As the holiday season commences, the City of Lights receives a seasonal makeover. Between light shows, immersive Christmas experiences, and spending New Year’s Eve on the Las Vegas Strip, there is no better place to spend the last two weeks of the year. Explore the many activities, sights, and sounds Las Vegas has to offer during this festive time of year. Enjoy this holiday event list of Things to do for Christmas in Las Vegas. And when you are ready, check out this complete list on where to get photos with Santa.
- 1. Heritage Holidays at Clark County Museum
- 2. Christmas Town Las Vegas
- 3. The Nevada Ballet Theater
- 4. Cowboy Christmas Gift Show
- 5. Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
- 6. Cactus Garden Lighting
- 6. Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- 7. Palazzo Hotel and Casino
- 8. Sam’s Town Mystic Falls
- 9. Bellagio Fountains, Conservatory, and Botanical Gardens
- 10. The High Roller
- 11. Santa in the Shipwreck at Shark Reef Aquarium
- 12. The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan
- 13. Las Vegas Springs Preserve
- 14. Christmas Food (Yum!)
- 15. Experience Live Music
- 16. Watch Dazzling Fireworks
- 17. Attend a Performance
1. Heritage Holidays at Clark County Museum
December 8th and 9th, 2017 (5-8 PM)
The county seat of Clark County, Las Vegas is home to the county’s museum, which features multiple historical buildings. During the holiday season, points of interest are illuminated to add to the season’s festivities.
Though closed Christmas day, Heritage Holidays offers visitors a unique experience, including:
- Decorated buildings, such as the Candlelight Wedding Chapel and the Goumond House
- Activities for children, including a meet and greet with Santa and Christmas crafts
- Carolers, hot cocoa, and apple cider
Perfect for history buffs and families alike, Heritage Holidays at the Clark County Museum is an attraction not to be missed. The Clark County museum is located in Henderson, Nevada, approximately 20 minutes from Las Vegas’ city center.
2. Christmas Town Las Vegas
Christmas Town Las Vegas, hosted by Wet N Wild, is an opportunity for you and your family to enjoy the very best of Christmas in an amazing atmosphere, that is guaranteed to be fun for all ages.
Christmas Town is open from the 24th of November through to December the 31st, with the only days that it is closed being Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Opening hours are 5:30 – 9:00pm Sunday to Thursday, and 5:30 – 10:30pm on Friday and Saturday. General admission tickets are $20 with all activities included in the price, children under the age of 2 are admitted free of charge.
There are a whole host of things at Christmas town that are sure to have visitors of all ages enchanted and enjoying themselves.
3. The Nevada Ballet Theater
A perfect way to celebrate the season, attending a live performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Nevada Ballet Theater in Las Vegas can quickly become a tradition. From exquisitely designed costumes to award-winning theatrical feats, “The Nutcracker” is regularly featured throughout the month of December. Also offering critically acclaimed performances of top ballets, the Nevada Ballet Theater is one of Las Vegas’ treasures with shows regularly at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
December 9th – December 24th, 2017
4. Cowboy Christmas Gift Show
December 7 – 16, 2017
For cowboys and cowgirls at heart, the Las Vegas Cowboy Christmas Gift Show is a must see. More than 300,000 square feet house the best gifts for western enthusiasts, such as:
Boots and spurs
If you’re a rodeo fan, enjoy free transportation to the evening’s rodeo, part of the annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Known simply as “Cowboy Christmas” locally, the gift show is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center and is free to attend.
5. Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
November 24 – December 31
A highly awaited event in the Las Vegas area, the Magical Forest lives up to its name. Adorned with millions of dazzling lights, the forest features a carousel, live entertainment, and an enchanted midway.
Favorite activities offering fun for the entire family include:
- Ride the Forest Express while admiring the illuminated landscape
- Take pictures with Santa Claus and meet the elves
- Behold the tastiest construction all year at the Wondrous Gingerbread House Display
In operation only during the holiday season, the event and its proceeds benefit Opportunity Village, which provides job skills training and work experience for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Located on Oakley Blvd, the Magical Forest is easily accessible from downtown Las Vegas.
6. Cactus Garden Lighting
A fun twist on traditional Christmas decorations, Ethel M Chocolates hosts an annual Cactus Garden Lighting, adding thousands of sparkling lights to its cactus garden. Truly uniting western elements with the holiday season, the chocolate company launches the event in November and offers free admission to the public. Conveniently located in Henderson, Nevada, Ethel M Chocolates’ Cactus Garden Lighting is worthy of making a special trip. While you’re there, sample the store’s vast selection of handmade chocolates.
6. Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
If you’ve ever wondered what a sea of holiday cheer looked like, you’ll wonder no more after visiting the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Glittering Lights. Each year, the racetrack is transformed into a Christmas paradise complete with giveaways, live events, and millions of twinkling lights spanning the track. An affordable activity everyone can enjoy, driving through the decorated 2.5 mile track is a sight to behold and benefits multiple non-profit organizations. The track is situated on Las Vegas Boulevard North and is a short drive from most of Las Vegas.
Like other hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, the motto is, “Go big or go home.” The Palazzo Hotel and Casino has earned the right to rank among top competitors in the area for its elaborate decoration of its waterfall atrium and gardens. Guests can expect to breathe in the scent of fresh 20-foot Christmas trees, poinsettia plants, and pine cones while taking in a creative rendition of a winter paradise. Open 24 hours and free to the public, the Palazzo Hotel and Casino’s holiday display is guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Located on Boulder Highway, Mystic Falls Park at Sam’s Town becomes an enchanted wonderland during the holiday season. Visitors enjoy strolling through a dazzling forest, complete with 30-foot tall Christmas trees and appearances from Santa. Unlike other local Christmas attractions, Mystic Falls features an evening laser light show set to seasonal music. An ideal stop for couples and families, Mystic Falls is free to visit.
