Las Vegas is an exciting place any time of the year, but Christmas gives the city a special layer of holiday cheer. It’s a great excuse to come into town with the family to see the decorations, check out the shows, and have a grand dinner. Following are five things to do in Vegas during Christmastime that prove it’s a great place for creating memories with your family.
This delectably sweet stop is just outside Las Vegas proper but deserves a spot on this list because it’s a delightful place to go with the family around Christmas. The “M” in the name stands for Mars, as in the Mars family of chocolate candy fame. Forrest Mars Sr. created the chocolate shop in honor of his mother. The brand still uses her chocolate recipes today, some of which are more than 100 years old.
Everything sold at Ethel M is made in-house in small batches and from the freshest ingredients. Many of the ingredients are prepared just prior to their use in a recipe.
Ethel M offers more than just chocolate, though. It’s also home to a 3-acre cactus garden that’s open to the public for exploration. During Christmastime, the cactus get strung with lights and accented with lighted figures to create the annual holiday cactus garden walk. Santa makes regular visits, so children can get their picture taken with the man they most want to see this time of year.
The LINQ Hotel Promenade
The LINQ Hotel features a promenade that’s home to the 550-foot-tall Ferris wheel known as the High Roller. The lights on the High Roller are synched to holiday music to present shows every half hour throughout the late afternoon and evening. The Promenade is decorated for the season with displays and lights and is located next to the Freemont Street Experience, where you can watch zip liners fly past. You can also take a ride on the High Roller to get a bird’s-eye view of how the town dresses up for Christmas.
The Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan
The Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan Resort opens about a week before Thanksgiving every year and offers the opportunity to ice skate in the desert. It’s created by turning the Boulevard Pool on one of the hotel’s highest floors into an ice rink. It features real ice and covers 4,200 square feet of space for you and your family to enjoy.
After you’re done skating, stop to make s’mores by the fire and partake in seasonal food and drink offerings. Snow showers are forecast every 30 minutes, weather permitting, and special events on the ice take place throughout the season.
All ages are welcome to use the ice rink, and ice skate rentals are available. You must pay a cover charge for access, but the hotel offers discounts for locals, military members, and first responders. All skaters must sign a skating waiver, and anyone 18 and younger must be accompanied by an adult that’s 21 or older. Minors under 18 need a guardian or a parent over 18 to sign a waiver on their behalf.
The Conservatory and Botanical Garden at the Bellagio
The Bellagio is famed for its amazing synchronized fountain display at the front of the property. What’s equally impressive is the Conservatory and Botanical Garden located inside the hotel. The conservatory is a traditional glass-ceilinged greenhouse done up on a grand scale and tended by the hotel’s horticulturists and visual designers. You don’t want to miss the festive Christmas displays at the Conservatory and Botanical Garden.
The displays begin shortly before Thanksgiving and remain through the new year. Every year brings a fresh set of holiday-themed statuary and scenes to the garden, turning it into a winter wonderland. The location is free and open to the public, and the entrance is to the right of the front desk. The botanical garden itself is open 24/7 throughout the year, making it a great location to return to time and again.
Enchant Christmas Village
Enchant Christmas Village is a lighted maze that asks participants to find Santa’s missing reindeer. Step into the maze to experience a wonderland full of lights and sights. The reindeer are scattered throughout the park, and Santa awaits intrepid adventurers for a visit at the end of their journey. Make your way through tunnels and arches, view the magnificent lights that wrap the trees, and strap on a pair of ice skates to glide around the displays.
Little ones who aren’t big enough to enjoy certain areas of the park can romp around the play place, where they get to enjoy fun toys and crafts and sit down with Mrs. Claus for a story. Go shopping in the Enchant Market to find one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts from artisan vendors, and pick up a special holiday treat from the Enchant Eatery.
Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village has been an annual event for 30 years. It features millions of lights adorning everything in the park, amusement park rides, warm drinks and snacks at Frostbites, and, of course, a visit with Santa.
The Forest Express Passenger Train is ready to take passengers on a ride around the park and give them a trip of a lifetime. Race down the thrilling Avalanche Slide. Make a stop at Cheyenne’s Enchanted Carousel, a family favorite that sees parents bringing their children to enjoy the same experience they had when they were children. The holiday attraction runs nightly from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2.
Need a break from Christmas-themed activities? Hit the Opportunity Village’s mini-golf course and a midway full of classic carnival games such as ring toss, goblet toss, duck pond, and more.
These are a few of our favorite things to do in the Las Vegas area during the holiday season. Did we miss anything that you think belongs on the list? Contact us to let us know about your favorite Vegas holiday destination for the whole family.