7 Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas At Christmas

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Las Vegas is a terrific destination for solos at Christmas. Why? Because there’s so much to do! If you’re feeling a little Grinch-y and want to forget all about the holidays, you almost can. In Las Vegas, “the show must go on,” even on Christmas Day. So you’ll still be able to gamble, go to attractions, stuff yourself at a buffet or have a great dinner in a fine restaurant, and enjoy a show at night–as if it were any other day. The city is your oyster.

But if you are hoping Las Vegas will put you in the Christmas spirit without making you feel weepy about being alone on the holiday, no worries. It can do that, too. Here are 7 suggestions of fun things to do in Las Vegas on or around Christmas Day to put you in the holiday mood:


Polar Bear

The Bellagio Conservatory’s Winter 2010 display


Mystic Falls Park at Sam’s Town

Mystic Falls is the Atrium at Sam’s Town. It’s like a cute forest inside the hotel. During the holiday season, it becomes a winter wonderland with fake snow, twinkling lights on all the trees, sculpted polar bears, and more. Every hour on the hour from 5pm-10pm, there is a 15-minute laser light show with holiday music and scenes. Warning: Get there early to stake out your spot. It’s hugely popular with local families.


Sam's Town at Christmas

Sam’s Town at Christmas


Glittering Lights at The Las Vegas Motor Speedway

You’ll need a car for this one. For the 12th year running, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is hosting the world’s largest drive-through light display (2.5 miles) with 450 displays and millions of Christmas lights. The drive features themes, such as the North Pole, the Avenue of Trees, a Victorian Village, Candy Lane, Reindeer Flight School, and more. They’re open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Cost per car is $15 weeknights and $20 weekends, and proceeds go to a children’s charity. For more details, visit their website.


Ethel M. Chocolate’s Cactus Garden Holiday Lights

Sadly, I’ve never seen this in person, because I can’t drive after dark and it’s an hour to get there from the Strip via public transportation. But it’s spectacular (I’ve seen video). Ethel M. Chocolates has been hosting this light display for 19 years. They use 500,000 Christmas lights to decorate their botanical gardens. (I keep wondering how many “accidents” happen when you’re stringing Christmas lights on cactus?) Note: You’ll have to do this one on Christmas Eve, because it’s closed on Christmas Day.


The Bellagio's Christmas display 2010

The Bellagio’s Christmas display 2010


Resort Holiday Displays

Most hotels will at least have some holiday decorations and a tree up, but some resorts go a little bit further than others. The Bellagio’s holiday display is always one of my favorites (don’t forget to catch a holiday-themed fountain show while you’re there), and the Palazzo isn’t shabby, either. But don’t discount the other hotels. I saw a terrific gingerbread pirate ship a couple of years ago at Treasure Island (TI). It can become something of a treasure hunt to find all the big and small holiday decorations up and down the Strip.


Palazzo decked out for Christmas

The Palazzo at Christmas


Winter in Venice at the Venetian

More than just a “holiday display,” the Venetian transports visitors to an old-fashioned winter wonderland with their Winter in Venice. Does the thought of ice skating bring back a lot of holiday memories for you? If so, why not slip on a pair of skates and hit the ice at the Venetian? Go for the triple axel. . .or maybe just go for a hot cocoa. Try to catch the wandering carolers singing traditional holiday songs, too, and the nightly light show.


Golden Nugget at Christmas

Downtown knows how to get gussied up for Christmas, too.


Fremont Street’s Free Concerts

Fremont Street on Christmas is a thing to behold. I’ve never seen what is essentially a giant block party on Christmas night before. You can still do everything that you can normally do on Fremont Street at night–including listen to free live concerts! On Christmas night 2012, you’ll find Candy and The Canes playing on the 3rd Street Stage from 5-8pm, followed by the Spazmatics at 9pm, and on the Main Street Stage, the Party Rockers will be getting the party started from 9pm-1am.


Sugar Factory

With a name like “Sugar Factory,” do you think they’d have sugar plums?

Holiday Food and Drinks

What would the holidays be without a feast or two? For your meals on Christmas Day, I’d skip the buffets unless you like waiting in long lines. Make the holiday something special for yourself with restaurant reservations. Many restaurants around town offer special Christmas Day menus (check websites to see what they are offering, or check the booking website Open Table, which lists some menu details).

For entertainment, try a holiday-themed dessert or beverage crawl. I’ve seen some terrific-looking wintry cocktails being advertised at various bars and clubs up and down the Strip—like the Winter White Mint-Tini at Tabu, the Peppermint Patty Martini at Sugar Factory, and the Gingerbread (Spiked) Milkshake at LBS Burger Joint at Red Rock Resort. (Just remember to pace yourself when drinking solo.)

And who can resist holiday dessert treats? Paris’s Eiffel Tower Restaurant offers a Pumpkin Souffle, while Cheesecake Factory has a Peppermint Bark Cheesecake. The list goes on. All that walking from resort to resort will surely burn off any calories you consume in the pursuit of the best holiday treats. Right?


Have you been to Las Vegas during the holidays? What fun Christmasy things did you do?

10 thoughts on “7 Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas At Christmas

  1. Nate

    Not just walking – the cold weather will also help with the holiday treats, since the body has to burn off more calories to stay warm. Which pretty much gives carte blanche to eat whatever you want during the holiday season. That’s my excuse, anyway.

    It’s a couple miles off Strip, but the Silverton usually has some fun things going on during the holidays. They aren’t nearly as big or flashy as the Strip events, but I’m pretty sure it’s the only place in the city where you can see a scubadiving Santa. There’s also some holiday-themed gaming promotions; this year they’re giving away a National Lampoon Moose Mug after getting enough points (which makes me seriously disappointed that I’m not going to be there.)

  2. Hetz

    We toured the light display at the Ethel M. Chocolate’s Cactus Garden two weeks ago, It’s incredible and a must do if you can. I’d also suggest visiting the Cosmopolitan and trying out the ice skating rink they’ve built over the pool. Several people in our party gave it a whirl and had a blast. They have seating around little fireplaces where you can fix s’mores and a fully stocked bar right next to the rink.

    1. Gray

      Tell me more about the Cosmo’s skating rink, Hetz. Is it solo-friendly? The only article I’ve read about it so far touted it as a romantic “date night” kind of activity, which made me shy away from it for this article. Would you feel comfortable there if you were by yourself?

  3. Hetz

    It rink was pretty crowded but everyone was having fun. I’d say it would be fine solo. Plenty of people were skating without being part of a couple. If I skated at all I wouldn’t hesitate to go there. I had a blast taking pictures. The rink is cleaned off and resurfaced by hand but they keep the ice in good shape. I’d also add it would be fun for skaters of all abilities.

  4. christopherjguenther

    Great article! Do you know when everything starts to decorate for Christmas? We’re flying in and would hate to come and have no Christmas stuff up! Would you say coming anytime in December would be okay?

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      Yes, Christopher, I think anytime in December would be okay. The Bellagio Conservatory, for instance, should have its holiday/winter display up by 12/4, according to their website.

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