Las Vegas is known for palm trees, pools and sunshine. It’s not really a destination that makes you want to pack up your coziest sweaters and take your snowshoes out of storage. But did you know that the temperature on Las Vegas Boulevard on Jan. 1st, 2019 was actually colder than it was in Times Square? The Strip may not look like a winter wonderland, but it can often surprise you by feeling a lot colder than you might expect.
While it’s unlikely that a blizzard will cover the casinos in snow this year like it did in 2008, it’s still possible to find a winter wonderland in Las Vegas.
Here are a few ways to do just that.
Go Ice Skating
Maybe you channeled your inner Michelle Kwan at an indoor ice skating rink as a kid. Perhaps you were even fortunate enough to learn to skate on a frozen pond surrounded by snow. But have you ever gone ice skating in the desert? In Las Vegas, you can.
One very popular option is at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. From November through January, the resort transforms its Boulevard Pool into a 4,200 square foot ice rink festooned with falling snow, fire pits and incredible views of the Strip. A little further west lies the Rock Rink at Downtown Summerlin. If you prefer the Red Rock Canyon backdrop to the neon lights of the Strip, you’ll definitely want to swing by this ice skating rink. It’s open from November through January, and is conveniently located near the area’s shops, which gives you a great excuse to buy yourself that present you didn’t get for Christmas.
Ski Las Vegas
A ski resort in Las Vegas? Yep, it’s a thing. Mt. Charleston’s Lee Canyon offers skiing and snowboarding at the ski resort, plus snowshoeing, snow tubing and plenty of space for snowball fights. Located just 50 miles away from the Strip at an elevation of 8,510 feet, this winter paradise offers a dramatic juxtaposition to the city. From snow-covered peaks to Las Vegans riding ski lifts, Lee Canyon is a true alpine escape that’s worth the drive.
Go for a Wintry Hike Away From the Crowds
Mt. Charleston too crowded? Here’s a winter wonderland that’s off the radar and is even closer. Located just 40 miles from Las Vegas, Lovell Canyon is accessible via a paved road. Here, you’ll find snowy vistas, hiking trails and plenty of free camping (just make sure you’ve got a sleeping bag that can handle freezing temperatures). If you’ve ever wanted to see a Joshua tree cloaked in snow, this is the place.
Chill Out at an Ice Bar
Don a parka and head to the coolest (literally) bar experience in Las Vegas. Minus5, which has locations at the Venetian and Mandalay Bay, features walls, seats and chandeliers made of ice, plus Vegas-themed ice sculptures, and of course, plenty of ice-cold booze. Order a cocktail from a glass made of ice, do a shot-ski with your friends, sip a spiked cold brew coffee – and then make plans to return to the frosty lounge in the summer when it’s 110 degrees on the Strip.