Travel

Ring in ’13 Vegas Style: Parties, Great Dining, Top Entertainers ... & Parties!

by Steve Weinstein
Contributor
Thursday Dec 27, 2012
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If any holiday were meant for an all-night town like Las Vegas, it would have to be New Year’s Eve, when the rest of the world finally catches up with the "world’s entertainment capital" and everybody stays up way past bedtime.

Because everything’s here, you’ve got a lot more reason to be staying up all night. Where else are you going to get Kelly Rowland and Tiësto in one city? In fact, where else are you going to find so many nightclubs and DJs that it would take you days of dancing to sample them all?

Las Vegas will play host to a series of fabulous soirees, heart-pounding dance parties, concerts starring music’s biggest names, and world-class dining exclusives. Topping it all is one of the largest fireworks shows in the world -- a pyrotechnics extravaganza that lives up to its name, "America’s Party."


Legendary Entertainers, Hot Sports Event, Today’s Chart Toppers

Watch night turn to day as the sky lights up at midnight, when partygoers turn out preparing to be wowed by a fireworks display so bright it can even outshine the neon lights of the Strip. The hotel rooftops themselves will be accessible only if they have a venue (nightclub, restaurant) with access, and you have made a reservation. (Of course, the fireworks will be visible from anywhere in town.) These are the rooftops from which the fireworks will originate: The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, and the Stratosphere. Las Vegas Events and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority are bringing the incomparable Fireworks by Grucci from New York.

The Killers kick off the weekend by returning to their hometown for the first time in three years at The Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea Ballroom on Dec. 28 and 29. The red hot Red Hot Chili Peppers will undoubtedly live up to their name to spice up Dec. 31 the Chelsea Ballroom. The Peppers promise a "special surprise" at midnight. You have been warned! Visitors will also be able to see the Peppers on a 65-foot digital marquee facing the Strip.

The Black Keys rock in the New Year at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s The Joint, with performances on Dec. 30 and 31, along with Divine Fits.

Pitbull will turn the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Resort into crib his Dec. 28 and 29.

Legendary rockers the Eagles return to the Grand Garden Arena for one night only, Dec. 30.

Across at The House of Blues, located inside Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, party with Gary Allan and special guest Beau and the Outfit.

One of the best-selling female artists of all time, and one who has played Vegas more than anywhere else in the world, Celine Dion will give another of her titanic performances on New Year’s Eve at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Partygoers can rock in the New Year with Fremont Street Experience’s Downtown Countdown starting at 6 p.m. at a street party featuring Buckcherry and Queensryche plus special guests Quiet Riot, Pop Evil and Otherwise. With six more incredible bands, the party lasts all night with performances such as local faves Yellow Brick Road, Zowie Bowie, Jizzy Pearl, Rok of Ages, Party Rockers and Brazen. While Downtown, check out the giant-screen 2012 year-in-review. The city’s mayor will lead the midnight countdown.


Oldies But Still Goodies

On Dec. 31, everyone joins in "Auld Lang Syne," to remind ourselves about "old acquaintance," never to be forgot. The end of the year is a great time to go "Old School," and that’s just what the Riviera Casino & Hotel has done. Two concerts bring back some of our favorite disco. The Boogie Knights will celebrate with music by KC & The Sunshine Band, Rolls Royce and the Bee Gees, among many others. The party stars Dec. 29, with tickets only $10.

A more recent genre will be ably represented also at the Riviera by two rappers who helped create modern hip-hop. MC Hammer and Tone Loc will play the Riviera on Dec. 30. Ticket prices start at only $35.

Over at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, the Spazmatics will host an ’80s dance party that begins at 9:30 p.m. and goes all night long. General admission tickets start at $69 per person.

Ronnie Rose will celebrate New Year’s with a Rockin’ Mowtown party at the South Point’s Sonoma Ballroom beginning at 9:30 p.m. Tickets for this throwback celebration are $39. Veteran rockers Frankie Avalon and Wes Winters will host a special dinner and show with a memorable champagne toast as the clock strikes midnight. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Buffalo Bill’s Resort and Casino in Primm will celebrate New Year’s Eve with soul at a Blues Brothers Bash that begins at 10 p.m. with an open bar. Wristbands are $20 per person, with special room packages available.


Amped-Up Beats at Clubs All Over Town

In recent years, Las Vegas has become North America’ biggest club town. Nightlife here is filled with unparalleled sensory immersion experiences, imaginative cocktails, bottle service and some of the world’s most popular DJs.

