15 Weekends of Summer

Get your calendars out, because we’ve got a giant to-do list for every weekend through Labor Day!

May 27-30

The annual Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival, headlined by Dropkick Murphys, Descendents, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes and Bouncing Souls, will make noise on Fremont Street with the traditional bowling tournament at Sam’s Town (PunkRockBowling.com). If you want to escape our Memorial Day madness, spend the weekend in San Diego relaxing, stretching and breathing in a new approach at the Kundalini Yoga Retreat. (MysticWaterKavabar.com). While you’re in Southern California, tap into your musical side at UCLA’s 25th annual Jazz and Reggae Festival with headliners Lupe Fiasco and Sean Paul (JazzReggaeFest.com), or get creative at Festival Hermosa, Hermosa Beach’s annual arts, crafts and music seaside fair (FiestaHermosa.com).

June 3-5

The Henderson Symphony Orchestra debuts its updated orchestration of the musical score to Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights while the classic film is shown at the outdoor Pavilion on June 3 (HendersonLive.com). Fresh off her recent E! Channel debut on Fashion Police, longtime comedian Joan Rivers, performs at the Venetian June 2-4 (Venetian.com). Fashion can be dangerous, but it’s a piece of cake compared with what goes on at Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus, which is touring the States this summer, landing at the MGM Grand on June 4 (NitroCircusLive.com). Also on June 4, head down to the Springs Preserve, where smokin’ hot jazz and ice cold beer rule during the Brews and Blues Festival. (SpringsPreserve.org). For its spring concert on June 5, the Academy of Nevada Ballet presents a magical twist on the classic tale Peter Rabbit in UNLV’s Artemus Ham Concert Hall (NevadaBallet.com).

June 10-12

Watch everyone’s favorite hard-knock life unfold as the Super Summer Theatre debuts Annie this weekend at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park (through June 25, SuperSummerTheatre.org). Let former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney lift your spirits with his musical wings when he comes to the MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 10 (MGMGrand.com). Sing along to more classics when ’70s rock stars War and Three Dog Night perform at the annual Junefest at South Point on June 11 (963KKLZ.com). Ditch the desert and make your way to “The City by the Bay” on June 12 for a celebration of authentic hippie music, art and organic treats as San Francisco holds its annual Haight and Ashbury Festival (HaightAshburyStreetFair.org).

June 17-19

It’s a great weekend for a film festival road trip! The Los Angeles Film Fest—and your favorite stars—take over that city’s theaters for two weeks (through June 26, LAFilmFest.com) and, way up north, the Reno Film Festival offers for a more artistic, laid-back experience June 15-19 (RenoFilmFestival.com). Stick around “The Biggest Little City in the World” and join in on the annual Reno Rodeo (through June 25, RenoRodeo.com). Down here in the big city, the Doobie Brothers will be in town June 17 to feed your soul when you—whoa-oh-oh—listen to the music (SunsetStation.com). Treat your dad to any of these special shows because it’s Father’s Day on June 19, or find the way to his heart through his stomach at Tivoli Village’s Great Vegas Festival of Beer (MotleyBrews.com) on June 18.

June 24-26

Here’s a good idea for the first official week of summer: Visit Salt Lake City, home of the Utah Arts Festival, featuring fashion, food, music and art (UAF.org). The Las Vegas Motor Speedway will go where it’s never gone before by hosting the three-day Electric Daisy Carnival, with headliners Tiësto, David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia (ElectricDaisyCarnival.com). Golden Rainbow’s 25th anniversary Ribbon of Life Spectacular, a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS victims, fills the Paris Las Vegas stage with custom productions by Vegas’ own singers, dancers and performers from shows across the Strip on June 26 (GoldenRainbow.org). Also guaranteed to be colorful: This is the weekend of the annual San Francisco Pride Celebration (SFPride.org).

July 1-4

Let the fireworks inspire you no matter where you watch them. Stick around town and enjoy them on the Strip as the major hotels blast off the magic, or make your way to Lake Las Vegas for its Independence Day Celebration with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra (TheVillageLLV.com). If you want to leave town, watch them from the quiet and peaceful town of Sparks just outside Reno at the Star Spangled Sparks at the Marina (SparksChamber.org) or head to Park City, Utah, for the Main Street Parade down the quaint town’s center street, with a fireworks show following (ParkCity.org). Or, if you’d rather have some live pony action instead of fireworks, head down to Flagstaff, Ariz., for the mountain town’s 56th annual Coconino County Horse Races, four days of high spirited betting and fun for the whole family. For a different kind of celebration, July 3 is the highly anticipated Vegas stop for the NKOTBSB tour (MandalayBay.com), featuring the original boy band, New Kids on the Block. The Backstreet Boys are teaming up with the ’80s group and bringing all the right stuff, baby, to Mandalay Bay.

July 8-10

Start the weekend early at Town Square where the Rave Motion Pictures offers its Thursday evening Movies in the Square series. Family fun movies such as Despicable Me and The Mighty Ducks are played on a huge screen at sundown (MyTownSquareLasVegas.com). Learn about a new culture June 9-10 at the Lotus Festival at Los Angeles’ Echo Park Lake, where the focus is on the traditions, food and art forms of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures (LAParks.org).

