It may not be a white Christmas, but Las Vegas is still a sweet spot to spend the holidays. Here are 10 things to do in this Nevada city this month.
Check out neon signs and do holiday activities at The Neon Museum
Filled with huge, brightly coloured neon signs from Las Vegas’s past, The Neon Museum is a worthy stop no matter when you visit. But December is a particularly good month to stop by and enjoy to the museum’s December to Remember event on December 17. During the free, annual event, you can take photos with Santa, create ornaments in the Boneyard Park and listen to some carolling by a local choir.
Drive underneath more than three million glittering lights
As soon as the sun goes down, hop in your (rental) car, and head to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for its Glittering Lights event, which runs until January 7, 2017. This family-friendly event features more than three million lights spread across four kilometres, creating a dazzling light show you can drive through. Feeling hungry? You can have popcorn and cocoa delivered right to your car for the drive.
Eat pizza at a new eatery dedicated to an American daredevil
Pay tribute to late stunt performer Evel Knievel at Evel Pie, a new pizzeria that opened on Fremont Street in November. The licensed eatery, decked out in a lit-up “Live Hard, Ride Fast, Eat Pizza” sign and lots of Evel Knievel trophies and memorabilia, serves up whole pizza pies and individual slices. If you can, stop by the downtown eatery for happy hour, which runs everyday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Take part in a Boozy Brunch tour
Get your brunch fix on a foodie excursion with Lip Smacking Foodie Tours. During the Boozy Brunch tour, which starts at 10:30 a.m. on weekends, you’ll get to experience three brunch spots at the ARIA hotel. Try Southern California dishes at Herringbone and French fare at Bardot Brasserie before ending up at Lemongrass for dim sum. As an added bonus, cocktails and mocktails are served throughout the tour.
Go hiking in Red Rock Canyon
Take a break from the glitz and glam of the Las Vegas strip, and spend some time in nature at Red Rock Canyon, just a 30-minute drive away. Drive the looped, 21-kilometre scenic-drive route through the canyon, or hike one of the many marked trails that range in difficulty and length. There is also a variety of outfitters that offer guided hikes.
Take in a holiday ballet performance
Attending a performance of The Nutcracker at Christmastime is a family tradition for many. This month, the Nevada Ballet Theater performs the classic at the city’s Smith Center for the Performing Arts for a fifth year. Choreographed by artistic director James Canfield, the ballet will bring the characters of Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy to life, and will feature a live orchestra during select performances. The ballet runs from December 10 to 24.
Skate on an outdoor rink at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Winter is not terribly cold in the desert, but this doesn’t mean you can’t go skating in Las Vegas. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has once again turned its Boulevard Pool into a huge outdoor skating rink with firepits and snow. Indulge in some cinnamon churros and an eggnog cocktail, and then hit the rink for some icy fun.
Shop and eat at Downtown Container Park
If you need to do some last-minute holiday shopping, head to the open-air Downtown Container Park on Fremont Street. Work up a shopping appetite for jewellery, toys and apparel in stops housed within shipping containers, then stop in at Big Ern’s BBQ or Pinches Taco to fill your stomach. On weekends, there are usually free musical performances, and this month will feature visits with Santa and the Ugly Sweater Wine Walk.
Stay at a new casino and hotel on Sahara Avenue
Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino celebrates its highly anticipated grand opening on December 3. The property features a 203-room hotel and casino, and its Asian theme extends from decor to cuisine. Lucky Dragon also has a spa and five restaurants that offer everything from dim sum at Pearl Ocean to Asian street food at Dragon’s Alley.
Watch New Year’s Eve fireworks from a 168-metre-tall observation wheel
Come New Year’s Eve, you’ll want to get as high in the air as possible to see the fireworks. One of the best places to do that is the High Roller observation wheel, which is the tallest of its kind, at 168 metres. A full rotation takes 30 minutes, so you’ll have plenty of time to take in the fireworks and the birds-eye views of the Strip.