Run, Santa, Run!

I love the holiday season! I love Christmas music, the food, and most of all, the all-pervading feeling that it’s finally time to relax and be of good cheer.

Last December we spent a long weekend in Las Vegas. We wanted to see Sin City all done up for the holidays and get away from the Strip to see how everyday Vegas lives. We drove downtown to Fremont Street on a Saturday to see something special: The Great Santa Run.

Every Christmas season, thousands of Las Vegans gather for a charity 5K run/walk around the downtown entertainment district. It’s a casual, fun event in an area full of good places to eat and drink, and all the proceeds benefit Opportunity Village (a charity that helps adults with intellectual disabilities find employment and engage with the community).

This was expected to be the biggest race ever, with almost ten thousand runners in full Santa getup. We parked and joined the happy crowds milling around the Fremont Street stage. After a pep talk from the mayor and a brief concert starring Santa Claus, it was race time!

Fremont Street Santas
Following thousands of Santas to the starting line at Las Vegas Boulevard and Carson Avenue.
Great Santa Run
I lined up with the press photographers and a few other hangers-on to capture the start of the race.
Sea of Santas
We climbed up to the third floor of a parking garage to watch the parade of Santas headed down Las Vegas Boulevard.
Crossing the Finish Line
Happy families finishing the race near the Downtown Container Park.
Christmas Pups
Even dogs got into the Santa Run spirit!

After the festivities were finished, we stuck around to shop and eat. It was an awesome morning out and a chance to see a different side of Las Vegas. If you’re ever in Vegas the first weekend in December, stop by and check it out!

Even if it’s not Santa Run season, Downtown Las Vegas has a lot to offer. Skip the junk shops and check out the many excellent restaurants and bars. Here are a few places we enjoyed:

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