Vegas might not be the first place that comes to mind for a traditional holiday getaway, but each year approximately 900,000 people visit the Entertainment Capitol of the World between December 22 and 26, and for good reason. Not only will you find flight and hotel rates slightly lower during this time of the year, but you’ll also find the city decked out in its holiday best.

From free holiday attractions to some of the best dining in the world, if you’re planning Christmas in Vegas, we’ve compiled our list of fun things to do in Vegas and tips for make your Las Vegas vacation one that is filled with holiday spirit.

 

Dress for the season

First thing’s first. An easy way to start a vacation off on the wrong foot is not dressing properly. Despite being in the desert, expect cooler temperatures. The average temperature in December in Las Vegas is between 50-60 degrees with the low dipping down into the 30s and 40s. So, pack a jacket or plan to pick up that touristy Vegas sweatshirt to keep you warm.

 

Enjoy a free attraction

There’s plenty of things to do in Vegas during the holidays both on the Strip as well as off the Strip – and bonus – all of these Las Vegas attractions are kid-friendly too. Here’s a few of a few of our favorites:

 

On the Strip

 

Dancing fountains at the Bellagio

This free fountain water show is truly spectacular and a must-see. During the holidays, the show features special performances of classic holiday songs. Shows starts at 3 pm Monday-Friday and noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

And while you’re visiting the fountains, stop into the Atrium at the Bellagio. This 14,000-square-foot botanical garden is transformed into a breathtaking holiday display. The 2018 exhibit is called “Majestic Holiday Magic.” It features more than 28,000 fresh poinsettias and thousands of lights. The display is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week through January 6, 2019.

 

The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan

Located next to the Bellagio, The Cosmopolitan once again has transformed its Boulevard Pool into a winter wonderland high above the Las Vegas Strip. At The Ice Rink, you can skate across 4,200 square feet of real ice, roast s’mores by the fire and indulge in seasonal food and drinks.

 

Off The Strip

 

Ethel M. Chocolate Factory Cactus Garden Light Display

If you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path, head to the city of Henderson. A few minutes off from the Las Vegas Strip, Henderson is home to the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and its three-acre cactus garden. During the holidays, the cactus garden is illuminated with more than one million lights! Stroll through the lights while sipping on hot chocolate (trust us – you want to get hot chocolate). And, did we mention you can also sign up for a Chocolate & Wine Tasting Experience? The 30-45-minute class includes a bit of education on how chocolate is sourced, refined and produced. Visit on select nights for choir performance and photos with Santa. The cactus garden is open from 8 a.m., with lights from dusk to 10 p.m.

 

Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Speedway

This 2.5-mile LED Course at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway features more than 500 animated and sparkling displays and millions of lights. Glittering Lights also has its own radio station with a playlist created just for the drive. The display is open from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5:30 p.m. through 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday through January.

 

Make dinner reservations in advance

While the time between Christmas and New Year’s is generally a bit slow in Vegas, you’ll still want to make dining reservations in advance. Buffets are a popular choice and many offer special meals for Christmas, but plan for longer lines. Upscale restaurants often add pre-fixe options to celebrate the holidays too, but make sure to call ahead to reserve a table. Check out Eater Las Vegas’ list of where to dine on Christmas (hint: it includes MB Steak at the Hard Rock Hotel).

If you haven’t booked your Vegas holiday vacation, and you’re looking to make your holiday rock check out Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Through the end of the year the hotel has a number of room offers room rates up to 40% off weekdays and a special Year-End Savings Event with up to 30% off rooms.