Gung Hay Fat Choy! Celebrate Chinese New Year, Vegas style

You already know – in Vegas, we go all out on everything. And even though we’re not in China, we sure celebrate like we are. Check out all the Vegas festivities for Chinese New Year (Year of the Snake) you don’t want to miss.

Bellagio Conservatory

The Bellagio Conservatory’s gold coin tree makes its debut this Chinese New Year (photo courtesy of Las Vegas Sun).

While you’re on the Strip, don’t forget to stop by and see the Bellagio Conservatory’s Year of the Snake display. If you’ve never experienced the Chinese New Year garden at Bellagio, it definitely stands out from the other seasonal showcases.

“I think it has a different flair,” said Andy Garcia, director of horticulture for the Conservatory. “The culture is fascinating. You can do so many things, bring so many beautiful colors to the mix.”

Made from fabric, the beautiful 9-foot-tall snake is comprised of 5,000 scales. Legend has it Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year.  Twelve came. The sixth animal in the Asian zodiac is the cunning snake. Those born in the Year of the Snake tend to be enigmatic, intuitive, introspective and refined.

Since it’s also the year for water, the snake is adorned in both gold and blue. The garden also includes a gold money tree centerpiece composed of 384 coins, thousands of live flowers, a 35-foot Chinese junk boat, oversized lanterns and a pond of 200 Koi fish.

The display also features six “lucky” children, each embellished in 1,800 flowers including carnations, spider mums and Fuji mums.

Adding to the festive display, you can also enjoy live music for the second year in a row. The Beijing Trio will perform traditional folk and pop music with authentic Chinese instruments including the erhu, ruan and pipa. The performers play daily from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

“The response has been fantastic,” said Garcia. “We have the same performers from last year. Now for the first time, they are performing on the deck of the boat.”

Even though it’s chilly in Vegas this time of year, the enchanting display makes you forget all of that.

“The beauty brings you to the next level,” he said. “You tend to forget the weather outside, it’s always perfect inside. It’s a must-see.”

For your friends and family who can’t make it to Vegas, they can watch the earth cam on the Bellagio website. They’ll be able to see the conservatory live, with pictures taken every 15 minutes.

The display will be available now through March 3 (snake photo courtesy of MGM Mirage Resorts International).

Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas will feature a traditional dragon and lion dance under the porte cochere at the south valet entrance on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. Not only will you witness an amazing dance routine, you’ll get to follow the performers through the resort.

Photo from 2012’s Chinese New Year display.

Inside Wynn Las Vegas’ atriums, marvel at a stunning 9-foot-tall gold leaf snake sculpture, red silk lanterns and more than 8,000 red, gold and orange chrysanthemums. The atriums also feature two 20-foot-long dragons suspended in the trees. In addition, see more than 100 tangerine trees throughout the resort. According to ancient traditions, tangerines represent good luck.

If you’re really feeling lucky, try the Good Luck Ritual at the resort’s spa. Based on the five elements of Feng Shui (earth, wood, fire, water and metal), this spa ritual achieves health, wealth, prosperity, happiness and harmony. The experience combines the following:

  • Custom botanical massage (earth)
  • Bamboo foot scrub (wood)
  • Hot towels (fire)
  • Lavender facial mist (water)
  • Deep moisturizing hand therapy, concluding with the soothing sounds of Tibeten chimes (metal)

The 80-minute service is $270, or $365 for 110 minutes.

Venetian and Palazzo  

Photo courtesy of Venetian and The Palazzo.

Now through Feb. 25, experience Chinese New Year at these two luxury resorts. On Saturday, Feb. 9, see a dragon dance in the Venetian porte-cochere. Drummers and firecrackers kick off the event. The dragon dance winds through the Venetian lobby, casino and waterfall atrium at the Shoppes at Palazzo. Here the dancers will circle around the snake display a few times before heading through the Palazzo casino, lobby and ending at the hotel’s porte-cochere.

Shopaholics, rejoice: from Thursday, Feb. 7 through Sunday, Feb. 10, more than 40 retailers from Venetian and Palazzo’s shops will provide Chinese New Year incentives with a special shopping card. Stores include Fendi, Dior Beauty and Dooney & Bourke, to name a few. These cards are valid from Feb. 7 – 24.

On Sunday, Feb. 10 enjoy a traditional Chinese Fan Dance at the Chloe rotunda at The Shoppes at The Palazzo. At the end of the number, the performers will hand out more than 500 red envelopes. Each envelope will either have a $10 gift card, chocolate gold coins or other surprises.

While you’re at these two properties, you’ll have plenty of photo opportunities. The gardens and entrances for both Venetian and Palazzo feature fresh bamboo, citrus trees, Coleus, maidenhair ferns and peachy pink Calandivas.

Photo courtesy of Venetian and The Palazzo.

