one-way-ticket to a nice poolside buzz.     

Citrus at Downtown Grand
Citrus at Downtown Grand

Citrus

Downtown Grand
Just a block from the Fremont Street Experience, Citrus is your best bet for a Downtown pool party. The bright and colorful rooftop deck doesn’t currently have any DJs on the roster, but continues to pump out loud, high-energy music over the sound system. Citrus runs from 9am to dark throughout the week with food served Friday through Sunday. (Try the taco platter and thank us later.) Admission is free for hotel guests and anyone with a reservation for a lawn table or one of three different cabana designs. The Downtown Grand officially opens its Gallery Tower September 22, giving guests a fresh new option for booking a room.

Venus at Caesars Palace
Venus at Caesars Palace

Venus

Caesars Palace
Formerly a topless pool, Venus remains open seven days a week for hotel guests 18-and-over -- reservations required. Secluded by rows of trees, it’s a nice change of pace from the sprawling Garden of the Gods pool deck. Cocktails, sandwiches, wraps, or fruit are on standby, but you can also place a mobile order from the Caesars Palace Food Court. Cabanas are limited to five people this year.

Elation Pool

The Strat
The tops-optional 21-and-over WET24 is closed at the moment, leaving Elation Pool as the top daytime destination for Stratosphere guests. The eighth floor pool deck doesn’t rise as high as the hotel’s famous observation tower, but still has great views of the Vegas Strip with lights bites, cocktails, and music playing overhead. The tequila lime grilled lobster tail tacos and boozy Poolside Punch are a perfect summer combo.

Sahara
Sahara

Alexandria & Retro Pool

Sahara
The recent renovations at the Sahara are carrying over to a pair of rooftop pool decks. Alexandria Pool has panoramic views from the top of the Alexandria Tower. Retro Pool is a bit more intimate and surrounded by cabanas on three sides. Both pools are all ages and feature live DJs as well as brand new furnishings. Expect some of the best poolside cocktails on the Strip, including a Casamigos reposado margarita with Dole Whip. You can also beat the heat with a choice of spiked frozen pops. 

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Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than six years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He’s more of a cabana guy than a pool guy. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.