That’s an easy one: Fall. Las Vegas generally has two seasons: hot and windy. But during our too-brief autumn, the sun starts its southern dip, making the light and shadows beautiful and the weather sublime. (Bonus: The performing arts season is in full swing by then.) Nothing is better than October’s warm, windless days and cool, dry nights, a treasure too often overlooked by locals and visitors alike. I’m always amazed at the number of people who insist on visiting Vegas during the summer. Perhaps it’s because flights and rooms are cheapest then—and there are reasons for that. It’s our winter. Would you visit NYC in February? Me neither.
What is “monsoon season”? Don’t “monsoons” happen in tropical climates?
Have you been outside lately? Have you noticed how 50 percent humidity wreaks havoc with your Elvis pompadour (or Morrissey quiff)? How your A/C unit gushes condensation, and your clothes stick to you like you’ve just unleashed $200 in the champagne room? That’s the Mojave’s monsoon season for you.
Back in the day we knew how bad it was by the number of cars that either washed out of the long-gone Caesars Palace front parking lot (built conveniently in a flood channel) or drove into the flooded Charleston Boulevard underpass only to float away. Vegas kids all have crazy-stupid stories about playing in the ponds and streams that would form each time our summer rains fell (ours ran down Mesquite Avenue into a thriving desert wash/oasis).
Thankfully, engineers have corrected most of the drainage issues that swamped our city through the late 1990s, but the sticky season still pushes through the Valley each summer, as winds deliver moist air from the Gulf of California into much of the U.S. Southwest. It may seem obvious, but seriously: Don’t drive across flooded intersections unless you want to be spotlighted on the evening news, sitting on your car clutching a life jacket—or worse, eulogized with the hashtag #darwin.
What is the best Vegas advice you have ever received?
Water your lawn just before dawn; if you play like a tourist, you’ll pay like a tourist; and if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a hooker.