NYE in Las Vegas
Be warned, on a regular day Vegas is NOT for the weak at heart. Everybody arrives with delusions of grandeur about how they are going to conqueror Vegas, but the fact of the matter is that Most People Just Can’t Handle Vegas… especially not on New Year’s Eve! It’s a good thing that the Girls aren’t most people!
Even though there had been at least 14 trips made to Vegas, between us, we agree that every time you go to Vegas… it’s like the first time! There is always something new to see or do, a constantly changing and seemingly endless list of concerts / sporting events / conventions to go to, a ton of restaurants to enjoy, and the staple of tourist hot spots that cover the strip all year round. The beauty about having all of these options and activities to choose from, is that no matter who you’re traveling with (Boyfriend / Girlfriend, Just the Girls / Just the Guys, Couples, Friends, Family, etc.), there is something for everybody!
However, it should be said that there is something a little bit more special and unique about Sin City on New Year’s Eve!
So here is how the Girls rang in the New Year, in the Entertainment Capital of the World!
The NUMBER 1 TIP we can give, when you’re planning your trip to Vegas, is: DO NOT STAY FOR MORE THAN 5 DAYS (in fact, 4 is probably the magic number – depending on your flight times)! BUT 5 DAYS Max! And that is including the day you fly in and fly out. Ideally, you will arrive between Noon and 2 pm (local time) on Day 1, have all of Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 (optional, but not highly recommended) to experience Vegas, and fly out between 10 am and Noon on Day 5. Remember, most of you will be fighting against the time zone, so leaving on an earlier flight will help you get back in time for work and the returning to the real world without horrible jetlag. If this is where you are going to take your 1 week of vacation for the year, you are better off doing 4 / 5 days in Vegas and 2 recovering at home… before returning to reality!
Nobody is an expert on “How to Do Vegas,” but those who have visited more than twice will tell you, the best way to approach planning your trip… is with knowing that you will be returning, SOON! Don’t approach your trip like it’s the one and only time you will ever be in Vegas because if you do that, you will burn out early and hate the entire experience! Remember, the House ALWAYS wins! PACE YOURSELF and plan a return visit (6 months to a year later). One of the best things about Vegas is how cheap the hotels are and how available deals on flights / packages can be, different times of the year. Plan your trips around an event, concert, celebration, etc. That way your purpose for visiting isn’t just to visit and you will have a reason to go back!
Pick a Hotel Chain and Stick with It! We LOVE the Mlife Brand. We researched Mlife prior to arriving and felt that it gave us the most options, diversity and comps / benefits when compared to others like it. The Mlife Brand (www.mlife.com) has 15 hotels to choose from (12 in Las Vegas) and 5 levels of membership to enjoy the benefits of! You are able to earn tier points by eating / drinking at the restaurants and bars (within the Mlife hotels) and rack up Comp points while gaming. Additionally, they have several Preferred Partners (like Southwest Airlines, Royal Caribbean and Hyatt Resorts) that will earn you tier points.
Research which shows / clubs / exhibits you are planning on experiencing before you go, but DO NOT PURCHASE TICKETS for them PRIOR to ARRIVAL! WAIT until you arrive… there will be PLENTY of opportunity (especially if you are female) to get FREE admission to all of the latest and greatest clubs! There is NO reason to buy club passes online! And we know It will be tempting to lock in your show and exhibit tickets (we fell into that trap too), but the truth of the matter is that it’s not necessary and in fact, you are probably better off waiting until you arrive and purchasing them through your hotel, or with your Mlife card! If you purchase show / exhibit tickets once you arrive, with your Mlife card and the show / exhibit is canceled for whatever reason (which happened to us)… they will be able to compensate you, versus if you were to purchase through a 3rd party. Plus, if you were to use your Mlife card to purchase show / exhibit tickets you will get tier points and discounts (depending on your card level).
DO NOT WAIT to purchase your concert / sporting event tickets! If your favorite artist is in town / UFC event is going down / or Convention is taking place… BUY YOUR TICKETS BEFORE YOU ARRIVE BECAUSE IT WILL SELL OUT!!! Especially if the highlight of your trip is centers around a concert / sporting event / convention, the last thing you want to have happen is that you are locked out because you waited until you arrive to get the tickets.
Do NOT Try and Predict the Weather! Check and double check the weather forecast, prior to leaving home! Vegas is typically known for how hot it can get, however, it does get cold… especially in December (the warmest it got during our trip was 60 degrees, but for the rest of the trip was between 42 – 56).
