Sure, summertime in Vegas means pool parties and dayclubs, but it also means triple-digit temps and record-breaking heat. Spring is nice, too, but visitor- and allergen-heavy, which leaves my absolute favorite times of year: fall and winter. If you're a local, then you already know how wonderful Las Vegas is during November and December, but if you're not... allow me to mount my soap box and make my case.
The Best Vegas Weather is in November and December
From May ‘til October, the average daily temperature in Las Vegas is 90+ degrees. Now that may sound pleasant if you’re coming from a chillier climate, but I can assure you it is just about the Worst Thing Ever™. It’s the kind of dry heat that wrings you out like a sponge. You’re simultaneously sweat-soaked and more parched than you’ve ever been in your life. Think Spongebob’s first visit to Sandy Cheek’s house. Yeah.
And though October is pleasant enough, with an average daily temp of 82 degrees, November is a good 15 degrees cooler and includes some awesome seasonal events. But I'll get to that later.
Fewer People Visit Vegas in November and December
Last year, over 3 million people visited Las Vegas per month. There isn’t a whole lot of peak-and-valleying to that figure, but it does go down beginning in the winter months. Last year, visitor volume decreased from 3.7 million in October to 3.4 and 3.2 million in November and December, respectively.
And that isn’t even the best bit.
While Strip occupancy hovers around 90 percent for most of the year, it drops between 87 and 79 percent percent from November to December. There’s no time of year when Las Vegas is crowd-free, but a lighter crowd can certainly make a difference when it comes to navigating the city center.
‘Tis the Season
Although January is similar to November and December in terms of weather, visitor volume, and Strip occupancy, it has two major drawbacks:
- The daily room rate is higher and
- The Consumer Electronics Show replaces Christmas as the major seasonal event. (CES is fun, sure, but Christmas fun? Not so much.)
Las Vegas isn’t a traditional Christmas destination, I’ll grant you, but what the Entertainment Capital lacks in tradition, it makes up for in holiday charm and good old-fashioned Vegas glam. My personal favorite spot is the rooftop ice rink at the Cosmopolitan, where there’s plenty of faux snow to go with the city lights. In between laps, you can cozy up beside a fire pit for festive cocktails, s’mores, and Christmas carols.
Ice skating isn’t your cup of cocoa? No biggie. The Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are also dressed up for the occasion, boasting a White Fir covered in over 7,000 LED lights and 2,500 ornaments, plus a lifesize Grinch statue made entirely of candy. Outside the resort, even the iconic Bellagio Fountains dance to Christmas classics.
There is plenty of Christmasing to do off the Strip as well. Visit the Smith Center for the Nevada Ballet Theatre’s annual production of The Nutcracker, or sneak out of the city to Mt. Charleston for a romp along the slopes -- it’s only 45 minutes away, after all!
BUT BEAR IN MIND…Prices and visitor volume always tick up for New Year’s. For the best in availability and prices, plan a mid-week vacation (Tuesday-Thursday) between November 1 and early to mid-December. And remember: you’re always better off booking sooner rather than later.