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Destination Downtown: PJ Perez Shares His Latest Picks

Destination Downtown: PJ Perez Shares His Latest Picks
The rooftop pool at Downtown Grand is getting a facelift. (Courtesy of Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino)

Summer's here. And although there are plenty of air-conditioned casinos offering shelter from the glaring desert sun, people don't come to Vegas to hide from the heat. They come to revel in it. All around downtown Las Vegas, from the casino corridor to the Arts District, it's hip to go al fresco, whether that means sipping cocktails by the pool or noshing on grub beneath the misters on a sidewalk patio.

Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, which opened in 2013 in the former spot of the Lady Luck, recently unveiled a new outdoor recreation experience, Citrus at the Grand Pool Deck. Open daily, Citrus transforms the resort's 35,000-square-foot rooftop pool area into an urban oasis, featuring an infinity pool, private cabanas, fire pit, grass seating area (replete with namesake citrus trees) and bar games. Citrus also offers a daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. and regularly scheduled live entertainment.

Not too far from the Downtown Grand, the Plaza Hotel & Casino is also doubling down on its open-air offerings, greatly expanding its fifth-floor rooftop pool area overlooking Main Street with a slated Fourth of July weekend grand opening. Touting its new digs as the place where "vintage Palm Springs meets downtown Las Vegas," the Pool at the Plaza features 70,000 square feet of all-ages fun, including tennis, basketball and pickleball courts. The pool will offer full food and beverage service, cabana suites and lily pad daybeds.

When it comes to patio dining downtown, the options are pretty fantastic, from the second-floor bar and terrace at Carson Kitchen to the garden courtyard behind Park on Fremont to the indoor-outdoor sidewalk seating at Mexican restaurant La Comida. But the newest kid on the block, Downtown Crown Pub, brings the British decor, flavors and beer selection of longtime local favorite Crown & Anchor to the Arts Factory in the heart of the 18b Las Vegas Arts District. It also happens to have one of the best patios downtown, spilling out of its bar area onto the corner of Charleston and Casino Center boulevards, with one of Dennis Oppenheim's "Paintbrush Gateway" sculptures providing an iconic backdrop entirely unique to downtown Las Vegas.

— By PJ Perez, LA Times Content Solutions

PJ Perez is a longtime Las Vegas resident who has been writing about his adopted hometown for a variety of travel guides, websites and magazines since the 1990s, which isn't possible, because he's not that old.