Spending Christmas in Las Vegas is a unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else. The Vegas Strip is already a glittery wonderland of shows, shops, and entertaining sights. Yet, when the holidays roll around, the city takes on a magical air that’s undeniable.
If it’s your first time celebrating the holidays here, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the Christmas activities in Las Vegas. So, I’m sharing the best things to do in Las Vegas in December, from free holiday light displays and kids’ visits with Santa to the top Christmas shows and attractions.
Keep reading to learn more about the 15 top things to do for Christmas in Vegas and check my guide to the weather in Las Vegas, so you know what to pack for your trip.
1. Visit Santa, a must-do Las Vegas Christmas activity for kids
First, if you’re traveling with young kids, a visit to see Santa is almost mandatory. Las Vegas’ Santa Claus attractions are lots of fun and you’d be surprised by how creative some of these Santas are!
For example, the Silverton Hotel welcomes Underwater Santa every weekend in December, and visits are free. Meanwhile, at Mandalay Bay’s Aquarium, you can find Santa in the Shipwreck with his little helper, Santa Jaws.
If that’s not your style, you can go to Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops next to Silverton Casino. There are other Santa displays at Town Square and the Magical Forest, two other places that I’ll talk about later.
Also, I have an article all about the best hotels in Las Vegas for kids so you can find a great family-friendly resort for your stay.
2. Go ice skating, a fun thing to do for Christmas in Las Vegas
Another way to have Christmas fun in Las Vegas is by going ice skating. There are several places in the city where you can lace up your skates and hit the ice, including The Cosmopolitan.
In mid-November, an ice rink replaces the hotel’s famous Boulevard Pool, granting visitors beautiful views of the holiday-themed Vegas Strip. There are also fire pits, s’mores, and, for the adults, cocktails. If you want to stay overnight, The Cosmopolitan is an excellent choice, as it’s one of the best Las Vegas hotels with balcony rooms.
While the Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan is the most popular, you can also check out Christmas Town at Cowabunga Bay Waterpark. The festivities include sledding hills, light displays, an ice skating rink, and other holiday activities.
Similar Christmas events in Las Vegas include ice skating rinks, like Holiday at The Park, Winter PARQ at LINQ Promenade, and Summerlin’s Rock Rink. I’ll talk more about these places a bit later!
3. Ethel M Chocolates Holiday Cactus Garden, a Las Vegas Christmas activity for couples
One of the most distinctly Las Vegas places to visit at Christmas is the Holiday Cactus Garden at Ethel M Chocolates. While there might not be snow, there are millions of glittering holiday lights and, of course, hot chocolate.
As you walk through scenic arches of color-changing lights, enjoy the sight of 300 cactus and desert plant species all decked out in bright, colorful hues. Explore three acres of cacti and trees adorned with strings of red, yellow, green, blue, and white bulbs and dozens of special lighting displays. You’ll see flashy reindeer, nutcrackers, elves, and Christmas trees throughout the garden.
This Las Vegas Christmas lighting event is great for all ages, and Santa visits the garden every night. That said, this could be a wonderful couples thing to do in Las Vegas. You can even add a chocolate-tasting experience to your visit for a romantic holiday date.
4. Winter PARQ at LINQ Promenade, the best place to spend Christmas in Las Vegas
If you’re looking for winter activities in Las Vegas for the whole family, check out Winter PARQ at LINQ Promenade.
This outdoor entertainment area brings Christmas magic to the Strip with live entertainment, carolers, and holiday performers. It even has a scheduled snowfall every night, creating a winter wonderland in Las Vegas.
Every year, the LINQ hosts a Las Vegas Christmas tree lighting accompanied by live singing and dancing. Even if you miss that, you can see the holiday lights display throughout the season. Different areas, including the High Roller, have thousands of LED bulbs synched to music.
Best of all, the LINQ Promenade is a free place to go in Las Vegas, and you can see the holiday performances and light shows at no charge. However, tickets for the High Roller and ice rink cost extra.
5. Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Another awesome place to see holiday lights in Las Vegas is the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The Conservatory changes its floral displays with each season, although its holiday theme is the most magical.
The greenhouse covers over 14,000ft² and boasts beautiful horticultural displays of horse-drawn carriages, elves, polar bears, gifts, and snow fairies. Take your time walking through the winter display, stopping to admire the Christmas tree centerpiece. At over 40 feet tall, the majestic tree is adorned with thousands of lights and ornaments!
The red and white decorations look lovely with the green plants and twinkling lights, so bring your camera. Visiting the Botanical Gardens is one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas year-round, and the Christmas display is up until early January.
