Enjoying the holiday season in Las Vegas is different, and better, than any other city with casinos. Not only is there a great variety of holiday environments inside the casinos but there’s an entire city enjoying the festivities.
Most people will stay in the resort corridor or downtown Las Vegas and that’s fine. However, it’s only a 20-30 minute drive to explore some of the holiday festivities intended for the Las Vegas residents. Let’s take a look at a few holiday options if you’ll be visiting Sin City during the holiday season.
The Las Vegas casino holiday experience
Visiting a casino around the country during the holidays can actually be less than a fun experience. Not all casinos integrate the holidays into the casino experience the same way. Some just throw up cheap decorations and switch to an all holiday music playlist that repeats the same songs all day. Listening to the same Christmas songs every hour can drive anyone a bit nutty. Atlantic City is the Grinch who stole my holiday joy a couple of times but that’s another story.
The casinos on the Vegas Strip do a great job of integrating holiday themes into the regular casino experience. Songs are added slowly to the playlists but are never overwhelming. Casino decorations are typically simple and tasteful. The holiday experience in Las Vegas casinos doesn’t end there.
In addition to decorating the actual casino, many have large scale holiday displays in the lobbies and other parts of the casino. Here are some fun holiday decorations to check out in and around some Las Vegas casinos.
Bellagio – The Botanical Gardens & Conservatory are beautiful as usual. The holiday display is my favorite of the year. There will be a holiday song thrown into the mix for the fountain show if you need some non-casino air.
Silverton – The Silverton has a small aquarium to the side of the casino floor. It’s remarkable that you can see this from the blackjack tables. What’s even more amazing is that submerge SANTA CLAUSE in the large fish tank (above) for the holidays. It’s pretty surreal and a great excuse to check out a casino that’s a little south of Mandalay Bay. Visit the Silverton website for more info.
Cosmopolitan – The ice skating rink at the Cosmopolitan is outside at the Boulevard Pool. This is more of a winter wonderland than just a holiday display. There’s a Christmas Tree, holiday drinks and snacks, and of course ice skating with a great view of the Vegas Strip. Visit the Cosmopolitan website for more info.
Aria – There’s a cute little gingerbread house in the lobby of the hotel. It’s a nice photo opp for the family. It also serves as a pop-up coffee shop. There’s also a gingerbread house at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace if you’re in the mood for holiday shopping while in Las Vegas.
Sam’s Town – If you’re not familiar, Sam’s Town is a Boyd Gaming casino about 25 minutes east of the Vegas Strip. Mystic Falls Park an indoor park just off the casino floor. This turns into a(nother) winter wonderland during the holiday season with great huge trees, lasers, animal decorations, and more.
Sam’s Town also leads us to a couple of holiday experiences that the locals enjoy.
The holiday experience outside of the casinos
This may surprise some people but Las Vegas is more than just casinos. There’s life all over Las Vegas. The locals tend to avoid the crowds on the Vegas Strip when looking for entertainment. Local businesses offer quite a few places to enjoy the holidays outside of the casinos for the locals and anyone who is looking for something different. Here are a couple of popular holiday attractions outside of the casinos.
Ethel M – In addition to being a chocolate factory, Ethel M is home to a three-acre cactus garden. During the holiday season, the cacti are adorned with hundreds of thousands of lights. Hop in a car and head about 30 minutes away from the Vegas Strip and grab a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy while enjoying the fresh winter air and holiday atmosphere. Visit www.ethelm.com for hours and more information.
Glittering Lights – The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is known because it’s the home of auto racing throughout the year. During the holidays they open the speedway to the public and celebrate the holiday season. This drive-thru light show (photo above) is one of the few paid holiday attractions. It costs $20 or $30 depending on the day you visit. A portion of the proceeds is donated to charity. Visit glitteringlightslasvegas.com for more information.