What better place to ring in 2007 than in one of the country's greatest places to party? Everything in Las Vegas-from the casinos to the shows and the nightclubs to the scene on the Strip-is turned up a notch on December 31. Here are some tips on how to best celebrate New Year's in Las Vegas.
- Book your hotel sooner rather than later, and be prepared to spend a bundle. Vegas hotels jack up their prices for this holiday, and many have three-night minimums. You'll pay less if you stay far from the Strip; even downtown hotel rates are cheaper. But if you're going to Vegas for New Year's, it's likely you want to be where all the action is, in the heart of the Strip-Las Vegas Avenue, home to the mega-resorts and theme hotels.
Prices for a three-night stay at some of the coolest resorts on the Strip-Treasure Island, MGM Grand, Mirage, Paris Las Vegas-start at an average of $350 a night, and the rates escalate quickly from there. For ultra-luxe New Year's Eve accommodations, book at the Bellagio. A stay at this elegant, European-style resort hotel-with its Le Cirque restaurant, ridiculously huge Spa Bellagio, magical dancing fountains and "O" Cirque du Soleil show-will run you more than $600 night over New Year's Eve.
- Reserve tickets for a show. Many of Vegas' most popular shows take place and favorite headliners appear on New Year's Eve. Celene Dion performs at Caesar's Palace, the Blue Man Group is at the Venetian, David Copperfield is at the MGM Grand, Carrot Top and The Beach Boys (in different theatres!) are at the Luxor.
All five Cirque du Soleil extravaganzas will be wowing audiences on December 31. If you've never witnessed a Cirque show, a New Year's trip to Vegas is an ideal time to see its incredibly amazing acrobatics, theatrics, dancing and stage sets. Each Cirque performance is different: The acrobats in "O" at the Bellagio contort, twist, dive and swim in a giant tank of water; "Mystere" at Treasure Island is a more "traditional" Cirque twist-on-a-circus, with trampoline acts, and trapeze artists and a highly comedic clown; "Ka" at the MGM Grand is the first Cirque show to have a beginning-to-end story line, "LOVE" at the Mirage is all set to Beatles music, and "Zumanity" at New York, New York is an off-the-grid, sensual, decidedly R-rated show. Cirque du Soleil performances are fabulous and well worth the money; tickets start at more than $75 apiece.
Of course, there are traditional Vegas shows with topless dancers, Tony n' Tina's Wedding at the Rio-where the audience participates and eats at the "wedding reception"-has been running for years; the Legends in Concert at the Imperial Palace has some talented impersonators; and there's always the hunky Australians in the all-male Thunder from Down Under show at the Excalibur. Truly, in Vegas, there's a show for everyone.
- Plan at least one fabulous meal. Vegas' renowned restaurants will fill quickly for New Year's Eve. If you really want to eat at a particular favorite on December 31, make your reservations now. Otherwise remember you're likely in Vegas for more than one night (with the three-night hotel stay minimum) so also consider a special restaurant meal another evening. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from-in all price ranges-but if you really want to go big one night, consider the Paris Las Vegas' Eiffel Tower Restaurant, 11 stories above the Strip. The French food is exquisite, the service is impeccable. From your table, look out floor-to-ceiling glass windows with a magnificent view of the Strip, plus across the street see the Bellagio's Fountain Show-especially stunning when it's lit up at night. Of course, you'll spend plenty for the food, service and ambiance: two cocktails from the bar will run you about $25; a three-course dinner for two, with drinks, will cost more than $200.
- Make a plan for when the clock strikes 12. The nightclubs will be packed New Year's Eve. If you have your heart set on being someplace specific at midnight, get there nice and early that evening... and plan to stick around for a while. Who wants to be stuck in a line outside at midnight? Then again, the entire town will be partying, so it's likely you'll be in good company if you're simply outside hootin' and hollerin' on the Strip when 2007 rolls in.
- Learn more at Vegas. Book your hotel room, show tickets and restaurant reservations online at this incredibly detailed and informative site. It's chock full of tips on all of Vegas' attractions, including its golf courses, spas and sightseeing tours. You'll find instructions on how to play casino games, the skinny on the hottest nightclubs, and insider's tips on all things Vegas.