Pre-Game with Apps that get you Comps! Myvegas.com was an AWESOME and FUN way for us to get a head start on our Vegas trip! We all downloaded this FREE App (MyVegasSlots) on our phones / tablets and played FREE slot games that earned us comps at Mlife partners! The app is free, easy and fun… everybody in your group will enjoy it, not to mention the comps! We played for approximately a month prior to visiting, which earned us enough points to trade in for 3 FREE meals, amongst other things (results may vary)! This is just another reason why Mlife is the way to go, when you’re in Vegas.
Stay on the Strip. Part of the fun of being in Vegas, IS THE STRIP, so why wouldn’t you stay on it? Here’s the deal, staying off the strip might be a little bit cheaper initially… but after you factor in the cost of all of cabs you will have to pay for and the inconvenience of being so “outside of the loop”…. It isn’t worth it!
FYI and ESPECIALLY if you are going to Vegas for NYE, stay at the hotel where you will be Ringing in the New Year! The Strip itself closes down somewhere around 8 pm (although cabs stop taking fares between 6 – 7 pm) and it becomes a pedestrian walkway. So even if you get to your NYE venue by cab, getting home WILL prove to be VERY DIFFICULT (with cab lines averaging around 2 hours between 1 – 3 am). Your night will be much more enjoyable if getting from the NYE Party, to your room only involves the easy breezy walk across the gaming floor and quick ride in the elevator.
To save money on food, shoot for 2 meals supplemented by Happy Hour and Snacks! Being that mornings tend to start a lot later in Vegas, either have a light breakfast, or hold off a tad bit longer and enjoy a brunch buffet. There are so many late morning breakfast options (like one of our Top Picks, Stacks & Yolks on Durgano) and awesome buffets, it’s almost like you are getting 2 meals for the price of 1! Buffets will run you between $12 – $22 depending on which one you choose, we LOVE More Buffet at the Luxor for its international flair and diverse option!
Dinner also tends to start a little bit later than usual (around 7pm – 8pm), so if you get hungry… we suggest you hit up one of the many Happy Hours for drinks and appetizers! Most Happy Hours run Monday – Thursday (unless you’re on Fremont Street, where you can find Happy Hour every single day), so plan accordingly. Dinner shouldn’t be where you try and save money! Work dinner into your plans for the evening and make sure that you explore restaurants that aren’t chains and that aren’t ones you can find back home. Vegas has so many fabulous ways to dine, you don’t want to waste your opportunity to trying something new on something you can do on any given Tuesday. Harness your inner foodie and take it all in!
FREMONT STREET is not something that you want to miss! It doesn’t matter why you are visiting Vegas, there is always room for Fremont Street. If you’re the betting type, locals will tell you that gambling on the strip will leave you broke, while the machines and tables downtown offer higher payouts… just another reason to swing by. So make sure that you venture off the Strip and take the short cab ride Downtown, where you will get to experience Old School Las Vegas (aka Glitter Gulch)… sprinkled with some new modern twists! The canopy will mesmerize you (make sure you stay until after dark to see the show), an endless amount of $5 games will keep you entertained and the Street Performers will make you a part of the show! As if that wasn’t enough… there is also SlotZilla the Zipline that will send you flying down Fremont Street (starting at over 100 feet in the air) and reaching speeds of up to 35 miles / hour (just make sure that you check ahead for times and hours of operation, which may vary depending on events taking place).
Bonus Tip #1
Give yourself a FULL 24 hours in between returning from Vegas and going back to work! The Time Zone works in your favor on your way to Vegas (if you’re traveling from East to West, which most people in this country will be), however, on the way home… the up to 3 hour time zone difference will equate to up to an 8 hour jetlag. It’s hard enough to recover from a Vegas trip and all of the partying that you will do, you don’t want to compound that with not allowing for a full night’s sleep before returning to your regularly scheduled responsibilities!
Bonus Tip #2
Treat Yourself to Spa / Salon Services! If you are celebrating a special occasion, or just want to upgrade your sexy for the night… get your makeup done and have some fun lashes put on at the Salon! Remember, what happens in Vegas Stays In Vegas… but beautiful pictures are forever! And don’t forget the spa services!! Spa treatments are a great way to decompress after several days of partying and if you are traveling in a group, many of the spas will work with you on price (if you book together for multiple services). Keep in mind, the spa you visit doesn’t necessarily have to be the one in your hotel (each hotel’s spa has a different theme and its own set of diverse offerings), although it is nice to plan an entire day around your spa services, utilizing the Spa’s sauna, steam rooms, etc. and that’s easier if you are in the hotel where your room is. Again, we suggest you stay within your hotel chain, in our case any M life Spa / Salon, so that you can earn tier points.
Mlife – Out of all of the Hotel Chains and Reward Programs (that we researched), we definitely think that Mlife is the way to go! Mlife has hotels at every price point, countless participating restaurants / shows / entertainment options and several ways to accumulate tier points and comps! And don’t forget the app (MyVegasSlots / www.myvegas.com)!
The Luxor & The MGM – We had rooms at 3 different M life Hotels for NYE (NYNY, The Luxor and The MGM Grand). All 3 were in good locations on the Strip and the beauty about them was that they’re connected making access via pedestrian walkway, tram or short walks inside the hotels very convenient. All 3 hotels were at 3 different price points (Luxor, NYNY, MGM Grand – from cheapest to most expensive) and each had its own distinct feel / theme. We made sure to get similar rooms in each hotel and although they should have been comparable to one another, they weren’t. Out of the 3, the room at the Luxor (in the pyramid) was very under rated. Although it was the only room of the 3 without a tub (which was NOT missed), it more than made up for it in size and space. With a bathroom spacious enough for a group of girls to apply makeup at the same time, 2 Queen size beds, a table to eat dinner on, a desk to log into the internet from, and a vanity to get ready at… the cheapest of the 3 Mlife options gave you the most bang for your buck on NYE! The décor fit the sexy Egyptian vibe of the hotel and the staff was very attentive. Another perk was that if you’re interested in learning new games, the Luxor offers fun, non-intimidating classes to teach guests the basics free of charge. Over all the Luxor provided us with a vibe that was flirty, fun and constantly entertaining. However, being that prices vary so much in Vegas, overall our favorite (on the average) of the 3 hotels after staying at them (multiple times throughout the year), we HIGHLY suggest you give www.mgmgrand.com! You truly never have to leave MGM, especially if you take advantage of a concert or sporting event during your stay. They have something for everybody, could spend your entire trip just trying to conquer The Entertainment City. This resort is generally a slightly higher price point than the Luxor, however, it is still very affordable in comparison to many of the other hotels on the strip and constantly hosts a ton of fun sporting events, concerts, etc.
The NYNY was cute and quaint (one of the smaller hotels on the strip), however, it was not exactly the grown and sexy vibe that we were looking for and considering the price… the room paled in comparison to both the one at the Luxor and the one at the MGM Grand. Home to its own rollercoaster and a mini replica of Times Square, NYNY also offers $5 blackjack (which is hard to find on the strip, especially on a holiday weekend), but be sure to get there early because the tables fill quickly and lines are usually 2 or 3 people deep waiting for seats.
The Jabbawockeez – Also a part of the Mlife family and currently located at the MGM, this unique mix of Hip Hop, Dancing, Story Telling, and Interactive fun it will captivate groups of all ages, walks of life and demographics. Not your typical show and worth every penny, don’t leave Vegas without checking out the Jabbawockeez!
The Glam Squad at NYNY – – We pre-gamed our NYE activities by getting our makeup professionally done at the Salon at NYNY. We were provided with flawless looks that lasted all night! The icing on the cake was adding Fake Lashes (for only $20) to the makeup package!!! We HIGHLY recommend checking out the Glam Squad at the NYNY Salon to upgrade your sexy before celebrating your special event, or fun night out in Vegas.
Pub 1842 – Michael Mina’s twist on a Casual Gourmet dining experience is on full display at Pub 1842. This Pub Grub Chic Foodie Heaven gets top scores against all other Vegas restaurants that even attempt to compete in this category and all 3 Girls agree it’s a MUST DO while in Vegas. Located in The District section of the MGM Grand, Pub 1842 is a Gourmet spin on your typically mediocre Sports Bar! We were so excited about the menu and the Gourmet Comfort Food options, that we completely lost sight of the international beer selections and interesting mixed drink options! Almost better than the food, was the service! Without a reservation, we walked right in, were greeted with a smile and seated immediately. Unable to decide which treats to indulge in, our very knowledgeable waiter helped with great pairings, suggestions and personal recommendations. After trying almost everything on the menu (between us) and thinking that there wasn’t room for dessert, we made room for the Shake Sampler… which we LOVED. Great Vibe, Great Food, Great Service!
