Nevada is home to scenic nature trails, historic landmarks, and national monuments, as well as bright lights and even brighter cities. If you’re attracted to the hustle and bustle of the big city, opt for a Nevada vacation rental in the city of Las Vegas or Reno. Admire the colorful Christmas lights strewn throughout the town of Sparks and Carson City. Moreover, cheer on Santa and Mrs. Claus at the annual Christmas light parade in Henderson. Whether you want to gamble and enjoy the nightlife or settle into a quaint, family-friendly town for the holidays, Nevada is the perfect destination. Choose from these seven getaways for your next Christmas vacation.

1. Las Vegas

The bright city lights of Las Vegas are visible year round, but during Christmas time, the City That Never Sleeps puts on quite the light show. Retreat from your cozy vacation rental, and admire the winter wonderland holiday display at Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. If you want to experience a white Christmas, take a spin around the ice rink at the Cosmopolitan that was transformed from the fourth-floor outdoor pool. Attractions for the holidays in Las Vegas are plentiful, including numerous shows featuring gospel, country, and rock artists as well as the Cowboy Christmas rodeo at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Complete your vacation with a performance of The Nutcracker by the Nevada Ballet Theatre in the Smith Center.

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2. Carson City

Carson City extends its Christmas celebrations throughout the winter with weekly tree lighting ceremonies, complete with a visit from Santa for the kids to enjoy. When you choose this popular vacation destination for the holidays, you can spend your time winding through the desert hiking trails by day and admiring the festive decorations and lights on the capitol steps in the evening. If you’re visiting Carson City in early December, don’t miss the Silver and Snowflake Festival of Lights that includes a caroling performance by local grade school choirs and free sleigh rides. Top off your holiday with a skate around Arlington Square’s ice rink, where you and the kids can also fill up on hot chocolate, hot dogs, and chili.

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3. Fallon

Be a part of the rich history and traditions of Fallon, Nevada, by choosing a vacation rental in this festive city. Fallon hosts an annual Christmas tree lighting on downtown Maine Street before serving the community visits with Santa, cookies, and hot chocolate. Santa makes an appearance in the downtown area, too, so the kids can pay him a visit. Before heading back to your rustic cabin or vacation rental home, stop in for lunch at The Slanted Porch or Jerry’s Restaurant for a home-cooked meal.

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4. Sparks

Celebrate the 12 Nevada Days of Christmas with a trip to Sparks in December. This festive town hosts a “Hometowne Christmas” with a tree-lighting ceremony the first weekend of December, followed by a celebration that includes a Christmas parade with Santa and Mrs. Claus along for the ride. Join in the celebration on the decorated streets of downtown Sparks when shopping at the local shops and street vendors. Stop in at Squeeze In for some American fare dining or the Great Basin Brewing Company for pub favorites before retreating back to your vacation rental.

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5. Reno

Just a stone’s throw from Sparks lies Reno, another festive city in Nevada. Reno kicks off its holiday festival with a Christmas philharmonic concert, followed by ballets and performances by local artists, such as the Reno Pops Orchestra’s performance of “Joy to the World.” Join in the carolers in downtown Reno each evening during the month of December. Support a good cause while vacationing in Reno when participating in the Reno Santa Pub Crawl. This special event raises money for local charities while participants dressed as elves, Santa, and Mrs. Claus take to the streets to visit the various watering holes around town.

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6. Henderson

Henderson not only celebrates Christmas in style, but the city goes one step above the rest with a winter fest. Take the kids to the Henderson Events Plaza to experience the Dazzling Desert Holiday event that includes live entertainment, visits with Santa, and an evening light parade. Ride on the Ferris wheel, carousel, toboggan slide, and the toy trains. The kids can even hop on board a pony for a short ride. One of the highlights of the holiday season includes the Holiday Cactus Garden light display in 3D. This nightly attraction lasts until January, so you can enjoy it any time during your Christmas vacation.

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7. Ely

Train enthusiasts flock to Ely during the holiday season to get on board the Polar Express. Located at the Nevada Northern Railway, this magical train takes you and the kids on a journey to the “North Pole.” Listen to classic stories, divulge hot chocolate and cookies, and then sit and visit with Santa. The Polar Express is open every weekend in December, and is located just a few minutes from your Ely vacation rental.

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