Christmas in Las Vegas doesn’t exactly scream “winter wonderland.” I’ve spent more time at the pool on Christmas day than I have bundled up in a cozy blanket sipping hot cocoa. More often than not, it’s fairly warm outside and maintaining a yearlong tan, isn’t unheard of. Because of our toasty forecast and lack of snow, it can sometimes be difficult to find winter-themed activities to do in Las Vegas. I knew there had to be more to this season than what I was experiencing, so I took to social media and asked locals “how on earth do you spend the winter season in Las Vegas?” and the results were amazing!
Without further ado, here are the best ways to spend days leading up to Christmas in Las Vegas…
Activities On The Strip
Ice Skating at Cosmopolitan
Ask any Vegas local what to do during the cold season, and chances are this will be their first recommendation. With 4,200 square feet of ice, Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool transforms into a snowbirds paradise. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Strip while roasting marshmallows and sipping hot cocoa, or strap on a pair of skates for only $10! If you’re still skeptical, The Ice Rink made USA Today’s list of 10 Best Ice Skating Rinks in North America! For more information about specific dates, events, and SNOW SHOWERS, click here.
Open: November 21- January 6
Time: Noon-Midnight (check website for exceptions)
Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden
As all locals know, Bellagio transforms its conservatory and botanical garden every season, and this season is no different. With 14,000-square-feet of glittering lights and festivity, this is a must see. The property allows visitors to stroll through the display free of charge and encourages photos! As an added bonus, 90% of the foliage used to decorate the enormous polar bears and Ice Princess are recycled.
Open: December 1 – January 6
Regardless of the season, LINQ Promenade is worth a visit. Lined with bars, boutiques, and venues, there is something for everyone to enjoy! During the Christmas season, the Promenade features live performances, light shows, and snowfall at the top of each hour. This is a great first stop during your Strip Christmas because the energy of the crowd will surely get you in the mood for a very Vegas Christmas!
Open: December 1 – 30
Time: Nightly now fall at the top of each hour 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Activities Off The Strip
Glittering Lights At Las Vegas Motor Speedway
With 2.5 miles of dazzling LED lights, the Speedway’s drive-through light display will surely amaze! Voted one of the Best Places to See Christmas Lights in the U.S.A., by CNN Travel, locals have been making the long drive out here for 17 years. Ticket prices vary, and if you’re on a budget or looking for a deal, tickets (per car) are only $20 Monday – Thursday. You can pre-purchase tickets here, or buy them at the gate using cash or credit.
Open: November 9 – January 6
Time: Sunday – Thursday 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturdays and Holidays 530 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
It wouldn’t be Christmas in Las Vegas without the Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest. This is a Vegas Staple, and although I have technically outgrown it, I really haven’t. I still enjoy the sparkling lights and cheesy decorations, just as much as I did in grade school. Watching Santa shake his belly as the holiday train chugs by is something I’ll never get tired of seeing. If your Christmas spirit is alive and well, stop by Opportunity Village for hot cocoa, carnival games, and holiday cheer!
General admission is $10 for kids and $12 for adults. Passports, which include unlimited rides in addition to admission, are $19. Kids younger than 3 do not require a ticket. You can purchase tickets for the best night of your year here.
Open: November 24 – December 31
Time: Open Nightly at 5:30 p.m.
Ethel M Chocolate Factory
Celebrating Christmas in the desert calls for a little creativity. For two months, Ethel M’s 3-acre cactus garden transforms into the most beautiful winter wonderland that visitors can tour for free. The tour also includes a chocolate tasting and tour of the factory.
Open: Daily, November 6 – January 6
Time: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Downtown Summerlin’s Rock Rink
Since the birth of the Golden Knights, ice skating seems to be all the rage in Las Vegas. With multiple rinks around the valley, Rock Rink is the closest option for skaters in living on the west side of the valley. At $15, general admission includes skate rental, and there are options to purchase socks and gloves for those spur of the moment participants. The hours vary depending on the day so it is best to plan ahead and check their website.
Open: November 16 – January 21
Time: Vary (check website)
Downtown Summerlin’s New Holiday Parade
If you’re looking for a free activity for the family, Downtown Summerlin’s Holiday Parade is worth checking out. Inspired by everyone’s favorite holiday movies, the parade features six enchanting floats, familiar characters, and even a bit of snow! For more information about the New Holiday Parade, click here.
Open: November 16 – December 22
Time: Fridays & Saturdays @ 6 p.m.
Downtown Summerlin’s Las Vegas Farmers Market
On warmer days, the farmers market is a great place to find unique, hand-made gifts, tasty fruits and veggies, fresh cut flowers, and delicious local bread. It is open from 9am-2pm every Saturday on The Pavilion in Downtown Summerlin.
Open: Every Saturday
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Scuba Santa at Silverton Aquarium
If mermaids weren’t enough, Silverton now has a scuba diving Santa in their midst. If you find yourself on the south side of the city during a weekend afternoon, stop by and say hi to Old Saint Nick. Be sure to snap a photo of Santa while he swims in shark and stingray infested water!
Open: Saturdays and Sundays in December
Time: 12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Winter’s Village at Green Valley Ranch & Red Rock Casino Resorts
Both Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Casino have both jumped on the Christmas bandwagon and created a winter village, equipped with an ice rink, hot cocoa, movie nights, and Santa! This season is filled with fun events so check out their website before planning a night out.
Open: November 17 – January 6
Time: Vary (check website)
Drive Through Festive Neighborhoods
My favorite part of Christmas in Las Vegas as a kid was driving around through decorative neighborhoods and stopping to take cliché photos. We have countless photo albums full of pictures of me in front of random homes. If you also want schlep around the city seeing extreme Christmas homes, click here for a list of addresses.
Do you have a favorite way to spend Christmas in Las Vegas that wasn’t listed? If so, leave a comment so I can add it!
If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas, regardless of the season, check out How To Save Money In Las Vegas.
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