Las Vegas is known for its over-the-top parties, and the holiday season is no exception. There’s no shortage of festive cheer in Vegas, as casinos, resorts, and attractions try to outdo each other with elaborate decorations, light shows, and larger-than-life Christmas trees.
Las Vegas can be overwhelming any time of year. Add hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights and deciding what to do while you’re in Sin City can feel as impossible as winning a hand of poker with a royal flush. To help you get into the festive spirit, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Christmas activities, as well as some tips for navigating NYE – the biggest party of the year!
Christmas in Las Vegas
If you’re in Vegas this holiday season, make sure you check out these can’t-miss Christmas sights and activities:
1. Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The conservatory and botanical gardens at the Bellagio are one of the most peaceful locations on the Strip, and every holiday season, they’re transformed into a winter wonderland complete with 34,000 red poinsettias, azaleas, cyclamen, and mums, plus a 14 foot snow tunnel, two 12 foot snow globes, and 10 foot stockings filled with presents. Talk about holiday cheer!
Image Source: Ken Lund
Take a stroll through the gardens and enjoy the centerpiece of this stunning holiday display – a 42 foot tall Christmas tree decorated with 7,000 lights and 2,500 ornaments guarded by four life-sized toy soldiers. Bonus: it’s free!
2. Winter PARQ at the LINQ Promenade
Craving some snow? Head down to the LINQ Promenade for a nightly holiday show between 5 and 9 PM, featuring snowfall every 30 minutes! If you’re in Vegas on Christmas day, don’t miss Elf Takeover Day – Santa’s elves take over the LINQ’s High Roller Observation Wheel to hand out special giveaways alongside surprise guests.
3. The ice rink at the Cosmopolitan
Go ice skating right in the heart of the desert! Glide around on a 4,200 square foot rink of real ice, roast s’mores by the fire pits and enjoy warm cocktails between light snow showers.
The ice rink is open every day from noon to midnight. Admission is free, and skate rentals are available for $5.
4. Bellagio fountains
The Bellagio fountains are a popular attraction any time of year, but they’re even more special at Christmastime. During the holidays, you can catch a special light and water show set to Christmas carols and holiday tunes. Here’s the best news: it’s always free!
5. Ethel M’s Holiday Cactus Garden
Who says Christmas trees have to be trees? Check out a desert-inspired alternative at Ethel M’s holiday cactus garden.
Image Source: Ken Lund
Every year, Ethel M’s (which is also a famous chocolate shop) drapes their elaborate cactus garden with more than half a million holiday lights. There are also chocolate houses and sculptures to admire before you stock up on holiday treats!
New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas
No one rings in the new year like Las Vegas. Every New Year’s Eve, the Strip is closed down and transformed into a giant block party where around 300,000 people gather to celebrate the start of the new year.
Image Source: InSapphoWeTrust
There’s more to do than indulge in a few cocktails! When the clock strikes midnight, the major casinos launch a choreographed fireworks display that’s sure to top anything you’ve seen before. For the best view, head to the top of a parking garage or another building. Many people even watch the show from the airport, which has a slightly higher elevation than the Strip.
Here are our best tips for celebrating NYE in Vegas:
- Get there early. The roads leading to the Strip start shutting down as early as 6 PM.
- Dress warm! It may be the desert, but it gets colder than you might expect at night – the temperature can easily drop to the mid 30s.
- If you’re partying on Fremont Street, be aware that it closes from 4 till 6 PM to prepare for the evening’s festivities.
- It’s not a free for all! Last year, there were about 1,000 uniformed police officers patrolling the Strip, with an additional 300 on Fremont Street.
Las Vegas may not be the first destination you think of when planning a holiday vacation, but no city does Christmas or New Year’s like Sin City.
Get ready for your Las Vegas adventure with our tips and tricks: