Last New Year’s Eve, my family came to visit us in Las Vegas to ring in the new year. It was a unique experience to cross off my bucket list but we learned important tips to keep in mind for next time.
Here’s what we learned celebrating New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas so you can have a smoother experience. I took these photos from my phone so I apologize for the quality and glare from the street lights!
Book your hotel as early as possible
I didn’t reserve a hotel until two months before New Year’s Eve, and most rooms were already sold out or very, very expensive. If you’re reading this and plan to spend December 31 in Las Vegas, reserve your rooms now (or yesterday)
Make dinner reservations
If you want to dine at a certain restaurant for NYE, it’s probably not a good idea to just walk in the day of and risk the chance that it’s fully booked. You’ll then have to spend your time walking from restaurant to restaurant looking for an open table, which is not the best way to spend the remaining hours of the year.
Everything is more expensive on NYE
You’ll notice that prices for hotels, dining, or clubs are markedly higher during NYE in Las Vegas. Most restaurants on The Strip will convert their menu into prix fixe or special NYE packages.
My family ate at Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace. For New Year’s Eve, the price was $99 per person. Normally, it would have been around $60. Each adult was given a ticket for a lobster and filet mignon as part of the price. Even though it was expensive, we thought the price was worth it for the quality and quantity of food we ate.
Bring a warm coat
December temperatures in Las Vegas can get as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re from somewhere with cold, windy winters then you’ll probably be that one person wearing shorts or a skirt on NYE.
Otherwise, wear a coat so you’re not freezing on The Strip while waiting for fireworks at midnight. I unapologetically wore a long puffy coat and I was cozy all night!
Book parties and clubs as early as possible
I was researching places to hang out as a group but the only tables available in November were $600 and up. It’s best to shop early before your top pick gets sold out.
Take advantage of online check-ins
My husband and I live in the suburbs and we knew we had to drive to The Strip early before road closures.
We were able to check-in early at 3:00 pm at Bally’s. Definitely take advantage of checking in through electronic kiosks, hotel apps, or through email, which can be quicker than waiting in line at the lobby.
By 3:30 pm, traffic formed on The Strip and sidewalks were already full of pedestrians.
Anticipate road closures
People waiting on the Las Vegas Strip for fireworks during New Year’s Eve.
After dinner, I noticed that Las Vegas Boulevard was closed off to traffic so people could walk on the road and wait for fireworks. You can still drive on side streets. Follow @RTCSNV on Twitter or local news for updates on road closures.
I also noticed that they placed railings along The Strip and you can only enter the sidewalk through certain checkpoints.
Keep a hotel room key card and I.D. with you at all times
Before you leave your hotel to walk on The Strip, make sure to bring your hotel room key card and an I.D. (or passport).
You can’t easily walk into any casino on the Las Vegas Strip after a certain time. If you need to go back to your hotel, prepare for long lines and a security check.
There’s also a chance you won’t get into a casino unless you’re staying there or you’re with someone who’s staying there.
After dinner at Caesar’s Palace, my parents wanted to go back to their hotel room at The Bellagio around 8:30 pm. At the entrance, there was a long but steady line in front of a security checkpoint checking purses and hotel key cards. You couldn’t go inside unless you were staying at the hotel or you’re with someone who’s staying there.
Every hotel is different and I’m sure policies change every year, so double check before your trip.
Stay as a group
If you want to spend midnight with your family and friends, make sure to stay as a group.
My husband and I were on different parts of The Strip and planned to meet each other before midnight. We couldn’t find each other in time. I couldn’t pick him out from the crowd since there were so many people.
I also noticed that I didn’t have cellphone signal, so plan meeting spots in advance in case you can’t call anyone.
Get a good view of the fireworks
Only certain resorts on the Las Vegas Strip launch fireworks from their rooftops. Check the local news a couple of days before to plan exactly where to stand to get the best view.
My mom and I stood at the intersection of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard. We had a close view of the fireworks that were launched from the rooftop of Caesar’s Palace. They played music on the streets while the fireworks were going on. I thought the fireworks display could’ve been longer, but it was free and I was grateful to share the moment with family.
Tips for next time
My first time spending New Year’s Eve on the Las Vegas Strip was definitely a memorable experience. It was amazing to see Las Vegas Boulevard closed off and packed with people dressed up and having a good time. Next time, I’ll start researching hotels and party packages earlier. Right now it’s September, and I’m probably already too late!