“Chinese New Year is such a special event to our guests, that constructing and designing something that’s not only authentic, but in grand Las Vegas fashion was important,” said Dana Beatty, director of floral and horticulture for The Venetian and The Palazzo. “We took into account specifics to bring luck in 2013, such as length, color, and gender of the snake, but made it a spectacle our guests will never forget.”

Key elements include the following:

  • A giant 38-foot-tall peach tree with 8,800 branches and 193,600 flowers (seen right)
  • A 98-foot-long animated blue snake named Sophie Chow
  • “I Ching” coins, which represent wealth, sit around the snake while 6-foot-tall, hand-loomed silk red and gold lanterns will be suspended from the atrium ceiling

Forum Shops, Caesars Palace

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is once again teaming up with The Meadows School for its annual Chinese New Year Parade, Monday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. To celebrate Chinese New Year and welcome the year of the snake, The Meadows School will perform the traditional dragon parade throughout the mall.  The cast of singers and dancers includes 120 Meadows students (60 from kindergarten and 60 from fifth grade) plus the school’s special guest and founder, Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience presents the second annual “Chinese New Year in the Desert” festival from Friday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 10. The three-day festival kicks off with a live authentic dragon dance. Throughout the weekend, experience more live performances, taste authentic dishes from around the world, watch contestants compete for the Miss Asian American Pacific Island USA crown and witness parade floats.

Let’s eat!

The Strip offers a variety of fine Asian dining and cuisine, so we made it easy for you to preview a handful of restaurants. Below are participating restaurants for Chinese New Year.

Fleur at Mandalay Bay is offering a special menu, which includes four courses: jumbo lump crab egg drop soup; shrimp dumpling with sweet mayo and garlic ginger soy; seared duck with hoison plum sauce with Gailan broccoli and five spice pineapple tart with jasmine tea ice cream for dessert.

Fin at Mirage offers tantalizing menu options this Chinese New Year.

Located inside The Mirage, Fin will have a variety of dishes and cocktails. Some of these are drunken chicken, braised sea moss and dried oysters, fried tofu with bamboo pith, braised mushrooms with asparagus, stir-fried beef tenderloin with asparagus, crispy garlic sea bass and steamed pork with water chestnuts and mushrooms.

Cocktails at Fin include the Water Snake, Shanghai Dragon and Zen Mojito ($12 each). These concoctions will also be available at the High Limit and Onda Lounge.

Dragon Noodle at Monte Carlo will feature a Chinese New Year dinner for $28.88. The 3-course meal includes Gong Hei Fat Choy; Ha Ha Smile and Buddha Delight.

Luxor’s Rice & Company offers prix-fixe menus. The three-course meal includes choice of sushi roll, pot stickers or veggie spring rolls; the second course, mixed greens or egg drop soup and the third course features a choice of orange peel chicken, beef and broccoli or garlic shrimp with vegetables. The dessert sampler offers cheesecake, exotic fruit, raspberry gelato and chocolate passion.

From Friday, Feb. 1 through Thursday, Feb. 28, China Poblano at Cosmopolitan features cocktails and food items. Menu highlights include 18 Monk Noodle (hand-cut wheat noodle, chanterelle mushrooms and aged dark soy sauce); Goose, Goose Duck (seared fois gras, salted egg custard and blood orange) and Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Chops, grilled lamb chop, toasted cumin, sweet onion and pomegranate. Drink concoctions include The Mei Mei, Plum Delight and Imperial Tea.

Zine at The Palazzo offers a limited time menu to celebrated the holiday. Enjoy authentic dishes like the Firecracker Manila Clams, infused with Chinese white wine, fish paste and spicy roasted pepper. The resort’s Fushion Bar offers its exclusive Jaina cocktail. Served in a martini glass, this drink includes lemongrass-infused G Saki, gogi berry-infused Absolut vodka, lotus root syrup, lemon juice, Chinese bitters and dragon fruit. The different ingredients evoke harmony between the earth and the fruit.

Now that we made you hungry, we’re sure you’re going to make the most of your Chinese New Year. Gung Hay Fat Choy!


Most folks take their Vegas jackpot winnings back home, but my dad decided to stay here instead. That’s how I left Seattle almost 20 years ago. I moved from greenery and rainy days to hot summers, palm trees and desert. As much as I love my hometown, I decided to stick around Vegas. This city just has so much to offer. You don’t even have to be a gambler, bar hopper or an all-night partier. I love Vegas for its awesome vegan-friendly spots, concerts, swanky hotel suites and spas so big, they’re like castles. The pool scene is not too shabby either, which is why I love taking stay-cations. Besides living it up -- Vegas style -- I’m hanging out with my handsome hubby, adorable baby girl, two cats and super-fluffy Shih-Tzu. I’m also a huge fan of '90s music, shows and movies. You can find me on Google+ and Twitter.