When is the best time to visit Las Vegas?

The best time to visit Las Vegas depends on how well you can handle the heat. From May to October, the Las Vegas weather can be summed up in one word: hot. Or maybe to add an adjective: very hot. Temperatures average in the 100 F range and can get as high as 117 F in late July and August. The rest of the year is mild, with temperatures rarely getting below the 40 F-to-60 F range in the winter and hovering at a comfortable 70 F to 85 F in the spring. The city boasts more than 300 sunny days a year and very little precipitation. Since the casinos, hotels, malls, meeting venues, restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment venues are heavily air conditioned, you’ll easily forget the scorching desert heat outside. Just be sure to have another layer ready for those rooms where they’re keeping their temps in the 60s.

  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best steakhouses in Las Vegas?

    Stop two locals on the Strip—just kidding, we don’t walk on the Strip if we can help it. But if you do find yourself in the presence of two locals or, better yet, two “born-and-raiseds,” get yourself a fresh cocktail, ask them “Golden Steer or Circus Circus?” and then watch the fight ensue. I’m a conscientious objector in this war; I love both of these famous, old-school steakhouses! And I’ve enjoyed many fine evenings at each. But when pressed, I ask people what sort of an experience they’re looking for, as that’s the big differentiating factor.

    The oldest steakhouse in Las Vegas (since 1958), the Golden Steer is located near the former Sahara, and just off the Strip. Every cabbie knows it. The strip-mall entrance gives way to the foyer, bar and lounge area. Beyond, the large, bright dining room hosts large groups at long tables, while the smaller, dimmer rooms are where couples canoodle in massive leather booths named for the stars of stage and screen who are said to have spend time here in their day. A la carte is the way here—although the chateaubriand for two comes with vegetables. I love the throwback appetizers (clams casino, oysters Rockefeller), tableside Caesar salad and varying accompaniments, the tuxedoed wait staff and even the crotchety bartender. For about $10 corkage per bottle, I can bring in my own wine treasures to enjoy with Golden Steer’s Prime aged steaks, always cooked the way I order.

    On the other hand, The Steak House is inside Circus Circus, so one must cross the casino to find it deep within. The bar and dining room is very dark, at most dimly lit. The bartender is equally crotchety—just more local charm! Servers are a little more casually dressed, but no less adept, folks who have made their careers in the steak-and-wine trade. The book-lined dining room is filled with large round tables of polo-shirted conventioneers still wearing their nametags, and with the ubiquitous canoodling couples. (I’ve personally canoodled at both places and still call it a tie.) Dinner here is more of a combo affair—entrees come with starters and sides. Steaks are 21-day-aged and cooked over an open-hearth mesquite charcoal broiler—I love the flavor! I’ve never brought a bottle of my own here as the wine list has so many items prices well below what's found elsewhere on the Strip.

    In all, I call it a toss up. Both are busy, with Circus Circus usually filling up first. So start there, and if you can’t get a reservation, give Golden Steer a try.
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best wedding venues in Las Vegas?

    Everyday, couples choose Las Vegas as the destination for the wedding of their dreams. And why shouldn’t they? We have predictable weather, resorts and restaurants in every price range, plus makeup artists, wedding planners, a convenient airport, costumed officiants... In fact, all of Las Vegas is poised to help couples say “I do,” whether for the first time or a recommitment.

    Over the years I’ve attended a number of weddings, and I have to say that the golf courses do the best job, from the catering and reception spaces to the actual ceremony, usually on the green. Fountains, ample parking and fleet of golf carts ready to whisk high-heeled guests to and fro are a plus! If you’re beginning your search, check out Dragonridge Country Club, Red Rock Country Club and Anthem Country Club.

    On the other hand, the Strip has so much to offer couples, from the convenience of chapels on site, to the abundance of restaurants, nightclubs, shows and planning services to make the whole affair seamless. Bellagio, Venetian/Palazzo, Caesars Palace and Wynn Resorts offer very beautiful traditional packages.

