Whether you are headed to Las Vegas to visit family and friends over the Thanksgiving weekend or you are a long-time resident looking for some fun things to do to stay busy, there are a number of great options available to you, especially if you are ready to kick off the holiday season.
Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to get out and experience all the Las Vegas attractions you might have missed in the past or only heard about from your loved ones. Head over to the High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel at The LINQ. Standing 550 feet tall on the Las Vegas Strip, the oversized Ferris wheel has huge glass pods that can hold as many as 40 people at a time. One full trip around the wheel takes about 30 minutes. While you probably won’t be able to get in a full Thanksgiving dinner in that time, you might be able to participate in a yoga class, take part in a champagne and chocolate pairing tasting experience, or just hang out with friends and enjoy the immense views.
Want to get out of town and away from the crowds? Head over to Bonnie Springs Ranch in Blue Diamond, Nevada, and go horseback riding, experience melodrama or a posse show in the replicated 1880s old Nevada mining town, take the kids for a pony ride, go rock climbing, explore the grounds on a train ride, or head over to their little zoo.
There are always great performances to enjoy in Las Vegas, and Thanksgiving weekend is no exception. If you would like to take a break and laugh, head out to see 50 Shades: The Smash Hit Parody at Bally’s Las Vegas on November 24, or check out Carrot Top’s show Laugh Until You’re Orange in the Hair at the Luxor Las Vegas Hotel from November 23rd through November 28th.
If Thanksgiving is essentially the last day before Christmas to you and your family, you have a ton of great options in Las Vegas when you are done with your meal. Start with Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory and Botanical Garden Holiday Lights Display in Henderson, Nevada. Open 5-10 p.m. every night between November 15th and January 1st, their cactus garden features thousands of lights you can enjoy for free. Friday through Sunday, Santa Claus will be visiting between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., and local choirs perform 6-8 p.m. Of course, the factory and chocolate shoppe are open every day from 8:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.
If you would like to stay in town, you can stop by the Bellagio Conservatory seasonal display. Free and open to the public, the display fills their conservatory all year around, but on Thanksgiving, the focus is on fall colors, lights, plants and floral arrangements, and harvest-themed décor.
Also in town is the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village. Though closed on Thanksgiving, the Magical Forest is open from November 19th through January 1st. You can ride Cheyenne’s Enchanted Carousel and the Forest Express passenger train, hit a few rounds at Rod’s Mini-Golf, zip around Rudolph’s Raceway, get your picture taken with Santa, head down the Avalanche Slide, take part in Boris the Elf’s 3D Experience, and explore the hundreds of trees lit up for the holidays.
Catch a Show
If you’re ready to be impressed, you can check out some spectacular shows this Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy a magical concert experience with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Lost Christmas Eve at the Orleans Arena. More than just your average orchestra, it is classical music expressed as a rock concert, complete with the pyrotechnics, flashing light displays, snowflakes, children’s choirs, and more.
Of course, you can always head out to see one of the many Cirque du Soleil shows around town, from O at the Bellagio to The Beatles: LOVE show at the Mirage Hotel. Shows are happening all weekend long.
If you prefer a concert, Boyz II Men will be performing on November 24th at the Mirage Hotel.
There is no end to the shopping opportunities in Las Vegas if you are focused on getting through your holiday shopping list on Thanksgiving weekend. The usual Black Friday sales are everywhere, and you can explore the huge shopping centers like the circular mall at Miracle Mile Shops that offers stores that range from the ultra high-end to everyday department stores and tons of boutique shops in between. And of course, you always have the option to pick any casino hotel and explore the maze of shops they offer. From the Bellagio to Caesar’s Palace to the Cosmopolitan, you can lose an entire day to shopping in a single hotel.
Whatever you choose to do in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend, make sure the focus is on fun, positive relationships, and building your sobriety. If you are in any way struggling due to the holiday or for any reason, seek out a 12-Step meeting, call your therapist or sponsor, and step back from any events that may worsen the situation. No matter what, your top priority is always staying clean and sober, and thankfully, in Las Vegas there are a number of opportunities to have a great time without drugs or alcohol.
How will you spend the Thanksgiving holiday in Las Vegas? What are your favorite sober destinations?