LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — This holiday season will certainly look different and several holiday traditions in the Las Vegas valley are adapting. Event organizers are working hard to create safe, socially-distant events for your family this holiday season.
Cosmopolitan Ice Rink
The iconic Ice Rink will return on Wednesday, Nov. 18 for its ninth consecutive season. Upholding tradition, the Boulevard Pool will transform into a rooftop winter wonderland featuring a 4,200-square-foot skating rink made of real ice, seasonal culinary cocktails and fare, socially distanced fire pits for s’mores making, and classic holiday films projected high above the Las Vegas Strip on the resort’s 65-foot marquee. You can read the health and sanitation guidelines at this link.
The rink is open Monday through Friday (Nov. 18 – Dec. 17) from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m. Hours from Dec. 18 – Jan. 3 are noon – 11 p.m. There are special hours for Dec. 24 & Dec. 25. Prices vary but entry around the rink is free. Click here for more information.
Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a drive-thru experience where visitors can see 700 displays along the 2.5 mile long course that has 5 million LED lights. The holiday show draws more than 250,000 visitors every year and runs from Nov. 13 through Jan. 10. There are a variety of ticket options starting at $25. You can find more information at this link. You can receive a $5 discount on entry by making a donation to Goodwill of Southern Nevada when visiting the show. You can also receive a $5 off coupon to be used on admission by making a purchase at any Goodwill.
Rail Explorers offers a unique outdoor experience to ride the rails but in a slightly different way. You can hop aboard a pedal-powered rail bike which is just a short drive from downtown Boulder City and pedal your way on a rail line that was constructed by Union Pacific to service the Boulder Dam project. On that way back, you get to ride in one of the state’s historic trains. COVID-19 safety procedures are in place. Plan about 90 minutes for the experience. You can find more about tickets at this link.
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
The Las Vegas Great Santa Run is going virtual this year and offering a new fundraising competition that offers prizes to the top three fundraisers. The Santa run is one of Opportunity Village’s largest single-day fundraisers and the goal this year is to raise $15,000. The virtual race is from Dec. 5 – Dec. 26. Click here for more information.
Holiday Cactus Garden (Currently all cactus garden reservations are booked)
Experience the annual light display that features a beautifully lit 3-acre cactus garden with 1-million lights. The display will be open nightly from Nov. 7 through Jan. 3. A few changes to the Factory Store and Cactus Garden are being implemented, including a timed entry process, to ensure everyone’s safety. Pictures with Santa will be available on some evenings. Reservations are required this year. As always, admission is FREE. Click here for details.
Downtown Summerlin kicks off the holiday season on Nov. 13 – Jan. 18 with outdoor ice skating at its Rock Rink which is located near the Pavilion at the Lawn. The 8,000 square foot ice rink will feature holiday music and a 40-foot decorated tree as a backdrop. Skate rentals start at $15 and reservations are required. You can do that at this link. There is also a festive holiday train that circles the ice rink. Train tickets cost $4.
Downtown Summerlin will also have thousands of decorative lights and strolling carolers on Friday and Saturday evenings. Unlike past years, no holiday parade is planned this year.
Festival of Lights
Step into the magical world that is Festival Of Lights. Millions of lights perfectly synchronized to your favorite holiday music. Endless paths to stroll amidst the beautiful twinkling lights. Rides, games, and plenty of food options for you to enjoy. It’s located at Craig Ranch Park. Partial proceeds benefit Opportunity Village. Must make reservations. Tickets start at $15.
Click here for more information and to reserve a date.
Nutcracker Extravaganza: Behind the Scenes
Nevada Ballet Theatre and DISCOVERY Children’s Museum have joined forces to present a behind the scenes look at The Nutcracker. Families are invited to celebrate the season and the magic of with this one-of-a-kind exhibit on display for a limited time only. From Dec. 19 to Jan. 3, Museum attendees can view original Nutcracker show elements typically only seen from the stage. From the famous “flying rocking horse” to the well-known Cannon in the Battle Scene, these original set and prop pieces will be complemented by a display of over 20 costumes including handmade headpieces, tiaras and wigs worn by NBT’s professional company. Click here for details.
Area 15 Wanderland
Step inside an illuminated tree-lined village filled with extraterrestrial surprises, including a festive path of igloos with Insta-worthy holiday vignettes, an intergalactic art sleigh illuminated by hundreds of twinkling lights and pop-up retailers and food and drinks. Ticket price includes access to the igloo stroll, a printed and digital photo from the art car sleigh, and a cup of hot chocolate. Wanderland is open from Nov. 27 – Dec. 27. All guests are required to wear face masks and there is reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. Click here for more information.
Bellagio’s ‘Hopefully Holidays’
The Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens will celebrate all things merry and bright with thousands of plants and flowers with its glamourous winter holiday installation, “Hopefully Holidays.” The exhibit features a Snow Queen and her majestic carriage pulled by four white horses, a fireplace setting with elves, a family of polar bears and a 42-foot-tall, adorned Christmas tree.
Sugar Palace holiday display
The Sugar Palace is the central piece of the “Winter Wonderland” holiday display in the lobby of Aria Hotel & Resort. The 15-foot sugar creation was created by hand and is made from edible ingredients. A skilled team of chefs spent four weeks crafting the palace using 4,000 pounds of sugar and several types of sugar work to create the bricks, snowflakes, swans, flowers and other pieces. It will be on display through Jan. 5.
LINQ Winter Wonderland
Holiday magic returns to The LINQ Promenade as it transforms into a modern winter wonderland with festive decorations, family fun and a holiday light show on High Roller, one of the world’s tallest observation wheels. Complimentary parking and discounted tickets for High Roller Observation Wheel and FLY LINQ Zipline are also available for Nevada residents.
