Best Things to do in Las Vegas in Winter
Are you planning to visit Las Vegas in winter? If so, then this post is for you. Find out about the best things to do in Vegas in the winter – where to go and what to see, plus many more travel tips.
Las Vegas is a popular destination in winter. With mild temperatures and many activities, Vegas is the perfect place to visit, whether you’re coming by yourself, as a couple, or with family.
Known for its gambling, people sometimes forget that Las Vegas has a lot more to offer. There are many indoor options to entertain you, from 5-star restaurants to award-winning shows and shopping outlets while you’re here. And if you are more of an outdoorsy person, then consider the hiking and skiing opportunities. There’s something for everyone, and it is one of the best places to visit in the US in winter.
These suggestions are great for couples, families, and solo travelers, and there are different activities for those visiting in December, January, and February.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR VISITING LAS VEGAS IN WINTER
Let´s get started with some tips for your winter trip!
How to Get to Las Vegas
If you are flying into Las Vegas, you will be arriving at McCarran International Airport. From there, you can take a shuttle to your hotel or a car rental office or take a taxi.
If you are driving in, you will most likely be coming via Interstate 15 or 95. If you are staying on the Strip (aka Las Vegas Boulevard) and plan to park at your hotel, there are valet and self-parking options, but neither is free.
How to Get Around Las Vegas
Public transportation isn’t that bad in Las Vegas, but it’s also not that good. But if you plan to stay on the Strip the entire time, you can easily get around via taxi, bus, Monorail, and foot.
But to really explore the city, I advise getting a car. There are rental places very close to the airport with shuttles to take you to your car right after you get off the plane. Since Las Vegas rarely has snow in winter, driving is usually easy year-round (well, if you don’t count the bad drivers).
You will mostly find taxis at the hotels, but Uber and Lyft are also popular (and usually cheaper) options. Download the app to check prices and set up rides easily.
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
One thing Las Vegas doesn’t lack is hotels. There are plenty to choose from, whether you want to stay on the Strip in the middle of the action, prefer to be a little farther from the city center, and save some money.
Depending on the month of your visit, you can get some great deals even at the bigger resorts, so check around. December is pretty pricey, particularly around Christmas and New Year’s (you even have a minimum stay around NYE – usually 2 days – in some hotels).
January and February are more reasonable, so long as you avoid big conventions, like CES at the beginning of January.
Tip: If you stay on the Strip, look for a smaller property owned by one of the bigger casino groups, like MGM Resorts. You’ll have lower room rates but receive some of the amenities of being an MGM Resort guest at other properties.
Weather in Las Vegas
The weather in Las Vegas in winter is one of its biggest selling points. Temperatures are mild, and the weather is mostly dry. Average temps in December are 27ºF for the low and 60ºF for the high; January has a low of 28ºF and a high of 59ºF, and February’s lows are 33ºF, and highs are 66ºF.
Typically, there is little rain and rarely does the city get snow.
Keep in mind that Las Vegas is in the desert, so temperatures fluctuate a lot from day to night. If you head out while it’s sunny, you might want to pack a little something extra to keep you warm if you’ll be out after dark.
What to Pack for a Las Vegas Winter Vacation
Good news: You can leave the down jackets and snow boots at home!
With the winter weather being relatively warm in Vegas, you can pack lighter jackets and even short sleeves. I’d suggest bringing good, comfortable shoes if you plan on walking, whether on the Strip or through the outlets.
Las Vegas is a very casual place. Only a handful of high-end restaurants require a jacket for dining, so you can get away with less dressy clothes when you’re out than you can in other cities, like New York.
That being said, you can also dress to the nines, and no one will think anything of it. So plan your wardrobe around your activities.
More Travel Tips
Everything is expensive on the Strip. Everything. But Las Vegas has a low cost of living, which means that things (like food) are actually cheaper here than in other parts of the country.
So, my tip is to drive a few miles to a nearby grocery store (like Smiths or Vons or even Walmart) and load up on snacks and bottled water.
This will save you from a late night grab for the water in your minibar, which probably costs about $15.
Consider signing up for the free loyalty programs that the casino groups have, such as MLife and Total Rewards.
This costs you nothing but can gain you perks if you see shows, eat at the hotel restaurants, or gamble. You might even get a break from the parking fees. Plus, they have a concierge that has access to special blocks of tickets and other benefits.
As with any tourist town, there is a fair amount of petty crime, such as pick-pocketing, though I have never been a victim of it.
Be careful and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your belongings close, avoid empty side streets, and use common sense. The city takes its visitor’s safety seriously because they’re the lifeblood of the Vegas economy.
Best Things to Do in Las Vegas in Winter
Here they are – the best things to do in Vegas in winter.
