13 things you absolutely must do in Las Vegas this Summer

Published On 06/17/2014 Published On 06/17/2014
Electric Daisy Carnival
Erik Kabik

Obviously, the first thing you do in Vegas during the Summer is hit each and every one of its epic topless pools, but the second thing is... well, all 13 of the things on our list of stuff you absolutely must do in Las Vegas this Summer, some of which aren't even in Vegas (we're looking at you Red Rock and Lake Mead!), but all of which will help you beat/get the most out of Sin City's brutal heat.

Erik Kabik

What: The Electric Daisy Carnival
When: June 20th-23rd
Where: The Las Vegas Motor Speedway
This festival draws more than 100,000 people who like neon colors/girls in skimpy outfits each night for tons upon tons of electronic dance music (or “EDM” for those who don’t want to waste a second of their day), from over 175 artists, including people like Paul Oakenfold and Tiesto, who you may have actually heard of. 

Drai’s Beach Club

What: Make a splash at a pool party
When: Whenever you feel like skipping work/class/Bible study
Where: Drai’s at the Cromwell
There’re lots to choose from if you want to hit the best day clubs and pool parties in Las Vegas, but there’s only one that takes place 11 stories above the Strip, where thanks to DJs, tons of space, cabanas, beds, and stripper poles, it’s definitely one of the best things about the new Cromwell.

Denise Truscello

When: June 17th… and every Tuesday night afterwards
Where: We already told you... at The LINQ
The busiest alleyway in Las Vegas is getting busier with a massive outdoor party at The LINQ that goes from 6pm-2am every Tuesday night. Every shop and restaurant will offer some sort of big discount… and some of them are pretty good, like two-for-one tickets at Brooklyn Bowl, half-off admission for locals to the High Roller observation wheel, and specialty shots from BLVD. Cocktail Company.

Lion Fight/Bernie Palmore

What: UFC International Fight Week
When: July 1st-6th
Where: All over the place
An annual tradition continues with a week of exhibits, autograph signings, pool parties, and a massive fan expo… all leading up to not one, but two major UFC events on Saturday and Sunday at Mandalay Bay. The UFC is also throwing its promotional weight behind Lion Fight 16 at the Palms on Friday -- where you can check out some fights with less expensive ticket prices.

Cowabunga Bay

What: Ride a water slide at Cowabunga Bay
When: July 4th
Where: Henderson
After a year of delays, this massive water park finally has an opening date. The 23-acre attraction features an enormous wave pool, water slides (including one with a trap door!), and a 1,200ft long lazy river. If you can’t wait until then… there’s always the Wet ‘n’ Wild water park on the other side of the valley which boasts the new “Tornado” funnel-shaped slide this year.

Station Casinos

What: Watch the Independence Day Fireworks… then go inside and gamble
When: July 4th (of course)
Where: The Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch resorts
Ok. So every little town has July 4th fireworks, but try and find somewhere else that shoots them off of the top of a major casino. Aside from New Year’s Eve, it’s the only time of the year you’ll actually see the roof blown off the joint. Literally.

Erik Kabik

What: Take a ride on the craziest zip line you’ve seen in your life
When: Before (our version of) monsoon season starts in August
Where: The Rio
The VooDoo Zip Line stretches between the two towers of the Rio resort -- beginning on the patio of the VooDoo Steakhouse 50 floors above the ground. So after you chow down on a ribeye, enjoy one of the best views of Vegas on a wild ride that lasts a little more than a minute and goes about 30 miles per hour.

NBA E/Getty Images

What: NBA Summer League
When: July 11th-21st
Where: Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center
Las Vegas may not (ever?) have a major league sports team, but every Summer, stars from the NBA pay Sin City a visit for a series of pre-season warm-up games. Why spend the Summer binge-watching TV shows on Netflix when you can binge-watch a total of 67 games featuring 24 NBA teams over 11 days?

Dale May

What: Pin-Up (temporarily) gets a new star performer
When: July 24th-31st
Where: The Stratosphere
Former Playboy Playmate Claire Sinclair takes a break from her starring role at one of Vegas's best topless shows so fashion model and star of Best Ink Sabina Kelley can step in and show off her tattoos... and some skin that isn't covered by them, hopefully.

Fremont East Entertainment District

What: First Friday
When: August 1st
Where: Downtown
For the first time in three years, the monthly block party is taking a break, but it's coming back in August after some changes, including expanding its territory from the Arts District to Fremont East and making the event more eco-friendly -- so you can feel good about partying and chugging cocktails.

Forever Resorts

What: Hit the water on a fully loaded houseboat
When: Any clear and sunny day
Where: Lake Mead
Why deal with the weekend crowds at the only beach near Las Vegas when you can rent your own houseboat out of Callville Bay from Forever Resorts? It comes with private rooms, satellite TV, BBQ grills, water slides and yes, air conditioning. Perfect for leaving behind the comforts of home... without really leaving behind the comforts of home.