Another great December event at Las Vegas‘ Bellagio Resort is the Bellagio Fountains show. Set to Christmas music, the water jets glide and shoot into the air in a fabulous free show you can watch every night.
6. Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Another family activity that I recommend is the drive-through Christmas lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. What’s great about this event is that you can do it with older relatives or friends who aren’t as mobile since you stay in your car.
The attraction is open daily from mid-November to early January, and you must purchase one ticket per vehicle. Alternatively, you can buy a ticket for the open-air tram, which will take you through the display.
The Glittering Christmas Lights Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 2.5-mile road with five million LED lights. Simply tune your radio to the proper station, and the colorful lights will dance to the festive music as you drive through. You’ll pass through tunnels, light-up holiday scenes, famous figures like Elvis, and even Hanukkah lights.
The Speedway is just 10 minutes from the Strip, but it’s a super popular attraction, so I recommend booking in advance here.
7. See more Christmas lights in Las Vegas, something you must do in Vegas for Christmas
While the Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are wildly popular, there are other Christmas lights in Las Vegas to see. I already mentioned a few places like Cowabunga Bay, the Bellagio resort, and Winter PARQ at The LINQ.
You can also check out ARIA Resort’s Winter Wonderland, which features decorations, holiday lights, gingerbread houses, and sugar palaces created by ARIA pastry chefs. These confectionaries stand 15 feet tall and feature hundreds of pounds of gingerbread, icing, and other candies. ARIA’s centerpiece is a 17-foot crystal-adorned Christmas tree surrounded by smaller custom-designed twinkle trees. You can find the display in the lobby, and if you want to stay overnight, ARIA is one of the best Las Vegas hotels with jacuzzi rooms.
Mystic Falls Winter Wonderland at Sam’s Town Hotel is another free attraction that will please all ages. The setup includes Christmas trees, dancing characters, and a laser light show.
Finally, Magical Forest at Opportunity Village is a beautiful place to visit off the Strip. The family-friendly theme park has over three million LED lights covering trees, gingerbread houses, an Enchanted Carousel, and a mini-golf course. Kids will love all the activities, especially the passenger train they can ride around the park. Plus, ticket sales go toward services and programs for people with disabilities.
8. Christmas shows, something fun to do in Las Vegas at Christmastime
Walking through all the gorgeous holiday parks and attractions is lots of fun, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and relax. When you need a break from all the festivities, consider seeing a Christmas show in Las Vegas.
Catching a show is one of the best things to do in Las Vegas since the city hosts world-class acts like singers, dancers, magicians, and acrobats. During the holiday season, you can catch celebrity performances and classic Christmas shows like The Nutcracker and Mannheim Steamroller‘s famous Christmas tour.
Some other popular shows to put you in the holiday spirit include A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story. And, of course, you’ll find shows you could only see in Las Vegas, like the Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
9. Deck the halls in Downtown Summerlin, a place to celebrate Christmas near Vegas
Close to the Strip, you’ll find downtown Summerlin, Nevada, which hosts its own distinct holiday celebrations.
First, the Rock Rink is one of the most popular Christmas activities near Las Vegas and features a real 8,000ft² ice rink. All ages are invited to rent some skates and hit the ice while enjoying the holiday music and lighting. The rink is open in November and December, and you can also catch Downtown Summerlin’s Holiday Parade on Friday and Saturday nights during the season. A newer attraction in Summerlin is Enchant Christmas Village, which I’ll talk about later.
Summerlin also has one of the top all-inclusive resorts in Las Vegas, Red Rock Casino. Not only is this a beautiful place to stay, but it hosts the annual Merry Crimson event for people over 21. The pop-up attraction features an indoor lounge and outdoor terrace where you can roast marshmallows and enjoy a “Merry Crimson cocktail” to cap off your night.
10. Christmas at The Venetian, a beautiful place to spend Christmas in Las Vegas, NV
Christmas at The Venetian is the perfect way to have an unforgettable holiday or start a new Christmas tradition in Vegas. First, the resort’s chefs have a specially-crafted holiday menu full of seasonal dishes, desserts, and cocktails. So, if you’re not sure where to have Christmas dinner in Las Vegas, reserve a table at The Venetian.
Also, be sure to check out the Waterfall Atrium at Palazzo Tower, which has a striking holiday display. You can even catch a Christmas show at Palazzo Theater or finish your holiday shopping at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Perhaps what makes this the best hotel for Christmas in Las Vegas is the Venetian Christmas Tree. At 65 feet high, it’s one of the tallest in Vegas and lights up the whole outdoor plaza.
11. Holiday shopping, a popular thing to do in Vegas on Christmas Eve
As much as we try to prepare for the holiday in advance, many of us end up doing last-minute gift shopping. Well, you certainly won’t be alone as you do your Christmas shopping in Las Vegas!
