12 Days of a Vegas Christmas: Your Guide to Christmas and NYE in Las Vegas

While you may not see literal maids a-milking or lords a-leaping, if you’re planning a Christmas getaway to Las Vegas, chances are you’ll spot some ladies dancing and more than your fair share of golden rings.

Las Vegas is known for its elaborate displays and over-the-top spectacles, and the holiday season is no exception. Every year, casinos and attractions on the Strip and across the city attempt to outdo their competition by creating their own unique, extravagant holiday displays and experiences. From opulent decorations and multitudinous lights to towering Christmas trees and appearances from the Big Man in Red, there’s no shortage of festive fun to be had, whether you have two days or 12. And that’s just for Christmas—New Year’s Eve offers its own selection of sensational celebrations.

Christmas in Las Vegas

Just about everything in Las Vegas is open on Christmas day, including shops, casinos, bars, restaurants, buffets, and attractions.

PRO TIP: Double check the pricing at your favorite buffet. The price might increase on Christmas Day. If you want a nice sit-down meal, make a reservation or be prepared to wait in a  long line.

Las Vegas may not be the first place you think of for a yuletide family vacation, but there are tons of family-friendly things to see and do around the city during the Christmas season. Here are our favorites:

1. The Bellagio Fountains

The Bellagio fountains are a must-see any time of year, but they put on an extra-special show around the holidays, featuring performances of classic holiday tunes. Best of all, the show is totally free!

Performances run daily, from 3:00 PM Monday-Friday, noon on Saturdays and holidays, and 11:00 AM on Sundays.

2. The Bellagio Conservatory

The annual Christmas display at the Bellagio Conservatory will transport you out of the desert into a festive winter wonderland. Every year, the South Garden is decorated with thousands of twinkling lights, more than 28,000 poinsettias, and a spectacularly-decorated Christmas tree that’s over 40 feet tall. The tree alone is decorated with more than 7,000 LED lights and 2,500 ornaments!

las vegas christmas holiday season bellagio conservatory

The North Garden is home to a mother polar bear (and her twin cubs), created using 12,000 white carnations. And if that’s not enough to get you into the holiday spirit, this year, there will also be a Bellagio-themed train station coated with crushed walnuts and candy canes. Live holiday performances run nightly from 4:30-6:00 PM at the Victorian Gazebo in the South Garden.

Admission is free and the Conservatory is open 24 hours a day from December 2 till January 6.

3. Winter PARQ at the LINQ Promenade

Starting November 25, the LINQ Promenade will transform into Winter PARQ, featuring decorations, carolers, holiday music, and a 35 foot tree. There will also be holiday shows nightly, every hour from 6:00-10:00 PM till December 30 at the Fountain stage, as well as the new Lights at the LINQ show. Keep your eyes on the High Roller Observation Wheel towering 550 feet above the Strip! This Christmas, it’ll be lit with more than 2,000 LED lights synced to holiday music.

If you’re looking for a white Christmas, make sure you head to Winter PARQ. Snow is scheduled to fall across the complex every half hour from 5:00 PM till midnight. Adventurous visitors should also be sure to check out the 30 foot tubing hill!

4. Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan

Every Christmas, the Cosmopolitan transforms its Boulevard Pool into an ice rink with more than 4,200 square feet of real ice to glide over. You can also roast s’mores by the fire pits, catch a holiday-themed double feature, or enjoy warm cocktails between light snow showers that fall every 30 minutes.

The ice rink is open November 25-January 1 from 2:00 PM till midnight Monday-Friday, and noon-midnight Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $20 for all day skating access, plus $5 skate rental fee. If you don’t plan to skate, entry to the ice rink area is free.

5. Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and Gardens

The Palazzo puts on its own holiday display, including 20 foot snow-covered trees, holiday lights, and thousands of poinsettias. Admission is free, and the area is open to the public 24 hours a day.

6. Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory Holiday Cactus Garden

Who needs Christmas trees when you have Christmas cacti? 2017 marks the 23rd anniversary of this Las Vegas holiday staple, featuring more than half a million lights draped over three acres of cacti, as well as chocolate houses and sculptures, and live demonstrations of Ethel M chocolate creations.

las vegas christmas holiday season ethel m cactus garden

Photo Credit: @shardsofblue via Flickr.
There will also be performances by local choirs Friday-Sunday from 6:00 PM till 8:00 PM, and Santa will visit Friday-Sunday 5:00-9:00 PM. Lights are switched on nightly from 5:00-10:00 PM from November 15-January 1. Admission is free and includes a factory tour.

7. Springs Preserve Holiday Express

Head to the nearby Springs Preserve and take a train ride to Santa’s magical village, where you can take a photo with Santa, make holiday crafts, decorate cookies, hear holiday stories, and more. Trains depart 10 times daily, every half hour from noon till 5:00 PM. Spaces are limited and reservations are required. Tickets are $10 for non-members. Children aged 2 and under are free.

8. Santa in the Shipwreck

Santa makes a stop at Mandalay Bay’s famous shark reef and aquarium every weekend from December 3 until Christmas Eve, but this isn’t your standard visit. Instead of waiting in line to snap a pic with Santa, watch him don his scuba gear and jump into the shipwreck waters!

Admission is $20 for adults and $14 for children, including a treat and complimentary picture with Santa for children 12 and under. Doors are open from 10:00AM till 4:00PM.

9. Holi-dome at Adventuredome at Circus Circus

The world’s largest indoor adventure park gets a Christmas makeover this holiday season. Check out special performances by bands, dancers, and carolers, and get a photo snapped with Santa on select dates.

The Holi-dome is open from November 28 till January 2. All day ride pass admission fees range from $17.95-$31.95.

11. Christmas Tree at the Venetian

If the 40-foot tall Christmas tree at the Bellagio Conservatory doesn’t cut it for you, make sure you check out the 65-foot tree at the Venetian. It’s truly a spectacle to behold, with over 50,000 programmable lights and a nightly light show.

las vegas christmas holiday season venetian tree

11. Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show

The Tournament of Kings area is transformed into a medieval winter wonderland, with a seasonal show featuring holiday costumes, lights, and a magically conjured snowfall courtesy of Merlin. And of course, there’s a holiday-inspired three-course meal—no utensils, of course.

The Tournament of Kings holiday dinner show runs from November 23 till December 26.

12. Night Flight Over the Strip

Get a bird’s-eye—er, Santa’s eye?—view of the Strip on a helicopter night flight over the dazzling lights of Vegas’s most iconic casinos and resorts, as well as historic Fremont Street. For some added holiday luxury, upgrade your night flight and travel to and form your chopper in a stretch limousine!

Las Vegas Night Flight Helicopter Tour

las vegas night flight helicopter tour

Rise above and cruise down the dazzling Las Vegas Strip in a sightseeing helicopter! Float past Las Vegas’s most iconic casinos and resorts, including the MGM Grand, New York New York, Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Aladdin, Paris Eiffel Tower, Caesar’s Palace, Flamingo Hilton, Mirage, Treasure Island, the Venetian, and the Stratosphere Tower, which rises 1,149 feet into the air. View historic Fremont Street and see the space beam of the Luxor on your return!

RESERVE NOW

NOTE: Want to spend your Christmas at the Grand Canyon? All our tours run on Christmas Day!

New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas

If you love to party, there’s no better to ring in the new year than the party capital of the world. No one does NYE like Sin City!

There are two main places to celebrate when midnight hits: Fremont Street (in downtown Las Vegas) and on the Strip.

Fremont Street

Head downtown to the Fremont Street Experience for their annual NYE party, complete with concerts all night and fireworks on the overhead LED screen. Concerts run from 6:00 PM till 3:30 AM.

The street closes at 4:00 PM and gates open at 5:00 PM. Plan to get there early to pick up your tickets—capacity is limited. Tickets purchased before Christmas will run you $35+, while tickets purchased after Christmas are about $40+.

This is an adults only event.

The Strip

Every year, the entire Strip closes down to vehicle traffic for this annual four-mile block party. Make sure you get there early before the Strip closes, especially if you want to score great seats for the centerpiece fireworks show. This year’s choreographed display will be launched from seven rooftops!

las vegas new years eve holiday season strip

Photo Credit: InSapphoWeTrust via Wikimedia Commons.

Here are a couple of tips for celebrating New Year’s Eve on the Strip:

  • The upper floors of parking garages are great places to view the fireworks. For an ultra-luxe experience, take a ride on the High Roller Observation Wheel, or hit up the SkyFall Lounge on the 64th floor of Delano Las Vegas, or the Foundation Room atop Mandalay Bay.
  • Dress warm—it’ll be colder at night than you might expect.
  • Be prepared for crowds.
  • In an effort to ensure the crowds indoors stay within the occupancy limits set by county officials, some hotels only allow entrance if you can prove you are a guest.
  • Alcohol is allowed on the street, as long as it’s not in a metal or glass container.
  • The Las Vegas Monorail will be the only public transportation running on the Strip, with trains running till about 3:00AM.

Christmas Magic

Whether you’re planning a last minute holiday getaway or your Las Vegas Christmas vacation has been on the books for months, make sure you check out the spectacular holiday displays and attractions while you visit. Here’s where you can find them:

Get ready for your trip to Las Vegas with our travel tips: