Get Into the Spirit at Las Vegas' 10 Best Holiday Attractions

Las Vegas is known for its love of bright lights and sparkly stuff, and the winter holidays are the perfect time to ramp up the city’s overall bling factor. This city adores twinkly lights and parties all year round, and the winter holidays are a great reason to do more of both.

The Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens changes its display with each season, but their Christmas display is extremely popular. Everyone loves the polar bears, the model trains and the massive Christmas tree. Come early in the day and you might avoid some of the crowds (a strategy that works well with most Las Vegas attractions, by the way, regardless of the time of year).

Over 300,000 people come to Las Vegas for New Year's Eve. At about 6 p.m., the Strip closes to traffic and people fill the streets for America’s Party. On Fremont Street, there’s an admission fee ($35-$45) for the Downtown Countdown, but the crowd is smaller and three stages keep the bands playing all night. At midnight, the Strip rings in the New Year with its famous roof-top fireworks lighting up the sky for miles, and on Fremont Street, Viva Vision erupts with its own spectacular light show.

Keep in mind that while Las Vegas’ winters are mild by most measures, the average low for the city in January is 34F, so if you’re going out at night, bring a coat.

Scroll on down to read more about Las Vegas’ 10Best holiday attractions.


Glittering Lights
Photo courtesy of Gabe Ginsberg

Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been entertaining people for years with its array of lights and sounds. Featuring more than 500 animated and sparkling displays and millions of lights, the 2.5-mile LED course is environmentally sound, but still full of vibrant, holiday-centric light displays. Glittering Lights also has its own radio station with a play list created just for the drive. The display is open from November through January. Admission is $20-$30 per vehicle. The course gets busiest from 6-8 p.m., so plan for a visit earlier or later in the evening to enjoy a less crowded experience.

East Las Vegas

Every year Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall's transforms its pioneer-themed Mystic Falls Park Light and Water Show into the Winter Wonderland experience. Within the last few years, the attraction had a make-over and got a new holiday look and show. The Christmas display gives visitors a peek inside Santa's workshop, where the elves are busy making toys and loading the sleigh. The nine-minute holiday laser light show features classic holiday tunes and runs daily every hour from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Cowboy Santa will be in the Park's gazebo on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on the weekends from noon to 8:30 p.m. through Sunday, December 23.

During the holidays, The Park transforms itself into Holiday at The Park, featuring live entertainment and festive decorations. The Park is the new area on the Las Vegas Strip that's been created in the space around the new T-Mobile Arena and New York-New York, adjacent to the new hotel Park MGM (formerly the Monte Carlo). It genuinely is a park, with desert landscaping and the well-known Bliss sculpture. Plenty of dining and shopping options are also nearby. For the holidays, The Park will be decked out with dazzling lights, festive ornaments and a massive Christmas tree. Holiday at The Park is open daily from November 29, 2018, to December 31, 2018. Admission is free.


Las Vegas may be in the desert, but that hasn't stopped the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas from putting in an ice skating rink from November 21, 2018, to January 6, 2019. You'll find fire pits, plenty of places to sit, and a menu of warm cocktails, comfort foods and hot chocolate. The Cosmopolitan promises skaters snow showers every 30 minutes to complete this wintery holiday atmosphere, which also has a great view of the Las Vegas Strip. The cost for ice skating admission is $20 and includes all-day skating access and skate rentals. Entry into the area is free. Children under 18 must have an adult with them.

The Linq's Promenade is designed to be a walkable, browseable area at any time of the year. It's full of restaurants, shops and attractions for every season. During the winter holidays, the Promenade does its part to dispense holiday cheer with Christmas trees, lights and entertainment. Every evening during the month of December, visitors can enjoy free live performances, light shows and even "snow." The Promenade should be on your list of places to explore if you're searching for a few last-minute gifts, looking for a restaurant (shopping is hard work) or just soaking up the holiday spirit. You can also take a ride on the High Roller Observation Wheel for a birds-eye view of Las Vegas--a perfect way to end a holiday outing!

