Jackpot, Baby! It's Christmas in Vegas!
Like any other day in Las Vegas, only with Santa hats and presents. Be sure to make the most of it if you're in town for the holidays!
Papa needs a brand new Cadillac. Or, at the very least, to come out square,” you go.
A yuletide toss of the dice. A Noele hope in your heart. Nothing but bright tomorrows and fuzzy dreams of yesterdays lost in your inebriated recollection. Your will propelling a rather stubborn pair of dice.
“Snake eyes!” Goes the avuncular dealer. Down the table, your kid's college tuition disappears.
“Slam,” the sound of your forehead hitting the table. “Kill me. Please, kill me now.”
“Will the gentleman like to double his bet?” The siren’s call of the terminally addicted. “Perhaps he'll enjoy a complimentary Rum-runner?”
A past her prime, two boys about to start high-school, “why I’m I here?”, weird hybrid of a Christmas Elf, a Playboy Bunny and a Barmaid, hands you a concoction that could easily go nuclear if introduced to a flame.
Your senses dulled. Your inhibitions primed. Your eyes bleary. You look around at the faux Christmas decor and tell yourself: “what the hell? What do I have to lose.” The motif of a snowball's chance in hell, growing like a fungus on the slim possibility of beating the house nothing more than a tiny voice at the very back of your dulled out brain. Any indication that you are about to commit credit score suicide slipping down your back and being replaced by the adrenaline yolk of the game.
“Double or nothing,” down goes your gift wrapped wager.
“Ehh, sir?” Goes the flabbergasted grouper. Two comically upturned eyelashes configuring into the form of question marks. “We can't take that.”
“Why not?” You harrumph.
“It's not currency… It's a talking Elmo doll… House rules.”
“Well,” you quickly down the alcoholic libation, less they get wise and confiscate it. The moths in your wallet the only currency you now hold. “That's all I got. What else am I supposed to do on Christmas in this town? Sin City on Jesus’ birthday,” you pull at your thinning hair. “What was I thinking? Who will help me now?”
Woe and desolation, the only prophetic outcomes for the rest of your holiday free-for-all.
“Ta-Da!” Buddy, you just turned left on the correct internet back-alley. Welcome to Daring Penguin! Get ready to have yourself a merry little Christmas day, Vegas Style. In other words, there will be inordinate amounts of seasonally garbed strippers*; that's a Daring Penguin promise, that you can take to the bank. Psss, fella’, remember to pack protection.
Like Jeffrey Tambor said: “what stays in Vegas stays in Vegas, except...that…” Well, you get the drift. We at Daring Penguin do not offer health insurance or prenup advice; two essential items to really enjoy the Vegas treatment.
Now, let's get this show on the road!
* Disclaimer: this is a lie, I have to keep this family friendly. Email my editors for the juicy, unrated version.
Ice Skating Adventures
The norm in Vegas is to forget reality, kick logic to the curb and brutally disdain anything that might derail the ball of weird, off-kilter, in verisimilitude you happily immersed yourself since entering Sin City.
To truly enjoy your Vegas trip, you will be met with no other choice but to plead temporary insanity. The repeating scenes of strange, odd and at most time iffy panoramas this city constantly bombards you with, will either have you running towards an asylum or pleading with pagan Gods for a couple of more days stay in this freak-show known as the strip.
One of those miasmic scenes of "what did they put in my drinking water?" will be, the fact, that although you are in the middle of the driest desert in the world, you will still have a chance to ice-skate as if you simply walked out into a winter tundra.
One of those places is the Ice Rink at The Boulevard Pool. Come November the 22nd, the Cosmopolitan Hotel, decks out its pool area with enough fake snow, ski-bunnies, smores, hot chocolate cocktails and raging cozy fireplaces - not to mention a whopping real ice amphitheater - to have you shrugging your shoulders at all those yuppies who swear that Aspen rocks on Christmas.
$15 All Day Skating Access
$10 All Day Skating Access for Nevada Residents
$5 Skate Rental fee
$10 Skating Aid Rental fee
Admission to The Ice Rink area is free
Vegas For Insiders: The Cosmopolitan offers signature drinks! The big one, the classic—Campfire Delight. A marvelous mixture of Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka, crème de cacao, RumChata and marshmallow. A great combination, if you take into consideration that you are about to strap two sharp blades to your clumsy soles.
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
There is always some reason to get out your running shoe. At the very least, the fact that your voracious appetite has partaken a bit too freely on those fatty all-you-can-eat buffets should inspire some sort of positive reaction to your inflating gut.
Luckily, in Vegas, there is always some wacky faux marathon steamrolling its way into leeching off your last reserves of cash. When the yuletide cheer heads into the desert, those plucky Vegas entrepreneurs will pamper to everyone's doleful melancholy on Christmas pasts.
In this case, it's for a good cause. So, you might be getting your heartstrings plucked, but, you are also fulfilling your good deed of the day. While, at the same moment, having an awesome time. Everyone wins.
The annual 5k run and one-mile walk are made exclusively to benefit local charities. The theme? Well, let's be honest, if the headline didn't spoil it, you simply weren't paying attention.
Dress up like Santa, or Elvis in a Santa Hat—it is Vegas after all—and sweat off your Christmas cookies as you happily get your endorphins spasming across the strip.
