July 4th is all about the fireworks and if you're visiting Las Vegas for the holiday you'll want to know where to see the displays and where to find other all-American entertainment.
Fireworks locations can vary from year to year but typically you'll find them at several locations around town. The Stations Casinos properties, which are local casinos across the valley, usually have fireworks displays at several of their resorts like Sunset Station and Green Valley Ranch in Henderson and Texas Station and Red Rock Hotel Casino in the north.
Fireworks from hotels on the Strip vary, but in the past they've been shot off from the Stratosphere and Caesars Palace.
If you head downtown, you can see an electronic fireworks display on the Viva Vision canopy above Fremont Street.
The Las Vegas Philharmonic usually performs a 4th of July concert, which was held last year at downtown's Smith Center.
For a more small-town 4th of July experience, try Boulder City's Damboree celebration. There’s a pancake breakfast, games, a parade, and of course, a large fireworks display.
The City of Henderson also holds an annual 4th of July celebration with live music, games, activities and a fireworks show.
For the best view of any fireworks in Las Vegas, visit one of the many bars around town that offer views of the valley. Try Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay, Ghostbar at the Palms or Voodoo Rooftop Nightclub at the Rio. For restaurants with a view, there's Mix at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, Alize at the Palms or the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris.
Another great attraction that will offer plenty of views of the fireworks is the High Roller observation wheel at The Linq.
Las Vegas is known for its raucous pool clubs. During the summer you’ll discover no shortage of hot parties (both in temperature and popularity) making big splashes in the Entertainment Capital of the World. Although each one offers a slightly different experience, expect to be enveloped in an adult-oriented water playground of fun where the alcohol flows freely, the music pounds out from the speakers and scantily clad bodies dance the afternoon away. If you’re considering bringing a book or basking in a tranquil setting, think again. Pool clubs are loud and often rowdy. Here are some other things you should keep in mind.
1. Carry proof of ID. Pool clubs are just like nightclubs. Upon entry you’ll have to show a doorman that you’re of legal age (21 or older). A driver’s license, passport or government-issued identification card is usually acceptable.
2. Don’t bring a cooler. Leave all beverages and snacks in your room. Although it may seem like a handy and cost-saving idea to pack some supplies for the afternoon, don’t bother. You won’t be allowed to bring them past the door. Generally speaking, all refreshments must be purchased at the pool club.
3. Expect to have anything you do bring (especially purses, bags and backpacks) searched at the entrance. This won’t happen at every pool club, but it’s common at the ones that accommodate a large number of revelers. Security personnel at the door will examine every nook and cranny within your belongings. Not even the TSA goes to such extremes! The goal behind this is to keep illegal drugs out. So among the items prohibited and typically confiscated are over-the-counter medications (such as a bottle of Tylenol), vitamins or anything in pill form. An array of liquids – ranging from contact lens solution and eye drops to hand sanitizer – are also banned. Of course, sharp objects and anything that looks like a weapon will be taken from you. You may even have to give up things like a pack of gum or wet-naps.
4. Come early. The line for guests to purchase general admission tickets can be long, especially on weekends. Clearly, you’ll want to spend your day socializing by the pool – not waiting to get in. Plus, those who arrive at the beginning can spread their towels and lay claim to prime spots on the deck or near the water’s edge. At some dayclubs you’ll even be rewarded for showing up when the doors open with a lounge chair at no cost.
5. Avoid the line entirely by reserving a cabana. Procuring seating in advance – whether it be a chaise lounge, daybed, lilypad, cabana or bungalow – will speed up your entry at the pool clubs. In addition, if you’re traveling in a group of guys, you really need to make some sort of VIP arrangement to expedite your entrance…or get some ladies to join you while you wait in line! Although pricey, cabanas, in particular, are great because they come equipped with luxuries like a flat-screen TV, a mini fridge stocked with bottled water and a safe for your valuables – all of which will make your afternoon more enjoyable and worry-free.
6. Be mindful of money. Since you’re trying to limit the number of possessions you bring to the pool club, what should you do about cash? You can’t get it wet and you won’t want to leave it unwatched with your other things. Waterproof armbands, wallets or small pouches worn around the neck are a few ideas. Instead of coins and notes, credit and debit cards are handy when you want to run a tab. At some pool clubs, ATMs are in the bars or just a short stroll away inside the casino. At others, like Wet Republic in MGM Grand, there are banks of lockers for guests to use. And it works to your benefit to patronize the pool club located in your hotel because then you can just charge everything to your room.
7. Keep yourself hydrated with water. It’s no secret that the heat in the desert can rise to uncomfortable levels. In fact, the average summer temperature in Las Vegas is 106° F. Taking a few seconds throughout the day to sip water will pay off by lowering your risk of passing out or suffering from heat stroke.
8. Bring sunscreen and apply it regularly. If you forget, most pool clubs do sell it. Get one with an SPF of at least 30. The best sunscreens have zinc oxide or titanium dioxide listed among their active ingredients. Be sure to reapply it often if you’re swimming or sweating a lot. Those who aren’t careful are sure to regret it later – due to a painful, unsightly sunburn.
9. Wear a hat and sunglasses. A hat with a wide brim is a good choice. You’ll look mysterious. All the Hollywood stars do it – especially the fair-skinned ones like Anne Hathaway and Nicole Kidman. You’ll also want to protect your eyes, as too much sunlight can lead to vision problems and dizziness. Wraparound shades or sunglasses that have UV coating are your best bets.
10. Wait until later to get hammered! Got big plans for the evening? If you don’t hold back a little at the pool clubs – particularly when it comes to drinking – you won’t be going out later. You’ll be passed out in your room instead. Have fun and enjoy a few cocktails, but wait until the sun sets to get really slammed in Las Vegas’ world-class nightclubs.
Two more bonus tips…
For the ladies: Put on your trendiest, most stylish swimwear…the sexier the better. You’ll want to look your best and strut your stuff when you’re poolside. Behind their dark sunglasses, men will be taking notice – and perhaps buying you drinks!
For the gentlemen: If you’re at one of the city’s “European” pool clubs, which means that tops are optional for women, don’t gawk or leer or resort to catcalling. And don’t try to take any photographs with a camera or your cell phone. You’ll not only be paid a visit from security, but you may also be asked to leave.