Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

LAS VEGAS – I brought a book to see if I could do it.

I’m inside a cabana at Circa’s Stadium Swim, the hottest new pool downtown. Outside, it’s bright and loud, but I crack open Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” anyhow.

“Go, shorty,” the speakers blare, “it’s your birthday!”

The Mississippi is well worth reading about …

“Go, shorty, it’s your birthday.”

I close the book. The river may be remarkable, Mr. Twain, but I’m distracted.

Lesson One: Vegas pools are no place for beach reads.

Why am I here?

For a front-row look at a Friday by the pool as people are coming out of isolation with shots in their arms and cash in their pockets.

I reserved a cabana for shade to observe the sights and sounds – to witness people as they grasp for some sense of normal.

With camera, notebook and pen, I waded in.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

First impressions

It’s a little past 5 p.m. The temperature is in the mid-80s. The sun is hard and hot. Giant video screens are tuned to sports. Big speakers pump out bass-heavy electronic music. It is loud.

Packs of tourists and locals crowd in and around Stadium Swim’s six pools. Some look like they just walked out of a casino – pandemic flab, jeans, T-shirts. Others look like Instagram influencers – fit, tan, wearing very little.

“Have fun seeing lots of butts,” my partner told me before work.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

One thing’s for sure: My Hawaiian shirt ain’t coming off.

There are plenty of places to get sun here – 340 chaise lounges and 38 daybeds spread over two rooftop levels.

Patrons in bikinis, board shorts, even street clothes, dangle feet in the water. Some sip alcohol-infused slushies from plastic cups. Others tilt back beers.

Looming over all of them is the 135-foot wall of screens broadcasting seven baseball games, two basketball games, one hockey game and an MMA card.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

Under the screens, bros in backward hats stand among daybeds. They sip mixed drinks and periodically peer at the screens for scores.

Almost everyone is drinking. Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Corona, White Claw – they’re all here somewhere.

This is peak party time at Stadium Swim.

Lesson Two: Come thirsty.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

My cabana

The cabana costs a minimum of $1,000, plus gratuity for the server. Her name is Michelle. She’s from Brazil, her passion is photography, and she wears a green bikini.

Inside, there’s an L-shaped couch, lounge chair, 65-inch television, ceiling fan, sink, towels, cabinet and even a safe with a keypad.

The cabana is way too big for one person. It would be perfect for a group of three or four friends – although two cabanas can be connected for up to 25 people. There are 30 cabanas at Stadium Swim just like this one.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

On the cabinet is a thick menu book. Food and bottle service. A bottle of Belvedere vodka? $450. Patron Silver tequila? $450. Want a bigger 1.75-liter bottle? $795.

On the food page, there are platters for large groups. Lobster Corn Dogs: $145. Gourmet Grazing Board (think poolside charcuterie): $125. Fruit Platter: $65. For smaller appetites, there’s the Stadium Dog ($10) and Taco Trio ($14). A lot more, too.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

When I order a six-pack of bottled water, Michelle looks at me funny.

Lesson Three: Bring friends.

Grasping for normal

Around 6 p.m., shade covers everything.

Veronica Ramos, 30, splashes in a pool near my cabana. A rec-league soccer player from Los Angeles, she’s in Las Vegas with her friends to play a tournament.

They’ve taken up a whole corner of the pool to themselves. They dance and sing along to electronic music. They bob their heads when the beat drops.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

Ramos is happy to be at a pool after the year she had.

It’s the first time she’s been to Las Vegas since before the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a part of her that feels unadjusted.

“It feels like I’m breaking the rules,” she says.

Ramos is fully vaccinated and proud of it.

“It’s nice to see people in the world,” she says.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

On the second-level deck of Stadium Swim, Paula Pelligrino, an English teacher from Rhode Island, sunbathes in the final hour of light.

She, too, is glad to be far from home with friends. Her vaccination status is something she keeps to herself. That’s personal, she says.

What she does comment on is the scenery on her last night in town.

“The sky and the mountains,” she says, “are beautiful.”

Others were more concentrated on the action closer to the pool.

Two men visit my cabana. One pinches between his fingers a baggie of white powder.

“Want us to hook you up?” a voice says.

I decline, and they leave. Later, they’re removed by security.

Lesson Five: People go to the pool for different reasons.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

Sundown

The cabana next to mine is bumping. Men start cheering.

Two women are kissing deeply. The deeper and longer they kiss, the louder and longer the men cheer. I look over and see a lot of skin, a bottle of champagne.

It’s almost sundown. A big moon hangs in the purple sky. The temperature screen atop Binion’s Hotel-Casino reads 86 degrees.

Men outside the next-door cabana pump fists. A woman with a foldable fan mimics the unce-unce-unce of the music blaring on the loudspeakers.

Nearby, a woman twirls in the pool for a cellphone picture. She leans on the lip of the pool, sucks on her vape pen.

Ramos, the soccer player, and her friends part ways.

In their wake is a collection of left-behind items: four towels, four plastic cups, a Corona Extra can, a pair of tan sandals, a blue face mask.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

There’s no telling what belongs to whom, but it’s no matter. A Circa employee quickly clears the debris. The pool is quiet again, the crowd thin. The party is on the move.

The sun has set, but many sunglasses remain.

As I prepare to leave, I see a familiar face, people I know.

I walk up and say hello. One of them hands me a cold beer.

I close my notebook and stay a little longer.

Lesson Seven: In Las Vegas, the night is always young.

Shots in arms, money in pockets: What a Friday night at the hottest pool in Las Vegas is like

Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA TODAY Network.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Giant panda gives birth to twins in Paris zoo

Pandas are famously large, fluffy, black and white – but they don’t start that way. A giant panda on loan to France from China gave birth to female twin cubs ... Read more »

Three injured by iceberg at Titanic Museum Tennessee

An iceberg wall at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Tennessee collapsed and injured three guests, the museum’s owners said. Those harmed were taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries, Mary ... Read more »

Pro-Trump senator suggests FBI knew more than it has revealed about Capitol riot

Republican senator Ron Johnson suggested in a private conversation on Saturday, without evidence, that the FBI knew more about the planning before the January 6 Capitol riot than it has ... Read more »

CDC says travelers should avoid Greece, Ireland and other destinations, regardless of vaccination status

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising travelers to stay away from Greece, Ireland, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other destinations, regardless of vaccination status. The agency bumped ... Read more »

One Perfect Night For Couples In Chicago

Downtown city buildings and skyline over the Chicago River at night in Illinois USA getty In a metropolis like Chicago, it’s an easy task to come up with an ideal ... Read more »

Top Things To Do In Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia’s Pitons getty Geothermal activity, dramatic mountain views, dense rainforests, volcanic sand beaches and multi-hued coral reefs allure travelers to the island of Saint Lucia, located in the West ... Read more »

Are You In The Shrinking Global Middle Class?

A new tool can calculate your standing in the world. getty For anyone who has sometimes wondered just how well off they are compared to everyone else in the world, ... Read more »

No Vax, No Service: Here's Where Bars And Restaurants Across U.S. Are Requiring Proof Of Vaccination

Road tripping in the US? Don’t leave home without your vaccination card. getty Road tripping through the U.S.? Don’t leave home without your CDC vaccination card. In just the past ... Read more »

Architects Help Ensure A Stress-Free Travel Experience

Innovative designs by creative architects can reduce stress. CallisonRTKL Is it possible to travel stress-free these days? Considering the uncertainty that still looms large throughout the world, it may be ... Read more »

The Stunning Norse-Inspired English Church Of Balestrand, Norway

St. Olaf’s Church is an eye-catching landmark in the village of Balestrand in Norway. getty At first glance, St. Olaf’s Church in the idyllic Sognefjord village of Balestrand looks like ... Read more »

Alaska Airlines' biggest sale of the year starts today with $99 flights to Hawaii

Alaska Airlines is offering $89 flights to Mexico and $99 flights to Hawaii as part of its biggest sale of the year. The three-day sale started today and runs until ... Read more »

JetBlue Launches New York To London Service August 11 Despite Lingering Pandemic

First Airbus A321LR delivered to Jetblue for transatlantic flights to begin August 11,2021. Airbus You have to give JetBlue some credit for sticking to its plans. Despite a summer airline ... Read more »

GO NZ: Top tips for a West Auckland winter weekend

It’s still Auckland but proudly moves to its own beat, writes Alexia Santamaria The area where West and North Auckland converge is a glorious eclectic mix of art, wine, good ... Read more »

New York Luxury Brand NoMad Launches First European Hotel In London Police Station

Magistrates Court, now a Ballroom at NoMad, London Sydell Group Chic hotel brand NoMad has launched its first property outside of the United States in London in the historic, grade ... Read more »

Travel trouble Tuesday: American, Spirit cancel hundreds of flights for third consecutive day

American Airlines and Spirit Airlines have canceled nearly 600 Tuesday flights, the third consecutive day of major travel trouble for the airlines’ passengers. American, which is still struggling to recover ... Read more »

Night Train Service Expands In Europe

A photo taken on May 24, 2021 shows a Nightjet train waiting for departure during the media event … [+] ‘Start for the new Nightjet to Amsterdam’ by the Austrian ... Read more »

Puerto Rico cautiously welcomes first cruise since COVID-19, Carnival's biggest ship yet

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Carnival Mardi Gras docked Tuesday in Puerto Rico — the first time a cruise ship has visited the U.S. territory since the pandemic began. ... Read more »

Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women in violation of law, AG report finds

ALBANY, NY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women in violation of state and federal laws as well as the executive chamber’s own written policies, according to a long-anticipated ... Read more »

In Photos: 75 Years Of Scandinavian Airline SAS

A crew portrait in front of Sverre Viking DC-6 in 1955. SAS 75 years ago this year, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) completed its inaugural intercontinental flight from Stockholm to New ... Read more »

On Washington's Coast, Seabrook Aims To Be The Perfect Beach Town

Seabrook’s recipe for coastal living: Incorporate the best elements of small-town life and let the … [+] endorphins flow. Seabrook Close your eyes for a minute and picture your ideal ... Read more »

