Las Vegas attractions: what to see and do in summer

Why go?

A Wild West town on the edge of the desert, there’s more to do in Las Vegas than just gamble. Adventure awaits just outside the city limits and there are a couple of summer activities within minutes of the strip that are worth braving the sweltering heat for.

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Summer attractions

Streaking down the middle of downtown’s old-fashioned casino row, this 1500ft-long canopy flashes with 12.5 million synchronized LED lights and booms with 555,000 watts of sound as zany six-minute-long animated movies play overhead.
Fremont Street, between Main Street and Las Vegas Boulevard.

Springs Preserve

Unearth the past at this multimillion-dollar natural history museum complex, also home to the Nevada State Museum. Exhibits treat Native Americans and railroad pioneers to casino impresarios, mobsters and showgirls. The surrounding nature preserve has walking trails, an eco-living educational center, a green-themed gift shop and a café.

Grand Canyon

More than just a big hole in the ground, this ethereal wind- and water-sculpted landscape ranks among the USA’s top natural attractions. Tip: Skip the gimmicky SkyWalk and visit the national park instead. From Las Vegas, several companies offer bus tours, or take a flight-seeing trip aboard a private helicopter or plane (from $209; If you drive, it’s about 4½ hours each way.

Hoover Dam

This art-deco desert masterpiece of engineering towers above the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, backing up onto artificial Lake Mead. Learn all about the history of the dam, built during the 1930s Great Depression, while taking an underground tour that visit the dam’s massive hydroelectric generators, each of which could power a small city of 10,000 people. Bus tours from Las Vegas are inexpensive and can be booked after arrival.

Mount Charleston

Nestled in the Spring Mountains, outdoorsy locals come here to hike during summer The drive northwest of the city takes about an hour.

Neon Museum

Take a trip through time on a guided walking tour of downtown’s vintage “boneyard” of neon signs. Gems such as the Stardust casino’s magnificent marquee and Binion’s lucky horseshoe sign have found their eternal rest here. Make tour reservations in advance or drop by the museum’s visitor center, inside the restored mid-century modern La Concha Motel lobby, to check on last-minute availability.

The High Roller

Located opposite Ceasar’s Palace, The High Roller is the biggest ferris wheel in the world – more than 100 feet taller than the London Eye and a shade taller than the previous record-holder, the 541-foot Singapore Flyer. It features 28 capsules, each of which holds up to 40 people, while a full revolution takes 30 minutes. Tickets cost $24.95 (£15) during daylight hours, and $34.95 (£21) at night. Queue-jumping VIP passes cost $59.95.

Pool Parties

Throughout the summer, resort pools across Las Vegas host world famous DJ’s at pool parties. Try Wet Republic at the MGM Grand or the Encore Beach Club at the Wynn Hotel. See here for the top 10 Las Vegas Pool parties.

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