There’s so much to do and see in Las Vegas all throughout the year. While it may not feel like it in the summer, the fact that Las Vegas sits in the middle of drought-ridden desert means you can hit the Strip all year long and not have to worry about ice or snow.
Still, just because you can go to Vegas at any point in time, doesn’t always mean it’s the best time to go. Tourism in Vegas has a natural ebb and flow that doesn’t match a lot of tourist destination’s rhythms (which themselves tend to mimic school schedules). Because of this, there are some times when the crowds are thinner and the rooms cheaper.
That’s how I’ll define the “best” time to go, when you can get a deal on room or when you can expect fewer folks around. I’ll also try to factor in some cooler weather when I can. Conversely, the “worst” times are when rooms are the most expensive, the weather is blazing hot, or the crowds are overwhelming. Using these measures, here are the best and worst times to visit Las Vegas.
The Best – May, Before School Lets Out
While no single time period can be considered the best of the best times to go to Las Vegas, the month of May makes a pretty compelling argument. May is the gatekeeper for reasonable temperatures if for no other reason that the average highs jump to 100 in June and don’t look back until October.
It’s also important to note that May really shines earlier in the month. In some states, school lets out the first or second weekend in May. And as the month progresses, more kids start their vacation. This means more families have the flexibility to travel and by the end of the month, visitors are at their yearly peak.
The Best – World Series of Poker Time
The World Series of Poker runs in the May through July timeframe. We’ve already said that May is a good time to show up because of the crowds and temperatures. Even without that, though, the World Series of Poker is the World Series of Poker. Even if you don’t want to play, there’s an energy around where it’s being played that’s contagious.
It doesn’t have to be a yearly pilgrimage, but seeing the World Series of Poker once is well worth it.
The Best – July
There’s no small part of me that really, really doesn’t like putting “July” on the list of best times to visit Vegas. Attendance is at its peak (along with June) for the year, major corporations like Microsoft are putting on conventions and, oh yeah, the sun is literally hot enough to bake cookies if my last Uber driver is to be believed.
With that said, July makes the cut because it features the second lowest hotel prices of the year with a fairly significant gap between it and third place (June). The only cheaper month is December, though this is probably due to deals at the beginning of the month and the fact that, apparently, Las Vegas is not a popular destination for Christmas.
Therefore, in conclusion, you can get good deals on rooms in Vegas. Just be prepared to spontaneously combust. But don’t worry, you don’t have to go outside to catch on fire. Just stand by a window.
The Best – September for the Big Events
September is a nice time to be in Vegas. The weather has returned to something almost livable and those Vegas residents who didn’t melt tend to be pretty happy to live in Sin City during these times. What really makes it great, though, is that there are several really cool events going on during this time that are not tied to corporate conventions.
These events are headlined by the iHeartRadio Music Festival, a two-day musical festival that takes place indoors (thankfully) at the Garden Arena inside the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and also the Daytime Village at the Las Vegas Village. The lineup for the show has something for each person, no matter their tastes or age, and features some up-and-coming performers that music fans will soon be talking about.
There’s also the Life Is Beautiful festival and the Greek Food Festival, which are both unique and fun enough to get people away from the casino tables… At least for a little while.
The Worst – July (no, that’s not a typo)
Yeah, when compiling the list of when to go to Vegas and when might be a good idea to go elsewhere, July was the first place to be added. Also, for the record, it was added here under “The Worst” due to the previously lamented million-degree average temperatures.
In all seriousness, Las Vegas in July can go above 115 degrees and make visitors and residents alike sweat from every pore. Also, some people will say that “it’s a dry heat” as if that matters at triple digits, but it doesn’t. You. Will. Be. Hot. It won’t be fun. Doug from The Hangover would have died were he on the roof in July. Still, cheap hotel rooms don’t suck. Just drink lots of water and find shade. Better yet, visit Las Vegas casinos that are connected to each other.
The Worst – New Year’s Eve
There are a lot of people who fly into Las Vegas from all over the world around New Year’s Eve and the week after. The place becomes a non-stop party and the Strip basically grinds to a halt.
For some reading this, that may sound awesome. If it does, hop on an plane and go have fun! At least you won’t have to deal with the July heat. However, for those who want cheaper accommodations and not having to fight through a crowd of millions of their new best friends, New Year’s Eve is a good time to stay away.
The Worst – March
As a time to visit Vegas, March simply doesn’t have a lot of things going for it. Average attendance is up, in some part due to the NASCAR races that happen in the month. It’s also a destination for a lot of drunken college basketball fans who do long weekends in Sin City to get drunk and bet money on March Madness.
Conversely, the weather is nothing to speak of and rooms aren’t particularly cheap. Unless college sports betting is your thing, perhaps reconsider coming to Vegas in March and wait until there’s something else going on or simply just fewer visitors.
The Worst – October
Like March, October doesn’t have a lot going for it while offering one major drawback. It has, by a wide margin, the most expensive average hotel price of the year. This appears to be offset by no major events and an average attendance that will dip a lot the next month.
Again, there’s nothing really wrong with the month, there are just a lot better times to visit Las Vegas. This will be doubly true when the Raiders start to play in Vegas. Then, in October, you have a very real possibility of being caught up in NFL visitors and/or surrounded by Raiders fans.
Pro Tip: Check the Calendar
No matter the month or the time, if you are thinking about heading to Las Vegas, check an event calendar. There is always something going on in Las Vegas and you don’t want to be there during a major sporting event, large conference, etc. if you can avoid it. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to check who is doing what in Vegas by simply searching online.
In conclusion, July is definitely the worst time to be in Vegas, except that it’s also the best. In all seriousness, Las Vegas tourism has a natural ebb and flow to it and, for many, the best time to visit the city is during those ebbs. Many will want to go to Sin City for the major events, that’s why they’re so well attended, but others will look to find a somewhat less busy time to visit.
In order to find your perfect Vegas visitor time, pick a month like May or September or early December when fewer people are headed to Sin City. Look for times when prices are cheaper (like July) and, if temperature is something you care about, you would do well to avoid the major summer months.
Ultimately, though, when you want to go to Las Vegas is often dictated by life and when schedules work out to get away. That’s really just fine. The important thing is that you go, have fun, and do your thing. Still, if you have some choice to when you go, take my advice and pick a time that makes it possible for you to have the most fun doing what you do.