Christmas in Las Vegas may be extravagant, but when it comes to over-the-top holiday celebrations, New Year’s Eve in Sin City tops even the tallest Christmas tree on the Strip.
Every NYE, the entire Strip is shut down to vehicle traffic and transforms into one giant block party attended by over 300,000 people. At midnight, casinos up and down the Strip launch a choreographed fireworks show, while indoors, showrooms boast the hottest entertainment, and nightclubs are packed with revelers ringing in the new year on the dance floor.
The key to celebrating New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas is to plan ahead and book early, so if you’re looking to usher in 2019 in Las Vegas, make sure you check out our guide.
Where to Celebrate NYE in Las Vegas
Las Vegas may turn into one big party (at least, bigger than usual) on December 31, but like every other night of the year, there are many different ways to spend the night, and there’s something for every visitor. Here are some of the most popular ways to spend New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas:
If you’re looking to join the biggest New Year’s Eve party in Sin City, you won’t have to look very far—over 300,000 visitors hit the Strip to ring in the new year. If you plan to be one of them, here’s what you need to know:
- Plan to arrive early. Traffic on the strip is a challenge on a normal day—add in an extra couple hundred thousand people and a slew of road closures, and the Strip becomes a straight-up traffic nightmare. Roads surrounding the Strip begin closing as early as 4:00 PM, so if you’re staying off the Strip, plan to get there earlier in the afternoon.
- Dress warmly. Las Vegas may be in the desert, but it gets cool at night—sometimes as low as the mid 30s. If you plan to party on the Strip, be sure to wear appropriate clothing.
- If you want to watch the fireworks, get in position early. Find a spot at the highest possible elevation, such as the tops of parking garages or other buildings. The best places to watch are the High Roller Observation Wheel, SkyFall Lounge on the 64th floor of the Delano at the south end of the Strip, Stratosphere Tower, and Foundation Room on the 63rd floor of Mandalay Bay.
- Hotels usually start restricting entry for non-guests around 11:00 PM in order to ensure they remain under legal occupancy limits. Doors typically re-open around 12:30.
- Yes, you can drink on the street, as long as you are over 21. However, glass and metal containers are not permitted.
- Protect your valuables. Don’t let pickpockets steal away with your party piggy bank. Carry your passport and any cash in a money belt or other theft-proof bag so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of your valuables while you rock the night away.
If the Strip block party isn’t your scene, there is no shortage of other places to party in Las Vegas, especially on NYE. If you plan to dance the year away, bring your wallet—parties in Las Vegas are never cheap, and they’re even more expensive on New Year’s Eve. Here are some of the most popular parties:
- 108 Party in the Sky: Located on the 108th floor of the Stratosphere Tower, this annual blowout features DJs, dancers, performance artists, party favors, a midnight champagne toast, and a premium open bar. Tickets will run you $250. Get more info.
- 107 SkyLounge Celebration: For a slightly less expensive evening, check out Stratosphere’s SkyLounge, located on the 107th floor. Entry costs $199, and includes a 2-hour open bar from 10:00 PM till midnight, party favors, and a top-notch view of the midnight fireworks display.
- High Roller Observation Wheel: Ringing in the new year aboard the High Roller Observation Wheel is one of the hottest tickets in town. Admission starts at $150 per person, and includes on-board midnight champagne toast and incredible views of the fireworks.
- Hard Rock Cafe: This NYE mainstay features a front row view of the fireworks from the restaurant’s covered patio, as well as music, premium open bar, food, party favors, and a champagne toast.
- NYE Bridge Party at New York, York: Celebrate the new year on the Brooklyn Bridge, Las Vegas-style. Rock out to DJ music, enjoy the open bar, and watch the fireworks show. Tickets are $135.
Top of the World
Welcome 2019 in luxurious style 800 feet above the Strip at the Top of the World restaurant inside the Stratosphere tower, featuring 360 degree views of the entire city skyline. Enjoy the ultimate NYE gourmet experience, with seatings from 4:00 PM till midnight:
- Pre-fireworks: 4:00-8:00 PM, 2 hour seatings. Featuring an a la carte menu, cash bar, and party favors. Minimum $100 food and drink purchase per person. Join the celebration at 108 Party in the Sky after dinner for an additional $99.
- Fireworks: Reservations begin at 10:00 PM. Featuring a special 4-course prix fixe menu, cash bar, complimentary champagne with dinner, and complimentary admission to 108 Party in the Sky. $299 per person.
Downtown Las Vegas
The party doesn’t stop off the Strip. In nearby downtown Las Vegas, the entire 5-block Fremont Street Experience is closed off exclusively for NYE. The party starts at 6:00 PM, with 12 bands playing on 4 stages and the Times Square ball drop streamed live overhead on the Viva Vision screens.
The Fremont Street Experience closes at 4:00 PM on December 31 to prepare for the party. You must be 21 or older to enter. Ticket prices increase as you get closer to NYE, so be sure to book early for the best rates.
Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan
If a jam-packed block party or a bass-thumping nightclub aren’t your style, the Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan is a great alternative. And at just $50 per person for early bird tickets, this party is a steal. Book early—prices increase as the day approaches.
Admission includes skating and skate rental, open bar, live DJ, and a great view of the rooftop pool. And if you’re hoping to ring in the new year with your kids, they’re welcome as well—the ice rink is all ages. They’ll even have their own open bar, serving soda and hot chocolate.
If you’d rather avoid the party scene altogether, take a look at the many NYE shows on offer. Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, Tenacious D, and Imagine Dragons all have shows booked for December 31.
6 Tips for Celebrating NYE in Las Vegas
If you’re planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, keep these tips in mind to ensure your night goes off without a hitch:
- Plan ahead. This is not the time to wing it—tickets to anything are expensive, the cost only increases the closer you get to December 31, and they sell out fast.
- Book early. Hotel rooms sell out quickly, and the prices can increase significantly for the holiday season.
- Save your money. NYE in Vegas is not cheap—cover at nightclubs usually starts around $100 for men, and goes up from there.
- Take the bus. RTC (the local bus system) offers free rides on NYE, and will be driving 39 fixed routes between 6:00 PM and 9:00 AM on January 1.
- The monorail is the only public transportation operating on the Strip. Otherwise, the closest bus routes are routes 201, 202, and 203.
- The best way to get around the Strip is by walking or using the monorail. If you do drive yourself to the Strip, park in a hotel garage near the end of the Strip so it’s easier to get out at the end of the night. Plan for a late departure—you won’t be able to get off the Strip till well after midnight. Don’t count on taxis.
There’s nowhere like Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve. Whether you plan to ring in 2019 on the Strip, on the dancefloor, or downtown, there are events to suit every visitor, including:
- Outdoor parties on the Strip, at the Fremont Street Experience, and at casino resorts
- Dance parties at nightclubs
- Gourmet dining experiences
- Special NYE shows featuring your favorite artists
The most important thing you can do to ensure a happy new year is to plan ahead and book early. If you’re also planning to be in Las Vegas for Christmas, make sure you check out all the best Christmas light displays and events on the Strip. Our walking tour itinerary makes it easy to take in all the must-see Christmas displays:
Dashing Down the Strip: Walking Tour of the Best Las Vegas Christmas Light Displays, Events, & Attractions (map included)
Featured Image Source: kennejima via Flickr.