Tuesday, July 3, 2012 | 6 p.m.
The Fourth of July is upon us, and from the towers of the Strip to suburban backyards, eyes will be focused on a sky alight with spectacular fireworks.
However, navigating the crowds and view-obstructing facades can stifle the celebratory spirit of the night. But it’s not a lost cause. You just have to know where to go for the best view.
Whether you want to bask in the glow of a casino or escape to a clear-skied neighborhood vista, here is a guide to our favorite sky-gazing spots.
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It may not be Las Vegas’ most glamorous viewing spot, but the McCarran short-term parking lot is prime real estate for taking in the Strip’s show in the sky. Whether checking out the view from Terminal 1 or the brand new Terminal 3, keep in mind those lots are reserved for stays of three hours or less and charge an hourly fee of about $2.
O’Callaghan Middle School
Get away from the crowds on the Strip with this low-key, but nonetheless spectacular, 360-degree view of fireworks across the valley at this middle school campus tucked at the base of Sunrise Mountain. Pack a picnic basket and sidle up with other locals on the school’s main grounds, or set up your lawn chairs on any of the number of parking lots in the surrounding area for a bit more privacy.
Green Valley Ranch
With one of the most lavish fireworks displays in the valley, the show at Green Valley Ranch, beginning about 9 p.m., is not to be missed. There are plenty of hills and parking structures in the surrounding area where you can perch, but your best bet is the roof of the resort’s Paseo Verde Garage or in the main casino parking lot. Do note that both garages require a Station Casinos Boarding Pass players card to get in; if you don’t have one, you can still enjoy the view from the surface parking lot located off Paseo Verde.
Towering 55 stories above the Strip, few venues will provide a more dramatic view of the Fourth’s festivities than Ghostbar. Whether peering out of its floor-to-ceiling windows or hovering right above the action on the outdoor lounge, you’re guaranteed to enjoy a glamorous bird’s-eye view of the fireworks. At 10 p.m., DJ Kid Conrad salutes Uncle Sam in style with the venue’s “Indepen-dance” party, part of Ghostbar’s Snitch Wednesdays industry night.
Holiday or not, you’re hard-pressed to find a better view of the city than from the Stratosphere’s sky-scraping observation deck — the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. Gaze southward to take in the fireworks on the Strip or face north to observe the sparkling spectacle launched from the Fremont Street Experience downtown. Or just do the full tour and round out your Independence Day with nightlong drink specials at AirBar on the 108th floor.
Contrary to its name, the Foundation Room sits high above the city, nestled within the glimmering facade of Mandalay Bay. From the balcony, take in the entire stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard from the Strip’s southernmost point as its twinkle and neon give rise to fireworks as far as the eye can see. The view may be unforgettable, but the experience comes at price — drink and dinner packages start at $150 for open bar and cap at $780 for dinner for four and a bottle of champagne.