We’re going to share with you some local secrets that we have loved since our childhood. Las Vegas is already known as the city of lights, but these aren’t the kind that is on the Strip, these are the lights that flicker to life when winter rolls in. These are the lights that bring cheer and the twinkle of Christmas the eyes of children. Christmas runs rampant in this town, and if you know where to go, family fun is everywhere.
MAGICAL FOREST AT OPPORTUNITY VILLAGE
When we think of Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village. They work all year for this special season and this year they are celebrating their Silver Anniversary, 25 years of lighting up Las Vegas. There is nightly entertainment, food to enjoy along with a stroll through a uniquely decorated forest. Don’t forget to take photos with Santa in his workshop or check out the express train. General admission for adults is $12 while children are $10. The rides and activities are purchased individually. To enjoy the fun without limits, the passport is the way to go at $22 for adults and $19 for children. Enjoy the family outing knowing that the proceeds benefit those with disabilities at Opportunity Village. We recommend checking out the movie inside with a cup of fresh hot cocoa, especially if the wee ones get chilly.
6300 W. Oakey Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89146
November 19th – January 1st (Closed Christmas day)
DOWNTOWN SUMMERLIN’S ROCK RINK AND HOLIDAY PARADE
Just because we don’t have lakes to freeze, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a good ice skating rink. The rink has a perfect backdrop with a 30-foot Christmas tree that has a light show every hour from 4-10 pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, a DJ will keep the rink rocking with Christmas music and Top 40 sprinkled in. Just because we live in the desert of Las Vegas doesn’t mean that we can’t have the joy of gliding on the ice at blurring speeds. The skating fee of $15 includes and ice skate rentals. And don’t worry, there are food trucks adjacent to the rink where steaming drinks are sold to warm up the frozen noses of the families that enjoy our most recent rink.
Down Town Summerlin near the Pavilion on the Lawn
1980 Festival Plaza Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89135
November 11th – January 15th (closed Christmas day)
Monday – Thursday: 4–9pm
After a long day skating or before an evening dinner, try to catch their parade that occurs nightly December 16th – 24th starting at 6 pm. This beautiful event takes place in the streets on Park Center Drive, an array of brightly colored floats, nutcrackers, ballerinas, princesses, toy soldiers, penguins, polar bears, and reindeer bring the magic of Christmas to life.
Not only can you explore the history of Las Vegas through their interactive exhibits, gardens, trails, and animal shows but you can also plan a trip to visit Santa Claus. Take a train ride to Santa’s magical village and immerse your little ones in an experience that would make the North Pole jealous. Take a picture with Santa, make some holiday crafts, decorate cookies, listen to Christmas stories being told, and enjoy the nutcracker display and much more when you book a ride on the Springs Preserve Holiday Express. The train leaves every thirty minutes starting at noon until 5 pm and lasts just under an hour and a half. Spaces are limited for each departure so booking ahead of time to guarantee your trip is highly recommended. It is best to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled Santa visit and tickets are $10 per person with children under 2 free.
333. S. Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89107
GLITTERING LIGHTS AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
One of the best Christmas light displays in Las Vegas is set up at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gather the family into the warm and toasty car to take a drive. For the last 12 years, this dazzling show has been putting smiles on the faces of countless families. Set your radio to their station and listen to the Christmas music as you slowly drive under all the beautiful lights and scenes. Before you get started grab a hot chocolate to keep your hands and bellies warm if the windows are down to get a better view, additional snacks and drinks will be available for purchase. The 2.5-mile drive is best taken slow to ensure you don’t miss anything. There are a few options for tickets; a one-time weekday pass is $20 per vehicle, any day tickets are $30, a season pass is $70 for unlimited visits. A new way to experience the glittering lights is by Santa Tram. For $35 a person you get a ride through the lights, hot cocoa, kettle corn, and a picture with Santa.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
7000 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89115
November 11th– January 7th
Friday & Saturday: 5–10pm
ETHEL M CHOCOLATES FACTORY AND CACTUS GARDEN
A tradition that has lasted more than two decades, Ethel M. Chocolate factory pairs decadent chocolates with a light display in their cactus gardens unlike anywhere else. It brings Christmas a little closer to home and makes it all Vegas. They show us that it’s not only big beautiful trees that can be strung with colored Christmas lights but all varieties of desert landscaping. The three-acre cactus garden is filled with over 300 species of cacti covered with millions of lights. Santa visits the beautiful garden on weekends and local choirs can be heard singing Christmas carols. While you are there we highly recommend that you pop into the factory and get a little chocolate fix for the ride home. While gardens and live music are free to the public open to the public, support this beautiful location with a quick Santa visit and splurge a little on some chocolate stocking stuffers like the rest of the locals. The trick is if you can get it home for wrapping before eating it all yourself.
Ethel M Chocolate Factory
2 Cactus Garden Drive Henderson, Nevada 89104
November 15th–January 1st
Daily: 5–10 pm
Santa visits Friday–Sunday: 5–9 pm until Christmas
Performances by the choirs Friday–Sunday: 6–8 pm
MARC SAVARD’S HOME CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAY
Though hunting for Christmas lights is not a Las Vegas original activity, we do have the best lights. One of those displays is done by our own Marc Savard, a Las Vegas comedian, and hypnotist. Every year he decorates his home with over 95,000 different colored bulbs. Each bulb is meticulously set to music, and you can hear it from the comfort of your car. This hypnotic light show comes to life every Thanksgiving and lasts through New Year’s Eve. The show starts every night at 6:00 pm sharp and turns off automatically at 10:00 pm. Pile the kids in the car, or adults if you’d like, and bring a few snacks. Our favorite things to snack on while watching the show are Ethyl M. Chocolates and a mug of real hot chocolate.
1420 E. Robindale Road, Las Vegas, NV 89123
November 24th–January 1st
Daily: 6–10 pm