Updated: Jul 11
If you have any kind of common sense, you’re probably wondering if there are actually things to do in Vegas in the summer that’ll make the heat a little more bearable. The answer is no…just kidding. Summer travel is a big money maker for lots of tourism markets, and that’s no different for a scorching Las Vegas.
I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times too: “Yeah, Vegas is hot but it’s a dry heat.” Don’t you just love when people say that? Like 112 degrees is somehow not unreasonable. Just because we don’t have much humidity in the desert, doesn’t mean we don’t need to find clever ways to keep cool. And for those of you who are still wondering how in the world people live in temperatures this extreme, it’s not unlike those of you who have real winters. We do the same thing you do, we run from the car to the house as fast as humanly possible. So, just how hot does it get? That honestly depends on who you ask.
Las Vegas summer temperatures
Vegas averages 74 days a year of triple digit heat, with the record being 117°F (47°C). But those numbers are recorded at the airport and (lean in, this part is important) the thermometer is in the SHADE. One more time for the folks in the back: it was 117°F (47°C) in the shade! So imagine what it’s like on the sidewalks along Las Vegas Boulevard after they've been baking in the sun all day. It’s honestly not uncommon for us to get in the car and it say 123°F (51°C) in the dead of summer.
Remember, we’re not far from Death Valley, one of the hottest and driest places on earth. On August 16, 2020, temperatures there hit a record 130 °F (54°C) in the shade. The world record of 134°F (57°C) is from that same spot in 1913, though there’s some dispute on reliability back then. If that hasn’t scared you off, keep reading.
Check out this list of things to do in Vegas in the summer that make the brutal heat a little more bearable.
Dive-in movies at the Cosmopolitan of las vegas
Drive-in movies are a true slice of Americana. And while they’ve been shuttered all over the country for decades, Vegas has revived this dying pastime of American culture with a fresh, new spin. Every summer, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas transforms their marquee at the Boulevard Pool into a giant movie screen for their extremely fun Dive-In Movie series.
The hotel shows everything from your childhood favorites like “The Goonies” to blockbusters like “Top Gun: Maverick” every Monday night. Where else can you watch a movie in a rooftop pool on one of the most famous streets in the world?
Good to know: this is one of the only places you can enjoy a night swim in Las Vegas. Get ready for a little bit of nostalgia under the stars, except now it’s perfectly acceptable to be caught wearing next- to-nothing. Tickets are free for hotel guests and kids under 5, $15 for non-hotel guests and $10 for locals.
Belly up at the Minus 5 frozen bar
The Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian Las Vegas
The LINQ Promenade
Shoppes at Mandalay Bay
Slipping into a fur coat is probably the last thing you want to do when it’s so hot your thighs stick together. But you’re going to need one at Minus 5 with three locations in the LINQ Promenade, the Venetian Resort Las Vegas and Mandalay Bay. With temperatures dropping down to the bar’s namesake (ahem, negative 5 degrees/-21°C), it can be downright frosty.
Absolutely everything is made from ice, from the walls to the bar, the artwork, glasses and even your chair. If you go during the day, it’s open for kids and even has a kiddy mocktail menu. But after 9 p.m., it becomes 21 and over. There isn’t a tight little tush on the planet that’ll stand a chance against a frozen barstool. Tickets start at $13 for kids and $24 for adults.
Check out the Vegas pool clubs
Encore Beach Club
You know why Vegas had to invent day clubs? Because it’s too friggin’ hot do anything else outside during the day. So naturally, we had to improvise. These pool clubs are a haven for teeny weeny bikini squads and people who don’t mind getting hot and sticky with a couple hundred handsy partiers. It’s kinda like reliving your college spring break, over and over again. Except this time, you have a lot more money and the entertainment is actually legit.
The Chainsmokers and Marshmello at Encore Beach Club, Tiësto and Kaskade at AYU Dayclub at Resorts World, Alesso and Cedric Gervais at Tao Beach, Steve Aoki and Martin Garrix at Wet Republic. These are a few of my favorites, along with Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, but this town has just as many pool clubs as 20-somethings in barely-there clothing. So grab a frozen drink and dance your heart out in waist-deep water.
Or the anything-but-ordinary hotel pools
If day clubs are a little too wild for your taste, there are plenty of low-key options like your hotel pool where you can relax and keep cool. They all have mister systems and cabana options that will give you a very-Vegas poolside experience with a taste of luxury you won’t really find anywhere else. It doesn’t matter how incredible your own pool is, it’s not likely you have a super cute cocktail waitress delivering you frosty beverages in your backyard.
If you have kids or just want to feel like a kid again, Mandalay Beach has a wave pool and lazy river, and both Cowabunga Bay and Cowabunga Canyon are water-themed amusement parks with multiple water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools and aquatic zones for the really little dudes.
For a not-so-regular pool experience, head to Circa in downtown Las Vegas. The Stadium Swim is like nowhere you’ve ever been before, not even in Vegas. It’s a sportsbook meets hotel pool complex on the rooftop of the Circa Hotel, and it can hold 4,000 sports fans. Just listen to these stats: 6 pools, 2 spas, 337 chaise lounges, 30 cabanas, 36 daybeds, a 143-foot (44 m) digital screen with 78 million pixels that shows multiple games at once, swim up bars and more than 300 days of sunshine. Not a day club…not a hotel pool…just the best of both.
Take a nighttime tour at the Neon Museum
I don’t know what’s more “Vegas,” a museum that closes at midnight or one that features vintage neon signs. One of the coolest ways to see the Neon Museum is when the sun goes down (and the sun releases its death grip). More than 250 of Las Vegas’ most iconic and historically significant neon signs are on display across two outdoor galleries.
The newer North Gallery uses light projections to illuminate signs that have yet to be restored, so you can see a simulated version of them in all their former glory. It also incorporates music and archival footage to give you a taste of what Las Vegas was like before all the glossy high rises you see today. Something to note, not all the signs are fully restored. It takes a lot of time and money to preserve these vintage gems and some of them are rusted out and unrepairable. But a nighttime tour is still a super fun way to see the museum because it’s cooler (both temperature and wow factor) and they understand…ahem…the importance of good lighting.
Go surfing on Planet Hollywood's Flowrider
As if Las Vegas wasn’t already in the habit of flipping Mother Nature the bird by building this little oasis in the desert, Planet Hollywood decided we shouldn’t need an ocean to be able to surf. The FlowRider in the Pleasure Pool is a wave-in-a-box machine that lets riders hang 10 (or face-plant) right along Las Vegas Blvd. If you’re second guessing your coordination skills, you can chill at the FlowBar and watch complete strangers wipe out instead.
Walk las vegas blvd. with a frozen drink
Thanks to an open-container law, it’s perfectly legal (albeit tacky) to wear a frozen boozy drink around your neck while sightseeing from the sizzling sidewalks. There are literally so many places to buy frozen drinks on the Strip that you practically trip over them. The oh-so- convenient frozen beverage bars are like the adult version of the ice cream man except the bartenders are way less creepy (most of the time, anyway). Try Fat Tuesday, Big Chill, Numb Bar and Margarita Bar while you’re out- and-about.
Head out to Lake Mead
I know what you’re thinking, you’ve seen that sketchy bathtub ring around Lake Mead and you’ve heard it’s running out of water. Well, you wouldn’t be wrong. But until that happens (seriously, I live here so I’m not making light of it), it’s not so low that you can’t partake in the many water sports people rave about every summer. You can rent pontoons, fishing boats, wave runners, jet skis, kayaks and paddleboards. If don’t want to stay on the Strip, you can even rent a houseboat out on the lake that sleeps 12.
For those of you who are vanilla-adventurists and don’t want to go wandering off without proper supervision (me too), there are kayaking tours, Hoover Dam tours, and more that’ll let you have the same experience with a professional who actually knows what they’re doing.
See a summer concert in the pool
Mandalay beach concerts -temporarily on hiatus
The M Resort Pool Concerts
One of the most ingenious concepts Vegas has come up with is their pool concerts. At the Mandalay Bay Beach Concert Series, you can stand waist-deep in a wave pool while your favorite recording artists perform on an elevated stage above you. At the M Resort & Casino, they may have seating in front of the stage, but you can swim during the concerts as long as you’re in proper swimming attire. Grammy winner T.I., Hunter Hayes, Flo Rida, Gary Allen and more have all played at the M Resort's pool.
And now Cowabunga Bay is even getting in on the action with their Country in the Cove event. The gates open at 11 a.m. so you can take full advantage of the water slides and lazy river before country acts like Joe Nichols, Easton Corbin and Morgan Evans take the stage.
Take it from me; these are very casual venues, so don’t even think about wearing cute shoes to these concerts. When you’re not in the water, you’ll have to trek through sand to get back to the bars or use the “facilities.” So wear flip-flops you can shove into your back pockets and use your free hands to sip your cocktails and take photos.
Watch a professional sporting event in vegas
Vegas Golden Knights
Las Vegas Aces
Las Vegas Raiders pre-season
NBA Summer League
Man, do we sure know how to lure winning teams to Vegas. A quick shout out to the Vegas Golden Knights for winning the 2023 Stanley Cup. There’s just something invigorating about a professional ice hockey team crushing their opponents in +100-degree (+38°C) weather. But hockey isn’t the only sport that beats the Vegas summer heat.
In 2022, the Las Vegas Aces won their first WNBA championship, and they play all summer long at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Ultra Arena. And not to mention, the NBA Summer League is at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center every July. At this off-season event, NBA rookies and top draft picks are given the chance to grace franchise rosters to see what they can do before the season starts.
Go back inside where there's air conditioning
Bellagio Conservatory summer 2023
Gondolas at the venetian
the high roller
I promise, I’m not being facetious. Vegas is wholly prepared to keep you out of the blistering summer heat with tons of indoor (read air conditioned) options to keep you busy. Heck, you can even take the Monorail if you don’t want to walk from one resort to the next.
You can visit the Bellagio’s Conservatory, take a gondola ride at the Venetian then stop at Madame Tussauds, take a spin on the High Roller or check out Area 15. Are you thinking of a family trip? Here’s a list of 30 things to do with kids in Vegas that parents will actually enjoy. Don’t let the summer heat scare you away, Vegas really is a year-round destination.
*Just so you know, there are affiliate links in this post which means if you buy the item through our link, we may get a small commission for telling you about experiences we love. It costs you nothing extra but you'll be supporting our small business and helping us keep this website running, so thank you! You should also know we've lived and worked in Vegas for more than 15 years and wouldn't recommend something we haven't personally experienced or know several people who have. Here's our full disclosure policy.
Ashley Oñoz-Wright has been a travel writer and editor based in Las Vegas, NV for the last ten years. Her work has been featured in Manifesting Travel, Modern Luxury, Sophisticated Living, Greenspun Media Group, Vegas.com and LasVegas.com. She holds a degree in Sociology & Anthropology from DePauw University.