Trolltunga: Iconic Norway Rock To Host Weddings

Norway’s Trolltunga (the Troll’s Tongue) rock formation attracts thousands of hikers every summer. getty A Danish couple are to become the first people to get married at one of Norway’s ... Read more »

Cap Rocat Mallorca - Sustainable Luxury In A Historic Location

Cap Rocat Mallorca is a place where history resonates. As a former military fort, it takes full advantage of its elevated position in a secluded yet strategic location on a ... Read more »

20 Best Bird Photos Of The Year: A Peek At Audubon's Top 100 Winners

A fuzzy, mottled Black-necked Stilt chick stands beneath its mother, which has a white underbelly … [+] and stabilizes the fuzzy chick with one long pink leg.. San Joaquin Wildlife ... Read more »

60% Of Unvaccinated Americans Blame Travelers For The Covid Surge

Six in 10 unvaccinated Americans think travelers are responsible for the current surge in Covid cases. getty One of the most interesting takeaways from the latest Ipsos survey is who ... Read more »

Inside Christian Dior's Château De La Colle Noire - The By Invitation Only Gem In Provence, France

Maison Christian Dior has completed a loving and respectful restoration of founder Christian Dior’s former residence – the Château de La Colle Noire and I have been fortunate to experience ... Read more »

'We can accidentally love our parks to death': How to protect crowded national parks

America’s most popular national parks are seeing a record number of visitors, and that’s a problem. “We can accidentally love our parks to death,” Sen. Angus King of Maine, chair ... Read more »

The Luxury Travel Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed

A luxury trip calls for luxury essentials getty From scented mask spray from Japan to a pro-level suitcase just for your makeup, these are the must-have travel essentials for your ... Read more »

This Design-Forward Catskills Hideaway Is The Antidote To New York City Living

Piaule Catskill Sean Davidson As more urbanites venture beyond the confines of their high-rise apartments and buzzing city blocks, Hudson Valley—with its open acreage and tree-lined terrain—presents an attractive opportunity ... Read more »

Inside The (Surprising) Historic Building Home To The NoMad's First International Location

NoMad London Atrium ©simonupton Originally a courthouse, police station, and jail (with occupants including Oscar Wilde, the Kray Twins, Vivienne Westwood, and more) for over 266 years, London’s former Bow ... Read more »

These gorgeous gardens across the U.S. are ready to transport you to faraway lands

Big and small alike, public gardens can be naturally transformative, offering a close-to-the-earth, soulful respite to workaday life. These gardens feature more than just the familiar sensory delights; they also ... Read more »

On the sesh in Herefordshire with the ultimate food and drink tour

Lemore Estate dates back to 1640 (Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire) Numerous studies from across the globe have revealed that many of us are carrying extra pounds since the start of ... Read more »

The best spa hotels in the UK for a relaxing staycation

South Lodge in Horsham, West Sussex (South Lodge) Relaxing spa hotel staycations will soon be back on the travel agenda when properties open from 17 May in England, although confusingly, ... Read more »

What are UK hotels doing behind the scenes to tackle coronavirus?

Hotels are taking extra measures to keep guests safe (Getty) “I keep telling them to shout about what they’re doing, because lots of them aren’t right now,” says Jane Pendlebury, ... Read more »

The most extraordinary new hotels opening in 2021

Kruger Shalati on the Selati Bridge (Kruger Shalati) We can all agree that 2020 has been an awful year that we can’t wait to see the back of. For travel, ... Read more »

The best Airbnbs in the Cotswolds for all tastes and styles

Asphodel Cottage (Airbnb/Asphodel Cottage) Is there anywhere that feels quite as quintessentially English as the Cotswolds? With its patchwork of thatched cottages, charming churches and sleepy villages, this is famously ... Read more »

The best all-American experiences

The ultimate way to see Sin City: from a chopper (Maverick Helicopter) Planning a bucket list-worthy American holiday? Although it looks like the US-UK travel corridor won’t be opening this ... Read more »

How cruises will change after coronavirus

Cruising will change in many ways post-Covid (Getty Images) The multibillion pound cruise industry, which normally carries 30 million people a year on the world’s oceans and rivers, has been ... Read more »

11 Irish towns you need to visit that aren't Dublin or Belfast

Views over Galway City (Getty Images/iStockphoto) When visiting Ireland, on the hunt for history, scenery and, of course, “the craic”, people usually head for the two capitals: Belfast and Dublin. ... Read more »

Swimmers asked to stop bathing naked at a beach on Norway's Glomma River

Some local residents aren’t too happy with the skinny dipping. Others say being naked is natural and good for self-esteem. Bathers from all over the district and beyond come to ... Read more »

Explore Vancouver Island, Canada With Magnolia Hotel & Spa's Flavour Trails

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada has an incredible array of food, wine and activity trails RoamTravelPR-0950, Magnolia Hotel & Spa Now that Canada has started to ease travel restrictions and opened ... Read more »