You know the holidays have arrived once the twinkling lights have returned with renewed cheer at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, The Cosmopolitan has transformed once again into a glistening ice rink, and the casinos are displaying towering trees dressed in shiny ornaments. And thanks to the cooler weather, you have another excuse to gather in stylish bars and retreat to cozy coffee shops. Although Sin City won’t be expecting a blanket of snow, Secret Las Vegas has got you covered when it comes to discovering some of the best things to do and see at Christmas.
Can you really say you’ve made the most of the holidays in Las Vegas if you haven’t visited the enchanting Christmas display at Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens? On December 2, Bellagio’s Conservatory Harvest display is replaced by a winter wonderland. Previous holiday displays have featured 140,000 poinsettias, a gingerbread cottage, 14-feet Nutcracker soldiers, treats prepared by the Bellagio pastry team. The attraction is free and open 24 hours.
As well as wandering through the Bellagio’s magical conservatory, taking a stroll through the city’s other parks and gardens is the perfect way to spend an hour or two during the holidays.
Bellagio Hotel & Casino, 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
2. Go ice skating at The Cosmopolitan
The fire pits, holiday-themed cocktails, and white rink are calling from The Cosmopolitan. From December 2, the Boulevard Pool returns to its frozen glory above The Las Vegas Strip. Get your skates on and practice your spins with some friends and family. Afterwards, you can warm up with a handcrafted cocktail at The Chalet.
And with special events such as Date Skate (December 4 to January 2) — a romantic movie night under the stars — taking place at The Cosmopolitan, you’ll be singing a carol “right within your heart”.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Boulevard Tower, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd S Level 4, Las Vegas
3. Winter at the Terrace, Green Valley Ranch
The winter-themed pop-up lounge returns from November 24. Reserving an igloo seems like a completely normal thing to do, right? Immerse yourself in the wonder that is “Winter at the Terrace” where you can look forward to a hot chocolate cart, shareable cocktails, an impressive selection of champagnes, and photo ops. While walk-ins are welcome, they recommend you book an igloo or fire pit in advance.
Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa & Casino, 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway, Henderson, NV
4. Chocolate, chocolate, and some cacti?
The Ethel M Chocolates Factory in Henderson is a 3-acre garden populated by a prickly 300 species of plants. From early November every year, the cacti and succulent-rich garden is transformed by over a million lights and Christmas decorations for the holiday season. Probably one of the most perfect things to do as family at Christmas in Las Vegas, visiting the garden also gives you the chance to meet Santa, and taste Ethel M’s famous hot chocolate and other treats.
And this year is even more special at the Holiday Cactus Garden as they are celebrating 30 years of hosting the festive tradition.
2 Cactus Garden Dr, Henderson, NV
5. Enjoy a Christmas light show from your car
If you haven’t already driven through the holiday lights display at Motor Speedway, it’s time to hop in your car. Five million lights and about a thousand display features are decorating 2.6 miles of Las Vegas road from November 9 to January 7.
You can also experience millions of LED lights and countless moving displays at The M Resort Spa Casino. “Rockin’ Christmas”, a mile-long drive-through Christmas show, is open from November 17 through December 31.
Tickets to these colorful shows are priced per vehicle.
6. See Santa and more…
One of the highlights for a lot of families during the holidays is seeing the faces on their little ones light up when they see old St. Nick in the flesh. From Mystic Falls Park at Sam’s Town and The Santa Chalet in the Macy’s Promenade to Galleria at Sunset Mall, and at more locations across the city, Santa is making himself available for photos.
And for things to do that are offbeat compared to other festive traditions, the grown-ups can discover the tropical-themed pop-up Sippin’ Santa On Main. You can also enjoy a night out without Santa’s supervision with Bad Elf at the Silverton Casino Hotel.
7. The Magical Forest celebrates its 31st year
Celebrating its 31st season, the Magical Forest is an outdoor event at Opportunity Village. The theme park will be brought to life by sparkling lights, carnival games, a gingerbread house, and delicious food. What’s more, by attending this event visitors are helping to raise funds for programs and services supporting over 3,000 people with disabilities.
Opportunity Village – Oakley Campus, 6300 W Oakey Blvd, Las Vegas
8. Miracle on Spring Mountain
Miracle on Spring Mountain is a pop-up cocktail bar. All anybody wants for Christmas is some cheer and good company, and both can be found at this immersive experience in Sin City. Naughty and nice shots, chef takeovers, and professional cocktails are part of the holiday fun at Miracle. Everyone typically arrives in festive ensembles. No reservations required.
3355 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas
9. Nightmare before Xmas at Más Por Favor Taqueria y Tequila
As an homage to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Más Por Favor Taqueria y Tequila transforms into Christmas Town from November 22 through December 28. If you’re a fan of Mexican food and are in search of unique things to do at Christmas in Las Vegas, this holiday-themed pop-up in Chinatown is for you. Beyond the magical entryway, you’ll find anything from upside down Christmas trees and umbrellas to themed cocktails and street tacos.
You’ll feel as enchanted as Jack Skellington was by Christmas Town at this spellbinding joint in the heart of Chinatown.
What better way to celebrate the holiday season in Las Vegas than by attending an intimate Candlelight concert. While the Candlelight series is known for its classical twists on contemporary artists such as Taylor Swift and timeless composers like Beethoven, merry souls can look forward to a holiday special featuring The Nutcracker at The Industrial Event Space.
11. Christmas shopping
Going shopping during the holidays is a given, BUT that doesn’t mean it has to be a dutiful, frantic search for gifts in standard department stores. Container Park isn’t your conventional shopping mall, the Downtown Christmas Expo showcases the best products as part of the National Finals Rodeo, and other hidden gems like dreamy bookshops and vintage stores make your quest worthwhile.
12. Enchant Christmas at Las Vegas Ballpark
Enchant Christmas (November 24 to December 31) has nearly everything mentioned on this list rolled into one holiday extravaganza! At Las Vegas Ballpark, families and friends can come together for an unforgettable experience. Attractions include the Light Maze, a village of storefronts, an ice skating trail, and Santa’s Landing. You can also attend their special events such as Paws n’ Claus and College Night.
1650 S Pavilion Center Dr, Las Vegas
13. The Nutcracker
Set on Christmas Eve, Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, The Nutcracker is the quintessential Christmassy thing to see worldwide. In Reynolds Hall at The Smith Theater, fans of the spellbinding ballet can appreciate the complex choreography, moving music, and magic containted within the fairy tale ballet. Ticket prices start at $85.
361 Symphony Park Ave., Las Vegas
14. Winter Parq at the Linq Promenade
If you’re looking for free things to do for Christmas in Las Vegas, then make your way over to the Linq Promenade. Walk along while eating and shopping, enjoy holiday performances, carolers, and a scheduled snowfall every evening. Best of all, the tree that’s set up and lit annually every year is one of the prettiest. Reminder that while perusing the promenade is free, tickets to the Ice Rink and the High Roller cost money.
3545 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas