The best times to visit Las Vegas
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Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive getaway with your friends, are headed to a convention or just scored tickets to the hottest concert of the season, there’s always something happening in Las Vegas. We’ll tell you how to get there on miles and points, where to stay, the best times to plan a trip and what to do while you’re there. Don’t worry, there’s plenty to do in Sin City besides gambling!
Is there ever a time when it’s not good to visit Sin City? Probably not, as Las Vegas is alive day and night, 24/7/365. Still, there are some times better than others to visit Vegas, especially because the city sits in the middle of the Nevada desert and temperatures can range from one extreme to another. We’ll walk you through the best times to visit, whether you’re looking for the best weather, the wildest events or the fewest crowds.
When to find the best weather
Like we said previously, the weather in Las Vegas can get pretty extreme. The average high in summer soars above 100°F, which means that walking down The Strip becomes seriously sweaty. In the winter, temperatures can go below freezing, which makes the outdoor walk equally unappealing. Luckily, some of the hotels are connected by indoor walkways to help alleviate this issue, but you’ll still need to venture outside every once in a while. For the best weather, head to Vegas in March, April, October or November, when temperatures hang around a pleasant 50° to 80°. Avoid January and December when the coldest weather is most likely, and July and August to avoid the hottest days. (Here are 10 things no one ever tells you about visiting Las Vegas.)
Best time to visit to avoid the crowds
Contrary to what you’d normally expect, you’ll find the lightest crowds during the best weather of the year. After summer, when school is back in session, you’ll find the fewest tourists. (Yes, people do bring kids to Sin City and there are plenty of activities in Las Vegas for families.) Similarly, after all the holiday parties end (and excluding spring break), you’ll find late winter/spring to be the emptiest. Though you’d think scalding temperatures would scare away many, huge events like Fourth of July combined with an abundance of air conditioning mean that it remains busy even in the dead of summer.
When to visit for festivals and events
In the city that never sleeps you’ll never run out of things to do. From extravagant rooftop clubs to entire theme parks built indoors, Las Vegas is a Pandora’s box of gambling, eating, concerts, shows, drinking and more. Despite this, there are some times that are better than others for annual events:
For music lovers, the Billboard Music Awards and the Country Music Awards both take place in spring, when weather is generally better and crowds are lower (though these events will certainly draw people). If you love food, Bon Appétit’s Uncork’d is Las Vegas’ busiest festival, where celebrity chefs turn up (often in their own restaurants) for unique masterclasses, galas, wine tastings and more. It’s a gut-buster in the best way.
As befits the home of hundreds of casinos, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is held in Las Vegas every year. Stretching across nearly three months, you can give the tournament a shot or just stick around to watch as the big names come in to compete for a multimillion-dollar prize. Even bigger than the WSOP are the Independence Day celebrations, and you’ll find huge parties everywhere you look. Nearly a dozen different casinos put on fireworks shows, and you can basically stumble into any restaurant, bar or casino and find a celebration. If you’re looking for a real party, though, reservations will be required — and they book up early.
During fall festivals come back to life as temperatures start to cool off. The iHeart Radio Music Festival happens in September, drawings thousands of attendees from around the country to see big-name artists. There’s also the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon, which, because it’s Vegas, gets started with a pre-race party featuring Ke$ha. Finally, if all this isn’t enough for you, you can always attend the Greek Food Festival and stuff your face with some olives.
Though the desert gets very cold in the winter, December is one of the best months to visit Las Vegas. For sports fans, the Las Vegas Bowl takes place just a few days before Christmas, and New Year’s Eve is even bigger than Independence Day, with sold-out hotels and casinos putting on massive shows to celebrate the new year. The streets will be packed and the rooms pricey, so you’ll want to arrange your stay far in advance if you’re coming in at this time.
Fortunately for visitors, the city of Las Vegas exists almost solely to bring in tourists. This means that cheap airfare can be found year-round, with McCarran International Airport hosting airlines from around the world, including several small regional carriers across the U.S. Heck, we’ve even seen $15 one-way fares to Las Vegas on Frontier from many U.S. gateways. For best prices, avoid the traditional high seasons for flying and focus on the months of September-November and January-April (excluding spring break).
Hotels run the gamut in Las Vegas, from ultra-cheap $10/night specials to expansive penthouses that’ll happily ring you up for thousands of dollars. Vegas is rife with chain hotels and opportunities to redeem points, but be aware of which hotels offer things like waived resort fees on hotel stays — the city is one of the worst offenders when it comes to stacking on fees. Though some hotels are beginning to offer free parking, you can still be on the hook for major money if you’re not careful about where you stay. For the cheapest times, visit during the shoulder season of September–November and January–April. You can even find low rates during the summer, when the city is at its hottest, but avoid major holidays and aim for stays starting on Sundays, when the weekend crowds dissipate.
Read on for information about Las Vegas hotels:
- Staying at the world’s only Hooters hotel in Las Vegas
- Las Vegas points hotels for families
- Go inside the Skylofts: A luxury boutique hotel at the top of the MGM Grand
- Review: The NoMad Hotel Las Vegas
- Using Chase’s LHRC program at Aria Resort
- Review: The Park MGM Resort
Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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