Though there are many options to enjoy Christmas in Las Vegas, a visit to the Bellagio ranks among the most popular. With a variety of sights and sounds to take in, guests are overwhelmed by the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ ambiance, which is transformed into a festive wonder during December. If visiting the Bellagio, don’t miss the following:
Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – Decked out with nearly 50,000 fresh flowers, more than 10,000 lights and ornaments, and intricate chocolate houses, the Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens take on a whole new look for the holidays. Comprised of winter-themed scenery, the displays feature the work of local green thumbs who put the scenes together.
Bellagio Fountains – Experience lights, Christmas music, and an entertaining water show at Bellagio’s Fountains. A perfect ending to date night or beginning of a family outing, witnessing the Bellagio’s Fountains is a Las Vegas tradition.
Situated on Las Vegas Blvd, the Bellagio’s holiday attractions are an irresistible addition to any seasonal outing.
10. The High Roller
As the world’s largest Ferris wheel, the High Roller provides those unafraid of heights with the best view in Las Vegas. During the Christmas season, the High Roller is adorned with nearly 2,000 LED lights while reaching heights of 55 stories. For maximum safety, the High Roller is punctuated with pods instead of open air seating, which enhances your enjoyment of the view. Conveniently situated near Caesars Palace, the High Roller is part of the LINQ entertainment complex. Featuring nearly 350,000 square feet of retail stores, dining establishments, and bars, the LINQ complex offers variety for visitors seeking a journey along Las Vegas’ most popular stretch.
An aquatic twist on Christmas, Shark Reef Aquarium’s annual “Santa in the Shipwreck” event occurs on weekends during the month of December. Learn about more than 2,000 animals while exploring this 1.6 million gallon aquarium before greeting Santa in the shipwreck exhibit. Perfect for children, Santa in the Shipwreck combines the majesty of the sea with the enchantment of the holidays, and offers visitors younger than 12 a free photo with admission. Located at Mandalay Bay, Shark Reef Aquarium is a great place to learn something new while celebrating the season.
12. The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan
Fond holiday memories are created from hot cocoa, warm sweaters, and ice skating, and there is no better place to strap on your skates than the Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan. From season-inspired cocktails and fire pits to s’mores and snow, the Ice Rink offers an immersive winter experience. Situated on the Vegas strip, The Cosmopolitan’s Ice Rink is the perfect place to make your newest Christmas memories. (Hint: If you enjoy the Ice Rink, return on New Year’s Eve for an unforgettable fireworks show.)
A 180-acre preserve just outside of Las Vegas’ city center, the Springs Preserve offers train rides with Santa on select days in December. Exciting for children and adults alike, experiencing a Christmas train ride is a fantastic memory. While visiting, explore the Springs Preserve’s exhibits, like the butterfly garden or Wicked Plants exhibit, before participating in holiday activities. Ideal for children, the Springs Preserve offers the following during the holidays:
Story time with Christmas cookies
In addition to learning about plant life, guests enjoy educational entertainment during the preserve’s parrot shows.
14. Christmas Food (Yum!)
The best part of the holiday season is the delicious selection of food. From eggnog-inspired deserts to savory main courses, Las Vegas’ top restaurants feature a variety of cuisines and unbeatable holiday specials.
In Vegas, the food options are endless, as are the party opportunities for New Year’s Eve. Learn more about the best ways to spend the last day of the year in Las Vegas.
New Year’s Eve Events in Las Vegas
While New Year’s Day is best enjoyed by taking a stroll on the strip or heading to Mount Charleston, it’s best to plan your New Year’s Eve activities well in advance.
15. Experience Live Music
A variety of restaurants, clubs, and bars will have live music on New Year’s Eve, but the most notable event in the Las Vegas area is the Fremont Street Experience. Serving as a hub of entertainment the rest of the year, the Fremont Street Experience for New Year’s Eve is a 5-day event featuring dozens of live performances by top tribute bands. Combined with the complex’s highly anticipated NYE countdown, the Fremont Street Experience invites thousands of partygoers annually.
16. Watch Dazzling Fireworks
New Year’s Even wouldn’t be the same without pyrotechnics, and Las Vegas has plenty to go around. Celebrate a new beginning by ringing in the New Year with a festive fireworks show. Though the famous Las Vegas fireworks show can be seen from most of the city, the following locations are preferred:
The High Roller
Don’t let the crowds put a damper on your New Year’s Eve plans; choose a venue early and make reservations to guarantee your spot.
17. Attend a Performance
The Entertainment Capital of the World wouldn’t be true to its name without a myriad of performances running – even on the last day of the year. With top-rated artists scheduled throughout New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, there are many opportunities to attend a performance. Throughout the years, the following venues have worked to bring in the best talent for New Year’s celebrations.
Mandalay Bay Events Center
Whether you plan to enjoy live tunes or experience the ballet, Las Vegas’ New Year’s activities will not disappoint.
Spend the Holidays in Vegas
From the performances to spectacular seasonal decorations, Las Vegas never fails to impress. Take in world class entertainment and unforgettable experiences by spending the holidays in the City of Lights