8 Unique Experiences in Las Vegas Perfect For a Winter Getaway

Neon Museum Las Vegas La Concha sign

Sin is popular. In fact, Las Vegas — Sin City itself — attracted about 34.1 million potential sinners in 2023, according to Tourism Analytics. 

The city is a different place during the holidays, though. Visitors can fly through the air like Peter Pan or see Santa Claus scuba dive with sharks. They can take a walk through the Bellagio conservatory and see hundreds of thousands of Christmas decorations. Las Vegas transforms into a desert version of a holiday wonderland this time of year. It is a great place to plan an adventure.

While on a trip earlier in December, news/lifestyle writer and host Jeroslyn JoVonn said, “I enjoyed the relaxed crowds and holiday atmosphere throughout Vegas. It was the perfect time to take in the hidden gems of the city without the intense heat and increased foot traffic the spring and summer months bring.”

Experience the Magic of Flight at FlyOver

Flyover Las Vegas iRide.

Image Credit: Flyover Las Vegas/Pursuit.

Imagine soaring through clouds with mist hitting your cheeks as you fly over incredible landscapes worldwide. Peter Pan isn’t the only one who can experience the sensation of flying — a FlyOver ride will make childhood dreams come true.

FlyOver is one of the newest attractions on the Las Vegas Strip and it’s suitable for guests of all ages. The ride includes “flights” over iconic locations including the Grand Canyon, the Canadian Rockies, and even Iceland. Visitors are seated with their feet dangling and with a 52.5-foot-wide spherical screen surrounding them. It’s easy to forget you’re in Las Vegas as you soar up and over mountain peaks, deserts, icebergs, or oceans. Guests can choose from three experiences on this ride.

Travel writer Colby Holiday finished the ride and said, “Magical! That is the best way I can describe the FlyOver experience. It transports you to some of the most iconic destinations while you simultaneously soar through time and space, making you feel as though you are actually flying. The sensory elements of feeling the wind brush against your skin or the smell of fresh cut grass made me want to do this immersive experience again and again.”

Afterward, guests can head to the Lost Cactus bar for exotic spirits and non-alcoholic drinks that glitter. The drink bar’s menu is inspired by the epic FlyOver rides.

Attend Nathan Burton’s Spellbinding Magic Show

Nathan Burton Show

Nathan Burton and the FlyOver Entrance.

The Nathan Burton Theater is located in the same building as FlyOver, and visitors can catch a magic show that will leave viewers scratching their heads with wonder. Burton was featured on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, and his energy, personal interactions, and illusions with the crowd keep participants engaged and eagerly awaiting the next trick. It’s a great spot to warm up and laugh when it’s chilly outside.

Indulge at “Eataly” in the Park MGM

Eating at 'Eataly' and walking The Strip

Eating at ‘Eataly’ and walking The Strip.

Food lovers entering Eataly in the Park MGM are greeted by Italian-themed restaurants. It’s the largest Italian marketplace in the world. Indulge in pastries, gelato, pasta, bread, pizza, and wine. The restaurant Pizza e La Pasta even has gluten-free pizza. It’s a delicious place to grab a meal before or after a show.

See Scuba Santa at the Shark Reef Aquarium

Shark Reef Aquarium in Mandalay Bay

Shark Reef Aquarium in Mandalay Bay.

From December 16 to 24 at 4 p.m., Santa will appear underwater in the aquarium’s famous shipwreck. The Shark Reef Aquarium is located inside Mandalay Bay Resort. Visitors love walking through the iconic aquarium tunnels while they see sharks swim over their heads. There’s even a real-life komodo dragon living at the facility. 

Check Out Vintage Vegas at the Neon Museum

The Neon Museum

The Neon Museum.

Nothing says Las Vegas like bright lights and neon signs. The Neon Museum is a short drive from the Strip, and visitors can tour their boneyard of vintage neon signs. You can see the original Moulin Rouge sign and more iconic gems here. The museum has the largest repository of Las Vegas history, with more than 900 pieces, more than 200 of which are on display at a time.

The visitor center is the former La Concha Motel Lobby, designed by trailblazer and world-renowned architect Paul Revere Williams. The facility opens later in the afternoon and is a great addition to a night out. Be sure to get tickets in advance, since tours often sell out.

Sneak into the Speakeasy Under the Mob Museum 

The Mob Museum in Las Vegas

The Mob Museum in Las Vegas.

Yes, there are still speakeasies in Las Vegas, and The Mob Museum near Fremont Street has one underground that includes a secret room. Before happy hour or after dinner drinks, tour the museum and learn about the history of the mob and organized crime in America. Try the Giggle Water or Bee’s Knees from the bar – both popular names for Prohibition-Era drinks. 

Explore the New York New York Hotel & Casino

Inside the New York New York Hotel

Inside the New York New York Hotel.

Catch the Mad Apple Cirque du Soleil, grab drinks at Times Square, or indulge in chocolate at the Hershey’s store. Along with gambling, there are many things to keep you entertained at New York New York during the winter months.

Pablo Fechino, a travel enthusiast with the website The Happiness Function, says, “I enjoyed my stay at the New York New York Hotel. It was fun to wander around the resort, and seeing the New York-themed streets with restaurants inside was neat. I got a slice of pizza almost every night before heading over to Hershey’s Chocolate World for a late-night treat. I also appreciated the resort’s proximity to the Strip — I walked to Target, for bottled water, and other casinos and attractions easily. The Bellagio and Aria have awesome holiday decorations right now.”

Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Holiday Decor

Bellagio Conservatory during the holidays

Bellagio during the holidays.

The Bellagio holiday decorations are spectacular. This year’s theme is The Nutcracker. Head there early in the morning to grab breakfast, brunch, or lunch at Sadelle’s Café – the Vegas omelet and grapefruit brûlée are incredible. Make reservations for Sadelle’s. It’s hailed as the best brunch in Vegas, and seats may not be readily available.

Afterward, wander through the impressive holiday displays at the Conservatory. Over 125,000 lights and delicate floral arrangements pay tribute to The Nutcracker. Visitors can see a giant twirling ballerina, the Mighty Mouse King, and The Nutcracker King. The holiday decorations are on display until January 7, 2024. 

The famous Bellagio fountains start later in the afternoon, depending on the day of the week. Monday through Friday, the fountain show begins at 3 p.m. On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the fountains start dancing at 6:30 p.m. Check the Bellagio’s website beforehand, as schedules and weather may vary.

Don’t Skip Las Vegas During the Winter

The Sphere Las Vegas

The Sphere Las Vegas.

Visitors may not be basking by the pool, but the cooler temperatures make walking around Vegas more pleasant. 

The holiday decorations in many of the casinos are a joy to see. Whether you’re captivated by the neon lights, seeking delicious food, or experiencing iconic attractions, Vegas in the winter is magical. Who knows? You might even see Santa walking along the Strip.

This article originally appeared on Media Decision and was syndicated by The Happiness Function.

Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.