Growing up in Michigan, I have always experienced the winter holidays in the stereotypical winter setting; the changing color of nature’s landscape, leaves falling on the grass, white snow blanketing the leaves, ice covering the streets… does that not sound absolutely amazing?
This spring, i will have lived in Las Vegas for nine years. Before moving to the desert, i had never really thought about my 26 years spent in a Winter Wonderland, or how different my winter experiences would be. Although the messiness and bitter chill of Midwestern winter was not something i had ever truly enjoyed, I cherish the memories that flood my mind when the holidays come around.
2015 marks my ninth holiday season in Vegas. Like so many of my Midwestern counterparts, I have come to truly appreciate how vastly different, yet at the same time familiar, the holiday season is in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas, much like the traditional Christmas tree, overflows with bright lights throughout the year. However, the city has so much more magic to offer through the holiday season. The most notable offerings include several popular mainstays (with a Las Vegas twist, of course) and a few new events for you to check out with the family.
The Bellagio Conservatory
This is hands down my favorite Vegas event, and the only display I have made sure to see every year I’ve lived here. The Conservatory is ever-changing, and always amazing. With the changing of each season (four times a year), the Bellagio transforms the conservatory and botanical gardens into spectacular, unique scenes; the most extravagant of all is the themed floral display. The images speak for themselves. The display is available for viewing 24/7 until the end of the season. 3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd, 702.693.7111, free
Four Seasons Hotel
The Four Seasons is tucked inside the Mandalay Bay Resort, with its own exclusive lobby, which may make its display a little difficult to find. However, the display is worth the effort. Once you arrive, you will be truly amazed by the Four Seasons’ life-size gingerbread village. Just make sure you don’t take a bite out of it, tempting as it may be! 3960 S. Las Vegas Blvd, 702.632.5000, free
Town Square Mall
Just south of the strip, Town Square has its own pop-up village with what is possibly the tallest Christmas tree in Vegas. Kids and adults can visit Santa and his helpers at his house and tell them everything you want for Christmas. Stay a while so you can catch the Snow in the Square, a 10 minute choreographed show set to classic holiday music. Open Monday-Thursdays 7 pm, Friday-Saturday 8 pm, free
Las Vegas’ newest shopping, dining, and entertainment complex provides a fresh scene for Vegas locals. Their Christmas tree might just be as tall as the tree in Town Square. While your kids are taking advantage of the outdoor ice rink, you can browse through the Christmas spruce forest (and maybe even take one home!). 1980 Festival Plaza Dr., 702.832.1055, free
Some other displays I have not been able to check out personally, but think you definitely should are…
Fashion Show Mall
Interactive holiday display with Shrek and his friends. Open until December 24th. Monday-Saturday 10 am – 8 pm, Saturdays 11 am – 7 pm and Sundays 11 am – 7 pm. Tickets available.
Aqua Santa is back again! Think “North Pole meets the Little Mermaid.” Santa takes you under the sea for this wet winter wonderland display. Santa and his mermaids are equipped with microphones and speakers to speak with guests. 7 days a week, noon-1:15 pm and 2 pm-3:15 pm, free
Ethel M Chocolates
The Cactus Gardens is transformed into a winter wonderland. The display will continue until January 1st. 2 Cactus Garden Dr., Henderson, 702.435.2655
18 holiday seasons and counting, the Mystic Falls exhibit at Sam’s Town indoor park is decked out from floor to ceiling in its holiday best. 5225 Boulder Highway, 702.456.7777, free
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway has one of the top holiday displays in the U.S. The Glittering Lights display offers guests 2.5 miles of pure holiday joy. It is the largest drive-through holiday light display show in the west, and perfect for the whole family. $20 per vehicle or $55 for a season pass