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Shooting for the '08 ball

You won't be the only reveler in the city on New Year's Eve. Thousands will crowd hotels and clubs, so book ahead. Here's an assortment of events to help you plan.

December 02, 2007|Lark Ellen Gould | Special to The Times

On New Year's Eve, Vegas is on fire, crammed with crowds dressed in just about anything, in a scene that may be eclipsing the great ball drop in Times Square as the place to be when the year turns over.

But Vegas at New Year's is not for spontaneous celebrants. Restaurants are full, rooms are reserved, flights are packed, traffic is gridlocked, logistics are complicated and mad crushes of partying patrons flow like seawater through the Titanic. Even with rates that are as much as three times regular prices, rooms and suites are still in short supply.

The city is expecting more than 300,000 revelers at the upcoming bash-athon, and the Strip will be blocked off to traffic from Sahara Avenue to Russell Road (below Tropicana) starting at dusk. It's hats and horns and those yard-long margaritas for a good four miles of pedestrian fun.

It's best to have a plan, Stan. Go with an itinerary and reservations and a lot of extra cash if you don't want to spend your night in a queue.

As you sketch out your evening, here are 10 great activities to consider -- conventional and otherwise:

Fireworks on the Strip

The sky over the Las Vegas Strip explodes in an extravagant show of sound and light with fireworks coordinated from the rooftops of the MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, the Flamingo, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Circus Circus and Stratosphere.

The display synchs to a soundtrack and goes on for 20 minutes. This is the evening's epicenter. Rooftop lounges, restaurants overlooking the Strip and clubs with altitude become prime real estate. Consider such spots as the Eiffel Tower or the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, Mix at the Hotel, Sushi Roku and Boa at the Forum Shops, Top of the World Restaurant at Stratosphere, Voodoo at the Rio and Ghostbar at the Palms for places to situate in the 11th hour.

Fremont Street

Downtown, you can take it to the streets. The celebration includes dancing to headline acts the Doobie Brothers and the Bangles. The massive street party here costs $60 but delivers in entertainment and dazzle, starting at 6:30 p.m. under the famed VivaVision canopy. Ten hotels and plenty of lounges, bars, cafes and notion stores line the five-block party corridor. Logistics seem to relax here as distances are shorter.

Info: (877) 834-2748,

Playing with dolls

The Goo Goo Dolls will ring in the new year at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. and ends with a complimentary Champagne toast for everyone at midnight. The concert will be an intimate one by Vegas standards: The room can accommodate only 1,800. But VIP party packages that range from $350 to $1,500 a person with dinner, show, super seats, cocktails, bottle service and a no-lines guarantee can make the night all the sweeter.

Info: (702) 632-7600,

Raucous and racy

Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce's New Year's party promises to be hot, sticky and loud. A surprise celebrity hostess (lips are sealed on his or her identity) will lead the campy club's world-famous burlesque dancers for a special per- formance; then the raucous and racy show Royal Jelly will get in some rock 'n' roll numbers before a New Year's toast brings out the Kane cast as they step into the spotlight and out of their clothes. General admission is $100, but special VIP seating inclusive of all costs starts at $950 for two. The precious seats also mean no waiting, no tipping, dedicated waitress service, hats and horns and all taxes and fees. Doors open at 10 p.m. and close at 8 a.m.

Info: (702) 632-9442,

It's show time

Marquees light up on New Year's with some of the biggest names in show business, often fetching some of the entertainment world's top ticket prices. Who can forget Barbra Streisand's memorable millennium performance at the MGM at $2,500 a seat? But Las Vegas has a lot of stages with plenty of star power available at more affordable rates, hats and horns, balloon drops and toasts all included. Info: (866) 999-4899,

It's magic

David Copperfield will perform at MGM Grand's Hollywood Theater New Year's Eve, at 4:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. The act includes such odd feats as the magician transporting himself and a member of the audience from the stage to a deserted island on the other side of the planet. For those revelers who have decided to skip the Strip, this show might be a good alternative.

Info: (800) 929-1111,

Keep it simple

Party until the werewolves howl at Harrah's at Carnaval Court, an open pavilion right off the Strip. Admission is $50 per person starting at 9 p.m. (free until then, starting at 1 p.m.), and that includes two drinks. Bartenders turn into master mixologists and jugglers for the festivities, performing bottle magic as tunes spin and crowds dance. Inside Harrah's the Piano Bar, the Range Steakhouse and Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill will all invite guests to ring in the new year as well. Info: (702) 369-5000,

Go airborne

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