Vegas Weekender: Explosive Fourth of July fun

With Independence Day fast approaching, you’ll want to start planning your festivities. This year, unfortunately, the Fourth of July falls in the middle of the week – making visits to Vegas tricky. Don’t worry! If you’re in town this weekend (and stay beyond), you’ll discover plenty of patriotic happenings – as well as some eye-popping fireworks displays. Plus, there’s an assortment of barbecues, pool parties, shows, concerts and club events to partake in.

Fourth of July: Come have a blast!

If you’re intending to stay in Las Vegas past the weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, which is on a Wednesday, there are several ways to show off your patriotic spirit.

Fourth of July fireworks at Green Valley Ranch

Last year's Fourth of July fireworks at Green Valley Ranch. Photo courtesy of Station Casinos Inc.

Excitement will be in the air, courtesy of Station Casinos. Five outlying properties – Aliante Station, Fiesta Rancho, Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa and Texas Station – will present fireworks produced by Grucci of New York on July 4. The nine-minute displays will start at 9 p.m.

Enjoy small town charm and a true hometown Fourth of July commemoration at the 64th annual Damboree in Boulder City. The fun kicks off at 7 a.m. with the Rotary Pancake Breakfast at Bicentennial Park. A parade begins at 9 a.m. on Colorado Street. Enjoy a festival with games, food booths and live entertainment at Broadbent Memorial Park from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. More food and competitive games can be found at Veteran’s Memorial Park from 6 – 11 p.m., including a spectacular fireworks show at 9 p.m.

Click here for a complete list of Fourth of July happenings in Las Vegas.

Entertainment:  So many fabulous options in Vegas, so little time…

The Beatles "LOVE" by Cirque du Soleil

Strawberry Fields is one of many whimsical scenes in The Beatles "LOVE" by Cirque du Soleil. Photo by Richard Termine

There’s no better place to spend a hot summer night in Vegas than singing along to “Here Comes the Sun” while being mesmerized by stunning props as well as the dance performances and aerial feats in The Beatles “LOVE” by Cirque du Soleil. Staged in a 360-degree custom-built theater with a sound and video system that envelops you, the show plays at The Mirage every Thursday – Monday at 7 and 9:30 p.m.

Welcome to Las Vegas Taylor Hicks! The season five “American Idol” winner with the salt-and-pepper hair just began an eight-week residency in The Indigo lounge at Bally’s that will run through Aug. 20. Listen to his raspy, soulful music on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays – Saturdays at 7 p.m. nightly.

Culture vultures who want to get away from the Strip can check out the production “Crazy for You,” a comedy featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin. It runs through June 30 in the outdoor theatre located in Spring Mountain Ranch State Park at Red Rock Canyon, which is about 10 miles west of the intersection of Charleston Boulevard and the I-215. Meadow seating opens at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.

Comedian Martin Short

Comedian Martin Short hosting a show on Broadway. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Fans of comedian Martin Short, who is beloved as the flamboyant wedding planner Franck in 1991’s “Father of the Bride,” are in luck. He’s appearing in the Terry Fator Theatre at The Mirage as part of the Aces of Comedy series on June 29 – 30. Short will take the stage at 10 p.m. nightly.

The Summerland 2012 tour hits Mandalay Bay Beach on June 30 to open the Landshark Lager Beach Concert Series. Five amazing rock bands – Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit and Marcy Playground – will appear at the outdoor event. You are welcome to bring a blanket and sit on the sand or wade out into the water. Performances get underway at 8 p.m.

Book & Stage, the stylish lounge inside The Cosmopolitan, is proud to present The Heavy, a musically schizophrenic band that mixes everything from country and R&B to pop and punk rock in their act. They take the stage June 29 – 30 from 10:30 p.m. – midnight.

Pool parties and nightlife: There’s nothing like a dip and a drink during a Sin City summer

Naked Pool at the Artisan Hotel Boutique will be the site of the Electro Night Swim Edition, part of CollectiveZoo’s traveling eight-event Pool Party Safari series. On June 30 at 9 p.m., you can partake of sexy, nocturnal fun (Bathing suit tops are optional.) at the property’s black-lit pool and glowing cabanas. In addition to electronic dance music mixes, there will be an open bar and contests such as relay races.

SKAM Artists’ Rick Rude and Crooked will be appearing at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Summer Camp Fridays on June 29. This poolside party experience takes place on the shores of the resort’s Paradise Beach and runs from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Warning: Water balloon fights are to be expected.

The band Terraplane Sun

Terraplane Sun is a five-piece band from Venice Beach, Calif. They are known for "Trouble," the theme song from the A&E show "Relapse." Photo courtesy of

Thursdays Live, part of The Cosmpolitan’s BLVD Social Club, brings a variety of contemporary artists to the stage at the Boulevard Pool. On June 28, see Terraplane Sun, a five-piece band from Venice Beach, Calif., known for playing bluesy rock. DJ M!keAttack sets the mood when doors open at 7 p.m., with the group going on at 9 p.m.

Tryst at Wynn Las Vegas has what it takes for a memorable night in Sin City. The Affair industry event with Derrick Anthony and Kris Nilsson will be held on June 28. Anthony will also be around on June 29 with DJ Spider for the Along Came a Spider event and return again on June 30 with Mick Carbonell. Plus, XS, located at Wynn’s sister resort Encore, will be a happening spot on June 29 with featured guests and Richard Vission. Doors at both Tryst and XS open at 10 p.m.

For the best in electronic dance music stop by Rain Nightclub in the Palms on June 30. There’ll be a special performance by Sex Panther at 11 p.m.

For sophisticated partying, go to Tabú, a stylish boutique nightclub at MGM Grand, on June 29 for Forbes Friday. The event boasts tracks spun by DJ Eric Forbes along with sultry go-go dancers and will last until the wee hours. Doors open at 10 p.m.


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.