Celebrating the holidays in Las Vegas is a bit different than most cities. Some casinos embrace the holidays while others just operate like normal. You may or may not even see decorations or hear your favorite Christmas song while hitting the casino.
That said, there are plenty of places to visit for a bit of holiday joy. Because you’re in Las Vegas the attractions might be a little different than you’d see in a nearby mall. Remember, you’re either inside of a casino or visiting a location that’s competing with the casinos. There’s something special in Las Vegas for all of the holidays.
Here are five places, on and off the Vegas Strip, to celebrate the holidays in Las Vegas
Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens at Bellagio is a beautiful attraction all year long. The holiday display takes the gardens to a whole other level. Remember, that you’re looking at these gardens inside of a casino. The centerpiece of the attraction is the massive 42-foot tall tree. This year there’s an 18 foot tall Ice Princess with a dress made of more than 2,000 flowers. My favorite annual guest at the gardens is the polar bear sliding down a hill of flowers.
Ice Skating At Cosmopolitan
Ice skating at the Cosmopolitan is more of a winter attraction than a holiday attraction. That being said, it’s a treat to be able to enjoy a festive winter(ish) wonderland above the Vegas Strip. The ice rink is 4,200 square feet of real ice. The views of Las Vegas from the Boulevard Pool are gorgeous. Depending on when you visit you might be treated to light snow showers. While nightclubs have VIP table service, the skating rink takes reservations for your own fire pit. Grab a warm seat and toast up some s’mores, sip on holiday cocktails and watch your friends and family try to skate.
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
This free attraction is located in Henderson, about 20 minutes east of the Vegas Strip. The chocolate manufacturer also has a cactus garden. While the three acre garden may be cool to look at all year round, it’s even better during the holiday season. The cacti have over 1 million lights for the holidays. There are even visits from Santa Claus and carolers. If you’re not from the southwest this is a unique way to see holiday lights on display.
Scuba Santa at the Silverton
Scuba Santa is not part of the Scuba Squad from “Big Daddy.” However, he’s real and in the massive fish tank at the Silverton Casino every weekend in December. Santa is underwater in scuba gear, in an aquarium, inside of a Las Vegas casino. That’s Vegas Baby! He’s now known as Underwater Santa and is available from 12 pm – 1:15 pm and 2:15 pm – 3:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. This is a unique sight to see just a few feet away from the blackjack tables.
Mystic Falls Park at Sam’s Town Casino
You’ll find Sam’s Town on Boulder Highway. It’s about 15 minutes from the Vegas Strip in an area that feels very little like the Las Vegas most people know. Mystic Falls Park is inside of this massive Boyd Gaming casino. The holiday display is just another reason to walk through this unique park area. Holiday decorations and a laser show are just some of the highlights you’ll see here for the month of December.


Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.
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