Ice skating (December & January)
If you’re visiting Las Vegas in December or January, then make a stop at one of these two ice rinks: Rock Rink at Downtown Summerlin or the Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan.
Both are great for spending some time outdoors, skating under the stars, and listening to holiday music. This is a fun way to spend an evening, either at the top of a hotel right on the Strip (Cosmopolitan) or at a less-touristy locale (Downtown Summerlin).
These winter activities are great for couples and families visiting from the end of November until mid-January. The prices are around $20 per person.
Hiking in Red Rock (December-February)
Hiking in winter? This is why people visit Las Vegas. With warmer, drier weather, you can enjoy an all-day hike in beautiful sunshine.
If you are a lover of the outdoors, head to Red Rock Canyon, just northwest of the city center.
Here you can enjoy a dozen different trails, ranging from easy to hard. Huge craggy mountains and winding trails make the perfect place to enjoy nature and get physical.
Whether you’re a novice, taking the kids, or a couple of rock climbers, Red Rock Canyon has something for you. Good for couples, families, and solo travelers. The cost per car to enter the park is $15.
Day trip to the Grand Canyon (February)
Las Vegas is situated right at the tip of the state, making it perfect for day trips. One such trip would be to the Grand Canyon.
As one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, it would be a shame to be so close and miss this landmark’s magnificent beauty. This is the “slow season,” so you should enjoy a peaceful and less-crowded visit.
You can either drive there yourself or take one of the many tours offered.
The North Rim will be closed because of snowfall, but the South Rim’s trails will be open. Dress warm and wear comfortable shoes. And make sure you stop at the impressive Hoover Dam on your way!
Great for couples, families, and singles. Tour prices vary.
Enjoy the Holiday Displays at The Park (December)
Another great activity in Vegas in winter is seeing the Holiday Displays at The Park.
If you’re visiting between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, this is the perfect spot to get into the holiday spirit.
There will be an 80-foot decorated Christmas tree, carolers, and even Santa Claus. T-Mobile Arena, right next door, also has an ice rink if you feel like skating.
To cap the night off, grab drinks and snacks inside Park MGM. Great for families, couples, and singles. Free.
Dance the Night Away (December)
Las Vegas is known for its amazing nightclubs, so if you and your significant other want to go out dancing or hit an ultra lounge, then Vegas is the place to do it.
For a nice break from the winter air, choose from dozens of clubs on the Strip. Each major hotel has at least one, including popular Tao at the Venetian, Hakkasan at MGM, and XS at Encore. If you’re a night owl, try Drais at the Cromwell, which stays open until 4 am.
While the nightclubs are open all winter, December is the best time to come because the best DJs are booked for the days around New Year’s. Great for couples and singles. Entry fees vary. (Tip: If you’re traveling with a group of girls, they may waive the fee.)
Visit the Conservatory at the Bellagio (December-February)
The Conservatory at the Bellagio is a fun and fascinating place to visit if you are coming to Vegas in winter.
Filled with tens of thousands of live flowers and lights, the Conservatory is transformed throughout the year into seasonal arrangements.
The holiday display will be up in December, followed by Chinese New Year. Pictures look great here, so take a selfie of you and your family against this stunning backdrop. And this is also a nice indoor side trip if you’ve been out in the cold all day. Great for families, solo travelers, and couples. Free.
Do Your (Holiday) Shopping (December-February)
Shopping is a favorite pastime for visitors to Las Vegas, and winter is no exception.
If you’re looking for some great deals on gift ideas, then I suggest visiting the Las Vegas South Premium Outlets on S. Las Vegas Blvd (bonus: it’s indoors). The North Premium Outlets are also good but outdoors, so maybe save them for a spring trip.
For fashion brands, check out the Fashion Show Mall right across from the Wynn Resort. Locals like shopping at Town Square, particularly because of its huge play area for kids – though it is outdoors. Great for families, singles, and couples. Free.
Ring in the New Year on the Strip (or Off) (December)
If you plan to visit Las Vegas in December for NYE, then you have plenty of things to choose from.
The Strip is in full swing from Christmas until New Year’s. Decorations are out, the nightclubs have lined up the best DJs, and there are fireworks scheduled. If you see the fireworks on the Strip, then make sure to arrive early because the roads around the area close down by about 5 pm to everything but pedestrian traffic.
Another option is the Fremont Street Experience downtown, which has live music and fireworks of its own. Good for couples and singles. Free.
Experience the City’s Food Scene (December-February)
Las Vegas used to be known for its buffets, but these days, it’s as popular as New York and LA for restaurant openings.
