From Fremont Street to Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas reigns as the NYE party city capital of the world
The winding down of another year is not just a reminder of all that you’ve accomplished since January 1, but also a reminder that Las Vegas is the New Year’s Eve capital of the world. That’s not Homerism, that’s just facts. New York likes to grab all the New Year’s headlines, but you’ve seen the footage: throngs of people packed in like sardines around Times Square, wearing their free Planet Fitness caps, trying to catch a glimpse of drunk news anchors. It’s overrated.
In Las Vegas, New Year’s Eve is so big the Strip can’t hold it all. So, let’s take a moment to examine some of the off-Strip celebrations worthy of your time on December 31.
Time of Your Life Festival
Fremont Street Experience
I’ll start with the biggest event happening off the Strip, perhaps the biggest event happening in all of Southern Nevada, and probably the Western Hemisphere. This year, in Downtown Las Vegas, under the canopy of the famed Fremont Street Experience, in full view of what could be millions, upon millions, of adoring fans, Sugar Ray will perform a New Year’s Eve concert. Let that sink in, and then get ready for this: they won’t be alone.
The quadruple-platinum selling pop rock superstars, fronted by the world’s greatest showman, Mark McGrath, are headlining the Time of Your Life Festival on Fremont Street, alongside fellow rock icons Bush, The Wailers featuring Julian Marley, “Rapper’s Delight” legends Sugarhill Gang, All-4-One, “Whoomp There It Is” stars Tag Team, and DJ Skribble. That’s a lot to pack into one night, and you’ll want to get there early, lest you miss out on riding the rails right in front of the stage. Just imagine Mark McGrath counting down to midnight and then Gavin Rossdale cuts into “Glycerine.” Chills. It would be the biggest thing to ever happen in the history of Las Vegas. Ever. 6 p.m., $50, vegasexperience.com/nye/
New Year’s Eve at AREA15
If you prefer being indoors on New Year’s Eve, who can blame you? It’s cold out there on the Strip, so take your party to AREA15 and have your way with the place. This year, the neon-drenched destination is offering three New Year’s Eve packages—Blue, Pink, and (top tier) Purple. Each package comes with its own perks, such as complimentary entry into AREA15’s various experiences, drink tickets, access to the (less crowded) Sanctuary Lounge, etc. There will also be live entertainment from Soul In the Machine, Dmitry KO, and deejays in the A-Lot, so be ready to dance. 10 p.m., $195-$495, area15.com/events/nye-2023
Jackpot NYE Festival
Downtown Las Vegas Events Center
Let’s go back to downtown for a moment. What if you’re not the world’s biggest Sugar Ray fan? What else can you do downtown on New Year’s Eve? First, shame on you. Second, get over to Downtown Las Vegas Events Center for Night Two of the Jackpot NYE Festival starring – are you ready for this? – DEADMAU5, Porter Robinson, REZZ, RL Grime, Ghost RYDR, Marauda, Noizu, Lamorn, Rossy, and Versa, to name a few. That’s a lot of deejays, but you’ve got to have a big lineup if you’re going to compete with Mark McGrath and company over on Fremont Street. Jackpot NYE kicks off on December 30, but don’t go too hard the first night or you’re gonna be stuck in that weird hungover-but-still-functioning-but-can’t-get-drunk-again phase on the second night. You’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. 5 p.m., $100-$230, dlvec.com/event/jackpot-nye
So, you’re not up for Time of Your Life or Jackpot NYE. That’s fine, there are other places to ring in the New Year downtown. If you’re on Fremont East, you might consider the party at Discopussy starring Yolanda Be Cool. 9 p.m., $10-$400, discopussydtlv.com You could also get your gang together and score a table at the three-level Inspire nightclub/lounge. 8 p.m., $125-$1800, inspirelasvegas.com
Or, if you’re a huge Raiders fan, and we know there are a few around town, Fremont Country Club is hosting Raider Nation’s “Ultimate Celebration” on New Year’s Eve with door prizes, a countdown money balloon drop, a celebrity guest emcee, celebrity guest deejay, and celebrity guest performer. None of those guests have been announced, so you’ll have to figure it out using process of elimination. If Mark McGrath is under the Fremont canopy, he’s not at Fremont Country Club. See how easy that was? 7 p.m., $100-$150, backstagebarlv.com
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
It’s nice to be in a place where there’s a lot happening and you get to pick and choose your party. That’s how it’s going down at
Hard Rock Virgin Hotels Las Vegas this New Year’s Eve, as Jack Black and Kyle Gass, the duo collectively known as Tenacious D, are taking over The Joint The Theater for two nights beginning December 30. (9 p.m., $49-$500) Meanwhile, reality drag competition superstar Bob the Drag Queen is doing two shows at Virgin’s 24 Oxford. (7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., $32.50-$72.50) Take your pick, or do both, but make sure you work a dinner reservation in there somewhere, so you’re not pounding champagne on an empty stomach.
Pro tip: there is enough ice in the vending machine to fill up the tub in those rooms, especially if your friend is passed out in it. virginhotelslv.com