Everything You Absolutely Must Do in Las Vegas This Winter

Published On 11/28/2016 Published On 11/28/2016
XIV Vegas Sessions
XIV Vegas Sessions
Las Vegas Christmas
Asif Islam/Shutterstock


Thursday - Saturday
Dec 1-31
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Richard Petty Driving Experience is offering a great deal all month long. Buy a ride-along for as low as $59 and save $100 on any driving experience. That means you can ride shotgun with a professional instructor in a two-seat NASCAR race car for a few laps and get behind the wheel yourself -- while hitting speeds that approach 165 miles per hour.
Dec 3
Lucky Dragon
The Lucky Dragon officially opens its doors with a grand opening celebration that includes an elaborate dragon dance in the lobby. The independently owned and operated casino and resort is heavily geared towards the foreign market, but it also has an impressive tea program and a strong lineup of restaurants serving authentic Asian cuisine that will attract more than just tourists. They include Dragon's Alley, a lantern-lit area of stations serving dim sum, barbecue, and other street food. Phoenix on the other hand, is an intimate dining room where you might find deer tendon among the delicacies while Pearl Ocean specializes in live seafood flown in daily.   
Dec 4
2016 will be remembered as a year that saw far too many good shows close on the Strip. Among them -- Million Dollar Quartet, a lively production that celebrates the night that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins in one spot. The final performance takes place exactly 60 years after that infamous meeting of rock 'n' roll legends -- back in 1956.
Monday - Monday
Dec 5-Jan 4
Nobody combines dry adult humor and magic tricks quite like Piff the Magic Dragon and his pet chihuahua Mr. Piffles. Together, the two will put a new holiday twist on their Vegas residency at the Flamingo. Piff's Piffmas Piff-tacular features new acts and guest stars -- and will auction off a "magic muffin" each night to help homeless animals. The muffin may or may not be on the stale side.
Dec 7
Chef Francesco DeFuria of Bistro 57 will present an Italian cooking demonstration with a holiday theme at 6pm. He'll give guests a step-by-step lesson on the techniques used in creating each dish in a four-course meal. Of course, each one will be presented to the table when ready for everyone to chow down on. Highlights include truffle risotto and beef shank with broccolini. The whole thing is just $50.
Friday - Sunday
Dec 9-11
The Venetian & Palazzo
The Venetian and Palazzo hosts one of the best culinary events of the year, with three days of food and drinking. Le Grand Voyage is the theme of this year's Ultimo -- and it's loaded with fun events, including for the first time ever, a Dom Perignon picnic in Red Rock Canyon, a hot air balloon ride, and a Rolls-Royce driving experience. Of course, the Grand Banquet will return, featuring a table so long, it winds all the way through the lobby of the Venetian. Thomas Keller, Curtis Stone, and Mourad Lahlou are among the guest celebrity chefs taking part.
Dec 10
Nothing says "Happy Holidays" quite like the thought of a sinking cruise ship. So Santa himself will be posing for photos at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition 1-3pm on a replica of the doomed ocean liner's famous staircase. (He'll also return a week later on December 17th.) If you want to stuff coal in someone's stocking, stop by the gift shop where authentic pieces of coal from the Titanic are for sale at $25 a pop (for a ¼ inch).  
Dec 10
Downtown Container Park
Just another reason to be merry and bright, the "I'm Dreaming of a Wine Christmas" wine and holiday cocktail walk will take place at stations scattered throughout the park 3-6pm. Admission is $30 at the door or $25 if you book online. There will be live music and an ugly sweater contest.
Wednesday - Sunday
Dec 14-25
Crazy Horse III
The Crazy Horse III strip club is hosting a "12 Days of XXXmas" celebration with something more than just nine ladies dancing or eight maids a-milking. A different free cocktail will be handed out each night by some of Santa's helpers. That means more money to spend on lap dances and other holiday wishes.
Dec 15
Green Valley Ranch
The Green Valley Ranch casino celebrates its 15th anniversary with a Rock Shot Bingo birthday party. Offering a new spin on your grandmother's favorite game, Rock Shot Bingo has a DJ, shots for winners, complimentary cocktails, and this time around, a few tasty cupcakes. Doors open 8pm and $25 covers 10 games.
Dec 17
Monte Carlo
The Park Theater opens for the first time with a concert by Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders. The new venue is designed to have the elaborate production values of an arena in a more intimate setting, where every seat -- including the back row -- is awesome. Grab a ticket and be one of the 5,200 people who can say they were there first.
Dec 19
Hard Rock
The monthly Mondays Dark performances bring together top performers from the Strip all in one place. A special third anniversary show will take place inside The Joint at 7pm -- its final edition at the Hard Rock before moving to The Space, a new multi-purpose venue just off the Strip. Expect a rowdy celebration, including food and drink, to mark everything the shows have done so far to help Vegas charities.
Dec 25
Hit the Strip for Christmas
Hit the Strip for Christmas
The Strip
It's the perfect day to visit one of the hot destinations on the Strip going all out for the winter holiday season. They include Winter PARQ at The LINQ where the outdoor promenade has been transformed into a winter spectacle with live entertainment and falling snow; the Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan, complete with hot cocktails and fire pits; and The Park outside New York-New York, which features a 60ft tall tree, ice skating, and the singing of carolers.
Dec 28
The newest Las Vegas residency isn't by a megastar pop singer or oldies act, but from five vocalists from the UK called the Tenors of Rock. These fun fellows with fine voices are debuting a new show that features harmonically complex renditions of songs by the likes of Aerosmith, Queen, and AC/DC. Think of them as a more badass version of Pentatonix.
Dec 30
On the Strip
After more than a year out of action, Ronda Rousey is back in the UFC, hoping to reclaim her Women's Bantamweight Championship from current title holder Amanda Nunes. You can check out UFC 207 at the T-Mobile Arena, or if you want a less expensive alternative, grab a seat at the viewing party at Beer Park on the Strip. Packages start at $50. Beer Park also recently introduced an in-house sportsbook, making it easier than ever to place a last minute bet on the fights.
Styx | Randy Miramontez/Shutterstock