You can snag great deals in Las Vegas during Christmas, plus the stores will be decked out in cheerful holiday decorations. Popular places on the Strip include the Miracle Mile Shops, the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. There is also Fashion Show Mall, Town Square Las Vegas, and the Premium Outlets.
Just outside Las Vegas, you can shop at The District at Green Valley Ranch, a huge retail and dining complex. Again, don’t miss a chance to go to downtown Summerlin, where you’ll find an open-air shopping mall and the Christmas market.
Hitting the shops is one of the best things to do in Las Vegas during the day and, afterward, you can enjoy the nighttime festivities along the Strip.
12. Celebrate Christmas at Town Square, a great Las Vegas Christmas activity for families
Town Square is a lively shopping mall, but it is even more exciting during Christmas in Las Vegas. Between mid-November and December 23rd, you can see the nightly Snow in the Square celebrations.
This family-friendly event brings whimsical snow flurries to Town Square. The show is accompanied by Christmas music and holiday lights, creating a unique winter wonderland in Las Vegas.
Town Square is the endpoint for the annual holiday parade that culminates with Santa’s arrival and a Las Vegas Christmas tree lighting. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Las Vegas with kids, be sure to add this attraction to your list!
13. Holiday Experience at The Park, another place to visit for Christmas in Vegas
Another Christmas place to visit in Las Vegas is The Holiday Experience at The Park. It’s free to go, so if you’re going to be around in December, be sure to check it out! The event takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening of the month.
There is something for everyone here, from the carolers and live performances to the pop-up bars and restaurants. Enjoy a sweet treat while marveling at the holiday lighting displays or take the kids to visit Santa Claus.
The Park also has an ice rink and a gorgeous 80-foot Silver Fir tree. While not everything here is free, if you’re looking for Christmas things to do in Las Vegas for the whole family, check out The Park!
14. Enchant Christmas Village, a lovely Las Vegas Christmas attraction for kids
One of the newest Christmas activities in Las Vegas is Enchant Christmas Village at Las Vegas Ballpark. This magical light maze is sure to enchant visitors of all ages, so it’s a must-see during the holiday season.
Located just 25 minutes from the Strip, Enchant Christmas Village is a place that will make you feel like you’re stepping into another world. The maze features millions of twinkling lights and beautiful art installations.
The attraction also includes an ice skating trail, a traditional Christmas market, and nightly visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Without a doubt, it’s the most whimsical place to be for Christmas in Vegas!
15. Visit Wynn Winter Wonderland, an elegant way to celebrate Christmas in Vegas
Whether you’re spending Christmas in Vegas as a couple or with kids, be sure to stop by Wynn’s Winter Wonderland. Every year, the hotel displays beautiful miniature Christmas homes and scenes in its Holiday Atrium Village.
The mini-village is inspired by the novel Gulliver’s Travels and looks lovely paired with the resort’s intricate decor. It’s a sophisticated winter wonderland in Las Vegas that you can enjoy indoors, too!
You can also attend special events like holiday brunches, parties, and kid-friendly workshops with the hotel’s pastry chefs. Not only does Wynn have one of the best spas in Las Vegas, but it hosts a delicious Christmas dinner in Las Vegas!
FAQs – Christmas in Las Vegas
Those are the 15 best Christmas activities in Las Vegas, but before you go, I’d like to share some helpful tips. Below are answers to some common questions about visiting Vegas for Christmas, so keep reading.
Yes, Las Vegas casinos are open on Christmas Day, and you can access the games, bars, and restaurants inside, too.
Yes, hotels on and off the Strip will be open on Christmas. If you plan to stay overnight, be sure to book ahead since the best hotels for Christmas in Las Vegas will fill up fast.
There are lots of places to see Santa Claus in Las Vegas! A few of the best places are:
- Silverton Hotel
- Mandalay Bay
- Bass Pro Shops
- Town Square
- Magical Forest
- Ethel M Chocolates Holiday Cactus Garden
- Holiday Experience at The Park
- Enchant Christmas Village
Just about all restaurants, bars, and buffets are open for Christmas dinner in Las Vegas. However, be aware that the prices will be higher than normal, and you’ll want to make a reservation to avoid long wait times.
Now, you’re all set for a wonderful Christmas in Las Vegas! With all the winter events in Las Vegas this year, you’re sure to have a blast. I’m including a map of all the attractions I mentioned to help you plan your visit.
If you have other questions or recommendations for Christmas places to visit in Las Vegas, leave me a comment below. Have a safe trip and a happy holiday!