By Sarah Khalid
My family and I decided to visit Las Vegas this month in an attempt to escape the cold Toronto weather. We thankfully missed the ice storm and had an amazing week in a beautiful and fun city.
For a city that’s known for its crazy nightclubs and multitude of casinos, I expected to be limited in more tame activities. But I ended up having a great time with my family and have documented the highlights of my trip for those interested in visiting the bright lights of Las Vegas, but don’t necessarily want to gamble or spend a lot of money.
1. Bellagio Fountains
Right outside of the Bellagio hotel is a beautiful fountain that puts on a performance every 15 minutes between 8 PM and 12 AM. The fountain’s water is perfectly timed with music and while we were there the fountain danced to many Christmas songs. The show is spectacular and definitely shouldn’t be missed.
2. The Bellagio Christmas Display
During the month of December inside the Bellagio hotel there is a beautiful Christmas display. An exquisite Christmas tree, a snow simulator and a running toy train are only a few of the things to see in the display. It’s a great place to take your family for some holiday pictures.
3. The Eiffel Tower
Part of the Paris Hotel and Casino includes a replica of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. It is bright and beautiful and definitely a staple that cannot be missed on the Vegas strip. There’s also a restaurant halfway up the tower that serves lunch and dinner (but make sure to make a reservation). The Bellagio fountains mentioned above can be seen from the restaurant as well.
4. Hoover Dam
If you have a car (or you rent one) you can visit the Hoover Dam for free. The Hoover Dam is located on the border between Arizona and Nevada and is a pretty cool sight to see. Note: If you’re staying at a hotel on the strip, there are usually tours that you can pay for to go see the Hoover Dam.
1. Gondola Ride at the Venetian Hotel
You can take a gondola ride outside and inside of the Venetian Hotel for about $20 per person. You can also take a more private 2-person gondola ride for a bit extra. This is definitely a nice thing to do in December because there are amazing Christmas decorations and a big Christmas tree to be in awe of as you enjoy your ride.
2. Ice Skating at the Venetian Hotel
If you’re travelling with small kids, you should definitely visit the ice skating rink that is located right outside of the Venetian hotel. It’s under $10 per person and is a fun thing to do during Christmas in Vegas.
3. Horse-Back Riding at the Grand Canyon
There are a couple ways you can get to the Grand Canyon. You can schedule a tour from your hotel or you can rent a car. We decided to rent a car to visit the West Rim of the canyon, which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the Mirage hotel (where we stayed). While we were there, some of us decided to go on a horseback ride that took us to the edge of the canyon. For those craving some adventure, this is a thrilling way to see the inside of the canyon. A half an hour ride is approximately $35 but longer rides are available as well.
Vegas during the holidays is fun, the weather is beautiful (warm, not hot), and there’s a lot to do for families and students if you’re not interested in the standard fare club/casino attraction. A definite option for an enjoyable wintertime family vacation.