New York may have Times Square, but no entire city is quite utterly devoted to celebrating New Year’s Eve like Las Vegas. Not only are there more star-studded, over-indulgent, all-night-long parties here than can possibly be counted, but the entire Strip is closed to traffic for a midnight fireworks display that every year tries its darnedest to beat the last.
On top of that, the Mirage volcano is said to be hosting an event that may well turn out to be historic, if things go as planned.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Coming in for the crazy New Year’s Eve weekend? Here are some of the top shows, clubs and events you may want to consider:
Some of the biggest names performing at Las Vegas hotels include Fergie in the Venetian Ballroom (hosting the countdown at Lavo in the Palazzo afterward); Kid Rock at the Pearl in the Palms (hosting and DJing upstairs at Playboy Club afterward); DJ Paul Oakenfold at Rain (also Palms); Pink at ex-husband Cary Hart’s Wasted Space rock club (Hard Rock Hotel) and Akon at House of Blues (Mandalay Bay)… Or, if you’d rather, step back in time with Sha Na Na at The Cannery (two shows), Jerry Vale at Eastside Cannery, or Tony Orlando at South Point.
Vegas favorite David Copperfield also is performing at MGM Grand, and if you’re itching to get your evening started, many popular Strip shows are offering special early performances, including all of the Cirque Du Soleils (matinees between 4-6 p.m.) and a 7 p.m. performance of MGM’s tastefully sexy Crazy Horse Paris topless revue…
What would Vegas be without celebrity-hosted club parties? Ringing out their star-making year, The Hills stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt bring their “reality” show to Christian Audigier (TI), while Kim and all the Kardashian clan sets up on the VIP stage at LAX (Luxor), Ashley Simpson and Pete Wentz do the proud parent party at Pure (Caesars Palace), Carmen Elektra counts down at TAO, Denise Richards makes things less complicated (let’s hope!) at Prive (Planet Hollywood), Usher brings love into the club Bank, (Bellagio) and New Kids’ Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood take a flyer at JET.
Needless to say, every place with a great view of the Strip will be celebrating as the fireworks go off…Stratosphere, with the highest view in town, is offering a variety of packages for its 108th floor observation deck and Top of the World restaurant, including one that offers unlimited thrill rides (a great combo with champagne!) and several dining options… Ghostbar, 55 floors up at Palms is sure to be a hot ticket…And with or without Fergie, Lavo is a sure bet with one of the best patios on the Strip and a classy club inside. Another hot tip would be to check out XS, the new megaclub at Wynn Resort’s Encore, which is bound to have a VIP crowd.
OTHER GREAT STRIP VIEW RESTAURANTS/CLUBS
Mix at THEHotel (Mandalay Bay), Voodoo Lounge (Rio), Prime, Yellowtail (both Bellagio) as well as the Bellagio’s Fontana lounge (where local legend Dian Diaz performs), Social House (TI), Mon Ami Gabi and the Eiffel Tower restaurant (both Paris). Planet Hollywood’s Hawaiian Tropic Zone has one of the roomier Strip-side party patios, and probably one of the best deals ($50 general admission, $125 with open bar, $1200 Strip-side tables) including a free buffet with admission… Diablo’s Cantina (Monte Carlo), with another great view, has a comparable offer.. And while we’re talking “relative” values, the Mirage’s Revolution lounge has a 10-midnight open bar for $75 dollars, while Oakenfold’s Perfecto club at Rain — which would be a white-hot ticket in any other city — thanks to the competition here, is also a deal for dancers.
A WORD TO THE WISE
Considering the madness that happens on Vegas New Year’s Eve, you may feel it’s well worth it to spring some extra cash for VIP treatment — and of course, there are any number of VIP packages available (the best bets probably being the all-access deal at Palms, and Fergie’s concert/club combo at Venetian/Palazzo). I’d also strongly suggest remaining in one well-chosen spot from 8 p.m. until after midnight — should you be so inclined, it would be a lot easier to move to another party around 2 a.m. Don’t worry, they will just be getting started!
Insider Tip: On the budget end, Red Rock Casino lounge favorites Zowie Bowie are coming to the Strip for a special performance at the Monte Carlo brew pub.
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E.C. Gladstone is a former editor for AOLVegas, and interviews top Strip entertainers, restaurateurs, moguls and behind-the-scenes players for VEGAS Magazine. Like many Las Vegans, he sleeps only when absolutely necessary.