New Year’s Eve in Vegas

There’s no place like Las Vegas.  It’s glitzy, and plastic, and neon, and fun.

We went to Vegas for New Year’s in 2013 to celebrate my bonus son’s 21st birthday (“bonus son” = stepson, with a more positive connotation; it means I’m “bonus mom”).  It had always been a plan since he was a small boy.  It was a blended family trip, with my husband and me, my bonus son and his college roommate, my bonus son’s real mom and her fiancé (now husband), and my 16-year old son.

What to do on New Year’s Eve in Vegas when you’re celebrating a milestone birthday?

We figured that watching the fireworks from the bar in one of the tallest buildings was the way to go (minus the 16 year-old, of course).  The fireworks on New Year’s in Vegas are truly spectacular; click here for this year’s show summary.  There’s still time for you to get there! 🙂

The fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas are deployed from the top of  a half-dozen hotels and can be seen from everywhere on the strip.  We chose the roof bar at The Palms because the Grill-Meister had been there for a work event a few months earlier, and it was indeed an experience.  Getting through the security there was more stringent than the security at the airport.  We didn’t know what bottle service was (click here if you are just as naive), but it was the only option.  The music was SUPER LOUD, and the patrons were rowdy. The evening was a fun learning experience, something to remember for a special birthday, and not something we need to do again.

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If I was in Vegas for New Year’s this year, I’d go to the Golden Nugget.  It is owned by Tilman Fertitta, a Galveston native and the man Forbes Magazine called “the world’s richest restauranteur” in 2012.  Along with other entertainment options, across the Golden Nugget, he imports a  top-notch jazz group from Houston each year.

During the rest of the week, we did all the typical campy Vegas things:

  • A magic show:  Criss Angel Believe – NOT RECOMMENDED; we don’t believe.  In spite of being associated with Cirque du Soleil, this show didn’t live up to the hype.  The reviews on TripAdvisor bear this out, including mine, in which I said it was “flashy but fluffy”.
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The Criss Angel “Believe” Show:  we don’t believe.
  • A music show:  Blue Man Group.  This show was fantastic. There was never a dull moment, and everyone in our party, ranging from 16 to 50+, was equally enthralled. It is a captivating, interactive, all-ages experience, and very, very funny. There is also a fair amount of “hmmm, that makes you think” social commentary that goes down easy (isn’t preachy). The crowd’s energy adds to the fun, and the audience participation component is delightful, simply and invigorating. Don’t miss this if you go to Vegas – take your family, take a date, or go alone. You won’t be sorry.
  • Walking the strip.  The people-watching is wonderful.

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  • Staying at the Bellagio.  It’s like a cruise ship; it has everything:  restaurants, bars, shops, art galleries, gambling, dancing fountains, and more.

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  • Checking out the other hotels.  It’s like a tour of over-the-topness.

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  • Gambling.  Didn’t spend much, didn’t lose much, didn’t win much.  It’s not my thing.

Overall, New Year’s Eve in Vegas was great, but once was enough.  This year, we’ll be with family in Albuquerque, traveling there from our cabin in central Colorado.


Need more Vegas? Click here to read my Vegas haikus, from a different birthday trip – my mother-in-law’s 80th.

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