Las Vegas Turns into a Winter Wonderland for the Holidays

The entertainment capital of the world will be even brighter this season as Las Vegas bedazzles and transforms itself into a winter wonderland for the holidays.

The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino and The Palazzo Las Vegas welcome the second annual Winter in Venice holiday celebration. This year’s festivities feature an exclusive six-week run of “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Las Vegas, by Chip Davis,” featuring beloved and iconic holiday music in The Palazzo Theatre. In addition, a schedule of memorable Italian-inspired experiences include an enchanting winter parade, whimsical tree-lighting ceremony, stunning new 3-D light projection show, an elaborate Winter in Venice fantasy scene at Palazzo’s Waterfall Gardens and the return of the picturesque skating rink above The Venetian’s romantic outdoor Grand Canal. To cap off the winter fete, the Venetian’s Doge’s Palace hosts the stunning 3-D holiday light show “Lights of Venice” every night. The dazzling display concludes with a live finale that illuminates the iconic plaza and 65-foot Christmas tree. Winter in Venice runs through Jan. 6, 2013.

Holiday-themed prix fixe menus and specials will also be offered at the following restaurants inside The Venetian and The Palazzo; Aquaknox, B&B, Bouchon, Canaletto, Canyon Ranch Café, Delmonico, FIRST Food & Bar, Grand Lux Cafe, Pinot Brasserie, Postrio, Table 10, LAVO Italian Restaurant and Valentino.

Ring in the holiday season at Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, which is home to a 45-foot-tall holiday tree and a family of floral polar bears and penguins. Guests will have the perfect photo opportunity with a large floral card inside a 6-foot-tall elaborately carved frame. Visitors will also be greeted by the sounds of music with live performances by a harpist and the wondrous sight of a classic gingerbread village created by the Bellagio pastry chefs.  The Conservatory’s holiday exhibition is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week and will be on display the entire month of December.

While enjoying the yuletide decor of the Bellagio, visit one of the most iconic attractions in Las Vegas, the Fountains of Bellagio. With a diverse repertoire of musical tunes, the holiday selection includes classic hits such as “Hallelujah Chorus,” “Carol of the Bells,” “O Holy Night,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Santa Baby.” The Fountains dance for visitors every 30 minutes beginning at 3 p.m. Monday to Friday and noon on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. After 7 p.m. daily, performances are every 15 minutes until midnight.

Terry Fator: Ventriloquism in Concert presents “A Very Terry Christmas,” featuring holiday-themed performances by Terry Fator at the Mirage. During the run of special performances, the stage is transformed into the Fator Family’s “living room” in a journey featuring all of the show’s loveable puppets as they come home for Christmas. “A Very Terry Christmas” will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday through Dec. 22.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will transform its iconic Boulevard Pool into a winter wonderland overlooking the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Special evening programming will offer a night for everyone, including “Date Skate” Mondays, when visitors will experience a date night on ice as scenes from beloved holiday movies play on the resort’s 65-foot outdoor digital marquee. Every Wednesday, the most renowned DJs in Las Vegas will turn The Ice Rink into an outdoor club scene during “Industry Skate on The Strip,” creating a nightlife experience unlike any other.  Finally, “Throwback Thursdays” will give guests the opportunity to dig out their leg warmers and disco gear as they skate the night away to music from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. The Ice Rink will be open Nov. 30 through Jan. 20, 2013. Hours of operation are 3 to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Holiday hours will be in effect Dec. 24 to Jan. 4 and will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. All-day skating access is $10 for Nevada residents and $15 for non-residents. Visitors to The Ice Rink are allowed to bring their own skates or can rent a pair for $5.

Holiday celebrators will be able to start the countdown to Christmas with a special tree lighting ceremony at the Fremont Street Experience. On Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. the holiday lights will glow for all visitors to see. A Menorah Lighting Ceremony will follow on Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. at Fremont and 4th Street.

