It’s that time of year again, when we bid farewell to past and ring in the New Year. What better place to welcome 2009 than Las Vegas. From spectacular fireworks to VIP parties to star-studded performances to celebrating with 300,000 revelers on the Las Vegas Strip, Sin City knows how to throw an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party to suite anyone’s style.
Planning a New Year’s vacation to Las Vegas? Here are some tips:
- Book as early as possible. With 300,000 visitors in town, hotel rooms usually sell out early and prices increase dramatically as the holiday approaches. Luckily, this year’s gloomy economic conditions have resulted in fewer expected visitors than years past. This means lower room rates and special vacation packages are available, so shop around.
- If you’re not staying at a hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard then arrive early. Traffic can be incredibly challenging, and often times frustrating, as The Strip is closed to all traffic at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. This transforms the usually congested roadway into a giant pedestrian party spot. If you plan on celebrating on The Strip, early afternoon arrival is recommended so you can claim a parking spot at a hotel /casino parking garage. Parking becomes increasingly hard to find as the evening hours approach.
- If you’re staying on The Strip, the best way to get from one end to the other is the Las Vegas Monorail. It runs from the Sahara Hotel & Casino to the MGM Grand Hotel with stops at the Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas Convention Center, Harrah’s/Imperial Palace, Flamingo/Caesar’s Palace, and Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas. Cost for passengers is $5.00 per person or you may purchase a day pass, offering unlimited rides, for $12.00.
- For a smaller, yet just as enthusiastic crowd, head Downtown to the Fremont Street Experience and ring in the New Year with a spectacular light show under its famous canopy. A highlight this year is Tribute Palooza, featuring 14 live tribute bands blasting the music of Aerosmith, U2, Queen and The Rolling Stones, among others. The event is free for locals with valid Nevada identification and only $20 for visitors. As on The Strip, arrive early for best parking.
- If you don’t like hanging out with the masses on The Strip or on Fremont Street, many of the hotels host VIP parties. There are also special musical performances and Las Vegas’ world-famous stage productions providing New Year’s Eve entertainment. You can also see and be seen as you dance the night away with Hollywood stars at one of Las Vegas’ exclusive night clubs. However, if you choose one of these options, be prepared to spend money as they can be expensive. Check with your hotel’s concierge or check out Visit Las Vegas for an event that suites your taste and pocketbook.
- Despite the fact that it’s winter, you’d be amazed how many visitors don’t realize that it gets down right cold in the desert. Be sure to bundle up if you plan to venture out on The Strip on New Year’s Eve. And don’t worry, many of the parties and shows have coat check so you can still celebrate in style once indoors.
- Don’t do anything stupid. Any time you have a gathering of hundreds of thousands of people jammed into a relatively small area, you’re bound to get a few bad apples. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is vigilant in keeping the peace on the The Strip allowing everyone, young and old, to celebrate safely. In fact, over the past few years there have been no major incidents bringing down the party. Just remember, no crowd diving, climbing light poles or kissing strangers who don’t want to be kissed as the New Year rings in. The last thing you want is to spend your New Year’s Day in jail or an emergency room.
- Once the New Year has arrived stick around. A lot of people will be leaving all at once creating a traffic jam. Instead of rushing out of the area, you can head indoors to grab a midnight meal, enjoy time reminiscing about the past year and planning for the future with family and friends at a lounge or bar, or win a big jackpot in a casino to start 2009 off with a bang.