If it seems like more Americans than ever are traveling domestically, it’s not your imagination. Flights are sold out or going for extreme markups, hotel room availability is seemingly scarce in vacation hot spots and crowds are swelling everywhere. This is good news for the US economy and popular summer travel destinations – Las Vegas is one of them.
Temperatures in the 100+ aren’t going to matter this summer. Vaccination rates are up, COVID-19 cases are down and the world’s gambling and entertainment epicenter is rapidly opening for those looking to blow off some steam and blow some money.
With the state of Nevada set to lift restrictions and return to 100% capacity at all businesses on June 1, Las Vegas is generating a lot of search traffic for summer getaways, TripAdvisor lists Las Vegas as a top-six search. Conde Nast Traveler noted the copious amounts of direct flights into McCarran International Airport as a factor in the city ranking high in that popular site’s estimation.
And even with lines returning to some of the more popular tourist destinations, there are still bargains to be had. Industry analyst Jason Ader told PlayUSA that $100 per night mid-week rooms at the five-star Bellagio Casino & Resort would not be unheard of this summer, and that’s still the case.
Why Vegas Will Be A Hot Tourist Destination This Summer
1. Razzle, dazzle and spectacle for showgoers
You’ve exhausted every title on Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu that doesn’t have subtitles and discovered you’re not as much into unboxing videos as you used to be. You need to get off of that couch and into a seat, in a theater or arena, with a couple thousand like-minded, entertainment-starved and properly social distance brethren.
Entertainment highlights include:
- Conor McGregor fighting Dustin Poirier on July 10 at T-Mobile Arena. UFC president Dana White says a capacity crowd will be accommodated.
- Usher beginning his residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on July 16.
- Bruno Mars’ six-show run at Park Theater beginning on July 4. Be warned, it’ll cost you. The reasonable seats sold out “in minutes.”
- The Garth Brooks Stadium Tour hits Allegiant Stadium on July 10. It’s sold out, but if you’ve got friends in low places, you might have a shot.
- Comedians such as Bill Maher (July 16-17 at Mirage) and Trevor Noah (July 9-10 at Wynn) are returning.
- The Life Is Beautiful music festival returns Sept. 17-19 with headliners Billie Eilish, Green Day and Tame Impala.
2. New places to play and stay
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas – formerly the Hard Rock at 4455 Paradise Road – opened in late March and will feature a 5-acre pool area opening this summer. Resorts World, a $4.3 billion, 3,500-room monster and the first major resort to open on The Strip in more than a decade, will throw open the doors on June 24. Resorts’ pool will have the same impressive acreage as Virgin, plus 117,000 square feet of space for a casino, retail and dining.
3. Few restrictions
Nevada is set to resume 100% capacity at all establishments as Florida and Texas – both popular summer travel searches and widely open – enter hurricane season. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is attempting to eliminate COVID restrictions as soon as possible as part of his plan to get the state open and tourists flooding back in. He’s even trying to legalize sports betting in Florida. But it’s wise to take that dry, hurricane-free heat in Vegas, where sports betting and gambling and world-class hotels and cuisine are splayed out before you along within a few miles on The Strip.
4. Vegas is still the fantasy getaway you know and love
While beach vacations are undoubtedly the most popular for summer travelers, if you can eschew the surf, Vegas has that “Everybody is on vacation vibe” with something for everyone, not just gamblers. Rooms of all price points, great food, acres of pools and shows of all kinds. Oh, yeah, and gambling.
Another key is location and easy access, as you’re three miles from The Strip when your plane touches down.
5. The restaurant scene is booming
Buffets were one of the symbolic casualties of COVID-19 precautions, what with all the breathing and touching and hovering over the fried shrimp and whatnot. But even Las Vegas buffets are slowly coming back to life, albeit slowly and with lessons learned from pre-pandemic times. Two of the most popular in town are Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, which reopens May 20, and Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan, which is already open.
Along with the old standbys and others like Carbone, Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, Cleaver and Golden Steer, there are newcomers like Din Tai Fung at Aria, the upcoming Delilah supper club at Wynn, a street food market at Resorts World and the off-Strip Al Solito Posto by James Beard award finalist James Trees restaurant.