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Celebrate the holiday season with winter festivities in Las Vegas

by Attractions Magazine Staff

If you’re looking to celebrate the spirit of the season with winter festivities and holiday cheer, Las Vegas is the place to be this year, offering many outdoor events and activities complete with plenty of sparkling lights sure to put you into the holiday spirit!

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By Emily Ryan

At the ARIA Resort & Casino, you can check out its “Winter Wonderland” lobby display from now until Tuesday, Jan 5. This year’s centerpiece is a custom, 15-foot-tall Sugar Palace made entirely out of edible ingredients by the ARIA pastry team. It showcases seven types of sugar work techniques through its 1,000 pressed sugar bricks, crystal sugar snowflakes, blown-sugar swans, blown and pulled flowers, and more! In addition, oversized hand-carved ornaments—including carousel horses, ballerinas, snowflakes, swans, trains, and more—hang from the ceiling.

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The Bellagio horticulture team at the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens celebrates the season with its glamorous winter holiday installation, “Hopefully Holidays,” featuring thousands of plants and flowers. See the beautiful Snow Queen in her carriage pulled by four majestic white horses, a fireplace setting with elves getting ready for the holidays, a family of polar bears, and, of course, a 42-foot-tall Christmas tree. A short walk away is the Bellagio Fountains, set to beloved holiday tunes including “Sleigh Ride” and “Carol of the Bells” for the holidays.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas welcomed back The Ice Rink for the ninth year in a row, as Boulevard Pool transforms for the holiday season high above The Strip. Visitors can enjoy rooftop ice skating on over 4,200 square feet of actual ice, roasting s’mores at socially-distanced fire pits, adult versions of seasonal cocktails, beloved holiday films and breathtaking views surrounded by vibrant city lights.

Join The LINQ Promenade as it transforms into a modern-day winter wonderland of festive decor, family fun and a dazzling holiday light show on High Roller, one of the world’s tallest observation wheels. Enjoy an array of dining, socially distant activities and retail throughout the open-air district. For Nevada residents seeking a festive place to enjoy the ambience of the holiday season in an open-air environment, complimentary parking and discounted tickets for High Roller and FLY LINQ Zipline are available.

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, from now through Monday, Jan. 3, at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa with Merry Crimson, a festive indoor and outdoor poolside terrace and lounge with an extravagant display of over-the-top holiday decor, including a fireplace and a candy cane swing. This pop-up holiday bar is perfect if you’re looking to socialize in a comfortable and spacious indoor lounge setting, outdoors at private cabanas, or roasting s’mores by the fireside. Plus, you won’t want to miss the nearly 5-foot-tall by 9-foot-long replica of the resort in gingerbread in the middle of the casino floor!

From now through Friday, Jan. 1, Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall lights up its festive winter display at Mystic Falls Park once again; a time-honored tradition dating back to 1994. The indoor atrium features seasonal decor including plush, animated teddy bears that can be seen playing, dancing and decorating the park. Also filling the atrium are a 18-foot Christmas tree adorned in red and gold, lampposts wrapped in garland, streamers, and wreaths 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. If you can’t make it out this year, you can experience the park’s new holiday decor and over 26,000 points of light from home via the attraction’s live webcam.

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For the first time ever, Tropicana Las Vegas is celebrating a Holiday in Paradise from now through Jan. 3 by showcasing a festival of more than 25,000 lights outside in the plaza and covering the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard. Guests will step foot through a lit archway and be greeted by a 20-foot Christmas tree surrounded by large, iridescent gift boxes and a tropical forest of 25 luminescent palm and Christmas trees. This free experience also features a 10-foot tall live poinsettia photo wall, holiday music playing throughout the plaza and starting at 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, the iconic hotel will offer a holiday pop-up bar with winter-themed cocktails, traditional cocktails, beers, and hot cocoa in the outdoor Tropicana kiosk.

Wynn Las Vegas is ringing in the holidays with a number of festive offerings throughout the resort. This year’s showpiece in the main atrium includes six mini winter villages inspired by the novel “Gulliver’s Travels.” On display around the resort are over 8,000 seasonal poinsettias, dozens of bedecked holiday trees, and oversized wreaths. Guests can also sign up for popular events including the edible decor workshop for all ages. On Friday, Dec. 18, decorate the ultimate gingerbread house with the Wynn pastry team. And don’t miss the annual ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ at Costa di Mare on Dec. 24 and 25.

