Be prepared to open your wallet. New Year’s Eve is the most popular night of the year to visit Vegas. It’s also the most expensive. Hotels can be triple or quadruple their usual costs. Covers for nightclubs (operating in lounge formats this year) will likely require table reservations without standing admission permitted. Those start at $500 on a regular night, so expect the rate to skyrocket for New Year’s Eve, although some drinks and a champagne toast may be included. Even Uber and Lyft rides surge to 300-400 times their usual price.
Book early. Shows, events and hotels will be very limited by Christmas.
Plan your evening around midnight. Find a casino or bar before 11 p.m. or you could get stuck waiting outside.
Be 21. While Las Vegas offers fun for the whole family, New Year’s Eve is not the time to come if you’re not of legal drinking or gambling age. Those under 21 are not allowed in gambling areas or nightclub lounges. Anyone under 18 is not allowed on the Strip without a parent or legal guardian after 6 p.m. You must be 21 to be a part of Fremont Street’s Downtown Countdown.
Dress appropriately. Even though Las Vegas weather will seem warm compared to where most people are traveling from, the desert gets cold and breezy at night. Short-sleeve shirts and backless dresses may seem like a good idea, but you’ll regret it later.
For men, the colder nights offer a great opportunity to showcase your sophisticated side in a suit or sports coat. You might even want to add an overcoat. Double-check your feet. Much like ladies’ heels, men’s dress shoes that haven’t been broken in will feel horrible after a half-hour of walking. Pick shoes you can wear for hours. Don’t forget thick socks.
Clubwear and cocktail dresses look great inside, but women familiar with Vegas know to bring a coat or sweater to cover up while outside. Carry a bag with a small set of flats for walking the Strip and change into your heels when arriving at your party destination.
How to Get Around the Strip on New Year’s Eve
If tradition continues to hold, Las Vegas Boulevard will be closed between Russell and Sahara from 5 p.m. on December 31 to 4 a.m. on January 1. Surrounding streets will be congested. You can park at most of the Strip casinos and back entrances will come in handy if the Strip is closed, including Frank Sinatra Drive to the west and Koval Lane or Paradise Road from the east. But realistically, you shouldn’t be driving at all. Even if you have “just a few” drinks, police will be out in big numbers. Little tolerance will be shown for alcohol if you get pulled over. Your best bet is to take a cab or ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. Just know that surge-pricing will be in effect. In the past, the RTC has provided free services between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to at least get reasonably close to the Strip. Check the RTC website for the latest information. The Las Vegas Monorail is another great option for moving between resorts on the Strip. It will run continuously, from 7 a.m. on December 31 to 2 a.m. on January 2, between the MGM Grand and the Westgate/Convention Center on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard.
Prohibited Items on the Strip
Plan ahead! You don’t want to get turned away (or worse — taken to jail) because you brought something you shouldn’t to the Strip on New Year’s Eve. Revelers on the Strip are not allowed to bring strollers, carts, luggage, coolers or backpacks, purses and any other type of bag larger than 12x6x12 inches. Drinking is allowed, but glass or metal containers are not. Even though recreational cannabis is legal in Nevada, public consumption is not. Conceal and carry laws are complicated. Casinos often request that firearms aren’t brought on the property. Just leave them at home. And no matter what, don’t even think about celebratory gunfire. It’s the quickest way to wind up in jail.