    But if you had something a little different in mind, allow me to direct your attention to Mt. Charleston, the Grand Canyon, Lake Las Vegas, the Neon Boneyard, the Artisan’s "unique" chapel and—my favorite—the Cosmopolitan’s pop up wedding packages—complete with photo booth and eraser wedding rings. All you need is a sense of humor and the love of your life!
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best wedding venues in Las Vegas?

    Everyday, couples choose Las Vegas as the destination for the wedding of their dreams. And why shouldn’t they? We have predictable weather, resorts and restaurants in every price range, plus makeup artists, wedding planners, costumed officiants. In fact, all of Las Vegas is poised to help couples say “I do,” whether for the first time or a recommitment. Over the years I’ve attended a number of weddings, and I have to say that the golf courses do the best job, from the catering and reception spaces to the actual ceremony, usually on the green. Fountains, ample parking and fleet of golf carts ready to whisk high-heeled guests to and fro are a plus! If you’re beginning your search, check out Dragonridge Country Club, Red Rock Country Club and Anthem Country Club.

    On the other hand, the Strip has so much to offer couples, from the convenience of chapels on site, to the abundance of restaurants, nightclubs, shows and planning services to make the whole affair seamless. Bellagio, Venetian/Palazzo, Caesars Palace and Wynn Resorts offer very beautiful traditional packages. But if you had something a little different in mind, allow me to direct your attention to Mt. Charleston, the Grand Canyon, Lake Las Vegas, the Neon Boneyard, the Artisan’s unique chapel and—my favorite—the Cosmopolitan’s pop up wedding packages—complete with photo booth and eraser wedding rings. All you need is a sense of humor and the love of your life!
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best hair salons in Las Vegas?

    My hair is—how shall we say—complicated. It needs love, affection, one-on-one attention. And a beer. It definitely needs a beer while getting cut, colored and styled, a process that can take two hours or more. I get all of the above and so much more (critical insider gossip!) at Hillary Salon, Downtown in the Arts Factory. Stylist Hillary makes the magic while salon manager Michael keeps the place working. He's usually the one who pops his head in before I go under the clippers to offer an ice-cold Samuel Adams, a freshly pulled espresso or a cocktail from Bar+Bistro downstairs. Food, too, if you missed lunch. 

    The salon itself is funky, a one-chair affair tucked inside the equally funky Arts Factory artist enclave that is also home to galleries, architects, a photography studio and a roller-derby outfitter. Most websites that state them have the salon hours wrong; this couple is huge in the Downtown arts scene, and they have a band. So if Hillary doesn't have clients, they're out, off doing something cool, somewhere cool. So appointments here are a must! Hours fluctuate day to day. However, they typically operate Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m., by appointment, $60 per hour.

    "Our business model is simply to maintain our integrity," Michael says. "We pride ourselves on our honesty. We don't sell things we wouldn't use ourselves, and we don't perform services that we can't in good conscience recommend. And rule No. 1: no gimmicks." My kinda joint. 
  • On June 29, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best hair salons in Las Vegas?

    My hair is—how shall we say—complicated. It needs love, affection, one-on-one attention. And a beer. It definitely needs a beer while getting cut, colored and styled, a process that can take two hours or more. I get all of the above and so much more (critical insider gossip!) at Hillary Salon, Downtown in the Arts Factory. Stylist Hillary makes the magic while salon manager Michael keeps the place working. He's usually the one who pops his head in before I go under the clippers to offer an ice-cold Samuel Adams, a freshly pulled espresso or a cocktail from Bar+Bistro downstairs. Food, too, if you missed lunch. 

    The salon itself is funky, a one-chair affair tucked inside the equally funky Arts Factory artist enclave that is also home to galleries, architects, a photography studio and a rollery-derby outfitter. Most websites that state them have the salon hours wrong; this couple is huge in the Downtown arts scene, and they have a band. So if Hillary doesn't have clients, they're out, off doing something cool, somewhere cool. So appointments here are a must! Hours fluctuate day to day. However, they typically operate Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m., by appointment, $60 per hour.

