christmas in the city of sin

I’m finding myself short on time, and on words, as I attempt to juggle the writing of this post with the impossible task of packing piles and piles of Christmas purchases into luggage which is clearly inadequate for the task at hand.

Rather than stress out over the luggage situation, I have decided to think happy Christmas thoughts while I share a little photo essay depicting one lovely day in and around Las Vegas. My mission on the day in question? To restore Mr. Enthusiasm’s faith in Santa Claus. Well, no, not really. But sort of.

This past Sunday, after listening to him complain that he wasn’t ‘feeling the Christmas spirit” while wistfully watching news reports of snowstorms battering the north east region, I decided an an outing was in order. One designed to prove that the holiday spirit need not be tied to cold and snow.

I planned an itinerary of several Vegas area spots where I hoped we could find some holiday magic.

The first stop was a mandatory visit to the Bellagio Hotel’s Conservatory. If you’re not impressed by their holiday display… well, you clearly share DNA with Ebenezer himself.

It really is remarkable how they transform this huge atrium, once every six weeks or so, into a completely different experience. Their holiday display always makes me smile (it’s different each Christmas), and the 2013 version was no exception.

Check it out.





But I didn’t even have to make it into the Conservatory to be wowed. Right there at the check in counter were a row of gorgeous tall urns filled with beautiful floral displays.

I’m a sucker for roses, so I zoomed right in on these guys.


The Bellagio changes up the flowers every couple of days, and this includes hundreds and hundreds of poinsettias strewn all over the foyer area.

We saw them replacing the old batch as we walked through to hit Las Vegas Blvd. But the ‘old’ ones still looked perfectly healthy.  It made me wonder where all the old ones were headed. I hope it wasn’t to the trash.

No room for negative thoughts. Let’s look at the tree decorations up close.


Awesome, right?

Oooh…I feel the holiday spirit breaking through that cynicism. 😉

Can’t wait to check out the next display at the Conservatory, tied to Chinese New Year. That will be spectacular, if last year’s display was any indication.

Just as we were rounding the lake in front of the hotel, the famous fountain show began.

I wasn’t planning on taking pictures of the dancing fountains this time, as I was focused on getting to my next destination, but as I looked over at my shoulder, I caught a beautiful rainbow reflected in the water’s spray. I couldn’t walk away from that Kodak moment.

So here you go:


As cool as the rainbow was, my mind was focused on one thing and one thing only: Pain au Chocolat. And not just any chocolate croissant either. Mine has to come from the genius Chef Thomas Keller and his amazing Bouchon Bakery.

I made a bee-line to the Venetian Hotel, rode down a couple of escalators, et voilà!


Like heaven in a paper bag. This truly hit the spot.

With a happy belly it was time to continue on, stopping briefly to snap a few pictures in the Grand Canal Shoppes connecting the Venetian to the Palazzo. Lovely holiday displays there too. Opulent but classy. Just like the hotel.





Okay, so maybe the iridescent white peacock was a little over the top, but hey, better to go overboard with Christmas décor than to bah-humbug it, right?

My next planned stop was outside of the city, so we made our way back to the car.

Forty minutes later we arrived in lovely Boulder City, Nevada.


I just love this quaint little town, with its charming antique shops and wonderful history.

Boulder City was originally built in 1931 as housing for workers who were building the Hoover Dam.

It is one of only two cities in Nevada that prohibit gambling. And when you’re in a place where gambling is available everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations, it’s pretty cool to discover a slot machine-free zone.


What I love most about this town is the focus on art. All over the old town area you’ll find beautiful, fun and whimsical sculptures as part of the public Art Scape.

I love this one, which poses the age-old question, “Which came first?” 🙂


But I also fell in love with Humpty…


And no trip to Boulder City would be complete without a lunch at the Southwest Diner. All that antiquing works up quite the appetite.


We shopped, we ate, we drank. And so it was time to make our way back home.

As it turns out, the holidays have officially hit Red Bluffs. Here is what greeted us just past the entry gate.


I smugly looked at Mr. Enthusiasm and asked, How you like me now, biz-natch??

He begrudgingly acquiesced that the holiday spirit is indeed alive and well in the desert. Snow is highly overrated, in my humble opinion.

Get moving!

xoxo nancy



36 thoughts on “christmas in the city of sin

  1. I agree the Bellagio’s Conservatory is always a favorite stop. You never know what unique display will greet you. And yes, snow is overrated….. I like the fake stuff they use at the outdoor malls around Phoenix. 7:00 and 9:00 stop by for snow falling amongst the palm trees 🙂

  2. I’ve only been to Las Vegas once. I went in a summer month and found it to be a visual feast then. I can’t even imagine how decorative it would be come Christmas time. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of it!

    • This was the abbreviated tour. Other fun and festive spots include Fremont St + a bunch if other Strip hotels that do a great job decorating for the season. Too much to pack into one day – especially when football is on. 🙂

  3. Glad to see Mr. Enthusiasm is feeling better. I did not know that Bolder City still existed? On top of that being gambling free and full of antique stores…I know where I will be staying the next time I’m in that part of Nevada. The truck outside the Southwest Diner is very cool. Now we are talking holiday spirit!

  4. Hey Nancy! As a person who grew up in the California Desert region I LOVE a sunny and warm Christmas. Any Christmas I can’t spend outside hiking or doing outdoor activities just doesn’t seem like Christmas. Besides, it’s much easier to eat a Christmas feast after you’ve been outside 🙂 Glad you’re getting in the mood–and I LOVE that rainbow picture! ~Kathy

    • Vegas was pretty darned cold this past week, as was Cali (and the whole country, apart from Florida!), but at least there was no snow! There’s barely any in Toronto either, but the temps are expected to dip much colder in the coming days. I could do without that. (And Vegas is turning the heat back up, with temps climbing back to the 60’s by the weekend.) Hope your weather is fabulous for the holidays!

  5. I hadn’t really though of it before – but of course Vegas would do Xmas up big – just like they do everything else! Those are some amazing displays – not surprised the best is at the Bellagio – loved that hotel. Been too long since I was last there 🙂

    • The Conservatory wows me every time. Their Chinese New Year displays are outstanding, as is the fall/Thanksgiving display each year. Just love how intricate they are with design and attention to detail!

  6. Wow! that all looks spectacular! My only knowledge of Vegas is from Oceans 11 and CSI, but it looks a whole lot more awesome in your photos!

    I too think snow is overrated, this country grinds to a halt at the least sign of snow, but a hot sunny Christmas would confuse my brain!

  7. I don’t think I knew you when MTM and I renewed our vows in Vegas. It was January 2012. We were staying at the Golden Nugget, and I paid an obscene cab fare just to get one (or several) of those croissants at Bouchon.

    I cannot imagine anyone being a grinch in Vegas. Everything is so over the top, Christmas decorations included. But, I really loved the tour of Boulder City. I’ve only been to Vegas once, and we didn’t go to Hoover Dam. (We went to Zion instead.) I love love live little towns like that.

    • Oh how fun!! Mr Enthusiasm and I keep saying we’ll renew vows there, but we never end up doing it.

      You need to come back! (When it’s warmer) I’d love to show you some cool off-strip sights, like Boulder City. So much awesome away from the craziness of the Strip.

  8. What a fun post!! Your husband is lucky to have you…sounds like such a fun, spontaneous day. I loved traveling with you and I wondered about the changing out of the plants but let that thought go with you assuming they were passed on to local restaurants or something 😉 Happy holidays to you and nice job on the inspiring post for all the bah humbugs out there!

  9. Pingback: wishing you a very best | my year of sweat!

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