We know, cookie cutter holidays, doing the same things you’ve done year after year is never the most fun. Makes you want to run screaming to the nearest airport to escape it all, huh? We heard you loud and clear. Welcome to Las Vegas. Here, you’re free to create the holiday you want to celebrate. From delectable dining to awe-inspiring entertainment, there was plenty to choose from in Las Vegas to keep you joyful during the season.

 

Dining Done Right

We already know holidays are all about the food (hello elastic waistbands!) and Las Vegas has the most complete collection of world-class restaurants, making it one of the best cities in the world to dine out. And since you created new traditions, the options were endless. Wanted to try something new? The Holiday Dim Sum Brunch at Wing Lei at Wynn Las Vegas was delicious. And the Peking Duck at MR CHOW inside Caesars Palace will be succulent (say goodbye to Grandma’s sawdust turkey). You flipped the same old boring menu on its head and enjoyed the seasonal winter menu at Downtown Las Vegas’ Carson Kitchen, which included Lollipop Frog Legs, Hatch Chile Philly and Beeramisu (made with CraftHaus Belgard coffee stout). And you mixed it up more with Chinese-Mexican fusion at China Poblano inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where noodles and tacos come together to party. Some went for broke, so it was a good thing every buffet, and just about every restaurant in a casino, were open, so they’ll probably served something holiday-esque, including prix fixe holiday menus with those nostalgic favorites – ‘twas the season for ALL the carbs. Bonus points: you didn’t have to do the dishes.

No Re-Gifting Required

You started dreading the “thoughtful” gifts that you’d receive from the relatives in October (I’m talking to you, 10-pack of socks). Luckily, in Vegas you were free to shop until your heart was content and got yourself something you truly love. Shopaholics find longtime favorites and avant-garde shops to iconic anchor stores and luxurious boutiques, all in one stretch of road. The Fashion Show Las Vegas shopping center, located right on the Las Vegas Strip, is a shopper’s dream with eight familiar anchors stores, 250 stores and 250 restaurants, and will have roaming holiday entertainment and festive fashion shows. The Las Vegas North Premium Outlets is great for discounted shopping from more than 175 designer and name-brand retailers, such as Lululemon, Tory Burch, John Varvatos and Jimmy Choo. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is host to 160 specialty shops and restaurants − including brands like Versace, Fendi and Gucci. For more luxury shopping, check out the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzow – featuring Jimmy Choo and Burberry; as well as The Shops at Crystals, which offers a modern landscape of luxury boutiques among visually captivating architecture. For super upscale retail therapy, hit Via Bellagio at Bellagio Las VegasThe Shops at Crystals; and Wynn Plaza at Wynn Las Vegas

Oh, What Fun 

Since it was the holidays you weren’t afraid to embrace the spirit a bit, just with some Vegas pizazz. With an abundance of sparkling lights, outdoor events and activities to choose from, Las Vegas shone as the ultimate destination to celebrate and spread the joy. Some got outside and beheld the beauty of the winter scenery created at The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas where you skated across 4,200 square feet of real ice and roasted s’mores by the firepits; strolled through three acres of holiday fun at Ethel M. Chocolates Cactus Garden Holiday Lights nightly; visited the spectacular 50-foot tree at Fremont Street Experience under the 12.5 million energy-efficient LED lights of the Viva Vision canopy; and saw millions of festive light arrangements on a 2½ mile ride, all without getting out of the car at Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens brought the outdoors in when it transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring a polar bear family made from thousands of white carnations.

Even though it was the holidays, there were still many options for Vegas-quality entertainment to suit your taste. Some of the hottest shows in town got festive including Mariah Carey’s Christmas concert series “All I Want For Christmas Is You” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace; the Tournament of Kings Holiday Show “’Twas the Knight” at Excalibur Hotel & Casino; the holiday classic The Nutcracker at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, performed by Nevada Ballet Theatre; and ventriloquist Terry Fator and his cast of characters spread cheer with Terry Fator: The Voice of Entertainment presents A Very Terry Christmas 2, The Sequel at The Mirage Hotel & Casino. Kids of all ages visited the big man himself (and Santa Jaws) when the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino brought back Santa in the Shipwreck. And some had a celebratory Breakfast with Santa at the Downtown Container Park.

 

Now that you have a list (checked twice, of course) full of reasons why Las Vegas changes the holidays, what’s your excuse not to come? Go on, book that flight for next year – and make your Vegas adventure a jolly one.