The latest nightclub entrant, SHe is located inside the ultra-luxe Crystals at CityCenter. Begin the new year in a new club, as SHe debuts on Dec. 31. The Art Deco-inspired boutique hotspot offers a unique venue that will wow even the most jaded partygoer.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas will host the grand re-opening of its infamous Body English nightclub on Dec. 28, just in time for the big night. The restoration of Body English follows Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s recent multi-million dollar renovation.

TAO Las Vegas at The Venetian will ring in the New Year with hip-hop sensation J. Cole.

LAVO Las Vegas inside The Palazzo will play host to one of the sexiest parties on the Strip with multi-top charter Brandy. Revelers will be able to enjoy a premium open bar from 9 to 11 p.m. and a Champagne toast at midnight.

Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas starts the New Year’s weekend with ATB on Dec. 28, Kaskade on Dec. 29, AVICII on Dec. 30, and Italian superstar DJ Benny Benassi on New Year’s Eve.


Tiësto, Deadmau5 & More!

At XS, the ultra-sexy nightclub at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. perhaps the biggest DJ name in the world, Tiësto, kicks off four nights of partying on Dec. 28, followed by Steve Angello with Third Party on Dec. 29. Deadmau5 takes over the celebration on Dec. 30 with AVICII playing New Year’s Eve.

Surrender Nightclub, also located inside of Encore, will showcase Scottish singer, songwriter, DJ, producer and dance-floor hitmaker Calvin Harris on Dec. 29. Electric dance music (EDM) artists Skrillex will mix beats on Dec. 30 and Eric Prydz will take center stage on Dec. 31.

N9NE Group Las Vegas will throw several bashes that partygoers won’t want to miss inside The Palms Casino Resort. Questlove and DJ Jazzy Jeff will get the crowd going at Moon Nightclub on Dec. 29. One of our absolute favorite dance divas, Kelly Rowland, hosts a dynamic evening at Rain Nightclub also on Dec. 29. On New Year’s Eve, Travis Barker & Yelawolf will be acting as grand marshals.

Another dance venue will be making its debut earlier in the month. Scarlet, N9NE Group Las Vegas’ newest and most sophisticated venue at the Palms, will offer an elaborate mixology program with an intimate atmosphere and a select libation menu featuring unique infused spirits, exclusive signature cocktails and much more to titillate your palate.

The Light Group welcomes guests to ring in the New Year Las Vegas-style, which means a full line-up of star-studded entertainment. Rock band FUN, known for its hits "Some Nights" and "We are Young," comes to HAZE Nightclub at ARIA Resort & Casino for a special performance, to host the countdown to 2013.

Foster the People will perform its hit "Pumped Up Kicks" along with other favorites as they ring in the New Year at The Bank Nightclub at Bellagio.

If you like bellinis (and if you’ve never had one, you’re missing one of the world’s great cocktails), get out the tux and head to Hyde Lounge at Bellagio, which celebrates its one-year anniversary and will ring in the New Year with a star-studded black-tie event. Oh, and there are eight versions of the classic bellini for you to try!

PURE Nightclub inside Caesars Palace welcomes clubgoers to ring in the New Year with multi-platinum recording artist Nicki Minaj as she hosts an unforgettable New Year’s party. The rapper, songwriter and TV personality will throw a boisterous party as only she can when she leads the countdown to midnight.

Overlooking the Las Vegas Strip, Chateau Nightclub & Gardens at Paris Las Vegas will host American rapper 2 Chainz on New Year’s Eve. The festivities will culminate with a midnight countdown and champagne toast.


: Unique Events for the Biggest Night of the Year

New Year’s Eve celebrators should make a point of visiting Downtown Las Vegas for some of the hottest parties off the Strip at Insert Coins, Vanguard Lounge, Downtown Cocktail Room and Commonwealth -- just to name a few.

Commonwealth will bring an inviting new social scene to Fremont East with a cocktail bar inspired by pre-Prohibition era design complete with its very own backroom speakeasy. A rooftop bar offers patrons an experiential setting for unforgettable live music.

Collective Zoo will transform the Sky Combat Hanger at the Henderson Executive Airport to host a black tie theme party bash based on the classic Jazz Age story. Partygoers will harken back to the Roaring ’20s when people really knew how to party!