The Sugar Factory – It’s a shame that we had to go all the way to Vegas to find out that there is actually a Sugar Factory in NYC! It should be said that Getaway Girl Rachel LOVES CANDY and we look for a Candy Hot Spot on every trip we take, so when we stumbled across The Sugar Factory at the MGM Grand (after visiting some of its competition, who shall remain nameless because the experience was lack luster at best)… we had to check it out! I am not sure what was sweeter, the Candy or the Staff, but everything about the Sugar Factory was a good time! We couldn’t leave without purchasing our FAV NYE Accessory, Couture Pops, and ultra-fun Lip Tattoos!!!
The Mob Museum, Downtown – What an awesome bonus to the Downtown experience. This interactive museum teaches you about the historical and pop culture side of American Mob Life, by PUT YOUR RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. From the crime, to the trial, to the Line Up, to the Electric Chair… it is a Trial By Fire and YOU are the STAR WITNESS!www.themobmuseum.org
The Rides at the Top of the Stratosphere – You can’t visit Vegas and not make the climb (or take the longest 1 minute elevator ride of your life) over 100 floor up to the top of the Stratosphere Hotel. For the more adventurous members of your group, the thrill rides on the 113th floor will be a highlight! If being propelled off the side of the tower, shot to the top of the needle, spun while being suspended (64 feet off the edge of the tower) isn’t your speed… you can enjoy the panoramic views of the observation deck, or grab a bite to eat at Top of the World restaurant (which actually rotates 360 degrees). And remember, there’s more than one way down to the Strip! If you don’t want to wait on the elevator, you can always descend via Sky Jump (the World’s tallest controlled free fall, which takes your 855 feet to the ground, equivalent to 108 stories).
Centrifuge – Located in the MGM Grand, Centrifuge is a great place to mingle with the who’s who and not have to contend with the inflated prices and crowds that “Vegas’ Hot Spot,” Hakkasan, present. If you want to experience a cool vibe and not be in an unnecessarily overcrowded club, you can hang out at Centrifuge which is directly across from Hakkasan.
The Brass Lounge – Downtown has a hidden gem in the Brass Lounge! Right across from the Heart Attack Grill, at the end of Fremont Street, you will find the Brass Lounge. Unlike most of the bars and restaurants in the hotels on the Strip, the Brass Lounge has DAILY Happy Hour from 4 – 7 pm and Karaoke 3 nights a week! With yummy appetizers, multiple rooms and a full kitchen / bar(s), this location would also make a GREAT venue to host a Bachelor / Bachelorette / Birthday Party, etc.
Dick’s Last Resort at the Excalibur
what can we say… the most memorable and humiliating dining experience ever. This place turns everything you would assume about a sports bar upside down. Personally, we all agree… it might not be the ideal place to bring anybody under the age of 18, but it is DEFINITELY some place to visit if you want to laugh (at each other). Tip: ask for the Taco Sauce!
Heart Attack Grill on Fremont Street
We just couldn’t do it, but we did interview Jim and Karen from Tennessee (pictured on the website with their permission and who stepped up to the plate) along with some others, all of which said that we should “take the challenge.” After taking a peak of the shenanigans inside the restaurant, we realized that all of us together couldn’t finished 1 of those burgers… which were delivered to your table by waitresses dressed at Naughty Nurses, accompanied by wine served through an IV and your Prescription (a shot of Jack in a medicine bottle) filled upon completion… but it really was too much fun not to include on the list. Go hungry. Wear loose fitting clothes. Take a Nap After, but don’t miss out on this one of a kind burger joint! SPECIAL NOTE – If you weigh over 350lbs, you eat free.
Marc Savard Comedy Hypnosis at the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood
An ADULT hybrid of Hypnosis and Comedy is great for any group with members over 18! It’s a fun and very funny twist on your standard Vegas Comedy act!
Munch Bar at Caesar’s Palace
If you find yourself at Caesar’s Palace and need a quick snack / drink combo to pre-game your night, definitely go to Munch Bar! You will not be disappointed by the macaroni and cheese bites or any of the other tasty items on the menu.
Wolfgang Pucks at the MGM Grand
Finding Wolfgang Pucks (OPEN at 4 am) was like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert! Surprisingly enough, there are not many (quality) late night food choices after 2 am, however, Wolfgang Puck ran full dinner service from 11 pm – 6 am. Go for the wood oven pizzas! They are the perfect way to end a fun night out.
The Las Vegas Sign
Yes, it has its own website, twitter page and Tour Guide waiting for your arrival. You will have a chance to take an iconic photo, meet people from around the world and DEFINITELY have a story to share when you get home!