Ethel M Chocolates Holiday Cactus Garden
Photo courtesy of Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Garden

Ethel M Chocolates Holiday Cactus Garden has been one of Las Vegas' premier holiday attractions for the over 20 years, charming families with an incredible display of lights. The 3-acre Botanical Cactus Garden, located adjacent to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, features hundreds of thousands of lights illuminated up for all to enjoy and attracts thousands of festive chocolate lovers each year. Open this season from November 9, 2018, through December 23, 2018, the annual event is free to attend, making it perfect for families. On the weekend evenings, Santa visits and local choirs perform. While a stop in the chocolate shop isn't mandatory, since you're there, why not? If you're over 21, try the delicious Creme Liqueurs Collection, which contains alcohol.

Magical Forest
Photo courtesy of Opportunity Village

The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village is a holiday tradition in Las Vegas. Every year, the grounds are transformed into a winter wonderland scene, with hundreds of trees lit with millions of bright LED lights and whimsical decorations. Visitors wander the grounds, enjoying the sights and listening to holiday music, taking rides on the miniature train and warming up with hot chocolate. Guests who visit the Magical Forest can take a spin on Cheyenne's Enchanted Carousel and hit a few rounds of golf on Rod's Mini-Golf course, or take photos with Santa in his workshop. Other can't-miss attractions at the Magical Forest include the Avalanche Slide and the Blizzard Mini-coaster. The Magical Forest is open in 2018 from Friday November 23 through Sunday, December 31, 2018, and is closed on Christmas Day. All proceeds go to Opportunity Village, a non-profit that benefits people with learning disabilities.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is one of Las Vegas' busiest places during the holiday season, delighting the crowds with photo-perfect scenes of giant Christmas trees and enchanting, over-sized decorations. From September through January, the displays change three times for autumn, the winter holidays, and the Chinese New Year. One of the winter favorites is the polar bear family, made of white carnations. The Christmas tree is always a show-stopper, and the yearly variations in the displays offer something new each season. The airy atrium explodes with holiday cheer and makes a wonderful place for pictures. Displays for the Chinese New Year (2019 is the year of the Pig) will go up early in the new year. Traditional good luck symbols are prominently featured, along with plants like bamboo and bonsai.

Downtown Countdown
Photo courtesy of Fremont Street Experience

The Downtown Countdown fills Fremont Street with music and entertainment beginning in the early afternoon on New Year's Eve and continuing into the wee hours of 2019. Performances are slated from 12 bands playing on three stages. The night customarily belongs to tribute bands like Spandex Nation, Blue String Theory, Yellow Brick Road and Zowie Bowie. Other entertainment includes roaming performers and a laser light show. You can also take a ride on the SlotZilla zip line, or test your mettle against some zombies at Fear the Walking Dead Survival.The pedestrian walkway closes to the public at 5 p.m. and gates for ticketed guests open at 6 p.m. Bands play until 3 a.m. Admission is $35 per person when purchased online by Dec. 25. Tickets are usually available at the entry gate for $40.

America's Party
Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau

Spending New Year's in Las Vegas is an experience you won't forget--provided you don't indulge in too many yard-long drinks. While New York City has Times Square, Las Vegas has America's Party along the Strip. Each year, over 300,000 people visit Las Vegas to celebrate the New Year with a massive block party that culminates in a spectacular fireworks display set off of the top of casinos up and down the Las Vegas Strip. The seven properties that usually participate in the annual event, from north to south, are the Stratosphere, The Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, ARIA and MGM Grand. The closer it is to midnight, the more crowded the streets get. Be sure to arrive early for the best vantage point when the fireworks go off! Streets close around 6 p.m., so plan ahead for transportation.


Meet Terrisa Meeks

Terrisa Meeks is a native born, life-long resident of Las Vegas. She's watched Las Vegas grow and change over the years, especially the ever-evolving Las Vegas Strip. She still enjoys hanging...  More About Terrisa