Friday - Thursday
Jan 6-7
SLS Las Vegas
A pair of familiar faces from Saturday Night Live kick off a regular gig at The Foundry, as Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz team up for two shows each month. The series is called Reunited, and is perfect for anyone who grew up in the '80s quoting the Church Lady or saying "that's the ticket" all the time.  
Wednesday - Thursday
Jan 6-14
The Venetian
Classic rock veterans Styx will take over the Venetian Theater for a five night run. It's a great chance to see the band in a more intimate venue than usual -- and hear "Mr. Roboto" one more time. Former Eagle Don Felder opens up the shows.
Monday - Thursday
Jan 18-21
The AVN Awards is known as the "Oscars of Porn" -- recognizing the best talent in adult entertainment. Of course, it happens every year in Las Vegas, along with a four-day expo to meet your favorite stars and check out the latest... um, products. You can even buy $450 tickets for "private suite parties" -- whatever that might be.
Wednesday - Sunday
Jan 18-22
T-Mobile Arena
For the first time ever, a Cirque du Soleil production will unfold on the floor of the T-Mobile Arena. Toruk -The First Flight is inspired by James Cameron's Avatar -- and full of elaborate sets, costumes, and acrobatics. See for yourself if it can outshine the other Cirque shows already on the Strip.
Jan 28
North Las Vegas
In addition to being the oldest craft brewery in Las Vegas, Big Dog's Brewing Company throws one of the best beer parties of the season. Winterfest will offer more than 40 craft beers to sample, music, games, and food designed to warm you up -- including some tasty winter stew. The fun unfolds at Big Dog's Draft House and will last well into the night.
Thursday - Saturday
Jan 28-30
Chinatown (and other locations)
The annual Chinese New Year in the Desert festival continues to get bigger and better, with events in multiple locations, including The LINQ, Fashion Show Mall, and the Downtown Container Park. Also known as the Spring Festival, affiliated restaurants around town will feature special Chinese New Year menus.
Color Run


Feb 5
Bet on the big game
Bet on the big game
Multiple locations
Super Bowl LI will take place live from Houston. We don't know who's playing yet, but we do know that you'll be able to make some big money in Vegas -- if you place the right bet. Caesars Palace, the Westgate, MGM Grand, Venetian, and the Cosmopolitan all have big sportsbooks featuring the latest perks and technology. Umami Burger, Beer Park, and Lagasse's Stadium are among the sports bars that have their own betting windows.
Thursday - Saturday
Feb 9-11
On the Strip & Downtown
For the Love of Cocktails, a three-day festival celebrating mixology, will offer a fun lineup of events, including a Grand Gala on the 64th floor of the Delano hotel on the Strip. You can also expect demonstrations and a chance to rub shoulders with the top mixology masters in Vegas.
Feb 12
Hyde Bellagio
XIV Vegas Sessions will transform Hyde Bellagio into a fairy tale party -- with its signature champagne showers, fist-pumping house music, and storms of confetti. Pick the perfect costume for a night of pure fantasy and live happily ever after. The party begins at 6pm.
Feb 25
The Color Run returns to Las Vegas with a 5K through Downtown, offering a little more excitement than your average morning jog. Put on a white T-shirt and get ready to get sprayed with a rainbow assortment of paint while dashing through city streets. You can sign up as an individual or part of a team.