Las Vegas is an oasis of indulgence in the desert. The Strip shimmers with promise and the city's seduction is hypnotic. But if you're wondering whether it's always scorching hot in the desert or about visiting in the off-season for a cheaper stay, you might be asking "when is the best time to go to Sin City?" Our month-by-month guide to climate and events in Las Vegas can help you choose the best time for your visit.
High season (March to May and September to November) has the best weather
Las Vegas is balmy by day and pleasantly cool at night in the spring and fall. March is probably the busiest month, but April to June and September to November are nearly perfect. High season does mean hotel and ticket prices soar, though.
Low season (June to August) is the cheapest (but hottest) time to visit
With temperatures regularly entering triple digits, summers in Las Vegas are sweltering. However, Las Vegas has the very best pools around and low season means great hotel deals.
Shoulder season (December to February) is a good time to avoid the crowds
There are deals in excess during these winter months and the holiday season brings the wildest revelry. The desert is cold and crowds are thinnest in January.
January is one of Vegas' quietest months
Although Vegas is a hotbed of activity over the New Year period, January tends to be one of its quietest months due to the cold desert winter nights.
February is the start of conference season
As winter wanes, Vegas begins to warm up. Conference season begins and the nation celebrates the Super Bowl finals and Chinese New Year. The busiest time of year for casinos' sports books happens on the first Sunday in February, when the National Football League (NFL) championship game is broadcast. Meantime, Lunar New Year celebrations bring festivities at Chinatown plaza showcasing acrobats, lion dancers and martial-arts demonstrations.
Key events: Super Bowl, Lunar New Year.
Join the crowds in March
March is the busiest time for conferences, and these coincide with college basketball playoffs known as "March Madness." If you're looking for crowds, this is when to find them, otherwise this is not the best time to visit: room and car-rental rates go through the roof.
Key events: St. Patrick's Day, March Madness.
April means spring break
April days are sunny and temperate in this neck of the desert, making it a nice time to visit. It's also spring break – the college kids hit Vegas in April and they hit it hard. Downtown casinos feel a bit like dorms as they fill with excited co-eds. Rooms fill fast, so if this is when you're planning to visit, book well in advance. Stick with high-end accommodations to avoid the frat party.
Key events: Viva Las Vegas, City of Lights Jazz Festival.
There are lots of exciting events in May
May is one of the busiest months of the year for Las Vegas, with the heat not yet unbearable, and plenty of exciting events on the calendar. Vegas Uncork'd brings top chefs for grand dinners and cooking demos, while the serious players head to the tables for tournaments at the start of the World Series of Poker. It runs into July and the prize money is in the millions.
Key events: Vegas Uncork'd, Cinco de Mayo, World Series of Poker, Electric Daisy Carnival.
June is when it starts to get really hot in Vegas
Summer is here and things are starting to heat up on the Strip, figuratively and literally – it gets really, really hot. Restaurant week offers showy three-course meals at steeply discounted prices.
Key event: Las Vegas Restaurant Week.
Room rates tend to be lower in July
Midsummer is one of the worst times of the year to hit the desert in terms of heat, but that means you're often able to snag a cool deal on room rates. On Independence day, Fourth of July, expect spectacular fireworks after dark on the Strip, a hot lineup of live music and DJs at nightclubs and casinos, sizzling hot sidewalks, and rapidly melting yard-long margaritas.
Key event: Fourth of July.
August is so hot, it's best to stay indoors
Like July, August often offers discounted room rates as a trade-off for the desert's sweltering temperatures: perfect, if you plan on spending most of your time indoors.
Key event: Def Con.
September is a quieter month in Vegas
Temperate September is relatively quiet for Vegas, and shoulder-season airfares make it a good time to consider planning a visit.
There are fun events in October
October strikes a nice balance between milder temperatures and a fun-filled calendar, including the Pride Parade and Festival. Halloween is particularly festive with haunted houses, masquerade and fetish fantasy balls, ghoulish outdoor bases, and fantastic freak fests. Off the Strip the Rise Festival celebrates light, music, the earth, and its people.
Key events: Nascar Fall Weekend, Rise Festival, Las Vegas BikeFest, Halloween, Las Vegas Pride.
November can mean more conventions
As things start to cool down in earnest, Vegas' second "convention season" of the year kicks in. You'll either find good rates and plenty of hotel availability, or prices will be high and you'll struggle to find rooms.
Key event: Aviation Nation air show.
It's chilly at night in December
By December, winter has arrived in the desert and nights, particularly, can become bitterly cold. New Year's Eve brings the party with headliner bands and fireworks.
Key events: National Finals Rodeo, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve.