You might have downed a whole Peppermill Scorpion by yourself. Or proposed on the Stratosphere’s Big Shot. Or hiked the Calico Hills Loop at Red Rock Canyon on a July afternoon. But you’re no true Vegas resident until you’ve been suckered into braving the Strip on New Year’s Eve. It’s like chicken pox: Once you get it over with, you’ll never have to endure it again. But the first time requires preparation. Take note:
• Dig out your gloves, thermals, heaviest coat and a pair of shoes that accommodates a double layering of socks. It gets really cold.
• Plan your route to the Strip in advance. Eastbound I-15 offramps between Tropicana and Spring Mountain close at 5 p.m. for the Strip’s pedestrians-only switch at 6 p.m., and traffic on surrounding streets like Koval, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra stays backed up until well after 1 a.m. If you’re going with a group, consider sharing an Uber/Lyft ride, which means ...
• ... You won’t have to strategize parking, as casinos typically limit garages to hotel guests as early as 5 p.m.
• Plan out facilities to use once you start drinking. Casinos also close their doors to non-guests once the Strip starts filling up with revelers.
• BYOB, and do so in plastic containers, as glass is forbidden. While you’re at it, bring at least one bottle of water.
• Don’t bring anyone under 18. Curfew starts at 6 p.m. December 31.
• Fireworks: If you can access a parking garage, watch from the top—but make sure you’re not surrounded by tall buildings. Ditto if you view from the street. Participating properties are MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Venetian, Treasure Island and Stratosphere.
• Once the fireworks end, the horror show begins. This is the time to summon Uber or Lyft—or sober up before the long slog home.