I’ve become fascinated by the celebration of Chinese New Year in Las Vegas. While the east coast casinos would decorate for the occasion, the celebrations were always pretty low key. That’s not the case in Las Vegas as the city goes all out to celebrate Chinese New Year.
There are opulent displays, entertainment, and special menus at Chinese restaurants. In the past, Wynn Las Vegas even had special chips to celebrate Chinese New Year. The Las Vegas casinos will once again celebrate Chinese New Year through February. Here are just a few ways to enjoy it this year.
Chinese New Year Displays
Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens celebrates the Year of the Rat with a Lunar New Year display open from Saturday, Jan. 11 through Saturday, March 7. The always gorgeous display is designed to bring prosperity and good fortune to the 20,000 visitors who visit daily.
The Forum Shops inside Caesars Palace will once again have its annual celebratory dragon display. The 22-foot-long dragon is located near the entrance to the mall from the casino. It’s not only a great photo opportunity for visitors but is also a traditional symbol of power, strength and good luck.
The Venetian and The Palazzo’s horticulture team consulted a feng shui master to transform the waterfall atrium with an installation of a colossal 2,000-pound golden rodent sculpture.
MGM Grand will transform into a Lunar New Year spectacle with vibrant displays of eye-catching floral décor and panda bears surrounding the resort’s iconic lion in the hotel lobby.
Chinese New Year Entertainment
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will host a dragon and lion dance on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. The event begins at the Las Vegas Boulevard entrance on the first floor of the Boulevard Tower
Park MGM will also have dragon and lion dances to commemorate the Year of the Rat. This celebration will take place on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m
Caesars Las Vegas properties will host nine lively lion dances and feature elaborate decorations in the lobby and common areas including hanging lanterns, banners, firecrackers, and floral arrangements, to bring good luck across Las Vegas.
The Venetian and The Palazzo
There will be entertainment at many Las Vegas casinos but The Venetian and The Palazzo stand out with plenty to offer under one roof. Check this out:
The properties will have a Chinese fan dance at noon on Saturday, Jan. 25 on the second level of the Grand Canal Shoppes. This will be followed by the annual eye-dotting ceremony and ceremonial lion dance at 3 p.m. in The Venetian porte cochère.
Later that night, the Grand Canal Shoppes will host the official Las Vegas opening ceremonies and ribbon cutting for the city’s ninth annual CNY in the Desert celebration. The event will be held on the second-level North Canal Turnaround at 6 p.m. This is followed by a traditional lion blessing and dance, cultural performances the Shirley Chen Dance Troupe, and a special appearance by the Shoppes’ Love Vespa couple Vespacho and Vespalina.
From Thursday, Jan. 23 – Sunday, Jan. 26, visitors can also enjoy live entertainment including the all-new Wishing Tree installation located in the heart of the Shoppes in the Palazzo tower. There will be more than 200 red envelopes filled with special prizes, from gift cards to chocolate gold coins and more, will be given out at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. This time is daily except Thursday and Friday, which will be at 5 p.m.
Additional activities include a lion dance at The Sky Garden at 6 p.m. nightly. There will be a Chinese drummer parade at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday featuring 10 live drummers, a spectacular lion dance performance, and a Chinese fan dance.
Lastly on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. the Grand Canal Shoppes will offer a special gift with purchase, Friday, Jan. 17 through Saturday, Feb. 1 from noon to 6 p.m.
Chinese New Year Dining
Chinese restaurants at most casinos will have special offerings for Chinese New Year. The Cosmopolitan has a couple of fantastic Chinese restaurants with unique offerings.
Guests can enjoy the unique menu at China Poblano by José Andrés. There will be a special menu available Monday, Jan. 20 through Sunday, Feb. 2. Specialty dishes include “Secret Garden” with black sesame fried tofu, seasonal greens, pear, almond and sesame dressing; “Dragon’s Pearl” with scallop and pork dumpling wrapped in daikon; and more.
The Cosmopolitan’s luxury Cantonese restaurant, Red Plate will be open Saturday, Jan. 25 through Wednesday, Jan. 29 in honor of Chinese New Year, with special operating hours for lunch (11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., daily) and dinner (5:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., daily). Red Plate is a great restaurant but it’s a fine dining establishment so don’t be surprised by the prices.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.
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