Swimming Santas, Scuba Elves and Other Holiday Bargains


Holiday deals dominate this month, starting with ice skating. In 2011, the Venetian put up a rink as part of its big Winter in Venice celebration; as is often the way in Las Vegas, others followed. Last year the Cosmopolitan skated into the fray, and this year you can add Caesars Palace and the Gold Spike. The Venetian’s rink is synthetic “Ven-ice” and a similar surface is being installed in the area behind the Gold Spike, while the two other rinks offer the real thing. Prices haven’t been announced for the two newcomers, and it’s $10 again at both the Cosmopolitan and Venetian, with the Cosmo claiming the better deal with unlimited skating versus the Venetian’s one-hour limit.

• For a Vegas spin on St. Nick, head to the Silverton where, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through December 22, Underwater Santa will don scuba gear and pose for pictures in a 117,000-gallon aquarium filled with 4,000 tropical fish, sharks and stingrays. If that doesn’t quench your underwater Yuletide jones, the upgraded Atlantis attraction in the Forum Shops at Caesars now features Scuba Elves. Yikes!

• Skating rinks and aquatic North Pole denizens are cool, but I’m still partial to that other great holiday tradition from Ellis Island: homemade alcohol-infused eggnog. This one packs a punch and is $6 by the glass or $29.99 for a bottle.

• In non-holiday news, there’s a new Elvis memorabilia exhibit at Binion’s called King’s Ransom. It’s free, and afterward you can hit Benny’s Bullpen for its $3.49 10-inch pizza special. … Meanwhile, get a good bar deal at the Riviera’s Wicked Vicky Tavern, where 15 wings and a pitcher of beer (15 choices include Hoegaarden, Guinness and Butte Porter) are just $15 during any college or pro football game on Monday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday. The Vicky has retained all the elements of the former Queen Victoria Pub, including the Brit menu; more than 100 draft beers; big-screen TVs; plus pool, darts and other pub games.

• If octagon battles get you in the spirit, the new Wildfire Valley View has brought back free UFC broadcasts, a staple at the former Lift bar, just in time for the big Anderson Silva/Chris Weidman fight on December 28.

• If you’re looking for a room on New Year’s Eve, 87 hotels had availability when our Las Vegas Advisor researchers searched last week. The best price overall was the Lucky Club for $90. Downtown, it was the new Downtown Grand for $199. And on the Strip, it was Circus Circus, where a two-night package was $324 ($162 per night).

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.