Summer's here and the time is right for drinks, dining, and figuring out what that new "Neon Gateway" sign means on Interstate 15. Yeah, the weather is ridiculous, but if you can't beat the heat with the top pool parties in Vegas, check out the rest of the action around town. We've got the top summer events organized in one handy list below. Need more? Stay up to date with all the cool things to do every week in Las Vegas.
Now through Tuesday, June 25 T-Mobile Arena Here in Las Vegas, we've got the best arena in the world -- and now you can get a firsthand look at the architecture and technology that makes it so awesome. T-Mobile Arena, home to the Vegas Golden Knights, UFC, and tons of concerts, is now offering 60-minute tours of the 20,000-seat venue. Take a rare behind-the-scenes look at the arena and hear a few stories about the big-name acts who've played on stage. (Yeah, spill the dirt.) Tours take place at 2 and 4 pm. Cost: $24.99
Now through Sunday, June 30 The Strip One of the coolest things you can do in Vegas is visit multiple restaurants in a single night with Lip Smacking Foodie Tours. The most upscale tour -- the Ultimate Steakhouse Experience -- is usually reserved for private parties of eight or more. However, in honor of Father's Day, guests are encouraged to bring dad along in parties of just two or more all month long. This is the real deal. Travel by private shuttle to Bazaar Meat, Jean Georges, and Scotch 80 Prime -- three of the very top steakhouses in Vegas -- and experience the best of what each restaurant has to offer. You'll try incredible steaks including Japanese A5 Kobe and plenty of other bites in between. Round out the night with wine pairings, an after-dinner Scotch or bourbon tasting, and a Maverick Helicopter flight over the Strip. Your dad will be especially happy you didn't get him a tie this year. Cost: $1,250 per person (but worth it)
Now through Saturday, July 27 The Mob Museum One of our favorite museums in Las Vegas is kicking off a summer movie series. Stop by the Mob Museum to watch The Public Enemy, a 1931 crime drama starring James Cagney set in the Prohibition era. Return June 17 for Scarface (no, not that Scarface but a 1932 film about Al Capone starring Paul Muni) and June 24 for Angels with Dirty Faces, a 1938 feature that teams Cagney up with Humphrey Bogart. All screenings begin at 6 pm and take place in the museum's historic courtroom where real life criminals were once prosecuted. RSVP and buy tickets in advance. Cost: $26.95 ($16.95 for Nevada residents) and includes museum admission
Now through Saturday, August 31 SLS Las Vegas The two best restaurants at the SLS have new -- and here's the important part, affordable -- tasting menus for the summer season. Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres, which competes with the top restaurants in Vegas, has a seven-course menu headlined by a choice of short rib Beef Wellington or Iberico pork shoulder. Cleo, meanwhile, has a five-course menu, in which Mediterranean favorites like hummus and lebaneh are complemented by a choice of grilled hanger steak, clams with noodles, or chicken tagine. Cost: Bazaar Meat is $80 per person (plus $25 for wine pairings); Cleo is $40 per person (plus $20 for wine pairings)
Saturday, June 8 Clark County Amphitheater From noon to 11 pm, the Clark County Amphitheater will present one act after another with Reggae in the Desert featuring headliners Sly & Robbie, Mykal Rose, and Don Carlos. Vendors will be around to serve plenty of beer as well as jerk chicken and other Caribbean favorites. The music and atmosphere may inspire you to light one up, but just remember -- while cannabis is legal in Nevada, public smoking is not. Cost: Tickets begin at $29.99
Saturday, June 8 Zappos headquarters Ready to overdose on tacos? Of course you are! Motley Brews' Hopped Taco Throwdown brings together 12 of your favorite Vegas chefs in one place to put their own experimental spin on how to make a taco. Even better -- you can wash them all down with more than 40 samples of craft beer. The event is from 8-11 pm (with one hour early entry for VIP ticket holders) in the courtyard (a.k.a. "The Backyard") of Zappos headquarters. Cost: $60 general admission ($85 VIP)
Wednesday, June 12 Golden Tiki The Golden Tiki is debuting a new menu by Sheridan Su of Flock & Fowl that promises to give an exotic Asian upgrade to traditional bar food. We're already hearing great things about the lion's head meatballs (based on a centuries-old recipe), sweet-and-spicy ribs, a couple bao bun dishes, and a new spin on what can be done with a hot dog. Golden Tiki is one of our favorite speakeasy-style bars in Vegas, and the new food should complement the work of head mixologist Adam Rains, whose cocktails are more balanced and less sugary than your typical tropical tiki fare. Expect a celebration around 9 pm to officially announce the menu. Cost: Dishes begin at $5
Saturday, June 15 Wynn Las Vegas Hey. Did you know that Shaquille O'Neal is a DJ? Well, watch the NBA legend transform into DJ Diesel during a new summer residency at Encore Beach Club. We hear he's actually quite good at this and no matter what the music sounds like, how can you not love a party with the seven-foot-plus Shaq pumping his giant fist from behind a DJ booth? Cost: Tickets begin at $25
Sunday, June 16 The Venetian If you need a cool backup plan for an awesome Father's Day, bring the big guy to Yardbird at the Venetian for a four-course Bourbon Tasting Experience. That means a smoked brisket biscuit with applewood-infused Woodford Reserve, fried green tomato BLT with bacon-infused WIld Turkey 101, bacon butterscotch cake with banana-infused Jack Daniels, and/or a fried Oreo with dark chocolate-infused Knob Creek. Those are just the suggested pairings. Feel free to customize your own tasting. Either way, dad is going to be very happy. Book at least four days in advance by emailing email@example.com Cost: Prices varies by choice of dishes and pairings
Saturday, June 22 Andiron With its tall ceilings and bright decor, Andiron feels like a Hamptons getaway in the middle of Las Vegas. The atmosphere will only pick up a notch during the restaurant's fourth annual White Party to help kick off the summer season. Mix and mingle with beer, wine, cocktails, passed appetizers, and grilling stations serving fresh food on the spot from 7-11 pm. Cost: $94.80 per person
Sunday, June 23 Tropicana Entertainers from shows up and down the Strip will join together for a one-night-only performance at the Tropicana. Ribbon of Life, an annual fundraiser for Golden Rainbow's support of those living with AIDS/HIV, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, taking on a "Summer of Love" theme based on peace, love, and music. The show is more of a customized production than a collection of random show pieces, making it a truly unique event. The entertainment gets underway in the afternoon at 1 pm. Stick around afterwards for an afterparty in the Havana Room (free for premiere and VIP ticket holders and $25 on a limited basis to the general public). Cost: Tickets begin at $34.70
Thursday, June 27 Waldorf Astoria For the first time ever, restaurants by Pierre Gagnaire and the late Joel Robuchon -- two French culinary masters -- will join together for one single dinner. Chef de Cuisine John Miranda and the team from Twist by Pierre Gagnaire are welcoming Jimmy Lisnard, executive chef of L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, to put together a tasting menu of five courses plus an amuse bouche. Each chef will put their own spin on a particular protein for each course. Wine pairing are available at an additional cost. (And we totally recommend you get 'em -- upscale French restaurants and wine are kind of a thing.) Reserved seatings begin at 5:30 pm. Cost: $350, not including tax and gratuity (plus $120 for additional wine pairings)
Wednesday, July 3 - Sunday, July 7 The Strip & Downtown Summer is a good time to be a fight fan. Every July, UFC builds five days worth of events around one of its biggest fight cards of the year in Las Vegas. International Fight Week includes a two-day fan festival at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as smaller meet-and-greets and parties around town. It all leads up to UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena as Jon Jones defends his light-heavyweight championship against Thiago Santos. Cost: The UFC Fan Experience is free; tickets for UFC 239 begin at $190
Monday, July 8 The Cosmopolitan The Cosmopolitan is running its Monday night "Dive In Movies" series all summer long, but if you can only check out one of 'em, make it A Star Is Born. The music drama earned great reviews and made a movie star out of Vegas resident headliner Lady Gaga. The film is shown at 8 pm on the Cosmo's digital marquee above the Boulevard Pool. Feel free to lounge around, go for a swim, or sip down on movie-themed cocktails throughout the screening. Just try not to sing along to "Shallow" too loud. Cost: $7 (free to hotel guests and kids under 5)
Sunday, July 14 Sparrow + Wolf One of the restaurants shaping the new image of Chinatown, Sparrow + Wolf, is transforming into a French brasserie to celebrate Bastille Day -- complete with one-night-only decor and uniforms. Between 5 and 11 pm, Chef Brian Howard will serve his own take on traditional French dishes while live Parisian-style jazz plays in the background. Come early. A "champagne clock" will be in effect with bottles for $50 at 5 pm and increasing by $15 every hour afterwards. However, magnums will be half-off at 9 pm. So if you're coming late, bring a few friends. Cost: Prices vary per dish
Saturday, July 27 The LINQ Add Reel Big Fish to Bowling for Soup plus a ton of beer -- and what do you get? The Reel Big Beer and Bowling Fest. The concert at Brooklyn Bowl will feature not only both of these millennial-friendly acts, but also a craft beer tasting from 6-8 pm. (The show itself runs until 10:30 pm). Rent out a bowling lane at the mixed-use concert venue and you've got a complete party on your hands that's hard to beat. Cost: Tickets begin at $45
Monday, August 5 The Venetian The Dorsey -- with drink recipes by Sam Ross -- already has one of the best cocktail menus on the Strip. But find time to drop by during the periodic Dosey Session events to see guest mixologists from around the country show off their signature creations. This time around, Ivy Mix of New York's Leyenda Brooklyn Cocteleria will be serving libations with a Latin influence. Don't expect an Aviation to be offered. Cost: Prices vary per cocktail (email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about accessibility)
Saturday, August 10 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Indulge in food and drink samples -- as well as live entertainment from the Strip's most talented performers -- during one of the wildest annual celebrations in Las Vegas. AFAN's Black & White Party encourages guests to stick to the two-tone color scheme and the more creative (and skimpier), the better. The event at the The Joint inside the Hard Rock starts on the late side at 9 pm, but VIP ticket holders get a pair of drink tickets, reception with hors d'oeuvres, and one-hour early entry. Cost: General admission is $35, VIP begins at $85
Tuesday, August 13 The Flamingo How does a pop star from the '90s pull off a comeback in 2019? By using a hat as a weapon like a James Bond villain and setting up shop in Las Vegas. Paula Abdul is playing an extended run of dates between August and January with "Forever Your Girl: The Las Vegas Residency" promising to mix music, elaborate choreography, and even a few stories from the singer's career into an expansive multimedia presentation. Does that mean lip syncing too? We'll see. Cost: Tickets begin at $69
Wednesday, August 14 Planet Hollywood The Zappos Theater has hosted residencies by Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Pitbull. Now the stylish high-tech venue is giving rock a chance. Def Leppard is kicking off their second Las Vegas residency with eight dates in August and four more in September. The band's first residency at the Hard Rock a few years ago was built around their classic Hysteria album but this time around, "Def Leppard Hits Vegas: The Sin City Residency" is expected to feature a more thorough mix of hit singles and rock radio favorites from the group's long career. Either way, you're getting "Pour Some Sugar On Me." Cost: Tickets begin at $59
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Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas for Thrillist for five years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Leafly, Supercall, Modern Luxury, and Luxury Estates International's seasonal publication. He understands fall is the season for beer. Follow him on Twitter@rkachelriess.