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Las Vegas’ new immersive entertainment, event and art complex, AREA15, promises weird, wonderful surprises for the holidays by transforming their outdoor space, A-Lot, into Wanderland. Step inside the lighted tree-lined village full of extraterrestrial surprises, including a festive path of igloos with holiday vignettes worthy of your Instagram feed, pop-up retailers at the heart of Wanderland—Balanceville—a 30-foot intergalactic art sleigh lit up with hundreds of twinkling lights. Through Sunday, Jan. 3, you can purchase tickets to step into the Portal, a 360-degree projection-mapped room, for Holiday 360: The Dream Before, a 30-minute light and sound exhibition. The experience includes access to the igloo stroll, a printed and digital photo from the art car sleigh and a cup of hot chocolate.

Celebrate the holidays in Downtown Summerlin with the arrival of Santa’s Chalet Mailbox, available through Dec. 22 for kids of all ages to drop their letter to Saint Nick. Through Monday, Jan. 18, you can also take a spin around the Rock Rink, set to the backdrop of joyful holiday music and a remarkable 40-foot holiday tree overlooking the rink.

Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory never ceases to dazzle locals and visitors with its annual three acres of cacti covered in more than one million holiday lights. Through Sunday, Jan. 3, guests can stroll through the garden and view the holiday display, however, due to limited capacity, please note that there is a timed entry process.

Enjoy holiday-themed activities and complimentary entertainment at Fashion Show Las Vegas. Reserve a spot for a guided Holiday Stroll through Santa’s Workshop led by Mrs. Claus, or a Winter Wonderland ending at a giant snowglobe, every weekend, as well as Wednesday, Dec. 23 and Thursday, Dec. 24. Also on the aforementioned dates, any guests dining on The Plaza will be treated to live music from a talented violinist and guitar player, as well as performances from nutcracker dancers and sugar plum ballerinas. Every Thursday through Sunday, and Dec. 23 and 24, enjoy sounds from 20 golden bells ringing to the tune of holiday music above the Great Hall. Reserve a spot through Thursday, Dec. 24 to take socially distanced Holly Jolly Photos with the big man himself.

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is dressed up with show-stopping decor throughout the center. Anchored by the 40-foot feature tree shimmering with 42,000 gold and white LED lights and ornaments, new decorations also include four 8-foot-tall Roman Centurion toy soldiers, holiday sets for that perfect Instagram selfie and other photo backdrops. Strike a pose in front of the massive laurel wreath and Roman pediment and column setting with decorative trimmed trees.

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Fremont Street Experience kicks off the holidays with its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Downtown Las Vegas. The majestic, 50-foot tree will be wrapped in garland, decked out in beautiful ornaments, and shine brightly below the 12.5 million energy-efficient LED lights comprising the Viva Vision canopy. The celebration continues the following day with the lighting of the 20-foot Grand Menorah for the first night of Hanukkah, which will remain on display throughout the eight-day Festival of Lights.

Through Sunday, Jan. 10, Glittering Lights at The Las Vegas Motor Speedway returns to celebrate its 20th year. The dazzling array of festive lights feature over five million LED lights intertwining a 2.5 mile course around the track. Named one of the “Best places to see Christmas lights in the U.S.” by CNN Travel, Glittering Lights is one of Vegas’ most festive holiday traditions.

Rail Explorers is an outdoor-adventure attraction featuring pedal-powered rail bikes in Boulder City and they are celebrating the season with Holiday-themed tours. Book through Thursday, Dec. 31 to be greeted by the Rail Explorer Elves and receive cookies, candy canes, hot chocolate, or hot apple cider. Day and evening tour times are available and schedules vary by day; check their website for times.

Between Dec. 21 and 24, catch a glimpse of Diving Santa in the Shipwreck waters at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino as he bids farewell to his underwater friends before heading back to the North Pole.

To celebrate the holiday season and the arrival of Santa Claus, Town Square Las Vegas has “Snow in the Square” set to classic holiday hits. Make a reservation now until Wednesday, Dec. 23 to see the magical snow flurries and have a contactless or virtual visit with Santa.

For more information on Las Vegas’ holiday magic and a full list of events and attractions, visit VisitLasVegas.com.

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