If you love good food, you’ll find more than a few Michelin stars and 5-star ratings in town. From casual cafes to white tablecloth restaurants, from high-end buffets to food trucks, the city offers a lot to foodies.
If you’re visiting during the holidays or a convention or trying to score a window table for you and your partner on Valentine’s Day (my pick is the Eiffel Tower Restaurant), make reservations ahead of time.
And keep in mind that buffet prices go up on holidays.
Ski at Mt. Charleston (December-February)
Northwest of the city center sits the Mount Charleston area. Part of the Spring Mountains, it is a popular destination area in the winter in Las Vegas.
Whether you are into skiing or snowboarding, there are plenty of slopes to enjoy at the Lee Canyon Resort. This area is about 20-30ºF cooler up than the city, so dress accordingly. But the views are beautiful, and it’s a great day trip out of the city.
The Mount Charleston Lodge offers dining and a fireplace to enjoy something warm. This is great for families and couples.
Take a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour (December-February)
Want to explore the city? Spend a day of your winter vacation in Vegas riding the hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
These tours offer conveniences like Wi-Fi while they take you around to city landmarks. You’ll see the Strip as well as downtown, known as Old Vegas. Take a picture at the Welcome sign and see the Mob Museum, set up by the former mayor of Vegas—and former mob lawyer, too.
Seeing the sights by bus is a great way to explore the town without the hassle of traffic and parking. Great for families, solo travelers, and couples. Prices vary, approximately $50.
See a Show (January & February)
If you’re looking for the best things to see in Las Vegas in winter, I suggest a show.
There are some really great options for adults and families. Cirque du Soleil is very popular here, and Love at the Mirage Hotel is best. If you like magic, check out Matt Franco at the LINQ. These are both family-friendly. For the adults, try Absinthe at Caesars or Zumanity at NYNY.
Prices vary and are higher at holidays, so January and February are probably the best times to visit. (Tip: You don’t need to pay top dollar and sit in the front row to get the best view at the bigger shows, like Love.) Prices range from about $50 to $200 + LET.
Visit The Magical Forest (December)
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village is a well-loved tradition in Las Vegas and a must-see when you’re visiting in winter. For the entire month of December, you can stroll the village, seeing lights, watching live entertainment, riding the carousel, and getting your picture taken with Santa.
This is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, especially if you’re traveling with children. There are food and gifts available for purchase, and best of all, this event is a fundraiser for Opportunity Village, which serves local adults with intellectual and related disabilities.
Tickets are $9 for children, $11 for adults (or $18/$20 with rides).
Try Your Luck at the Tables (December-February)
Well, if you took a winter vacation in Las Vegas, it would be a shame if you didn’t play a little…
Whether you’re a veteran at the tables or a complete novice, responsible gambling can be fun (irresponsible gambling is definitely not fun). So, as you walk through the casinos, stop by a slot machine and try your luck.
If you’re interested in playing a table game, like blackjack, and aren’t sure of the rules or etiquette, just let the dealer know. They’ll help you. Who knows, you may end your vacation a little richer!
Explore the Many Themed Casino Hotels (December-February)
Whether you plan on gambling or not, visiting the hotels in Las Vegas is a winter must.
Not only are they warm, but they are also amazing. Each hotel has its own theme. Those themes can include gondolas at the Venetian, a replica of the Trevi Fountain at Caesars, a dancing water show in the front of the Bellagio, and a Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge at the New York-New York.
Wandering the hotels is free and so much fun. Even the slot machines have themes! There are special decorations during the holidays, major conventions, and Chinese New Year. But all winter, you can ooh and ahh over the extravagance of the Vegas hotels.
Great for couples, families, and singles. Free.
Take a Helicopter Ride around the City
A helicopter tour is an amazing way to see the city! This would also be a memorable way for couples to cap off their Vegas vacation.
Tours can be set up with a luxury transportation upgrade if you wish. Seeing Las Vegas from above at night, with the city’s bright lights against the dark backdrop of the desert and mountains, is breathtaking.
And if you want to go a little farther, there are helicopter tours offered for the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, too, all leaving from a city helipad. Prices vary by company and tour, but the city night tour is around $85.
I hope this post has been helpful as you plan your itinerary and the things you’ll see and do while in Vegas in winter.
There are so many fun and entertaining options, regardless of whether you are coming for the holidays in December, escaping the cold in January, or for a romantic vacation in February. Las Vegas is a wonderful winter destination for everyone—singles, couples, or families.
About the Author:
This post was written by Rebecca, who runs her own blog at The Journey at Home – where she writes about her life as a mother of 5 with everything that comes along with it. She lived in New York for a long time before she moved to Las Vegas. She also works as a freelancer for Arzo Travels.