New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas

January 3, 2008 at 10:07 am 1 comment

We’re just back from a quick trip to Vegas for New Year’s. I’ll be breaking up the trip into several reports to make it easier on myself. 😉 First up: the main event – New Year’s Eve.

The short story: If you’re going to the Strip for New Year’s Eve, (1) stay on the Strip, (2) don’t expect traffic to stop when they say they’re going to close off the roads, (3) don’t plan to shop past 6 pm, and (4) do some research about which hotels are firing off the fireworks if you want to see them. Now for the whole story.

We (Ami, our dhs, and myself) decided to celebrate on the Strip. The bands on Fremont Street this year weren’t appealing to us, and clubs would require too much energy. The Strip is fairly well known for having a big fireworks display, so we decided that would do for us.

We were told repeatedly – by numerous people – that we should be very concerned about getting to the Strip before they closed it off to traffic. We read on the TripAdvisor forum and heard from other sources that they closed things off at 3 pm, and traffic would become nightmarish about that time. We figured we should get back after lunch to save ourselves some trouble. I think we made it into the parking garage of the Planet Hollywood (casino and hotel formerly known as Aladdin, not the restaurant – that’s still at Caesars) by around 2:30. Traffic wasn’t much heavier than it had been the whole weekend. We relaxed in our friends’ hotel room for a while, and then set out for shopping (girls) and gambling (boys).

We were surprised to find traffic still chugging along Las Vegas Blvd at about 4:30, but we were more interested in getting to the shops. We figured we had a few hours to shop, so we poked around at a casual pace through some less interesting stores on our way to the more interesting stores. At about 5:30, we were in Theory when they started closing up. We were very surprised to learn that all the shops were closing at 6 pm – with no signs posted anywhere! We regretted wasting our time and not getting to the good stores sooner. Oh well. We were glad that the employees weren’t going to get stuck on the Strip since surely the 6 pm closing time meant that the Strip would soon be closed to traffic.

We headed over to O’Shea’s to pick up our husbands for dinner, but mine was still playing! They had some fun Texas hold ‘em tournaments there over the weekend ($45 buy-in), and he ended up 8th in almost 30 players that evening. So we left him to find somewhere to eat. We knew a lot of places were offering “special” (read: expensive) prix fixe dinners, so we thought we might end up eating fast food. We were happy to find that La Salsa Cantina, a Mexican restaurant in the Miracle Mile Shops, had neither prix fixe nor a special menu. We were seated immediately and had a nice, relaxing dinner (my husband eventually came to join us). He let us know that when he walked over, at about 7:00, the Strip was still open to traffic. It seems they were slowly closing off the side roads and didn’t close off the Strip until the sidewalks became sufficiently crowded.

We decided that we did not need to hang out outside until midnight, so we watched the festivities on tv for a while. We saw the ball drop in Times Square and monitored the crowds on the Strip. We figured we were safe to head out about 11:30, so that’s what we did. When we got down there, the boulevard was packed, but there seemed to be plenty of room on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. We asked a cop if that was a good place to stay to see the fireworks, and he said we were perfectly positioned, right in the middle of things. Things got a lot tighter in the next 30 minutes – and we were witness to exactly the type of debauchery you’d expect in Sin City.

We counted down to midnight with the countdown on the hotel and started looking for the fireworks. We looked and looked, but we couldn’t see them. Gosh, they were so loud! And coming from the roof of our hotel! We managed to see a bit through a crack in between Planet Hollywood and Paris’ balloon but not much. People had to be in the street or on the opposite side of the Strip to see them. If you want to see the fireworks, definitely do some research to find out which hotels are firing them and don’t assume you’ll be able to see something from anywhere.

At first, we were stunned. Then irritated. Then we started giggling. We were standing about 50 feet away from Trader Vic’s patio, a club from which a local station had been broadcasting all evening. They had mentioned several times that some of the people there had paid $6,000 to be there. They couldn’t see the fireworks either! We thought that was kind of funny. Then we headed back up to the room to sleep.

We were pleased to have been able to scoot out and back in so easily even if we didn’t see the fireworks. Honestly, from what we did see, they didn’t appear to be that special. There weren’t, for example, red rings exploding in coordination to “The Ring of Fire” like we’d seen at Chicago’s Navy Pier. I think we did it just right – for us anyway.

I’ll attach pics later – haven’t uploaded yet.


Entry filed under: TheStates.

TTT*: TripAdvisor News for Traveling Photographers

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ami  |  January 3, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I had SO much fun!!! And you are so right about the fireworks – Navy Pier was way cooler and I wouldn’t have wanted to stand in the street for hours – it was so great to scoot out and scoot in!


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