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Santas, Penguins, and Neon: Las Vegas Holiday

The thousands-strong Santa Run is just the start of Sin City's big season.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NORTH POLE + LAS VEGAS: What do these two places have in common? At first glance, not too much. One's quite chilly and one is not very chilly at all (unless you count the vodka bars and powerfully air-conditioned casinos). One is filled with the smell of gingerbread and one is filled with the scent of fancy foodstuffs created by the world's buzziest chefs. And one minds a "naughty or nice" list while the other has a famous campaign that advises what happens in a particular place stays in particular place. But we believe the geographical duo to be a very good pairing. They're built on wonder, outlandishness, and dreaming big. They're atwinkle with lights. And the architecture is built on a platform of fantasy and dreams. Wait: Is Las Vegas actually the North Pole, and we've never noticed?

    SANTAS ABOUND: You expect to head to Sin City and see plenty of Elvises, yes, but count on seeing a Santa, or 10,000, while there. Bellagio's Winter Holiday kicks off on Dec. 6, and if you think you might spy some penguins or an igloo in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, you'd be correct. The Neon Museum is hosting a "special lighting" on Saturday, Dec. 14, with kidly ornament-makery earlier in the afternoon. And who is that inside the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay? Yep, it's Santa. He may not be scuba diving in the tanks, but he will chat with young visitors and stop for photos. And those picture-splashy Bellagio fountains? They might take on a holiday-like glow as the end of the year draws nearer, so watch closely. Yep, North Pole; you might have a doppelcity in Las Vegas, what with all of the big-style, pull-out-all-stops glitter and cheer.

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