    "Our business model is simply to maintain our integrity," Michael says. "We pride ourselves on our honesty. We don't sell things we wouldn't use ourselves, and we don't perform services that we can't in good conscience recommend. And rule No. 1: no gimmicks." My kinda joint. 
  • On June 29, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best hair salons in Las Vegas?

    My hair is—how shall we say—complicated. It needs, love, affection, one-on-one attention. And a beer. It definitely needs a beer whilst getting cut, colored and styled, a process that can take two hours or more. I get all of the above and so much more (critical insider gossip!) at Hillary Salon, Downtown in the Arts Factory. Stylist Hillary makes the magic while salon manager Michael keeps the place working. He's usually the one who pops his head in before I go under the clippers to offer an ice-cold Samuel Adams, a freshly pulled espresso or a cocktail from Bar+Bistro downstairs. Food, too, if you missed lunch. 

    The salon itself is funky, a one-chair affair tucked inside the equally funky Arts Factory artist enclave that is also home to galleries, architects, a photography studio and a rollery-derby outfitter. Most websites that state them have the salon hours wrong; this couple is huge in the Downtown arts scene, and they have a band. So if Hillary doesn't have clients, they're out, off doing something cool, somewhere cool. So appointments here are a must! Hours fluctuate day to day. However, they typically operate Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m., by appointment, $60 per hour.

    "Our business model is simply to maintain our integrity," Michael says. "We pride ourselves on our honesty. We don't sell things we wouldn't use ourselves, and we don't perform services that we can't in good conscience recommend. And rule No. 1: no gimmicks." My kinda joint. 
  • On June 29, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What is the weather like right now in Las Vegas?

    6:45 p.m., June 29, 2013: My iPhone tells me it's 111 degrees, but my skin says it's way hotter. Earlier today, Las Vegas hit a high of 115 degrees, and varying reports have have tomorrow matching or even topping the standing record high of 117 degrees. And it's looking to stay above 112 for some time. While Las Vegas locals are used to triple-digit highs in summer, even we hardy souls begin to wilt under such circumstances. Just walking from the car to the coffee shop, my skin stings, my lungs fill with the hot air, and my contacts crisp, beginning their migration off my eyeballs. Cliché as it is, it's hot

    But the party doesn't stop for heat in the desert! So what's to be done? Do what the Las Vegans do and find a cool place to pass the time hottest hours: movie theaters, shows, casino malls, restaurants ... On the Strip, the communal billiard table on the third floor at the Cosmopolitan sees plenty of action when the mercury soars. Minus5 ice bars, complete with ice couches and cocktail glasses, are more than happy help you keep your cool. The vodka locker at Red Square, too. Downtown, Insert Coin(s) is a dark, air-conditioned place to kill time, pumping quarters into the vintage machines and sipping something cool. Or cozy up to your Kindle at the Beat Coffee House & Records with an icy chai latte and a freshly baked chocolate croissant.

    But if you must see daylight for yourself, survival depends on priorities: water, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses. Make shade a requirement, and misters a must. The patio at Estiatorio Milos in the Cosmopolitan are both shaded and misted, improving the already amazing $20.13 lunch. From a seat at the Cosmo's Overlook Grill, you can keep an eye on the pool goings on from the comfort of your indoor table, where brunch is served to the tune of a DJ. And at Wet Republic, you can spend the entire day in the misted, shaded bar, just feet from the DJ—usually a celebrity—and pool. See a gal covered in SPF 75 carrying a parasol? Say hi—it's probably me. 
  • On June 22, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best attractions in Las Vegas?

    This oughta keep your attention for at least 15 minutes: Since it opened in 1999, thousands have dined at Aureole in Mandalay Bay, many intent on watching chef Charlie Palmer’s famed Wine Angels in action. “As seen on Oprah,” these ladies have the sole task of locating then fetching bottles of wine ordered by patrons and getting them safely (and unbroken-ly) into the waiting hands of the restaurant’s sommeliers. All that time, the ladies have worn black skintight jumpsuits, which are said to have been inspired by the movie Mission: Impossible. But after 14 years, skintight is about to make way for skintighter.

