If you’ll be spending the 2012 holidays with us, you’re in for a treat! Vegas virtually transforms into a holiday theme park during the holidays. As the various resorts and casinos decorate, even a simple walk down the Strip becomes a quaint and charming stroll through a wintry wonderland. Moreover, you’ll find plenty of holiday activities and events to get you and your whole family in the season’s spirit!
Here are some of our favorite holiday activities — some secular, some specific to Christmas and others Hanukkah-oriented. But these are just a sampling: we suggest you check with our concierge during your stay for more information on holiday happenings in the area.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village ($)
We already mentioned the Magical Forest as a fun way to welcome the holiday season on Thanksgiving, but it bears repeating: this place is a holiday marvel. Millions of holiday lights, entertainment, displays, rides, food and more create a fantastically fun experience. All proceeds benefit people with disabilities at Opportunity Village.
Note: the Magical Forest will be celebrating Hanukkah with a special event on December 9. See below for more details.
Springs Preserve Holiday Spectacular ($)
We’re already great fans of Springs Preserve, and when they do it up big for the holidays? Yeah, we’re there. Their Holiday Spectacular is one of their signature annual events, and it’s a feast for the senses. They create an amazing experience out (eco-friendly) LED lights, holiday treats, crafts, “reindeer” (pony) rides, and more. They’re also hosting a snowman building contest; even if you don’t participate, you can enjoy others’ artistry along the Snowman Stroll.
On Sunday, December 16, the Holiday Spectacular will showcase a Posada, a Mexican Christmas tradition with song, dance, a candlelit procession, pinatas, and traditional food. The celebration will conclude with the tradition of Three Wise Men Day.
Ethel M Chocolate Factory (Free)
The Ethel M Chocolate Factory will be celebrating its 19th Annual Holiday Cactus Garden this year. In addition to a gorgeous and elaborate light display in their 3-acre cactus garden, guests will also find chocolate art in the shapes of Santa, reindeer, chocolate houses and more.
Town Square Las Vegas (Free)
6605 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89119 [Map]
Town Square Las Vegas is the perfect place to combine some holiday shopping with a holiday-themed experience.
Holiday Nights & Lights Community Concerts
Thursdays from November 22 through December 20, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Local community groups will perform every Thursday night before Snow in the Square. Performances will vary and include everything from choirs to holiday musicals enacted by local students.
Snow in the Square
November 16, 2012 through December 23, 2012
Daily at 7 p.m., with an additional 8 p.m. show on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Missing the snow? This is the place to hit. Each snow-show lasts ten minutes, choreographed to classic holiday music.
Las Vegas Natural History Museum Presents Holiday Traditions Around The World
Each weekend through the holiday season, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum will offer special displays and programming to explore a diverse set of traditions.
- December 1 & 2: Winter Hobbies
- December 8 & 9: Thai Tradition
- December 15 & 16: Winter Solstice
- December 22 & 23: The Historic Christmas
- December 29 & 30: Japanese Tradition
- January 5 & 6: Winter Feast
Glittering Lights Las Vegas ($)
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway transforms into a glittering marvel of lighted displays (all eco-friendly LED lights) accessible by car and benefitting numerous children’s charities. Tip: hit the restroom before you enter the fabulous Avenue of Trees.
NFR Cowboy Christmas Gift Show (Free to visit)
Las Vegas Convention Center, 3150 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV [Map]
December 6–15, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you read our other post on non-holiday December events in Vegas, you know something big — really big — happens this time of the year round these parts: the National Finals Rodeo. If you’re in town for that event and you’d like to sneak in some holiday cheer, you’re in luck. the 2012 NFR Cowboy Christmas Gift Show showcases the best of unique cowboy gifts from hundreds of vendors. The Convention Center is also only a 15-minute walk from our hotel.
Hanukkah & Jewish Events
Light of Life Menorah and Wine Walk ($)
Magical Forest at Oportunity Village, 6300 W. Oakey Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, 89146
Sunday, December 9, 2012 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
The Jewish Family Service Agency is sponsoring a special menorah lighting at the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village. Along with the candle lighting, they’re also holding a Wine Walk there.
Bagel Ball ($)
Sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of Southern Nevada, the Bagel Ball is our answer to New York’s Matzo Ball: a giant party for Jewish singles on December 24. Our suggestion: get there early if you want to get your drink on. The open bar switches to a cash bar at 11 p.m.
Image credit: rknds via sxc.hu