nye on the strip AKA DON’T DO IT

Hi, hey, hello there!

If you’re reading this post you are either:

a) interested in visiting the Las Vegas Strip for New Year’s

b) already planning on visiting the Las Vegas Strip for New Year’s

or

c) are staying far away from The Strip and want to laugh at my mishaps

Either way… Enjoy my chaotic adventures from the ONE and ONLY time I ventured out to The Strip on New Year’s Eve.

If you know me, you know I’m the type of person who has no fear of doing things by myself. Concerts, movies, you name it. If I want to go, I am GOING.

Apparently New Year’s Eve is no different and if I get an idea in my head, I execute. So after some (a lot) of wine, I decided I wanted to go down to The Strip for the festivities. Never mind the fact that all of the people I knew in Vegas at that point were opting to stay home. “I’ll just make some friends!” I thought. Ten minutes later I’m in an Uber and en route.

New Year’s Eve is one of two occasions when The Strip is completely shut down to traffic during the calendar year. The other being the Rock N Roll Marathon and on that night The Strip manages to reopen by 10pm.

By the time my excursion had begun, The Strip was already closed and I had to be dropped off behind The LINQ Promenade. Which was no problem because this is where I made my first “friends” of the night. Since I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do with my night I just followed all the fish in the stream toward the shut-down road.

Originally I played around with the idea of going to see Calvin (and then gf TSwizzle) at OMNIA. But let’s be real here…who really wants to/should go to a club by themselves? I decided I wasn’t going to be “that girl” on this night and a few months later I was so glad.

(Side Note: Liv and I went to see Calvin a few months later and we met a girl who had come to the club alone. She was in town for a month coordinating an event on contract. We hung out for half the night until she started hissing and meowing at all the boys that approached. We PROMPTLY ditched.)

Anyway, in the stream of fish in the sea that was this crowd, I met these two very nice kids walking around with water bottles full of vodka in a drawstring backpack. Because they were 18. We bonded because I also look like a child. And because one of the first five questions I’m always asked after “Do you live in Vegas?” is “Do you go to EDC?”

With EDC as our common denominator, we pondered what we could do with our night besides walking around and making fun of people. We made our way into Caesars Palace for a beverage because I was not about to drink illegal, plastic alcohol if it wasn’t necessary.

I hate to make generalizations, but most of the 18-20 year olds I encounter out usually want me to buy them alcohol. As stupid as I find the drinking age to be, I’m not about to put my ass on the line for some random dudes I just met. Nope, sorry, bye. And these dudes were no different, so naturally they suggested I pick them up a little something at the bar along with mine and we would “meet back at the spot.”

What is this? Neighborhood capture the flag? Again, no thanks.

I selected a spot at the bar farthest away from “the spot”, placed my order and proceeded to make my next “friends”. They were some young, hotshot, high roller tech guys from Silicon Valley in Vegas for the party. At least they were all of legal age.

We started conversing and they invited me to hang out in the High Roller buffet room. This is totally a thing and it is awesome. Especially because at this point I was starving.

Honestly I don’t remember much of our time together because they were so boring. No impression left whatsoever.

Finally it was time to go outside and watch the fireworks. They looked like fireworks and it was officially 2016. Whoo. My tech friends were staying at the Rio and they were going to walk back to their room and they invited me to “hang out.” Yeah no thanks. I lied at said I had parked at Caesars and I was going to go home. Ditch #2 complete.

This is the time when I learned how insane NYE on The Strip can be. Everyone who had been watching the fireworks from the front of Caesars tried to go back into the hotel. However, unless you had a room key (or in my case an employee ID) you were not allowed back in.

And that sucked for everyone not staying there because my next surprise: it was FREEZING. Honest to Jesus it was in the low 40s. Again, lucky for me I had my employee ID on me – and a jacket!

I also needed to get back inside to get a burger because it was absolutely necessary at that point. I figured if I took 30 minutes to find, acquire and consume said burger, The Strip would be back open to traffic.

I. WAS. WRONG.

I spent about 45 minutes acquiring and eating the burger while also having a nice conversation with Caesars Palace employee from Massachusetts (surprise, surprise ha!) By the time my burger was done and he was leaving to go home, I thought I had convinced him to offer me a ride home.

Spoiler Alert: he did not.

I ventured back out into the frigid night and to my horror I saw the Caesars valet line. It was RIDICULOUS. I was NOT going to wait in that line. Plus, The Strip was STILL closed.

By this point in the evening, I reached that mood you get when you’ve been drinking and are so sick of being out that all you want is for everyone to leave you alone so you can go home. Aka I was grumpy. In my head it made total sense to walk across the street to The Cromwell to catch a cab. (The location has easier access to off-Strip roads.)

Guess what? THE CAB LINE WAS JUST AS RIDICULOUS. Nicki Minaj made an appearance at Drai’s (the club in The Cromwell) for NYE and everyone was leaving. I decide to go sit in a bathroom stall to stay warm and take a social break while waiting out the cab line. Unfortunately, Vegas bathrooms are watched by the staff like crazy so my “adult time out” was very short-lived.

This is the point in the evening that I broke down and just went to stand in the damn cab line. Luckily, the girl in front of me was a friendly stripper from Texas. She told me how she had gone to Drai’s with her sister, but her sister couldn’t handle her alcohol and ditched. I told her my saga in return and we huddled for warmth in the cab line for TWO AND A HALF hours. Finally around 2:3oam, The Strip re-opened, but we didn’t get a cab until 3:30am. The Texan Stripper was nice enough to share a cab with me. We dropped her off at The Wynn and then the cab driver took me home. I texted her when I got home to let her know I was safe, but of course forgot to include my name in the text so we fell out of touch. I hope she goes the Cardi B route TBH.

Of course, the minute I stepped foot in the heated cab I thought “Wow this was a fun and adventurous night! Let’s do it again next year!” I get over things, usually, super fast. Even when it causes me to get home at 4am.

Looking back, however, this experience was necessary for a couple of reasons. First of all, I think I needed to be initiated as a Vegas Local and being stupid enough to venture to The Strip for New Year’s was what worked. Second, it has given me the opportunity to raise my standards for New Year’s, especially on The Strip.

And even though IΒ loathe the “holiday” itself, I would most definitely reconsider if someone took me to see Bruno for NYE this year. JUST SAYIN!

In short, here are my tips for NYE on The Strip:

  1. Get a room on The Strip – you do NOT want to try to get transportation to and from.
  2. Attend a show or go to a club. Basically, have a game plan. It’s a lot more fun than running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
  3. Prepare for it to be in the 60s or in the 30s – the weather here has a mind of its own.

Happy Blogmas! Stay tuned I’m attempting to blog everyday this month! Whee!

Author: Jess

Las Vegas local / writer, creator, festival goer, explorer, marketer, promoter, special event & experience curator

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