    Following a 14-day competition among designers, Bunker Hill Bradley’s new outfit debuted Las Vegas Fashion Week, adorned with 20 feet of LED “angelic” lights each displaying more than 100 bulbs. An ode to the Tuscan sunset and made from recycled material, the winning design begins with pastel yellow and fades into tangerine orange, burgundy and grape purple and ends with solid black at the ankles. Plus, a gold, scroll-like pattern inspired by wild grapevines overlays the color scheme. Press your nose reeeally close to the wine tower if you can’t make it out—man, they love it when people do that. In Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7200, MandalayBay.com.
  • On June 22, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best attractions in Las Vegas?

    This oughta keep your attention for at least 15 minutes: Since it opened in 1999, thousands have dined at Aureole in Mandalay Bay, many intent on watching chef Charlie Palmer’s famed Wine Angels in action. “As seen on Oprah,” these ladies have the sole task of locating then fetching bottles of wine ordered by patrons and getting them safely (and unbroken-ly) into the waiting hands of the restaurant’s sommeliers. All that time, the ladies have worn black skintight jumpsuits, which are said to have been inspired by the movie Mission Impossible. But after 14 years, skintight is about to make way for skintighter.

    Following a 14-day competition among designers, Bunker Hill Bradley’s new outfit debuted Las Vegas Fashion Week, adorned with 20 feet of LED “angelic” lights each displaying more than 100 bulbs. An ode to the Tuscan sunset and made from recycled material, the winning design begins with pastel yellow and fades into tangerine orange, burgundy and grape purple and ends with solid black at the ankles. Plus, a gold, scroll-like pattern inspired by wild grapevines overlays the color scheme. Press your nose reeeally close to the wine tower if you can’t make it out—man, they love it when people do that. In Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7200, MandalayBay.com.
  • On June 22, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best attractions in Las Vegas?

    This oughta keep your attention for at least 15 minutes: Since it opened in 1999, thousands have dined at Aureole in Mandalay Bay, many intent on watching chef Charlie Palmer’s famed Wine Angels in action. “As seen on Oprah,” these ladies have the sole task of locating then fetching bottles of wine ordered by patrons and getting them safely (and unbroken-ly) into the waiting hands of the restaurant’s sommeliers. All that time, the ladies have worn black skintight jumpsuits, which are said to have been inspired by the movie Mission Impossible. But after 14 years, skintight is about to make way for skintighter.

    Following a 14-day competition among designers, Bunker Hill Bradley’s new outfit debuted Las Vegas Fashion Week, adorned with 20 feet of LED “angelic” lights each displaying more than 100 bulbs. An ode to the Tuscan sunset and made from recycled material, the winning design begins with pastel yellow and fades into tangerine orange, burgundy and grape purple and ends with solid black at the ankles. Plus, a gold, scroll-like pattern inspired by wild grapevines overlays the color scheme. Press your nose reeeally close to the wine tower if you can’t make it out—man, they love it when people do that. In Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7200, MandalayBay.com.
  • On June 22, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best places for brunch in Las Vegas?

    Ready for an eye-opening eye-opener? Book a table for Sunday Brunch at Bare Pool Lounge in The Mirage. And TGIS—thank goodness it’s Sunday. Because now you can have your applewood-smoked bacon and Fuji apple waffle with cinnamon butter and eat it in your daybed or cabana, too. Bare Pool Lounge has always been known for having a great poolside-dining menu, and those items—Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Cobb Salad, Mini Lobster Tacos—are still available. But Light Group corporate executive chef Brian Massie’s a la carte Sunday Brunch menu is the goods. While his Yogurt & Granola Parfait, Frozen Fruit Platter and Egg White Breakfast Wrap keep it light, the Breakfast Burrito (spicy chorizo, pickled jalapenos and fluffy eggs with Alejandro cheese) and that aforementioned waffle definitely do not. Just remember to wait 30 minutes before getting into the pool—plenty of time for another round of Absolut Tune Mimosas or Belvedere Bloody Marys! At The Mirage, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays, BarePoolLV.com.
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