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Hello From Las Vegas! All year long, national and international news stories have predicted the demise of Las Vegas. Yet, if New Year’s Eve was any indication, 2009 is going to be bigger and better than ever.
More people came for New Year’s Eve this year than last year, despite the doom and gloom of current economic news. Both ESPN and Fox (Network) broadcast their New Year’s Eve shows live from The Strip and both featured incredible daredevil stunts:
New Year’s Turnout Beats Last Year (with video)
Las Vegas Strip re-opens after NYE party (with video)
Fremont Street packed with New Year’s Eve partygoers (with video)
Knievel, Maddison complete Vegas jumps (with video)
New Year’s Fremont’s biggest party ever (with video)
Fox last generated their NYE show from Las Vegas twelve years ago when they blew up the Hacienda hotel (site of Mandalay Bay) live at midnight eastern time. If you missed that, I dug out the video from the reams of local TV recordings I make every New Year’s Eve and we have it posted online: The Hacienda Hotel imploded live on the Fox Network
The only downer? This years fireworks were a joke. Because of the Monte Carlo fire, the county has dictated that a structural report must be done from the top on every hotel prior to using it to launch fireworks. Instead of spending the lousy $200,000 to do the reports, the fireworks were shot off from various parking garages and not even visible to the entire Las Vegas Strip.
This was an embarrassment and indications are that next year, things will be back to normal. Editorial note: The head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors authority has a $100,000 slush fund to buy himself humanitarian awards with, but our leaders can’t find $200,000 to do the reports needed for our trademark world famous fireworks show. Shame, shame, shame on those who made this decision. $200,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the almost $300 million spent to market Las Vegas each year.
Top 10 Shows In 2008 – The Las Vegas Review-Journal has named what they feel were the best shows of the past year. Click each show for tickets:
- Jersey Boys
- Tony Bennett
- Bette Midler’s Showgirl Must Go On
- George Carlin (RIP)
- Cirque Du Soleil’s “O”
- Tom Jones
- The Second City (closed)
- Blue Man Group
- Donny and Marie Osmond
Welcome To Las Vegas – 40 million visitors a year come to town, yet very few stop by and see the famous Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Many simply don’t know where it is (just a couple blocks south of Mandalay Bay) and it has had limited accessibility. Until now.
A new small parking lot (12 spots) has opened at the sign, making it safe and convenient to see it up close and get that memorable photo. No access to a car on your next trip? Tell the cabbie to run you by it on your way in from the airport. It will only add a few dollars to your fare. Of you can catch The Deuce bus down Las Vegas Blvd. southbound. After passing Mandalay Bay, the bus will be getting pretty empty. Simply ask the driver to drop you off at the bus stop closest to the Las Vegas sign. The return (northbound) Deuce runs every few minutes.
Viva… McDonalds? A few issues ago (December 3 Las Vegas Insider Vibe), we told you about the cutting edge “only in Vegas” McDonalds opening on the upper-Strip (near Circus Circus… you really can’t miss it). As promised, we sent Mark down to the opening with camera in hand and got some great shots. Check out our Viva McDonald’s Restaurant Grand Opening Las Vegas 2008 Pictures
Fake Or Real – No… we aren’t talking about what you might be thinking (female anatomy). We’re talking magic. How many times have you seen an illusion where the magician supposedly bangs metal plates together or passes through a “real” jet engine (or similar) and you think: Real… my a**. That thing is made of plastic.
Evidently, David Copperfield uses very real steel and metal in some of his illusions. Last month, an assistant in his show was banged up pretty bad when caught in fan blades during an illusion (blades that Copperfield later appears to pass through). He spent a number of days in the hospital.
I’ve had the good fortune to see Copperfield’s show from the front row a number of years ago (archived 2002 David Copperfield review), and it was jaw-dropping. I was literally no more than 20 feet from some illusions and could see no mirrors, trap doors nor how he pulled off a number of his major illusions.
If you are going to be in town while Copperfield is playing, I rate it a “must see” even at the somewhat steep ticket price. The MGM Theatre he plays in here is much smaller than the usual auditoriums and arenas he plays around the world and it is a special opportunity to see one of the great performers of our time like few others get to. Click to check out David Copperfield Las Vegas Tickets
Buying A Las Vegas Home? – While we primarily a newsletter for Las Vegas visitors (and locals who enjoy doing all the fun stuff this town offers), we know that many visitors have a little bit of “What if we moved to Las Vegas” rolling around in the back of your heads. Hence, we do continue to cover the local housing scene from time-to-time.
