Should I Visit Las Vegas In December Before Christmas?

Hi Ted,

Long time fan and reader of your newsletter. Love it! I’m thinking of coming to Las Vegas in December the week before Christmas but I’m flexible. When would you suggest? I always stay at Palazzo. Look forward to hearing from you.

Gary Pisani

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bellagio las vegas conservatory christmas
Bellagio Las Vegas Christmas Gardens Display.

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your longtime support! Great question. If you are flexible, the week before Christmas in Las Vegas can be one of the best times of the year to visit. Once the National Finals Rodeo leaves town (Dec. 7-16, 2017) and Christmas Eve, Las Vegas is the slowest you’ll see it all year. Here are the rest of the pros and cons:

Pros:

– You’ll find some of the lowest room rates for Las Vegas hotels of the year. You can stay at the place you usually enjoy generally at a bit of a discount. Of this is a good time to shop around and maybe up your level of accommodations simply because the price will often be right.

– Elbow room. Everything (except the Las Vegas shows, which will be in the cons section) is still open. Just without such long lines or long waits. I’m not suggesting you’ll have Las Vegas completely to yourself. However, if you are used to being here during peak times, you’ll notice the difference.

– No scorching heat. This is a great time of year to finally take that Hoover Dam Las Vegas tour, drive the Lake Mead loop (Lakeshore Road), get out to Red Rock Canyon, or even up to the Valley Of Fire. Plus, car rentals should be cheaper to reflect the lack of demand.

Cons:

– Much of the Las Vegas entertainment will be on Christmas vacation. Very few (if any) big concerts or headliners. Many of the shows will be closed. If major maintenance needs to be done to things like the Bellagio Fountains, this is when they will do it.

– It gets cold and dark EARLY. The sun is gone by 4:30 PM and while the average high is in the 50’s, temps plummet once it gets dark. Overnight lows around (or even below) freezing aren’t uncommon. Even if you stay at one of the few hotels which keep one of their pools heated all year, you probably won’t want to be using it.

Hope this helps!

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Trip Report – Elvis, Rio, Slots, Are Las Vegas Shows Running Around Christmas?

Just arrived back home from 7 days in Vegas. Had a great time!!!! Watch the Elvis program at Aria and it was excellent. I tried the $20.00 trick to the desk clerk and it worked, had a room facing the strip on a HIGH floor and she was so sweet to me during check in process, even wished me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (stayed at The Rio).

I found the slots machines were really tight, until Friday night. I also found that Vegas was very very busy! Hopefully that is good sign that things are moving back up! We are going back for Christmas this year and never been there during that time. Are most of the shows running during the week of Christmas? How is the weather during that time?

Thanks for your wonderful info!

Connie from Florida


Ted Responds:

Very happy to hear you enjoyed your stay! It never hurts to mention a special occasion upon check-in and combined with a try at the “$20 Trick” (putting a folded up $20 bill between your ID and credit card and asking in there is a higher floor or preferred view available) probably has a good chance at success. They return the bill to you if they can’t accomodate you.

I do want to squelch a misconception many visitors have: It was long throught that the casinos loosened up their slots during the week, then tightened them up on weekends to “stick it” to the weekend visitors (who are paying higher room rates and airfare to fly in for weekends, a time of higher demand). Not true. The vast majority of slot machines have a computer chip in them to determine payouts, and that chip must be manually swapped out to change the odds. Doing this twice each week would be cost-prohibitive.

So, it was interesting to see that you actually experienced looser slots on Friday. The reason? Lady Luck. Hot and cold streaks and happen at any time. Glad you caught an upturn with your luck.

Las Vegas experiences the slowest two weeks of the year from the time National Finals Rodeo ends (Dec. 11 of this year) until Christmas. Christmas Eve falls on a Friday this year, so I expect a pretty good influx for the Christmas weekend. Traditional “family holiday” weekends like Thanksgiving and Christmas have seen a real uptick here over the past few years as far-flung family members agree to meet in Las Vegas.

To answer your question: Many (if not the majority) of shows choose to take this slow period and use it for vacation. You’ll still have a selection of shows, but it will be significantly reduced. Look at the bright side: Being here during the slowest time of the year means fewer (or no) lines, often lower gambling limits, less crowded tables and slots, a rare chance to almost feel like you have Las Vegas to yourself!

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor
AccessVegas.com