Cha-ching! Cash in on a spectacular Las Vegas sunset
Watching the sunset in Las Vegas is a great way to kick off your night. There’s no sunset sky quite like the one over the desert, and in Vegas, there are not only amazing spots in the city for viewing, but also outlying places to witness the natural splendor of the setting sun. Whether the choice is to view it from a restaurant, see it from a helicopter, enjoy it over cocktails, or revel in the sunset from a canyon, there are times in every season that afford a perfect view.
Best time to view the sunset in Vegas
In the winter, sunset comes early. When the clocks “fall back” in November, the time change pushes the sunset to about 4:30 p.m. and stays there until the beginning of January. Then it slowly begins to move later, pushing back to about 5 p.m. by the end of January and to 5:30 by the end of February. In March, when the clocks move forward, so does the sunset – all the way to 6:45. By the end of April, it’s at 7:30, and as May rolls into June, the sunset time shifts to about 8 p.m. It stays around there until mid-July when it starts moving earlier again, reaching about 7:45 by the end of the month. August begins with sunsets at about 7:45 and ends with them just after 7 p.m. September sunsets go between 6:30 and 7 p.m., and by the end of October, they’ve moved all the way back to 5:45 and then to 5:30 in early November before the time change pushes them an hour earlier again.
Some of the best sunset viewing happens in the hour before the sun goes down, during that last hour of daylight known as the “golden hour.” Especially when trying to capture photographs of the sunset, it’s a good idea to know the exact time it’s happening, and arrive in the desired location an hour or so earlier. To determine more exact times, check the local paper, or look online at sites like weather.com.
The desert is a gorgeous place to watch sunrises and sunsets because the air is clean and relatively free of particles. Moreover, the winter is a great time of year for beautiful sunset photography, because the air is not as slow-moving as it is in the summer and the clearer air makes for more vibrant colors. Vegas sunsets are, however, stunning any time of year, so don’t worry too much if your vacation doesn’t coincide with the winter months.
Where to watch the setting sun
A city of fanfare and flair, Vegas offers an abundance of flashy options for sunset viewing.
- The High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel at 550 feet, offers a spectacular sunset viewing experience. From one of this wheel’s 28 enclosed, air conditioned cabins, visitors can have a 360-degree view during the sunset. Each cabin can hold up to 40 people, and all sorts of packages are offered to make it a real party, from chocolate and wine tastings to yoga classes. It's located at The Linq.
- Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower Experience, atop the Paris Las Vegas resort, offers a glass elevator ride to an observation deck with breathtaking 360-degree views perfect for watching the setting sun. Tickets can be purchased online for dates through the end of the year.
- See the sunset from the Stratosphere. The observation deck at the Stratosphere offers indoor and outdoor options, depending on how daring the mood. If hanging out 1,000 feet in the air isn’t daring enough, try a thrill ride, or bungee jump from the top of the Stratosphere. There’s a sunset idea for the bucket list!
- If observation decks aren’t high enough, why not try a helicopter? For over 30 years, Sundance Helicopters has offered tours allowing visitors to take in sights like the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, as well as the sunset over the Mojave Desert.
- Have a meal or a drink while watching the setting sun. For people who prefer a peaceful meal during the sunset, or maybe just want to kick off the night with a cocktail as the sun goes down, there are tons of options in Vegas for high-up restaurants and lounges. Some of the notable spots for eating, drinking watching the sunset are Rivea and the Skyfall Lounge at Delano Las Vegas, Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay, Alize at the Palms Casino and Mandarin Bar and Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.
- To escape the city during sunset, try Red Rock Canyon. It’s not too far from the action, but seems to be an entirely different world, where the incredible view of the sunset on rocks that seem to glow red has people lingering with cameras for the perfect shot. The best place for photography? Locals recommend a little spot just past the main entrance, where cars can pull off to the right to get a good view.
- Another good place to appreciate the view of the setting sun is Bonnie Springs Ranch. A matchless place to watch the sunset, Bonnie Springs has a coffee shop restaurant with an open-pit fireplace, perfect for peaceful and rustic viewing away from the flash of Vegas, perhaps with a cup of coffee in hand.