July 15-17

Science advocates such as Penn & Teller and Bill Nye are just part of the reason to hit The Amaz!ng Meeting on July 14-17 at South Point, a gathering of minds promoting science and pushing people to question the world around them (AmazingMeeting.com). Get a dose of our city’s best filmmakers as they compete in the Las Vegas Film Festival on July 15-17 at the Las Vegas Hilton (LVFilmFest.com). Take Interstate 15 north to Park City’s neighbor Deer Valley, where the popular ski and snowboard destination also thrives during summer season. The Deer Valley Music Festival, bringing the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera together, takes place on a weekly basis, kicking off July 16 with a symphonic tribute to the Eagles (DeerValleyMusicFestival.org).

July 22-24

Grab your best superhero gear and flock to the annual Comic-Con International convention in San Diego for a weekend of discussions, exhibits and meet-and-greets with the geniuses behind the masks (Comic-con.org). It’s always a special occasion when Tony Bennett is in town, and this summer that’s July 24 at the Pearl (Palms.com). The Cochon 555, a traveling culinary competition and artisan pork tasting, lands at the Cosmopolitan on July 24 for the All-Star Cochon, bringing together 10 chefs, four butchers and 14 different heritage breeds for the ultimate pig fest (Cochon555.com). Home of all things weird, Venice Beach, Calif., hosts Summer Fest, where the world-famous Thriller Zombies will perform a Thriller March. There will also be vendors selling food and crafts while live music plays on the boardwalk (FX3Events.com).

July 29-31

Spice up your summer in the Golden State at the 33rd annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, featuring a celebration of food, entertainment and, of course, garlic all weekend long (GilroyGarlicFestival.com). Jump in the car and take a fun road trip with the whole family to Bear Valley resort, just near Yosemite National Park, where the Sierra Mountains town hosts its 16-day Bear Valley Music Festival. This weekend will feature a screening of Mamma Mia!, a performance by ABBA tribute group Abracadabra, the annual Star Party (where guests can bask in the wonders and beauty of the dark sky surrounding them), and a Mountain Top Music and Lunch (through Aug. 14, BearValleyMusicFestival.org).

Aug. 5-7

Both rapper and devoted practitioner of traditional Judaism, Matisyahu is bringing his Grammy-nominated reggae beats to the Hard Rock pool (HardRockHotel.com) on Aug. 6. Meantime, the HARD Festival happens in downtown L.A. on the same day, with notorious electro engineers such as Duck Sauce, Boys Noize and Chromeo taking the stage (HardFest.com). Our hometown baseball team, the Las Vegas 51s, celebrates each Thursday home game with $1 Budweiser and Bud Light at Cashman Field (LV51.com). Laugh till you cry in Cedar City, Utah, at the Neil Simon Festival, which continues its annual celebration of one of America’s leading comedic playwrights. This weekend includes performances of his contemporary works, such as Barefoot in the Park (through Aug. 13, SimonFest.org).

Aug. 12-15

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco goes back to its roots, hosting music festival Outside Lands, with this year’s lineup starring Phish, Arcade Fire and Muse (SFOutsideLands.com). So big it has its own Nevada license plate, Reno’s Hot August Nights is the celebration of America’s car culture from the ’50s and ’60s and a variety of festivities Aug. 6-14 (HotAugustNights.net). In celebration of the 45th anniversary of Star Trek, Las Vegas is hosting the world’s biggest Star Trek Convention at the Rio. On Aug. 11-14, Trekkies from across the world will come to meet William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Sir Patrick Stewart (CreationEnt.com).

Aug. 19-21

The Boulevard Pool hosts indie-rock darlings Death Cab for Cutie on Aug. 20 (CosmopolitanLasVegas.com). Encompassing downtown venues Beauty Bar, the Bunkhouse Saloon and Brass Lounge, the Las Vegas Shakedown Rock & Roll Weekend is slated as a ruckus celebration of punk, garage and psychobilly music. Don your tattoos, stilettos and jivin’ good-time spirits for three days of fun that includes burlesque performances (LasVegasShakedown.com). While famous for its ski slopes, Mammoth Mountain in California also offers a summer respite from the desert heat. And its Mammoth’s Annual Summer Festival includes wine walks, good food and live music, all without breaking the 100-degree mark (MammothMountain.com).

Aug. 26-28

SCORE International, the premier desert racing organization, hosts the 16th annual Terrible’s Primm 300 (Score-International.com). One of country music’s biggest acts, Sugarland, consisting of duo Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, bring their Grammy-winning music to the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Aug. 27 (MandalayBay.com). Head to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 50th Anniversary. The summerlong festival will present classic plays and musicals. This weekend catch Noises Off!, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet (through Oct. 22, Bard.org).

Sept. 2-5

The trek to the Northern Nevada desert for the annual arts and cultural festival Burning Man begins early in the week and ends with enough festival-goers to call Black Rock the state’s third-largest city—if only for a weekend (BurningMan.com). The CasaBlanca hosts one of the biggest cook-offs in the West with the Smokin’ in Mesquite Nevada BBQ Championships, which awards $40,000 and bragging rights to the best ribs in the Silver State (MesquiteBBQChampionship.com). The Kings of Leon come Sept. 3 to rock our town (MandalayBay.com), while over at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the legendary Sade and man of the keys John Legend bring soul to the Strip (MGMGrand.com).

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