New Year's Eve in Vegas: A survival guide

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Fireworks erupt over the Las Vegas Strip on Jan. 1, 2019.
Fireworks erupt over the Las Vegas Strip on Jan. 1, 2019. Photo Credit: David Becker/Las Vegas News Bureau
Paul Szydelko
Paul Szydelko

Like Sydney, Dubai, London and Times Square in New York, the Las Vegas Strip has become a distinctive, once-in-a-lifetime spot to ring in the New Year.

At least 300,000 revelers are expected to celebrate in Las Vegas, and the Strip turns into a giant party zone as the clock ticks down. Fireworks set off from the rooftops of seven resorts will fill the skies just after midnight: from south to north, MGM Grand, Aria in CityCenter, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, TITreasure Island, the Venetian and the Strat. The show will be about eight minutes and feature more than 80,000 pyrotechnic firings.

"We are planning to celebrate the 20th anniversary of 'America's Party: Las Vegas New Year' in grand style," said Pat Christenson, Las Vegas Events president. "Our partners at Fireworks by Grucci have been planning this celebration for almost a year. We're confident that this celebration will be befitting of Las Vegas, our resort partners and the thousands gathering on the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate the New Year."

Entertainment on the Strip on Tuesday, Dec. 31, will include Lady Gaga ("Jazz and Piano") at Park Theater, Christina Aguilera at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, Journey at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Maroon 5 at Mandalay Bay and Third Eye Blind at the House of Blues (Mandalay Bay).

Among the nightlife artists set to appear are DJ Franzen at Drai's (the Cromwell), Drake at XS (Wynn Las Vegas), Steve Aoki at Hakkasan (MGM Grand), Lil Jon at 1Oak (the Mirage), Tyga at Jewel (Aria) and T-Pain at Light (Mandalay Bay).

Not to be overlooked among the plethora of choices for New Year's Eve is the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. Tickets are $35 (plus tax and fees), and guests must be 21 or older. Mayor Carolyn Goodman will be on hand for "America's Party Downtown," presented for the first time by IHeartMedia Las Vegas.

The five-block canopy above the iconic street will debut an upgraded LED Viva Vision screen this year. The $32 million renovation boasts 12.5 million lights and a 550,000-watt sound system. The new screen will deliver four times the resolution and seven times the brightness of the previous screen.

A new show concept, "MIXology," will premiere on Viva Vision. It is inspired by "synesthesia, a perceptual phenomenon where music, art and emotion collide to create an immersive, multisensory experience on a grand scale," according to a press release for the event. For more information, visit https://vegasexperience.com/nye/.

A few things visitors to Las Vegas on New Year's Eve should know:

• Book rooms as early as possible. Rates peak as the date approaches. Sellouts are common for rooms, restaurants, concerts and parties.

• The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department closes the Strip to vehicular traffic from about 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 3 a.m. Jan. 1. To travel east to west across Las Vegas Boulevard, use the Desert Inn super-arterial to the north and Sunset Road to the south. To travel north to south (parallel to the Strip), use Frank Sinatra Drive to the west and Koval Lane to the east.

• Uber and other rideshare services will be permitted to drop off registered hotel guests and those with venue reservations during the closure. However, rideshares will not have any pickup services during that time.

• Backpacks, coolers, glass bottles and containers as well as strollers are prohibited on the Strip from 6 p.m. New Year's Eve to 6 a.m. New Year's Day.

• Many Strip hotels will allow only those with proof they are guests inside their properties at the height of the festivities.

• Revelers should dress warmly. Although Las Vegas is typically among the warmest spots in the country, temperatures can still drop to freezing in the winter.

• The Regional Transportation Commission, the local bus system, will have free rides on 39 fixed routes from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. The app can be downloaded at https://www.rtcsnv.com/ways-to-travel/how-to-ride/ridertc-app/.

• The Las Vegas Monorail will operate continuously from 7 a.m. Dec. 31 to 2 a.m. Jan. 2. Out-of-town guests may purchase regularly priced single-ride tickets for $5 or unlimited-ride passes beginning at $13. Tickets may be purchased in advance at lvmonorail.com.

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