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  • Vegas at Christmas

Las Vegas at Christmas

It’s hard to believe but Christmas will soon be upon us once again. If you’re thinking of celebrating it somewhere a bit different than home this year, there are many places in the USA that may spring to mind. A Las Vegas holiday, may not be one of those and seeing as it’s slap-bang in the middle of a desert and far from a winter wonderland, that’s perfectly understandable. However, in a city renowned for its bright lights, Christmas gives it that little extra shimmer.

Mark Written by: Mark Johnson / 9 December 2016

For many, Sin City equals fun and festivities so Christmas is no exception. The Christmas holidays are actually a fantastic time to visit Las Vegas and assuming you plan ahead, there’s plenty for you to do! So, whether you’re already full of festive cheer or you need a little help, here are some top things to do in Vegas at Christmas.

Bellagio at Christmas

Bellagio Fountains

Arguably Vegas' most iconic landmark, the Fountains of Bellagio feature dancing water synchronised to music. The fountains also have a variety of seasonal classics such as Carol of the Bells over Christmas time. Shows usually run every half-hour from 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m and every 15 minutes from 8:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Bellagio at Christmas

Bellagio Christmas

So if you want to say you spent Christmas watching 1,214 spritzers fire water up to about 140 metres into the air whilst you sang along to carols, then here is the place you need to go – and the great news is that it’s free! Whilst you’re at it, why not visit the Bellagio hotel itself and witness the wonderful Christmas display in their atrium.

Bellagio at Christmas

Bellagio Conservatory

The Bellagio Conservatory has a floral extravaganza for all seasons and winter is no exception. Their festive display celebrates the best sights and colours that Christmas has to offer. Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offer visitors a stunning winter wonderland, complete with thousands of glimmering lights, almost 30,000 poinsettias (a festive flower) and a gigantic 12 metre Christmas tree. The tree itself is adorned with around 2,500 vibrant decorations.

Bellagio at Christmas

Bellagio Botanical Gardens

Attractions include animated snow globes, polar bears (don’t worry, they’re not real!) and some animated penguins having fun frolicking in the snow. Plus, some of the display is made from chocolate, so what’s not to love?! The holiday show is free, open all day and runs until the 2nd January. If you have particularly green fingers, look out for Mr and Mrs Green Thumb, Bellagio’s resident expert horticulturists, who are on hand to answer questions and offer gardening tips.

Las Vegas at Christmas

Christmas Cactus Gardens and Chocolate Wonderland at Ethel M Chocolate Factory

Have you ever celebrated Christmas at a cactus garden? What about a cactus garden that’s part of a chocolate wonderland? No? Well this could be the Christmas for just that! Imagine over 500,000 sparkling Christmas lights wrapped around 12,000 square metres of cacti and you’ll get the idea. Purely for the novelty factor, this is one of the best things Las Vegas has to offer over the festive period where you can marvel at the spectacular chocolate houses and sculptures.

You can also witness the creation of some of Ethel M’s chocolate products and if you’re traveling with children, also keep an eye out for Santa! The Chocolate Wonderland is free to enter and includes a tour of the factory, where the real magic happens (chocolate, glorious chocolate). You can also treat yourself to a special seasonal chocolate collection or buy them as gifts for some lucky loved ones. The display opens in mid-November and runs through to New Year’s Day.

Las Vegas at Christmas

Christmas Shopping

Las Vegas has a plethora of shops and malls, each with their own festive displays and Christmas shopping opportunities. In fact, with more than 1000 shops in Vegas, you’ll be able to tick off those Christmas lists no problem! Although it’s closed on Christmas day, the Fashion Show Mall is well worth a trip and boasts almost 250 shops and restaurants!

Las Vegas at Christmas

Christmas Shopping

Alternatively, the Crystals shopping center at CityCenter, (on the Vegas strip) is also worthy of a visit. At Christmas, this shopping centre is adorned with thousands of flowers and an enormous and pristinely-decorated Christmas tree. Even if you are just window-shopping, you won’t find many windows with such festive designs as the shops in Vegas!

Las Vegas at Christmas

Find that festive cheer in a magical forest!

The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village is a winter wonderland the whole family can enjoy. Take a stroll through the forest, surrounded by festively-decorated trees and grab a photo with Santa. There’s also a Forest Express passenger train you can ride (although sadly it doesn’t go to the North Pole!), as well as other magical attractions such as an enchanted carousel, Boris the Elf’s 3D Experience and even mini-golf!

The forest is open each night from 5:30pm from late November until the 3rd of January and it’s well worth a visit. Alternatively, you can go walking in a Winter Wonderland at Mystic Falls Park Light and Water Show at Sam's Town. During Christmas, the attraction is transformed into a snowy wonder which comes alive with carols galore, a snowstorm, laser lightshows and animated animals joining in with their favourite songs!

Las Vegas at Christmas

Get your skates on

What better physical activity is there to do over Christmas than ice skating? That's right, you can say that you’ve been ice skating in the Mojave Desert! There are even a few different places that you can choose to do it:

Las Vegas at Christmas

Rock Rink at Downtown Summerlin

Downtown Summerlin is an outdoor shopping centre that had the splendid idea to create their Rock Rink, found in the Winter Wonderland near the Pavilion. It’s the perfect opportunity to make a fool of yourself in front of a crowd of strangers. The rink is open until mid-January and although closed on Christmas day, it's open on Christmas eve. You might even spot some famous fictional characters on the ice too.

Las Vegas at Christmas

Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan

Alternatively, the Cosmopolitan have turned their outdoor pool into a fantastic ice rink for the Christmas holidays. Located high up above the Las Vegas Strip, the rink area also has fire pits for roasting the American delicacy that are s’mores. You can also get into the Christmas spirit with their light snow showers, scheduled to fall every 30 minutes. The rink is open from the 21st of November to New Year’s Day.

Las Vegas at Christmas

Indulge in some Santa-spotting

If you’re in Vegas on the 3rd of December, you’ll have a hard time not seeing Santa downtown. That’s because the Las Vegas Great Santa Run paints Vegas red with its annual 5km charity fun run. Be sure to check out the Slotzilla challenge as well where the bravest Santas will be having a go on the zipline and zoomline.This year they are aiming for 10,000 Santas! Why not help out by even taking part? It’s certainly one way to see the city.

Final Thoughts

Las Vegas is in a world of its own at the best of times and Christmas is certainly no exception! Where else are you going to be able to indulge in such festive activities situated in the middle of a desert? A Christmas holiday should certainly be on the cards. Whether your vice is magical Christmas nostalgia, light shows, carol-singing or chocolate galore, Vegas has it all this Christmas!

That’s before we even mention its famous casinos, where you can indulge in some other vices and maybe even go into the New Year with some winnings! Beyond the City lights and Christmas glitz, the Grand Canyon lies not too far away for you to enjoy the best that nature has to offer. Don’t worry about it being Sin City, we’re sure you’re still on Santa’s Nice list! So dress warm, break out of the mould and enjoy all that Las Vegas has to offer this Christmas and have a very Merry Christmas!

Mark Johnson 

Blogger Profile - Mark Johnson

Mark is an avid traveller and loves to explore the world with all of its varied cultures. He is also an adventure sport enthusiast and has tried everything from Skydiving to Scuba Diving!


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