20 Date Ideas for Las Vegas This Summer

Get back out there.

couple in cockpit
Photo courtesy of All In Aviation

Can we shake hands again? Kiss? Make out with a stranger in a crowded nightclub? These are the questions to ponder as Las Vegas moves beyond the pandemic and welcomes summer with open, vaccinated arms. Fortunately, enough of us know the importance of a good needle prick, allowing Nevada to dramatically drop social distancing restrictions and operate at full capacity this summer. That means you and your Tinder buddy will have to take your relationship away from the computer and actually meet in person. Where to go? What to do? We've got 20 ideas to make it easy. 

afternoon tea
Photo courtesy of Founder Coffee

Share an afternoon tea at Founder's Coffee

For a first date, you may opt to "meet up for coffee," but go a step further and meet for tea instead. Founder's Coffee just launched a new afternoon tea program at its St. Rose location, seven days a week (1–6 pm) with 48 hours notice required. You'll receive a pot of blooming flower tea and a tiered tray with fun finger food, including pastries and fresh fruit. The mini-avocado toast is better than what most brunch restaurants are serving these days. At $40 per person, it's enough to impress without breaking the bank. Call 702-780-5554 to book a reservation.

Learn to fly a small aircraft

If you really want to impress a date, take control of an aircraft and prove you can navigate the skies above Las Vegas—with professional supervision of course. All In Aviation has new experiential flight lessons for the summer, beginning at $415 per person (and yes, you can bring a guest). Circle above landmarks like the Hoover Dam or travel to a destination like Zion National Park or Big Bear Lake before returning home. The lesson, conducted by a certified flight instructor, takes place in a Cessna 172 or if you really want to get fancy, a Cirrus SR22, departing from Henderson Executive Airport.

Royal Crawl
Photo courtesy of Royal Crawl

Take a boozy crawl down the Fremont Street Experience

Exploring the lights and sights of the Fremont Street Experience is one of the coolest things you can do in Vegas. It's even better with a drink in hand. Royal Crawl recently launched a Downtown drink crawl that begins at Overhang and Mega Bar at Circa, continues at Bar Prohibition inside the Golden Gate, then wraps up at Bar Canada and Longbar at The D. Go at your own pace while following the Royal Crawl app with a choice of beer, wine, or cocktail at each stop. Each drink earns a digital playing card with a prize for the day's best hand. Crawls are $70 (but use the code FREMONT40 to receive 40% off).

Pack the stands at Allegiant Stadium

Off the Strip
It's been a long wait since Allegiant Stadium was completed nearly a year ago. Now, Las Vegans can finally go inside the 65,000-seat venue. Bring a date and check out shows by Illenium (July 3), Garth Brooks (July 10), or Guns n' Roses (August 27). The stadium hosts the Concacaf Gold Cup Final on August 1 (it's a soccer thing) and the first preseason game by the Raiders on August 14. If you prefer to mix your sports with entertainment, the WWE Is bringing Summerslam to town August 21.

Hit the water for an after-dark pool party

The Strip
Some of the best pool parties in Vegas have special nighttime activities throughout summer, allowing guests to avoid the hot Nevada sun while still spending a mortgage payment on bottle service. Encore Beach Club has the idea down with regular "Night Swim" events on Wednesdays, Marquee Dayclub has "Drenched After Dark" Sundays at the Cosmopolitan, "Ayu Nights" is a series of evening parties (with the likes of Tiesto and Zedd) at the new Ayu Dayclub at Resorts World, Daylight continues to host night parties at Mandalay Bay on Fridays and Saturdays, and Venus is hosting Night Swim events for the first time this season Thursday–Sunday at Caesars Palace. No sunscreen required. 

Go back in time to an old school supper club

Off the Strip
The idea of dinner and a show feels right at home in Sin City—and perfect for date night. The Vegas Room is a throwback to a vintage supper club experience on weekends, featuring some of the best local performers in town. Just pay for the meal and drinks. The entertainment is included at no extra charge. Seatings begin at 6:30 pm. A Sunday brunch at 1 pm often features jazz acts. The Nevada Room (about a hundred feet away in the same complex) is more of a bistro and piano bar. Happy hour is 5–7 pm before the show begins. 

Esther's Kitchen
Esther's Kitchen

Check out new restaurants in the Arts District

So much to eat. So little time. The Arts District is fast becoming a hot spot for independent restaurants. Esther's Kitchen continues to be a favorite for Italian dining while Jammyland mixes cocktails with Jamaician bites. The elevated comfort food of Main St. Provisions, Yu-Or-Mi sushi bar, plant-based Tacotarian, and the incredible pizza of Good Pie are new additions quickly earning fans as well. Meanwhile, Soulbelly is serving some of the best BBQ in Vegas in between Nevada Brew Works and HUDL Brewing Company, both great spots for local beer.

Escape reality at the Museum of Dream Space

Grand Canal Shoppes
The Museum of Dream Space is an exhibit in the Grand Canal Shoppes inside the Venetian. Think of it as a place where cameras aren't only allowed, but encouraged. Six rooms are transformed into colorful immersive environments with lights, projection mapping, and other effects. The staff is on standby to help snap the perfect photo, so post one on social media and update your status from "It’s complicated" to "In a relationship."

fire pit
Photo courtesy of Legacy Club at Circa

Soak in the views at the Legacy Club

Snuggle up with someone special at the Legacy Club, a rooftop lounge at Circa (one of the new hotels making an impression in Las Vegas). The views from the 60th floor are especially engaging at sunset, whether inside the main bar or sitting by a fire pit on the open-air patio. New summertime cocktails include the Self Made, a blend of tequila, watermelon, basil, and sparkling lemon. Like the rest of the hotel, the Legacy Club has its share of Old Vegas touches; most noticeably, busts and portraits of Vegas casino magnates and a tower of gold bars with its fluctuating market value consistently updated on a digital display. Admission is free with a reservation.

Scarpetta | Photo by Anthony Mair

Take a seat at the Scarpetta Chef's Table

The Cosmopolitan
Scarpetta's combination of Italian cuisine and killer Strip views is even better with a brand new multi-course menu at the Chef's Table—a quiet, private dining room in the corner of the restaurant. Watch the kitchen team in action through a large window or just keep your eyes on the Bellagio fountains next door. The best part—you get a ridiculous amount of food inspired by the Italian family dinners Executive Chef Michael Vitangeli enjoyed from his grandmother growing up. The "Sunday Gravy" of pasta (with meatballs, sausage, and even pork ribs) buried in a date and pine nut tomato sauce is the main course, but the parade of seafood is the most welcome surprise. Between prawn scampi, baked whole branzino, octopus, and mussels, the hard part is finding room for it all. Come hungry and add on the optional Italian wine pours to round out the meal. 

Photo by Tory Kooyman, courtesy of The Bellagio

Walk among a seasonal floral display 

Need a cheap date? Walking through the Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Garden is one of the best things you can do for free in Las Vegas. The latest exhibit, "Eco: A Season of Earthly Awareness," celebrates the elements of earth, wind, water, and fire with more than 30,000 flowers and plants. Admission was staggered and limited throughout the pandemic to encourage social distancing, and it appears the policy will continue, at least for a while—and that's not a bad thing. Waits are never long and smaller crowds allow plenty of room to snap the perfect couples selfie.

Share a beautiful bottle of wine

Multiple Locations
Pop open a bold, robust bottle of wine for a romantic rendezvous. Restaurants like Marche Bauchus at Desert Shores and Aureole at Mandalay Bay are known for their extensive wine lists to pair with dinner. Chinatown French favorite Partage launched its own wine club last year for both singles and couples. Members receive two bottles of high-end wine or champagne each month with discounts on additional wine and a multicourse dinner series. The restaurant also recently opened French Cellar as a gourmet retail boutique with imported wine, charcuterie, and pastries. Another great option is Garagiste, a stylish but casual wine bar in the Arts District that includes a retail shop with regular email specials and curbside pickup.  

Feast on a variety of food at the Vegas Test Kitchen

One of the best ways to bond with a date is discovering new food together. So make plans for a meal at the Vegas Test Kitchen, a different kind of food hall that mixes up a rotating lineup of culinary concepts. Check the online calendar for the latest updates. On any given day you may feast on ramen with Slurp Society, sushi with Sliced, Bulgarian street food with Banichka, Yukon Pizza, Bodega Bagel, or another new idea being tested out by a local chef. The bar is hidden out of view, but features carefully selected spirits and biodynamic wines.  

Snap your best photos at the Neon Museum

One great photo op deserves another. The Neon Museum, where vintage Vegas signs and marquees are preserved and restored, has a portrait hour for guests to bring their own photographer for a professional shoot in the north gallery. It could be just the thing to take your relationship up a level. It's also a great idea for engagement photos if you and your date are considering a Las Vegas wedding later this year. 

The Strat ride
Photo courtesy of The Strat

Enjoy scares and sights with sky-high views 

The Strat
Perhaps some scares and excitement will bring you and your date closer together? Venture to the top of the 1,149-foot Stratosphere tower, where four different thrill rides—plus a bungee-like cable jump—dangle over the side. If that seems a little too intense, check out the views from the safety of the observation deck, grab some dinner at Top of the World, sip on drinks at 107 SkyLounge, or maybe just buy a few sweet treats—like chocolate marshmallow or birthday cake cookies—for your sweetie at 108 Eats. And if things really go well, take a detour to the Chapel in the Clouds and seal the deal.

AREA15 | Photo by Laurent Velazquez

Enter the mysterious AREA15

Off the Strip
The entertainment, dining, and retail space known as AREA15 is only getting bigger and better in 2021. The main attraction is Omega Mart, a massive walkable art installation by Meow Wolf that's a trippy spoof of a superstore. Otherwise, feel free to grab a cocktail at Oddwood or Emporium Arcade Bar, ride the Haley's Comet motorized zip-line, play one of eight simulator bays at Five Iron Golf, and check out the Wink World hall of infinite mirrors by Blue Man Group founder Chris Wink. Todd English's The Beast remains the main spot for grabbing food. AREA15 is planning to welcome expanded outdoor festival grounds and Lost Spirits (a distillery and Willy Wonka-style tour) in the months ahead.

laughlin skyline
Laughlin, Nevada | Photo by Niaz Uddin

Take a day trip out of town

Multiple Locations
Not every road trip from Las Vegas has to be a long one. Head north to Beatty, where you can visit Death Valley and the Rhyolite ghost town, drive southeast to Boulder City for an up close look at the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, or venture to Laughlin (a charming casino town by the river separating Nevada and Arizona), where you can take the romance level up a notch with a dinner cruise and a couples massage at the Laughlin Ranch spa. Lake Havasu is another short drive away. The Arizona destination gets incredibly hot in the summer, but at least there's plenty of boating and water activities to help cool off. 

art mural
Photo courtesy of Fashion Show Las Vegas

Take your own art tour of Las Vegas

Multiple Locations
Las Vegas is a place where art often hides in plain sight. Wander the streets of Downtown, and you'll see random murals and sculptures, including some left behind by the Life is Beautiful festival (cancelled last year, but scheduled to return in 2021). More recent additions include BLM murals at the site of the long-gone Moulin Rouge (the first integrated casino in Vegas) and efforts by Downtown Alley to beautify neglected back alleys. On the Strip, you'll find pieces near the front steps of the Fashion Show Mall and inside hotels like the Cosmopolitan and Aria. Galleries by Richard MacDonald and Elena Bulatova are open to visitors at CityCenter while the Art Island installations outside AREA15 are free for anyone to roam.

Drink, dine (and gamble?) on Water Street

For a while, the historic Water Street District was best known for run-down casinos full of old timers. But that's starting to change. The neighborhood is going through a major rejuvenation with two breweries (Lovelady and Mojave) and fun restaurants like Hardway 8, Sticks Tavern (with To Be Frank, a ghost kitchen for gourmet hot dogs), Sunset Downtown pizzeria, Biscuits & Bourbon, Purple Penguin Snowcone Shack, and Triple B - Brooks Brothers Burgers inside the Rainbow casino. There's also Lifeguard Arena, home to the minor-league Silver Knights hockey team and The Pass, a casino newly renovated from the old Eldorado.   

 Maverick Helicopters
Photo courtesy of Maverick Helicopters

Go on a food crawl and fly above the Strip

The Strip
Maverick Helicopters has a couple sky-high ways to help plan a perfect night out in Las Vegas. The Savory Bites & Neon Lights Tour begins with a Lip Smacking Foodie Tours food crawl of top Strip restaurants followed by a ride above the lights of the Strip. If you're a couple that prefers mountain scenery, the Neon & Nature tour flies from the Strip to the colorful sandstone cliffs of Red Rock Canyon with a 30-minute landing, champagne toast, and panoramic views on a private 2,900-foot-high vista.

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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. His favorite idea for a Las Vegas date is drinks on the back patio with his wife. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.