Cruisin’ For Christmas Lights

The ho-ho-holidays are here, and we’re back with another roundup of dazzling displays of twinkly, glittering lights around magical holiday experiences around the Silver State. Pack up a handful of candy canes and a thermos of hot chocolate, then buckle up for a bevy of places putting on glimmering light shows and Christmas-themed excursions that’ll jingle bell rock your stockings off.

Enchant Christmas Light Maze

Las Vegas

Prepare to be a-mazed as the holiday immersive experience masters, Enchant, transform the Las Vegas Ballpark into a lit-up labyrinth into a winter wonderland. Upon entering the maze, visitors explore a “mystical forest of millions of twinkling lights and a world of wondrous art installations as they journey to save Christmas” by searching for Santa’s “lost” reindeer. Glide down the Ice Skating Trail, sample your way around the world with Christmas Village’s international gourmet treats, shop at the artisan market, and say hello to Saint Nick in what must be the biggest, brightest Christmastime adventure experience the Silver State has ever seen.

Season runs Nov 26, 2021 – Jan 2, 2022

Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway

North Las Vegas

When it comes to the holidays, you can count on Las Vegas to go bigger than big — and nothing’s bigger than literally MILLIONS of glimmering bulbs. Head up the highway to Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s annual Glittering Lights extravaganza, a massive 2.5-mile drive-thru experience with Christmas scenes at every turn and accompanying holiday tunes piped in through your radio. 

Back by popular demand this year is The Neon Forest, brought to life by fairy dust and a mythical guardian by the name of Gumdrop. If you’re looking for a socially distanced way to celebrate, you can’t beat this one. And if all that’s not sweet enough, a portion of every ticket goes back to more than 50 southern Nevada children’s charities. 

Season runs from mid-November through January 9

Bright Lights, Big(gest) Little City

Reno & Sparks

39 North Pole Village

The 6th Annual 39 North Pole Village holiday light festival makes its triumphant return to Downtown Sparks December 2 – 4, promising to pack on the holiday cheer in a bigger way than ever before. “More vendors, double the entertainment,” and even more twinkling lights dazzle the senses while merrymakers shop for locally made gifts, pose with Santa, watch parades, take free train rides, and eat (and drink) goodies from food trucks. 

The Griswold Challenge

Even if you miss the 39 North Pole Village festivities, you can still bask in the proud glow of every household and business who has entered this year’s National Lampoon-inspired contest. Cruise around Sparks with your eyes peeled for signs indicating official participants in this People’s Choice-powered competition, the winners of which earn either the 1st Place Clark Griswold Award or the 2nd Place Cousin Eddy Award, complete with cash prizes and fiercely coveted trophies. No squirrels allowed.

(Not So) Hidden Valley

Reno is home to Hidden Valley, a community overflowing with holiday cheer of “Christmas Vacation”-style proportions. Now in its 39th year, the Parade of Lights takes its Christmas lights game to a whole ‘nother level. The top ten decorated houses earn yard signs indicating their award-winning status, as does the best street with a theme (that’s right, entire streets get in on this action). Plot your course to these literally brilliant abodes with this neighborhood map

Lights of Tanea

“Thankful for smiles,” the Lights of Tanea — a grandiose single-home display along South Reno’s Tanea Drive — combines a must-see pixel tree with lasers, traditional lights, and mesmerizing visual effects, all set to a soundtrack on 106.1 FM. This year, the show kicks off on Black Friday and runs from 5 PM to 10 PM every night through Christmas.

Boulder City Brilliance

Boulder City

Did someone say, “Winners of The Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC?” That’s the level of razzle dazzle you’ll find throughout neighborhoods in Boulder City. This Holiday Lights list features more than a dozen residences that love sharing the holiday spirit, and actively invite folks to drive by and admire their efforts. Winter wonderland and Nativity scenes are only the beginning of what awaits you a short drive from Las Vegas. 

Holiday Train Rides

Boulder City, Ely, Carson City & Virginia City

Ditch the Grinch, lose the Scrooge and hop on a holiday train chugging up historic rail lines in four different Nevada locales.

Boulder City

Punch your ticket with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, plenty of elves, and your family and friends on the Nevada Southern Railway’s Santa Express, a 45-minute train ride up from Boulder City up to Railroad Pass and back, complete with storytelling, cookies, and cocoa.

Friday and Saturday evenings from Nov 27 to Dec 22. 

Ely

Kids of all ages flock to Ely’s Nevada Northern Railway for a round-trip ride to the North Pole on the popular, pajama-friendly Santa’s Reindeer Flyer Christmas Train. Santa’s helpers serve up hot chocolate and cookies while leading passengers in a chorus of holiday tunes on the way to wave at Santa himself.

Weekends between Nov 20 and Dec 28.

Carson City

If reading The Polar Express is a tradition in your household, head to our capital city, where the famed V&T Railway brings the story to life. Pajama-clad kiddos and their fams come together to sing carols, sip hot cocoa, and hear a reading of the classic Christmas tale, which ends in Santa and his helpers gifting each rider their very own silver sleigh bell.

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Nov 19 to Dec 4, plus Thursday Dec 2.

Virginia City

Enjoy the 150-year-old path of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad on the festively decorated V&T Candy Cane Express. Listen to the 1823 classic “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” watch for wild horses, and enjoy the lights as you pass through the Candy Cane Tunnel.

Select weekend days from Nov 26 to Dec 19.

Christmas at Coffinwood

Pahrump

Fans of Nightmare Before Christmas will want to beeline it to Pahrump, as the movie practically comes to life at Coffinwood every December. An hour outside Las Vegas, this non-traditional “Dead Man’s Party” will quickly become your family’s new favorite holiday tradition. Tune into the posted radio station from the comfort of your car and enjoy a synchronized audio-visual light as Santa-hatted skeletons and holiday ghouls shake their bones to a moving light show set to nearly 20 different songs. The twist? Your Christmas carols come courtesy of Blink 182, Korn, Weezer, Weird Al, the Ramones. Although we’re sure you’ll still be singing “Pahrump-pa-pum-pum” all the way home (and maybe never the same way again).

See it 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM nightly through December 31. Daytime tours may be available by appointment.