$40 for kids and $65 for adults.
Fremont Street Experience
Fremont St between S Main St and S Casino Center Blvd. Grand Menorah Lighting Dec 6, 4pm; Christmas Tree Lighting Dec 8, 5pm. Free.
If you're still not dazed, and your optic nerves haven't blitzed out on you, then waltz on down to the famous Fremont Street Experience.
Scratch your corneas to a pulp with an extra dose of a neon blitzkrieg as the Fremont Street's huge overhead canopy dresses up for the holiday season.
1,500-foot screen, with enough lumix power to signal Aliens on Mars and a state of the art sound system that can wake the dead, will happily slap you with a completely original show, exclusively, made for Santa's favorite month.
This is the place where the elected officials welcome Christmas into Sin City. The Mayor and his staff, once a year, visit this open air mall and do the honors of lighting up Grand Menorah and the Vegas' Christmas Tree.
Las Vegas Convention Center. Open to the public, in plain English, gratis.
"Hold your horses, partner. This 'ere ain't your typical rodeo. This 'ere is a the world famous, four thousand square foot, holiday extravaganza."
Hosted by a bevy of companies that simply say hombre. Coors, Wrangler, Lucas Oil, Chrysler, Yeti Cooler. Cowboy Christmas is nothing less than a chance to dust off your jeans, shine your boots and extricate your ten-gallon hat from the back of the closet.
From December 3rd to December 12th, this saloon rocking fiasco will have you whistling Garth Brooks and shouting "Cause I got friends in low places!" Gawking at the bulls and horse and falling in love with southern belles and their cut-off jeans
Vegas For insiders: If you're short on cowboy paraphernalia and high on bowling shirts, no sweat. This dog and pony show scores over 400 eager vendors, in its midst, who will happily outfit your needs. Deck you out like John Wayne and not Elvis Costello.
Holiday Havoc At The Hard Rock
4455 Paradise Rd, at E Harmon Ave. Normally on the third weekend of December.
With a name as enticing as that, you just know you can't skip it. You plunge straight into your pant pockets, grab hold of your last vestiges of dead presidents and shove them forward in a white knuckle grip. "Just take my money and shut up!"
But, what exactly will you be paying 40 to 150 bucks for? Well, a bombastic rock and roll fare sponsored by local radio station, X107.5. The place where the cool kids, the hipsters, the goths, the punks and everyone with a decent love for music comes every year to get their Christmasy mood on.
Huge international headliners show up and go hog-wild on their Gibsons. Meanwhile, the beer will flow, courtesy of local breweries and, since there is this whole anti-holiday vibe, instead of kitsch decorations you will be awarded with open bonfires and sparkling conversation and the occasional punked out version of "Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer."
Previous limelight stealers, a Vegas-born band, "Imagine Dragons." Ever heard of them?
Santa Shipwreck at Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S at W Hacienda Ave.
$20, children 4–12 $14, children under 3 free.
Have you ever seen Santa dive into shark infested waters to feed toothy monsters? If you have, please send me an email and tell me about your deranged childhood. If you're like the rest of humanity, and the question seemed a bit absurd, then you can now have the pleasure of posting that strange photo-op on your Instagram feed.
Not only does Santa don a scuba dive mask, for your amusement, and plunges headfirst into the turgid waters of The Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef, but he will also dry himself off and sit on his lap and pass over his petition slip for holiday gifts.
And you'll also get to meet Kris Kringle's underwater assistant. The fellow the media constantly overlooks. The one and only Santa Jaws!
Ethel M Chocolates Factory and Cactus Garden
2 Cactus Garden Dr at Sunset Way, Henderson. Through Jan 1, 5–10pm (Christmas Eve 8:30am–8pm; closed Christmas Day; New Year’s Eve, 8:30am–6pm). Free.
Cards on the table—little Vegas quip—there aren't you simply tired of Christmas tree? There's a whole slew of vegetation out the window that simply doesn't get their say so come December. Flora that's been tossed to the curb simply because it isn't a pine tree. Let's be honest, that's dendritic discrimination, botany bigotry, seaweed segregation, pumpkin partiality and apple apartheid. Shame on us.
Thankfully, in the desert, cactus get their proper reverence. So head on down to Ethel M. Chocolate Factory's greenery garnished three acres and watch at the civic freedom these brave cacti display, as they take a heroic steep—covered in over half a million twinkling festive lights—towards horticultural equality.
Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
6300 W Oakey Blvd between S Torrey Pines Dr and Community College Dr. Through Jan 3. Mon–Thu, Sun, 5:30–9pm; Fri, Sat, 5:30–10pm. $12–$22, children 3–12 $10–$19.
Opportunity Village is the Gandi of charities in Vegas. It's known throughout the world and few can speak ill of it. Every red cent this coalition racks up flies like a bullet straight into the bank accounts of local adults with intellectual disabilities. All benefits in service of these individuals.
Come that moment of the year were airport radars have to be on the look out for reindeer traffic jams and suspicious looking sled like blimps on their screen, this benevolent clique goes out its way to sharpen its fundraising arsenal.
Passenger trains, a working Santa Village with fauna and fantastic beasts, mini-golf supervised by elves, a Christmas theme carousel and enough flashing shrubbery to have you reaching for your sunglasses even though it's midnight.
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