The holiday classics come to life at The Orleans with concerts by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Dec. 2. They’ll perform “The Lost Christmas Eve,” part three of the Christmas trilogy by Paul O’Neill. Concerts are set for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall will once again transform its Mystic Falls Laser Light and Water Show into a magical holiday experience with festive lighting, decorative snowflakes, garland streams, wreath-adorned lamp posts and snow-covered trees that fill the atrium. For the first time ever, Sam’s Town will present the 15-minute laser light spectacular hourly during the holiday season. The show can be seen 5-10 p.m. through Jan. 1, 2013. Cowboy Santa will appear Nov. 25 to Dec. 23 beginning at 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and at noon Saturdays and Sundays.

Speed up to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to check out Glittering Lights, Nevada’s largest drive-through Christmas light show. With more than one million lights along the 2.5-mile course, the festive holiday event is an “only Vegas” spectacular to behold. Glittering Lights is open nightly through Jan. 6, 2013. Motor through 5:30 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday.

In true holiday fashion, Believe in the Magic has returned to Fashion Show Mall. Believe in the Magic features a 35-foot Christmas tree, Fashion Show dancers, artificial snow that falls from the mall ceiling and, of course, Santa. The show is free and takes over the runway in The Great Hall (near Nordstrom) every two hours at noon through 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

Ethel M Chocolate Factory invites the public to explore their three-acre outdoor garden adorned with more than half a million holiday lights during the 19th Annual Holiday Cactus Garden now open through Jan. 1, 2013. The lights sparkle from 5 to 10 p.m. every night with Santa stopping by at 5 p.m. every weekend.

A trip to Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest will instill the holiday spirit. Wind through the holiday tree forest bedecked with whimsical decorations and more than three million lights, or hop on the Forest Express passenger train and Enchanted Carousel. Attractions are open now through Jan. 6, 2013, 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The snowflakes will be falling with Snow in the Square at Town Square Park every night at 7 p.m. from now until Christmas. Each show lasts 10 minutes and is choreographed to  popular holiday music. School choirs and holiday musicals take the stage in Town Square Park every Thursday night before the flurries fall.  In additional, the largest gathering of Santas makes its way to Town Square on Dec. 1 for the Las Vegas Great Santa Run benefitting Opportunity Village. Activities include a 1-mile walk and run, 5k walk and run, kids race, live bands, tasting village and breakfast with Santa.  Town Square did not forget about everyone’s favorite four-legged friends this holiday season. Holiday celebrators can bring their pets to Santa’s House for a photo with OId Saint Nick and treats every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Experience a green Christmas filled with fun, colorful excitement and much more in December at the annual Holiday Spectacular at the Springs Preserve. Bathed in the glow of thousands of colorful, eco-friendly LED lights, the celebration features tasty treats, holiday arts and crafts, reindeer (pony) rides and photos with Santa. Be a part of the spectacle Dec. 8-9 and 15-23, 5 to 9 p.m.

Lace up your ice skates to enjoy a quintessential Vegas winter experience at the MonteLago Village Resort at Lake Las Vegas. The one-of-a-kind floating ice rink is open through January and holds up to 75 skaters at a time with a picturesque back drop of The Village Lake Las Vegas. The Holiday tradition is open now through January 2013.

Santa, carolers and train rides take over Tivoli Village throughout the month of December. Kris Kringle will stop by every weekend to see who’s been naughty or nice. Visitors can also jump aboard the Tivoli Express every Saturday and Sunday through Christmas for $2 per person.

Old Saint Nick is also stopping by The Resort on Mount Charleston to have lunch with his favorite children on Dec. 9. Visitors can enjoy a lunch buffet, story-telling by a North Pole elf and pictures with Santa. Special holiday packages and Christmas Eve room rates start at $150.

Everyone will want to check out Santa putting on his scuba gear and diving into the aquarium with his elves at The Silverton Casino Hotel. Watch his underwater adventures every weekend starting Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.