Las Vegas might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a festive holiday getaway… But let’s face it, Las Vegas is known for doing everything over the top– Christmas is no different!
Around half a million people flock to Sin City at Christmas time, so chances are at least some of you are heading over there. The holiday season is an especially amazing time to visit Las Vegas.
Warning: You will notice that prices fluctuate during the Christmas season, but it is worth every extra dime! From the overwhelming amount of Christmas lights to the Santa Riot downtown, you’re in for a jolly time!
Here’s your list of the best Christmas events in Las Vegas!
1. Ethel M Chocolates Factory and Cactus Museum
Do we all agree that during December (and even November), Christmas trees get so redundant and become overrated?! That’s why you should head over to the festive cactus garden at Ethel M Chocolates Factory, which features three acres of cacti decorated in well over half a million Christmas lights! If you’re one to wander a bit off the beaten path, this trip is well worth it!
Cactus Garden Dr at Sunset Way, Henderson. Through Jan 1, 5–10pm(Christmas Eve 8:30am–8pm; closed Christmas Day; New Year’s Eve, 8:30am–6pm). Free.
2.Scuba Santa at the Silverton
Anyone who’s been to Las Vegas might tell you that there’s a certain fascination with aquatic things there… Christmas is no different. Head over the Silverton where you can see Santa in his red suit with flippers and an oxygen tank in a festively decorated fish tank… well, as festive as fish tanks can be, anyways.
3333 Blue Diamond Rd at I-15. Dec 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, noon–1:15pm & 2:15–3:30pm. Free.
3. Santa Shipwreck at Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef
For some, seeing Santa through a glass aquarium isn’t quite good enough! Well, head over to Mandalay Bay and get up close and personal with Jolly Old St. Nich himself! Take pictures and let him know what you want for Christmas! …And for those who couldn’t get enough of Santa scuba diving, come at 4 PM and witness him top his last scuba dive and swim with real sharks!
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S at W Hacienda Ave. Dec 5–6, 12–13, 19–24, 10am–4pm; Scuba Santa 4–4:15pm. $20, children 4–12 $14, children under 3 free.
4. The Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan
During the holiday season, the Cosmopolitan turns its fourth floor outdoor pool into an ice rink! Go for a skate at the well-decorated rink. On Mondays, they play holiday movies on the big screen for you to enjoy while you skate!
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S at W Harmon Ave. Through Jan 3, Mon–Fri, 3pm–midnight; Sat–Sun, noon–midnight; Dec 19–Jan 3, noon–midnight daily. $15 all-day access, $5 skate rental.
5. Bellagio Fountains
Okay, this is a must-see for anyone going to Vegas no matter the time of year! However, during Christmas the fantastic dancing streams are set in time to your favourite Christmas carols!
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S at W Flamingo Rd. Ongoing, times vary. Free.
6. Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village is one of the most recognized charitable organizations in Las Vegas. This Christmas, head by and give back to the local community while enjoying millions of lights, a carousel, decorated mini golf and photo ops with Santa! All proceeds go to adults with intellectual disabilities.
6300 W Oakey Blvd between S Torrey Pines Dr and Community College Dr. Through Jan 3. Mon–Thu, Sun, 5:30–9pm; Fri, Sat, 5:30–10pm. $12–$22, children 3–12 $10–$19.
7. Holidays from the Heart with Kristen Hertzenberg
Okay, okay, I get it… you hate Christmas carols. But maybe that’s because you haven’t heard them preformed by Ms. Hertzenberg! This sophisticated jazz performance is destined to change your view on carols.
Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Ave between S City Pkwy and Promenade Pl. Dec 19, 2:30 & 7pm; $26–$36.
8. Cowboy Christmas
You Southerners didn’t think we were leaving you out, did you? This festive nine-day rodeo is a crown jewel for rodeo fans. If you’re a rodeo-virgin, worry not, they have all the cowboy merchandise you need for sale!
3150 Paradise Rd at Convention Center Dr. Dec 3–12, 9am–5pm; free.
9. The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker, performed by the Nevada Ballet Theatre is a tradition worth keeping. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, the full orchestral production is truly magical.
361 Symphony Park Ave between S City Pkwy and Promenade Pl. Dec 12–20, times vary. No children under 3. $29–$179.
10. Las Vegas Great Santa Run
This annual 5k fun run and one-mile walk shouldn’t be missed! Every year, around 10 thousand Santas hit Fremont St for the second biggest Santa run in the world! Don’t have a Santa outfit? Don’t worry, a 5 piece outfit comes free with your registration. All proceeds go to Opportunity Village. Even if you’re not into running, I recommend you go by and check it out, you’re in for some great pictures and good times!
Third Street Stage at Fremont Street Experience, Fremont St between S Main St and S Casino Center Blvd. Dec 5, from 8am; free for spectators
11. Jerry Seinfeld
If you’re not really a Christmas person, head over to Caesars Palace for a hilarious show put on by stand-up comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld. It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!
3570 Las Vegas Blvd S at W Flamingo Rd. Dec 26, 27, 7:30pm; $82.50–$165.
12. Terry Fator’s A Very Terry Christmas
America’s Got Talent winner Terry Fator is a Vegas fan favourite! This ventriloquist will once again perform his hilarious Christmas Special at the Mirage! Shouldn’t be missed.
3400 Las Vegas Blvd S between Spring Mountain and W Flamingo Rds. Nov 30–Dec 24, 7:30pm; $65–$142.
13. Festive Lighting Ceremonies at Fremont St
If you’re not yet overwhelmed by the Christmas lights of Las Vegas, head down to Fremont Street Experience for an extra dose of bright lights! This is a particularly amazing time to hop on the SlotZilla zip lnie running above the street!
Fremont St between S Main St and S Casino Center Blvd. Grand Menorah Lighting Dec 6, 4pm; Christmas Tree Lighting Dec 8, 5pm. Free.
If you’re still on the fence about whether to head over to Vegas for the holidays, you should know that Christmas Day is actually a very popular time to go to Vegas. On Christmas Day (and every other holiday during the year), everything will be open. Everything.
If you’ve decided to head over to Vegas for Christmas, great! You’re in for a treat. Check out this article about New Years in Vegas
so you can kill two birds with one stone!
Stratosphere Tower 12/31/2005