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Fourth of July in Las Vegas

aria-fireworksLas Vegas always loves a party, so it’s no surprise that the city capitalizes on holidays like Independence Day. In Sin City, there are really two different ways to celebrate the 4th of July: On the Strip with other tourists or off the Strip with the locals.

Regardless of how and where you toast Independence Day in Las Vegas, the most important thing to remember is this: It will be hot. Very, very hot.  Vegas in July is consistently above 100F. If you plan on spending any duration of time outside, wear sunscreen and drink lots of water. Dehydration and heat exhaustion sneak up on a lot of visitors, especially if they’ve been drinking.

Despite the heat and harsh sun, Las Vegas is a popular destination in the summer, so don’t expect to find outrageous deals on lodging, dining and shows, though it never hurts to ask around about Las Vegas deals before you arrive.

On the Strip

There is no shortage of things to do on the Strip for the 4th of July, though most holiday-oriented festivities are not family friendly. When you make your reservations, ask what your resort has planned for the holiday. Many of the resorts bring in DJs for pool parties, nightclubs are packed with celebrities and most music venues are booked with concerts. If reservations are required for these events, make them well in advance of arriving in the city.

Pool parties are the place to be to celebrate Independence Day (and the days directly before and after the holiday). Adult-only pools such as Bare Pool at the Mirage, Tao Beach at The Venetian and Rehab at Hard Rock Hotel are among the most popular swimming holes. The weekly Ditch Fridays pool party at The Palms and the XS Pool Party at Encore also promise music, drinks and mingling with hip, young party goers.

mgm-grand-poolOnce the sun goes down, hit the nightclubs, which are guaranteed to be packed. Reserve VIP and bottle service in advance. Pure at Caesars Palace, LAX at Luxor, TAO at The Venetian, Tryst at The Wynn and XS at Encore are among the hottest nightclubs for celebrity sightings and guest DJs.

If you’re traveling to the Las Vegas Strip for fireworks, it’s hard to say where you’ll find them. Just a few hotels shoot off fireworks but they change every year and are usually announced a month or so in advance. Regardless of which is in charge of the fireworks festivities, you should be able to see them from anywhere; the ideal viewing location is on top of any open-air parking garage.

Off the Strip

If you’re interested in finding out what the locals are up to for the 4th of July, the best thing you can do is check the local papers, Las Vegas Review-Journal and The Sun, for event and activity listings. If you’re looking for traditional fireworks over open water, head to Lake Las Vegas. There’s usually a huge concert at Lake Las Vegas followed by a fireworks show over the lake. Check listings in advance and book your tickets early.

Many families head to Lake Mead for the classic family camping experience complete with splashing in the water and possibly renting a boat, but if you choose to do the same, it’s important to realize that this is protected land by the National Park Service and fireworks are not permitted. In fact, depending on the weather, you may not even be allowed to have a campfire.

The Station Casinos—including Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Texas Station, Santa Fe and Sunset Station—usually set off fireworks as well. Check the listings for concerts coming through these casinos during the 4th of July holiday; ticket prices are usually a little cheaper than on the Strip but you can still find some big names.

For family fun, the local parks are usually a good bet for daytime amusements like children’s activities, live entertainment and food vendors. Boulder City, a small town located southeast of the Las Vegas Strip, holds an annual Damboree, which kicks off with a community pancake breakfast. Festivities throughout the day include a parade and culminate in a city-wide fireworks display. Nearby Henderson holds a similar celebration.

If you don’t mind driving, Primm Valley Casino in Primm has a day’s worth of drink discounts and special activities as well as a fireworks show. The annual Rockets Over the River in Laughlin is a spectacular fireworks show choreographed to patriotic music.

Fireworks Show

While there are tons of parties and shows in Vegas on 4th of July (see full listing for this year), most people are still interested when the fireworks start!

Where to See Fireworks:
Five Station Casinos’ – 9pm
City of Henderson – dusk
Caesars Palace – 9:15pm (Saturday July 7)
Lake Las Vegas – 9pm (Saturday June 30)

Photo credit: munch96 (fireworks), YoTuT (pool)