Keeping Cool in Paradise

It wasn't quite this hot, really. But, they do sell cold beer, so . . .
Photo by Steve Fey

Paradise is a great name for a great place to live. Oddly, there are times, namely mid-July to mid-August, when Paradise might feel rather less like paradise than, well, some place that’s not paradise at all. One day this past week, for example, the weather station closest to my home registered 116 degrees Fahrenheit at 5 PM. Ironically, that same day the official high temperature in Death Valley was a cool 115 degrees. It seems that at least one neighborhood in Paradise was hotter than what gets billed as the hottest place in the country. The fact that it gets pretty hot here in the summer of course begs a question: how do you cope with temperatures like that?

Since anyone visiting or living here this weekend will have to do that very thing, here’s a list of a few activities that can keep you cool while still letting you get out of the house.

First, and maybe obviously, you can go swimming. If you’re lucky, you have a pool. If you’re a visitor, your hotel almost certainly has a pool. For the rest of us, Clark County offers Ten Aquatic Centers in the valley, out of fourteen all together. Henderson has ten pools open in the summer as well, and North Las Vegas rings in with four more pools operated by the North Las Vegas Parks and Recreation department. Even a resident pays something to use these facilities, but after an hour or two in the pool, you probably won’t notice the heat for hours after you emerge.

If you don’t like getting wet there are a lot of other ways to stay cool without barricading yourself into your living room. At one time the only air conditioning found in many places was in movie theaters and bowling alleys. When I was growing up in Ohio, that’s where I’d go on a hot afternoon when I wasn’t in the local pool.

The pool at Cambridge Recreation Center
The Cambridge Rec Center pool during a quiet interlude.
Photo by Steve Fey

In those days almost nobody even had the option of staying home to stay cool, but I learned to make a soda last a long, long time while I watched other people rolling balls at pins. I also learned just how much prior to the start of the first show I could get into a double feature. Popcorn, Raisinets™, and cool air, it was nine-year old’s heaven. And those options are still available, particularly in places like Sam’s Town or other casinos built for locals.

Other “cool” places would be some of the museums found here. I’ve written about some of them, for instance, The Nevada State Museum, or the Atomic Testing Museum on East Flamingo Road. There are of course others, such as The Natural History Museum, The Liberace Museum, some of which offer deals for locals that make it cheap as well as cool to visit.

And there are the places you need to go anyway, because to be honest, virtually every indoor space in Clark County is air conditioned. I take my time in the grocery store in hot weather, because grocery stores tend to be pretty cold inside. Likewise, any mall is essentially a huge bubble of climate controlled space, perfect for forgetting about the desert heat for a while. Like to shop? Here’s a perfect reason to keep at it for extra innings. And, of course, you can always check out the topiary at Bellagio, or do your shopping in one of the many upscale areas along the famous Las Vegas Strip. Here are some more ideas from a local mom about how she keeps her kids cool, safe and having fun in the Las Vegas summer!

In reality, the truly hot weather in Las Vegas lasts four to six weeks in the summer. The rest of the year the temperature is really pretty comfortable. So use the hot streak we always enjoy in summer to catch up on your cultural and recreational knowledge of the city. You’ll keep cool in the hottest weather, and you’ll probably gain a new appreciation for just how interesting and fun Las Vegas, can be.