MGM Resorts International

What: Enjoy a bite outdoors
When: August 31st
Where: The Monte Carlo
It’s National Eat Outside Day (yes, there is such a thing), so it’s the perfect time to check out the Monte Carlo’s new outdoor plaza. It’s not quite as big as The LINQ down the street, but it features plenty of live music, an extended promenade and some of the best new restaurants in Vegas including the Double Barrel Roadhouse, independent coffee roaster Sambalatte and casual Asian spot Yusho – which is known to serve duck testicles on occasion.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

What: Tour the deserted mines that helped finance the creation of Sin City
When: Whenever you want
Where: Eldorado Canyon
Papillon offers a package that takes you by helicopter over Hoover Dam and into the historic Eldorado Canyon -- where you’ll tour the spooky caverns of what was once the largest gold mine in Southern Nevada. The ghost town outside comes with its share of stories about murdered pioneers and prospectors, who are said to still haunt the area. Oh, and there’s a Champagne picnic lunch too.

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1. Las Vegas Motor Speedway 7000 Las Vegas Blvd N, Las Vegas, NV 89115 (Off Strip)

Only 15mi from The Strip, the LV Motor Speedway hosts events the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series, as well as racing classes and demos like Exotics, Dream, and the American Muscle Car Challenge.

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2. Drai’s 3595 South Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

You're in for tons of R&B and hip-hop at swanky nightclub Drai's, which has hosted both residencies and special appearances from the likes of The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, and Kendrick Lamar. In between those big acts, DJs will mix things up between EDM and top-40 hits. One half of the club is indoors, where you'll find plenty of luxurious leather decor, and the other is out by the pool, surrounded by towering palm trees and the many neon marquees on the Strip. Not to mention, Drai's boasts the most sweeping views of Las Vegas that make for a perfect dancing backdrop.

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3. The LINQ 3545 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109

It's full of shopping, making it one of the busiest alleyways in Vegas. Oh, of course, it's got the High Roller too.

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4. Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119

Plasma TVs, marble spa tubs, and a 12,000-seat event center with concerts like Iron Maiden and more make this a can't-miss Vegas hot spot. Hit the green on four different golf courses or if you're feeling lucky, try the Toptional™ Moorea Beach Club, which is exactly what it sounds like.

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5. Cowabunga Bay 900 Galleria Dr, Henderson, NV 89011

Get ready for Summer fun at this exciting, new and all-out-awesome water park coming to Henderson. They've got more than 25 splashing, sliding, twisting and turning attractions.

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6. Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa 11011 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89135 (Off Strip)

This high-end resort, casino, and spa houses top-notch dining like T-Bones Chophouse, plus a bowling alley, and hosts a slew of concerts, and more.

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7. Palms Casino & Resort 4321 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 (Strip)

This luxury casino sports gorgeous accommodations, high-end restos (N9ne Steakhouse, Alize, Nove Italiano), and a spa/salon.

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8. Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino 3700 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 (Strip)

Just a block off the main drag, Rio is one of the better resorts for those traveling in larger groups. The Brazilian-themed hotel's signature "chic suites" sleep six people and features various amenities, live entertainment (Penn and Teller are on retainer, along with the Chippendales), a pool area with an actual white sand beach, and a 490ft high zip-line that connects the hotel's two towers.

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9. VooDoo Zip Line 3700 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 (Strip)

These guys are actually crazy enough to allow you (who must also be crazy) to zip line from tower to tower at the Rio Hotel at around 33mph... and 400ft in the air.

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10. Cox Pavilion 4505 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89119

The 78,300sqft multi-purpose indoor arena on the University of Nevada campus is connected to the Thomas & Mack Center, which serves as the home court for UNLV.

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11. Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower 2000 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89104

The iconic Vegas hotel has a 1149ft-tall Tower, casino, live events, and, of course, a 64ft-tall roller coaster on the roof -- just in case all the other standard Vegas entertainment isn't enough for you to get your thrills.

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12. Callville Bay 100 Callville Bay Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89040

With miles and miles of shoreline, it's the perfect place to escape from the Strip and relax in a cool Summer breeze.

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13. Monte Carlo Resort and Casino 3770 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

There are stuffy, uncomfortable, and exclusive luxury hotels everywhere in Vegas... then there's the Monte Carlo, which is just as luxurious -- where you'llfeel rich, even if you’re not. This is unpretentious luxury at its best.

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14. Double Barrel Roadhouse 3770 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Keep it casual at this eatery in front of the Monte Carlo, where they're serving up down-home, Southern-inspired bites like chicken fried steak, cheddar cheese grits, and chicken pot pie.

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15. Sambalatte Torrefazione 750 S Rampart Blvd, #9, Las Vegas, NV 89145 (Strip)

This Brazilian-influenced coffeeshop is renowned for the quality of their coffee, sourced from around the globe and roasted locally, and for the unique latte art that graces the top of every espresso drink. The mini-chain has several locations around Vegas, but each one is devoted to serving the best espresso possible. With warm, coffee-inspired tones, comfy couches, and free wifi, this is a cozy place that encourages patrons to linger, make friends with other locals, and learn more about the coffeemaking process. The cafes are also active in the community, regularly hosting live music, poetry readings, and other events.

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16. Yusho 3770 S Las Vegas BLVD, Paradise, NV 89109 (Strip)

Chef Matthias Merges brings Yusho to the Monte Carlo, where you can score Japanese bites inspired by street food, like steamed buns, various types of noodles, and assorted kimchi.

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17. Eldorado Canyon Mine NV 165, Nelson, NV 89046

Papillon offers a package that takes you by helicopter over Hoover Dam and into the historic Eldorado Canyon where you’ll tour the spooky caverns of what was once the largest gold mine in Southern Nevada.