Christmas At The Casino
Give the gift of experiences this Christmas with a trip for yourself or the whole family. It may not be the obvious vacation destination during the holidays, but Nevada gets in on the festive fun with themed window displays, decked-out casinos, and even ice skating.
While it may not be super busy in your favorite Nevada casino on Christmas morning, expect that the buffets will be bustling during lunch and dinner. Other than that, you can enjoy a typical visit to Vegas or Reno, but with a bit of holiday flare.
From hotels and casinos to shopping malls and the Motor Speedway, there’s something for everyone when you spend Christmas in Nevada.
Casinos are well-known for their tantalizing shows, and the holiday season is no exception. Whether one of your favorite artists has a residency during December, you’re planning on something seasonal, or you’re heading to a theater off the strip, there are a lot of entertainment choices in Vegas and Reno.
Holidays Shows in Vegas
- A Christmas Story – Hafen Theater at Tuacahn
- Mannheim Steamroller – Orleans Arena
- Shin Lim – Mirage
- O By Cirque du Soleil – Bellagio
- Tournament of Kings – Excalibur
- All Motown (Holiday Theming) – Pegasus Showroom
- Terry Fator (Holiday Theming) – New York, New York
- Disney on Ice (January) – Thomas and Mack Center
Holiday Shows in Reno
- Holiday Dreams – Grand Sierra Resort and Casino
- Spirit of the Season – Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts
- Hometowne Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting – City of Sparks
The Cosmopolitan Hotel offers ice skating during the winter months, even though the temperature rarely gets below freezing. The outdoor rink is actually the Boulevard Pool, and it offers views of the Eiffel Tower as well as access to fire pits for warming your mitts. They up the ambiance by also dropping snow on skaters, and you can enjoy movies playing in the background while you glide around the rink. A little fresh air and exercise is a great way to make room for all the holiday feasts and treats you’ll likely be enjoying on your vacation!
Even if your trip itself is part of your Christmas wishlist, sometimes it’s still nice to have a souvenir to remember it by. Or, get your holiday shopping done at some of the best stores in Vegas.
- The Fashion Show Mall
- The Forum Shops
- The Grand Canal Shoppes
- Las Vegas North Premium Outlets
- Miracle Mile Shops
- The Shops at Crystals
- Showcase Mall
- Town Square Las Vegas
If you’re staying at a hotel-casino in Reno, here are some of the best places to shop in The Biggest Little City in the World.
- Meadowood Mall
- Midtown District Reno
- Redfield Promenade
- Reno Town Mall
- The Riverwalk District
- The Summit Reno
- Outlets at Legends
You may not find an actual, snowy winter wonderland in Nevada over the holidays, but you can enjoy some artificial ones!
Featuring classic holiday decor such as toy soldiers, snow globes, and poinsettias, the Bellagio Conservatory stands out by making this decor to be larger than life. The famous Bellagio Fountains also get a holiday makeover, playing to tunes such as “Santa Baby,” and “Carol of the Bells.”
Aria’s Winter Wonderland
The Aria resort uses sweet treats to create a Christmas wonderland. Everything used in the display is edible, including 15-pound sugar cubes!
Ethel M Chocolate Factory
Evergreens might not be commonplace in Nevada, but who said a cactus can’t be festive? They are, after all, a type of vegetation that can stay green year-round! This chocolate factory features a three-acre cactus garden, and they deck it with lights during the holidays.
The Holiday Experience at The Park
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings in December, carolers stroll the strip to bring cheer to all who’ll hear. There are also pop-up experiences throughout the month so you can enjoy themed dining and live entertainment.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Enjoy the sights without getting out of your car! Head to the Speedway for the Glittering Lights and live nativity display. The drive is 2.5 miles long and the experience usually lasts into early January.
Annual Hidden Valley Parade of Lights
Just outside Reno, homes in the Hidden Valley neighborhood participate in a light contest for the holidays. This HOA knows how to get into the spirit!
City of Reno Holiday Tree
In the City Plaza, Reno guests and residents alike can enjoy an annual tree lighting ceremony.
Yes, Santa makes visits to casinos! If you want to take the kids to meet the Jolly Ol’ Elf, he can be found in a number of places throughout Vegas and Reno.
Santa in Vegas
- Bass Pro Shop Las Vegas
- Ethel M. Chocolates
- Fashion Show Mall
- Mandalay Bay – Shark Reef Aquarium
- Town Square Park
Santa in Reno
- Carson City V&T Railway
- Holiday Gift Show at Carson Mall
- Meadowood Mall
- 39 North Pole village
- Stories with Santa (Summit and United Federal Credit Union
- The Center Plaza
Be sure to double-check at dates and locations prior to promising the kids they’ll be meeting with Santa. Also, different venues will have different opportunities; some meetings will be socially distanced, some may require masks, and not all will offer photo packages.
Christmas in the Great Outdoors
Part of the appeal of traveling south for the holidays is being able to spend time outside in warm weather on Christmas. Nevada is home to a number of state parks, as well as public places to get outside and get moving. The holidays can be a complicated time for some of us, but being active can help boost mood and offer much-needed time to recharge.
State Parks in Nevada
- Beaver Dam
- Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area
- Cave Lake
- Cathedral Gorge
- Echo Canyon
- Fort Churchill
- Ice Age Fossils
- Lake Tahoe Nevada
- Valley of Fire
- Sand Harbor
- Spring Mountain Rance
- Spring Valley
- Washoe Lake
- Willow Creek Rec Area
If you can’t get far from your hotel in Vegas or Reno, spend some time in the on-site fitness facility if you need a shot of endorphins to put the “Happy” back in your “Holidays.” You can learn more about the positive effects of exercise HERE. Of course, traveling over the holidays may be a time for you to take a break from your regular workout routine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move your body in fun and effective ways while on vacation!