Things nobody says: “Wow, this year went by really slowly.” “I’m going to make sure this year is just like last year.” And how about, “There’s nothing to do on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas.”
Yes, it’s difficult to believe we are here again, “here” being the end of another year, one which weathered a potential End of Days, a presidential election cycle and a the rise of toddler pageant queen—Honey-something-or-other, was it?—to become maybe not the best of times, but certainly not the worst of times. Unless you happened to be an investor in that Cloud Atlas flick.
On the Las Vegas Strip, we were graced with a new Cirque du Soleil show (the acrobatic Zarkana, which bowed in November) and a new celebrity chef (Gordon Ramsay, now on the precipice of running three Strip restaurants). O’Sheas, the venerable Irish-themed casino known for its low limits and beer pong tables, closed in April. Imperial Palace was rebranded for the incoming year as The Quad.
Nearby, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts became the first concert venue in the city to regularly draw Broadway touring shows, classical and jazz acts, and other oft-neglected artists. Downtown continued to flourish, too: Fitzgeralds’ revitalization as The D, ongoing renovations at the Plaza and a slew of new businesses made Fremont Street a destination all over again.
There’s always so much hype surrounding New Year’s Eve, so much pressure to make it “the best ever.” But if there’s any city that can break a streak of less-than-spectacular Dec. 31s, it’s Las Vegas. The official build-up always begins a few days earlier, so consult our end-of-the-year feature (“Lucky 2013”) and our listings (page 82) for all the goings-on. If you’ve never done a New Year’s Eve on the Strip, be prepared for everything. There’s literally no place in the world quite like it, and you’re bound to leave with a few stories. Good ones, we hope.