Fremont Street Experience
Downtown Las Vegas will kick off the holidays with its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The majestic, 50-foot tree will be wrapped in garland, decked with beautiful ornaments, and shine brightly below the 12.5 million energy-efficient LED lights of the Viva Vision canopy. The celebration continues Thursday, Dec. 10 during the first night of Hanukkah with the lighting of the 20-foot Grand Menorah and will remain on display throughout the eight-day Festival of Lights.
Snow in the Square
Town Square Las Vegas celebrates the holiday season and Santa’s arrival with “Snow in the Square” set to classic holiday tunes. See the magical snow flurries and make reservations to have a contactless or virtual visit with the jolly man himself to take place through Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Henderson’s special winter holiday presentation is brimming with an array of events through the month of December. The city plans to host some events virtually, including the lighting of its Christmas tree at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3 and “Sights and Sounds of the City,” holiday edition. Additional activities include the Holiday Light Display (Dec. 3-Jan.5), Pop-up Holiday Entertainment, Cookie Crawl and Letters to Santa. Some activities will require advance registration. Click here for more information and a complete list of events.
Shark Reef Santa
Santa will take a plunge into the Shipwreck waters alongside his underwater friends. Catch a glimpse of Diving Santa at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Dec. 21 – 24.
Letters to the North Pole
From Dec. 1-11, families can stop in and “mail” their children’s letters to Santa using Henderson’s decorative mailbox at Valley View Recreation Center. They can also send letters to the rec center, 500 Harris St., Henderson 89015. You’ll find out if your child’s been naughty or nice thanks to a special letter from Santa and Mrs. Claus! This event is geared for children ages 1-5. It will last Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is $3.
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
The Forum Shops is dressed up for the season with holiday décor adorned throughout the center including the iconic 40-foot-feature tree shimmering in 42,000 gold and white LED lights and ornaments, the stunning new decorations also include four, 8-foot-tall Roman Centurion toy soldiers, Instagram-worthy holiday sets and photo backdrops. Strike a pose in front of the oversized laurel wreath and Roman pediment and column setting with decorative trimmed trees
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Story Time & Craft
If you and your family love the Grinch, you won’t want to miss this! The beloved character will make a special appearance at Valley View Recreation Center on Dec. 11. He’ll read his biography, and participants can make a Grinch ornament to hang on the tree. The event is slated from 10:30 a.m. to noon and is for all ages.
Holiday themed rail experience
Rail Explorers, the outdoor-adventure attraction featuring pedal-powered rail bikes in Boulder City, celebrates the season with festive, holiday-themed tours. Guests booking evening tours through Thursday, Dec. 31 will be greeted by the Rail Explorer Elves and receive cookies, candy canes, hot chocolate and/or hot apple cider. Day and evening tour times are available and schedules vary by day; check the website for times.
Reindeer Dash 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk
The holidays are a time brimming with good food and cheer … well, maybe a little too much food. Run off those extra calories and ring in the holiday season at the Reindeer Dash 5K Run & 1-Mile Walk along the Pittman Wash Trail! Families are urged to wear their best holiday apparel, and the first 300 registered participants are guaranteed a t-shirt. Social distancing guidelines will be adhered to, with small groups starting at staggered times, starting at 9 a.m. on Dec. 12. Runners will meet at the Silver Springs Recreation Center, 1951 Silver Springs Parkway, beforehand. All fitness levels are welcome! If you’d like to participate virtually, there will be a virtual fun run/walk you can do on your own. To register, click here or here. The event is geared for ages 5 and up.
Wynn Winter Wonderland
Wynn Las Vegas is ringing in the season and celebrating the holidays with festive offerings throughout the resort. Transforming the main atrium into a winter wonderland, the showpiece of Wynn’s holiday décor is six mini winter villages inspired by the novel, Gulliver’s Travels. More than 8,000 seasonal poinsettias, dozens of bedecked holiday trees, and oversized wreaths are also on display around the resort. Guests can also sign up to indulge in the spirit of the season at popular events including the edible décor workshop for guests of all ages, decorate the ultimate gingerbread house with the pastry team Friday, Dec. 18 and the annual ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ at Costa di Mare, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.
Sam’s Town Mystic Falls Winter Display
Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall once again lights up its festive winter display at Mystic Falls Park, a time-honored tradition that does back to 1994. The indoor atrium features plush, animated teddy bears that can be seen playing, dancing and decorating the park. An 18-foot tree decorated in red and gold, garland-wrapped lampposts, streamers, wreaths fill the atrium, embellished with hundreds of lights, ornaments and red holiday bows. Families can drop off their letters for Santa in Santa’s mailbox located under the gazebo. The wintery experience will be available for visitors to enjoy through Friday, Jan. 1.
Tropicana Holiday in Paradise
Tropicana Las Vegas is celebrating with a first-ever Holiday in Paradise outside in the Tropicana Plaza. Holiday in Paradise showcases a festival of lights now through Jan. 3 featuring more than 25,000 lights covering the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard. Guests will step foot through a lighted archway welcoming them to a 20-foot Christmas tree flanked by large lighted gift boxes and surrounded by a tropical forest of 25 lighted palm and Christmas trees. The free holiday experience also includes a 10-foot tall live poinsettia photo wall, holiday music playing throughout the plaza and on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 3 p.m., the iconic hotel will offer a holiday pop up bar inside the outdoor Tropicana kiosk serving winter-themed and traditional cocktails, beers, as well as hot cocoa.