Vegas Weekender: Santa, shopping and ‘Love’ prep you for the holidays

With Christmas just around the corner, Las Vegas has enough shows, attractions and dining specials to last you through the holidays.


Join Santa and his all-star cast at “Santa’s Magical Circus” at Miracle Mile Shop’s V Theater inside Planet Hollywood. See Santa and friends perform hilarious holiday skits, illusions, showgirls and specialty acts including “Skippy” the talking rabbit. The show runs nightly at 6 p.m. now through Saturday, Dec. 31.


Get in the holiday spirit and see "A Very Terry Christmas" at The Mirage now through Dec. 24.

Catch “A Very Terry Christmas” featuring holiday performances by Terry Fator at The Mirage now through Saturday, Dec. 24. Show begins at 7:30 p.m.
Planet Hollywood also hosts the 2011 “Persian Christmas Concert Series.” See top Persian musical performers including Moein, Kamran & Hooman, Sepideh and Shahram Shabpereh (Friday, Dec. 23); Ebi, Mansour and Arash (Saturday, Dec. 24) and Siavash Ghomeishi, Leila Forouhar, Omid, Andy and Michael (Sunday, Dec. 25). Show begins at 8 p.m. 

Nevada Ballet Theatre presents its 2011 production of “The Nutcracker” at the Paris Théâtre. Show times are as follows: Saturday, Dec. 17 (2 p.m. and 7 p.m.); Sunday, Dec. 18 (1 p.m. and 5 p.m.); Dec. 20 -23 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 24 (1 p.m. and 5 p.m.).

Fiesta Rancho’s SoBe Ice Arena presents its ice show, “The Magical Snowman and the Snow Queens,” an annual winter holiday show featuring local figure skaters. The music selection includes everything from Michael Jackson hits to traditional holiday songs. “The Magical Snowman and the Snow Queens” plays Saturday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m.

What better time to watch Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE” than now? Catch this popular show right before the holidays, starting Thursday, Dec. 22. Show times are 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. (with no shows Tuesday and Wednesday).

It may be winter, but you can still catch shows that bring the heat. Flamingo’s “Battle of the Dance” features a dynamic fusion of traditional Latin, Flamenco, Celtic, Bollywood and cabaret dance styles. This show also features a live music pre-show, along with stand-up comedy and magic in between dance numbers. “Battle of the Dance” runs now through Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. Show times are Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Satisfy your funny bone at the Palms’ Playboy Comedy Club with comedian Erik Griffin from “Workaholics,” Dec. 15 – 17. The laughs continue with comedian Jimmy Shubert, playing at the Las Vegas Hilton through Dec. 18. Show starts at 10 p.m.

Jerry Seinfeld performs at Caesars Palace Monday, Dec. 26 and Tuesday, Dec. 27. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.


Catch Cirque du Soleil's limited engagement of "Michael Jackson - The IMMORTAL Tour" at Mandalay Bay.

Make sure to catch the limited-time engagement of Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson – The Immortal Tour” at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Available now through Dec. 18 and Dec. 22 – 27, see stunning visuals and dance numbers Michael Jackson fans of all ages can appreciate and enjoy. Show times are 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.


While we may not admit it, we’re all guilty of last-minute holiday shopping.  We still get a rush from doing it — especially when we have everything wrapped and under the tree on time.

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace at Caesars Palace offers plenty of options for last-minute shoppers. As a holiday treat, LACOSTE offers men’s and women’s polo shirts in a specially designed needlepoint pillow cases for $105.

Tiffany & Company offers its jewelry piece of the month, the round diamond eight-point start pendant set in platinum. Sparkle with a shiny star on your décolleté perfect for the holiday season.  Find it at Via Bellagio, Forum Shops at Caesars Palace or Crystals at CityCenter.

If you’re looking for a true collector’s item, why not give the gift of coal? This isn’t just any coal though: At Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition inside the Luxor, you can purchase authentic coal saved from the wreck. These pieces were part of the 5,892 tons of coal loaded onboard Titanic when it left England almost a century ago. The coal pieces are the only artifacts salvaged from the ship and sold to the public.  Prices start from $19.99.

For those who find gems and diamonds are more appealing, ladies can feel like one of Titanic’s first-class passengers. Give the gift of a stunning replica of the recovered 15-inch filigree necklace. The original, handmade necklace features platinum and diamonds and is on display at the exhibition.  The replica is available for $20.

If the holiday funds are a little tight, the Las Vegas Premium Outlets – North offers 25 to 65 percent off on popular designer brands like Calvin Klein, DKNY, Eddie Bauer, Guess, Kate Spade New York and Timberland.

Dining and attractions


This holiday season, munch on a Santa Roll at Luxor's Rice & Company.

In addition to special holiday shows and shopping, you can also enjoy festive meals. At Luxor’s Rice & Company, enjoy the Santa Roll made with crawfish, sliced cucumber and carrots and topped with seared ahi fluke, shiso leaf, coconut flake and togarashi and finished with a savory thai mayo sauce.

Twin Creeks at the Silverton hotel offers a complete meal for $37 a person. Start with a smoked duck breast salad or a roasted butternut squash soup. Entrée selections include the free-range roast turkey, the Black Angus 1855 prime rib roast, the cedar-planked salmon or for an additional $9, the Tomahawk ribeye steak. Each entrée comes with roasted turnips and mushrooms, creamed spinach and winter truffle. End the meal with a cherry and raspberry trifle or pumpkin cheesecake.

Also located inside the Silverton, Sundance Grill offers a meal for $17.95 a person. This Christmas Day special starts with a garden salad, pumpkin curry soup or chicken soup. The main entrée includes a grilled eight-ounce New York steak and bacon-wrapped shrimp topped with a chili mint pesto, served with a vegetable medley and choice of starch. End the meal with pecan pie or strawberry cake for dessert. The meal includes a glass of house wine or non-alcoholic beverage.

See an underwater Santa Claus at the Silverton hotel’s aquarium. The underwater Santa poses for photos Saturday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

As part of the Winter in Venice celebration, First Food & Bar invites kids of all ages to participate in a holiday treat production class on Saturday, Dec. 17. Children can come into the restaurant’s private dining room and make a holiday treat for free. This includes a gingerbread man and chocolate-covered pretzel rod decorated with toppings. Kids can also enjoy hot cocoa and candy, marshmallows and candy canes. The class is from 10 a.m. to noon.


The Venetian's "Winter in Venice" offers plenty of activities as well as holiday treats.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., First chefs will roast chestnuts on site and will serve hot apple cider, hot chocolate and chocolate cookie dough truffles. This event takes place at the front of The Venetian by the outdoor gondolas. The event is free and open to the public.

Winter in Venice is open to the public from now through Jan. 8, 2012.


Rock ’n’ roll fans can check out the new Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer restaurant and bar inside Excalibur. Enjoy Texas-style barbecue and entertainment in an edgy, rock ’n’ roll atmosphere.

Imperial Palace’s Rockhouse Bar & Nightclub celebrates Christmas weekend by throwing a Santa party on Friday, Dec. 23 and Saturday, Dec. 24. For two days, a $15 Santa hat is your ticket to an open bar from 9 p.m. to midnight, plus $5 shots and two-for-one Budweiser products. 


Enjoy a new cocktail or two (or three!) at The Mirage.

On Saturday, Dec. 24, the ultra-dive bar shows the New York Giants versus New York Jets game on 28 high-definition television screens throughout the bar and patio.

Just in time for the holiday season, The Mirage offers new cocktails in select restaurants. Samba offers batitidas, a drink prepared by combining tropical fruits with cachaça, a potent sugarcane liquor from Brazil. Guests can try the restaurant’s cucumber batida. For something sweeter, Samba offers a pineapple mojito. 

Onda Ristorante features Roman Holiday, an authentic house-made limoncello, a popular Italian lemon liqueur. This is mixed with Grey Goose La Poire Vodka and orange juice then topped with an intriguing pear ginger fruit chip.  A black raspberry bellini is also available.

The Zen Mojito at Fin takes the flavor of the exotic dragon fruit by combining Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum and fresh seasonal berries. The concoction is garnished with a dragon fruit chip. Other options include the Fin Lychee Martini, Oriental Mirage or the Golden Lotus. 

Kokomo’s offers its Watermelon Rita, as well as the Orange Drop, and Johnny Apple Seed.


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.