Literally, ANY time of year is a great time to visit Vegas. And, for ANY kind of celebration, it’s the perfect destination, with so very much to see and do. What most people don’t realize is the Holiday Season is no different. Sure, there’s gambling and partying, as with any time of year if that’s what makes you happy. But the fact is, there is also a megaton of merriment, with festive performances, culinary indulgences, and holiday activities and attractions everywhere you look, the majority of which are family-friendly and some of which are free. As an added bonus, most everything is open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, which can’t be said about other destinations.
While its true that it’s not the warmest time of the year to visit, it certainly isn’t freezing cold or blustery and requiring of a parka and boots. A few hoodies, a warm jacket and perhaps a light pair of gloves will do. So if you’ve never considered Las Vegas as a Happy Holidays destination before, you might want to reconsider.
Here is a list of just some of the festivities you can find on the Vegas Strip this season:
The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens offers a sensational festive design, December 1 – January. 6, featuring live performances at 4:30 and 6:00 pm daily.
This natural display is a highlight of the Bellagio during the holiday season as the gardens transform into a winter wonderland of Christmas Cheer. This year’s display will feature as playful elves, 28,000 fresh poinsettias and a 42′ White Fir tree decorated with over 2,500 ornaments and 7000 bright white lights.
In the North Garden, guests can visit the Arctic where the floral display will feature thousands of white carnations along with a mother polar bear and her twin cubs. Playful penguins can also be found peering out of igloos.
The Cactus Garden Christmas Display at Ethel M Chocolate Factory is a Las Vegas Christmas Tradition with a festive display of featuring over 300 species of desert cactus and plants beautifully decorated in a half a million twinkling lights.
This 3-acre botanical garden offers visitors chocolate sculptures and signature Ethel M Chocolate creations along with jolly ole St. Nick.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary, this display was completely overhauled for the 2018 holiday season. The Cactus Garden Christmas Display will be open every night from 5 PM-10 PM. Admission is free.
The Cosmopolitan offers up The Ice Rink high above the Las Vegas Strip when the Boulevard Pool is transformed into a winter wonderland. The rink, made of real ice, allows skaters 4,200 square feet of fun space to twist and twirl and skate with all of the twinkling lights of Vegas. Guests can also roast s’mores by the fire and enjoy seasonal drinks.The Ice Rink is open from November 1 – December 20th from 3pm till midnight on weekdays, noon to midnight on weekends. Hours change as of December 21st when the rink is open daily from noon to midnight, with the last skate on January 6th, 2019.
Considered to be the world’s largest indoor adventure park, visitors can enjoy live performances of bands, carolers and dancers, and children can get their photo with Santa.
All-Day ride passes range in price from $17.95 to $31.95, allowing visitors to experience all the rides and attractions Adventuredome has to offer with a festive flare.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, located at 7000 Las Vegas Blvd N, is known for hosting auto racing events throughout the year. But during the Christmas season, the speedway transforms into a breathtaking spectacle called The Glittering Lights Show.
Featuring over 400 animated displays, visitors will find an eye-popping color-rama of 3 million Christmas lights over the course of the 2.5-mile speedway. This is an annual attraction that has entertained more than 2 million visitors since its inception. Travelers can experience the drive-thru attraction from November 9, 2018, until January 6, 2019. Hours are Sunday-Thursday from 5:30pm until 9pm. Weekends and Holidays are 5:30 until 10pm.
The LINQ Promenade hosts several events throughout the season, including a tree lighting ceremony and numerous FREE holiday shows featuring singing and dancing, all of which can be found along The LINQ Promenade starting December 1st.
Friends, couples, and families can enjoy the holiday spirit with festive entertainment, no matter the weather.
The LINQ Promenade holiday shows run Thursday through Sunday evenings, starting Dec. 1.
An annual tradition in Las Vegas is the Opportunity Village Magical Forest which boasts more than 150,000 visitors each year. The forest is not only magical, but it’s also festive, with decorated trees and Christmas displays. The Forest Express passenger train is on site and Santa is available for photos. The Magical Forest is open nightly from 5:30pm, November 23 to December 31st, 2018.
The Magical Forest is a beautiful winter wonderland that will have you feeling the holiday spirit right here in the desert. Stroll through hundreds of Christmas displays and decorated trees, ride the Forest Express passenger train & have your photos taken with Santa while enjoying nightly entertainment.
Get on board the Nevada Southern Railway for the 17th Annual Santa Train with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Santa Train offers a real passenger car and a ten-minute ride through the historic area of Boulder City, Nevada. The route passes through the Eldorado Valley, which was built in 1931 during construction on Hoover Dam.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.nevadasouthern.com for $6US per seat. Interested riders can locate the train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City. Free parking can be found next to the station.
The Wet’n’Wild Water Park gets in on the holiday action with Las Vegas Christmas Town, an event that features interesting attractions and runs from November 23 to December 31, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Christmas town features an excess of 3 million lights, a 40-foot Christmas tree, a Polar Express train ride, a skating rink, photos with Santa, a paintball zone, and more.
Unlimited one-day access is just $20US per person and also includes Christmas treats. The event runs Sunday to Thursday 5:30pm to 9:00pm and Weekends from 5:00pm to 10:30pm.
The Palazzo Las Vegas (Hotel and Casino) is known for putting up its own holiday display, which includes massive snow-covered trees, thousands of poinsettias, and hundreds of thousands of sparkling lights. It’s a great place for a selfie and admission is free 24 hours a day.