Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Jimmy Kimmel taunts L.A. newscasters
Earlier this month, talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel taunted Los Angeles newscasters for their panic over 50-degree weather, and that’s with good reason: Having grown up in Las Vegas, he knows what real cold is.
We might not experience regular snowstorms, but outsiders forget that this famously sunny city gets about as cold in the winter as it does hot in the summer.
For newcomers planning to arrive with a suitcase of Bermudas and flip-flops, save yourself the rude awakening and peruse these expert tips to get the most out of Las Vegas’ unique winters:
Dress in layers
The arid landscape of the Las Vegas Valley is capricious, prone to double-digit temperature changes over the course of a winter day as the sun warms freezing mornings into temperate afternoons — only to surprise you come nightfall with chilling winds or a rainstorm.
If you’re new to town, start dressing in layers so that you’re always prepared, and be aware of your surroundings when you go out, lest you learn the hard way not to stand downwind of the Bellagio Fountains when it’s 30 degrees outside.
Drink (and warm) up
The Strip is a culinary Mecca, and warm drinks are no exception. From traditional hot cocoas to boozy concoctions, Las Vegas does warm-winter beverages in decadent style. Hot chocolate enthusiasts should make a point of stopping by Max Brenner’s at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, which features an entire hot chocolate menu of classic and exotic takes (salted caramel cocoa, anyone?) on the winter favorite.
If you like things a bit lighter, the Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental offers a range of exotic teas from around the world, as well as a daily classic English afternoon tea service. Those looking for a stiffer way to warm up should check out the bar at the Cosmopolitan’s ice rink, which features curated winter cocktails such as its signature Campfire Delight, made with Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka, creme de cacao, Rumchata and marshmallow.
Off the Strip, Boca Park’s Sambalatte offers an indulgent variety of coffee drinks and pastries guaranteed to help you shake off the chill.
Warm up your plants
If you’ve driven through McCarran Airport on a chilly winter day, you’ve probably noticed the towering saguaro cacti covered in burlap sacks. Think of them like sweaters — much like the heat, extreme cold can damage even the heartiest desert foliage. While most species native to the Mojave Desert will recover come warmer months, those like saguaros require extra care to survive the colder months.
Norm Schilling, owner of Schilling Horticulture Group and former horticulture supervisor at UNLV, recommends insulating outdoor plans with fallen leaves or covering them with burlap, tarps, trashcans or newspaper once temperatures drop below freezing.
“Those coverings keep the plant about three or four degrees warmer than it is outside. It’s not a huge difference, but it can make a big difference in the life and death of a plant,” Schilling says.
Larger plants like cold-sensitive trees can be wrapped in Christmas lights with incandescent bulbs to stave off the cold. Schilling also recommends letting desert-style plants like acacias and Palo Verdes go dry in the winter to improve cold hardiness.
Don’t cancel your pest control
Winter might seem like a reprieve from bed bugs, roaches and scorpions that plague households across the Valley, but don’t be fooled: Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. Pests tend to go dormant in the winter, avoiding the harsh climate while their eggs lay waiting to hatch.
Local pest controllers, such as Greenway Pest Services, warn that bringing houseplants inside in the winter also can bring along some unwanted guests who will love the warmth of your house, including soil-dwelling insects like ants and earwigs who can be tricky to spot or remove.
They recommend continuing pest-control services in cooler months and getting a “winterization” treatment to identify openings to eliminate entry and create a barrier that will keep bugs out and kill eggs and pests that might already be in the home.
Enjoy the festivities
We may not have any snow this season (yet), but there are plenty of festivities in town to help you get in the winter spirit. From ice skating at the Cosmopolitan, Caesars Palace and the Venetian to holiday displays at the Bellagio Conservatory to Ethel M’s famous lights, Las Vegas offers dozens of reasons to enjoy going out in the cold. Check out our 2013 Holiday Events Guide for a list of ideas.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas dares to be different. From the hotel’s red reservations desks to fine art found throughout the resort, The Cosmopolitan’s signature style is helping to pave its own path on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering the resort, you’re greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for The Cosmopolitan. Just beyond that, you’ll find all your favorite casino games on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor.
The Cosmopolitan’s rooms standout as the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of The Cosmopolitan’s 2,995 rooms have 6-foot deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel. Other in-room amenities include soaking tubs, kitchenettes and quirky accessories like artsy coffee table books.
The dining experience at The Cosmopolitan isn’t something you’ll find at other Strip resorts, either. All of The Cosmopolitan’s 13 restaurateurs are new to the Las Vegas market. You’ll find American steakhouse fare in a modern setting at STK, top-notch sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill and the freshest fish flown in from the Mediterranean daily at Estiatorio Milos.
Whether the sun is up or down, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the place to find the party at The Cosmopolitan. The venue is a dayclub/nightclub, complete with a pool and cabanas outside and three different rooms with three different vibes inside.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can grab a drink at one of The Cosmopolitan’s five other bars, like The Chandelier, which is encased in 2 million dripping crystals.
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.