If you thought you didn’t like sports, you haven’t experienced UFC. The fighters return to the Grand Garden Arena at MGM on Dec. 29 for a much-anticipated afternoon rematch between Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.

The South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa will offer a variety of celebrations starting at noon on New Year’s Eve with impressionist Tom Stevens.

Reality star and international sensation Kim Kardashian hosts the evening in style at 1 OAK Nightclub at The Mirage.

Reality TV’s favorite couple Ice-T and Coco will take over LAX Nightclub inside Luxor Hotel and Casino as they welcome in 2013. From E!’s hit series "Ice Loves Coco" and Coco’s newly announced lead-role in Las Vegas’ sexiest revue "PEEPSHOW," the dynamic duo will be partying with fans all night long.


Savor the New Year with World-Class Dining

Las Vegas has become one of the acknowledged culinary capitals of the world, home to a greater collection of celebrity chefs and master sommeliers than anyplace else in the country -- and they’re all pulling out the stops for New Year’s Eve.

Many of the best restaurants and bars in town will feature special menus and VIP dining events. Even if you’re not a dedicated foodie , come for the scene, the entertainment, to relax and to celebrate -- and still end up with some of the finest dishes to be found anywhere. (On the dining table and on the dance floor!)

Wynn Las Vegas will host an exclusive New Year’s Eve soiree in the Lafite Ballroom starting at 9 p.m. Get a reserved seat, sit back and enjoy the special holiday menu.

Combining haute cuisine and nightlife as only Las Vegas can, on Dec. 28 Andrea’s, a unique new dining concept at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, will debut "vibe dining," combining a fabulous restaurant and with a total nightlife experience. Andrea’s marks Wynn Las Vegas’ first restaurant fully integrated as a nightclub. New Year’s specialty menus will also be planned at Lakeside, Wing Lei, The Country Club, Mizumi and Sinatra.

Caesars Palace will be offering a variety of dining experiences for New Year’s Eve that would shame an imperial Roman banquet. Starting at 10 p.m., guests will arriving at Serendipity 3 to claim their seat at this Strip hotspot. Champagne and party favors are available for $50 per person. Inside, Payard is serving up their signature Grandiose for $50, which is garnished with dehydrated lemon, caviar, and edible flower and gold flake.


A World of Cuisines in One City

Two-time Michelin Star recipient Gordon Ramsay will host a special five-course prix fix menu for $200 per person at his Las Vegas flagship restaurant in Paris Las Vegas, which includes his signature dish, beef Wellington Rossini. If you want a truly decadent indulgence to bring in the New Year, Sugar Factory, also located inside Paris Las Vegas, is offering mouth-watering specials like a spiced apple pie cocktail, pumpkin cheesecake and a four-course desert menu starting at $150 per person.

Inside the Luxor Hotel and Casino "Tacos & Tequila" features the fantasy ladies of FANTASY stopping by on New Year’s Eve. They’ll be handing out complimentary tequila shots for all partygoers at 9 p.m. Rice & Company guests will be able to enjoy a special New Year sushi roll while sipping on Champagne. For more substantial grub, head to nearby TENDER Steak & Seafood, where you can feast on surf (lobster), turf (steak) and vine (what else: Champagne).

Aside from a front-row seat for the fireworks (including dining outdoors) from the 64th Floor of THEhotel inside Mandalay Bay, miX Lounge will provide a pre fixe three-course menu with champagne.

Social House, the Pan-Asian restaurant inside Crystals at CityCenter, will prepare an eight-course tasting menu for $125 per person from Executive Chef John Chein. At Crystals, the unrivaled décor, buoyant vibe and exotic cuisine provide an only-in-Vegas experience.

Bacio, at Tropicana Las Vegas, will host a New Year’s prix fixe four-course menu starting at 5 p.m., served with a glass of Champagne for $66. For $94, guests can dine at Biscayne Steak, Sea & Wine and enjoy a five-course prix fixe menu also starting at 5 p.m.

Downtown Las Vegas’ newest eatery, Park on Fremont, will host its grand opening celebration on New Year’s Eve. The ultra-chic hotspot will be the perfect place to enjoy a specialty cocktail or nosh in the uniquely New York City inspired beer garden.

Whew! If all of this sounds almost too overwhelming, go to www.lasvegas.com/gaytravel for all the advice you need to plan your New Year’s Eve trip. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority can also help.


Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

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