I was somewhat torn as to how to celebrate New Year's in Las Vegas yesterday.
I've done the strip thing twice. For the Millenium I stayed at the Excalibur, and it was fun, but I was let down by the lack of fireworks.
A few years ago I stayed at Imperial Palace. That was fun too, and there were fireworks, but I was almost crushed by the crowd on the Strip.
The Strip is definitely a commitment. The streets begin to close down around 5pm, so if you are driving, that means at least 7 hours in the casinos, which can get pretty expensive. The streets don't open again until around 4am, so unless you can strategically place yourself in a parking lot on the outer fringes, you're trapped.
It is cold on New Year's so there is that to consider as well. And yes, it is a crazy party scene, with many drunk and disorderlies -- it can be scary at times.
Maybe someday I'll be VIP enough to spend New Year's in one of the Ultra Lounges in the presence of some inane celebrity like Paris Hilton or Pam Anderson. I'm not hip to this scene, though it shows no signs of letting up . . .
I heard that the fireworks display would be pretty good, 8 minutes long with new types of explosions. My neighborhood has some pretty good strip views, so I decided to stay home and venture outside around 11:50 (after a test shot, and confirmation that the winds had died down sufficiently to allow the fireworks) to gaze strip-ward.
I drank some cheap champagne, and stuck to my plan.
Seven different casinos took part in the fireworks display, and each were syncronized with each other -- the exact same show off each roof, with the exception of the Stratosphere whose architectural structure is unique and geared towards stuff shooting out from it, instead of up from it.
It was quite a show, really good -- I might want to venture closer to the mayhem next year.
Downtown Las Vegas had it's party under the canopy as well with the Doobie Brothers and the Bangles playing. The world's happiest mayor, Oscar Goodman was there, of course with his showgirls in tow. Binion's was offering a pretty good deal for $75 - dinner, free drinks, comedy show and tickets to the Fremont party. I'm not sure how they make sure only ticketed revelers enter the party -- the casinos open directly onto the street, you could probably have a pretty good time without buying tickets.
All in all, Vegas steps it up again to compete for the best place to be on New Year's Eve.