So… is it a good time to buy in Las Vegas? A recent study called Las Vegas homes “undervalued” and 3008 saw around 30,000 foreclosed homes. Those conditions would seem to make it a perfect time to buy. But even if you have extra investment cash, don’t be too quick to buy that second home here. Las Vegas homes are undervalued on paper, but the true value of a house is if anyone can afford to buy it. With local unemployment heading toward 10% and population growth grinding to a halt, you may be sitting on that “investment” for years before it pays off.
If you are independently wealthy (or have a stable job you can perform from any city) and you are looking to make a permanent move here, I agree: great time to buy. But the quick bucks flipping homes in the Las Vegas housing market are long gone.
Enjoy This Issue!
Associate Editor: Amy Rayner-Cooley
News Researcher/Editor: Mark Jacobs
Las Vegas Is On Sale!
Get Great Rates At All Hotels:
44th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards Live From The MGM Grand Garden Arena Sunday, April 5, 2009 On CBS – Country Music’s Party of the YearÖ, the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, honoring country music’s top talent and the industry’s hottest emerging talent, will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 8 p.m. EST/PST on the CBS Television Network. (Tickets) In addition, the Academy has announced the Artist of the Decade Special Honoring George Strait which will be taped at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Monday, April 6, 2009 to air at a later date on the CBS Television Network. Click to Read The Full Story …
New Year to Bring New World-Class Entertainment to Las Vegas Strip – Already home to world-renowned productions, Las Vegas will soon welcome more entertainment powerhouses to The Strip. Here are the must-see productions for your next Vegas vacation:
- At The Mirage, celebrity impressionist, singer, comedian and ventriloquist Terry Fator will debut his new show. Fator won NBCÆs 2007 season of “America’s Got Talent” and has performed to rave reviews on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Click for Terry Fator at Mirage Las Vegas Tickets
- At Mandalay Bay, award-winning Broadway phenomenon DisneyÆs The Lion King will debut May 2, 2009. The spectacular production will join the six other highly successful companies ofáThe Lion King worldwide.áClick for Lion King Las Vegas Tickets
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art to Debut “Classic Contemporary” – On January 23, 2009, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA) will debut “Classic Contemporary: Lichtenstein, Warhol & Friends.” On loan from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the collection will feature contemporary masterworks by such iconic artists as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol Lewitt and Frank Stella, to name a few. The compelling exhibition will be on view at BGFA through September 8, 2009.
Billy Joel Returns To MGM Grand To Celebrate Valentine’s Day With A Marathon Of Hits – Billy Joel will make his triumphant return to Las Vegas with an appearance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Feb. 14 as part of a limited number of shows in select cities this winter. (Tickets) The engagement will be one of the first in North America since his record-breaking and critically acclaimed “Last Play at Shea” at New York’s Shea Stadium in July 2008. The concert is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Since his worldwide return to the stage in 2006, more than one million people have seen BILLY JOEL in peak form, delivering more than two hours of hits at each performance. Click to Read The Full Story …
Members Mania – We Love Our Readers!
I’ve been coming to Vegas for many years and have visited at least twice a year in the past 5 years. I love Vegas and I don’t even gamble. We visit during New Years mostly, bet on Bowl Games, flew in from Pittsburgh just to be with a great crowd at Caesars when WE won the Super Bowl year before last. It was spectacular, we were offered a lot of money for our terrible towels. Didn’t sell them. They’re originals from the Iron Curtain days.
Anyway, I am so happy to find this site. Don’t know why I never found it before. I love to hear all the info there is about Vegas. We stay at the Flamingo. It’s affordable and right in the middle of things. I always beg for a room with the a good view of the strip.(and thankfully always get it.) I open the drapes and see the Fountains at the Bellagio and the beautiful front entrance of Caesars and the big flashing billboards and I know I’m in Vegas and I’m in heaven. Last year a saw the Family Stone (Sly) at a casino off of the strip. It was really a great show. If anyone gets a chance to see it GO it was one of the most affordable shows I saw in Vegas.
I enjoyed Earth Wind & Fire and the Venetian last New Years Eve (2008). The first new years eve that I spent in Vegas I did go down to the street right in front of the Flamingo and watched the crazy parade and the fireworks. Again the Flamingo is great because I was right in the middle of things and just turned around and got back into the hotel.
A REMINDER: Right after the fireworks, there is a big crowd that are trying to get into the casinos. My friend did not come downstairs to watch the fireworks (watching a bowl game) and LUCKILY I brought my key) because of the crowd, the hotel staff will not let anyone up to the rooms without a key. The crowd of partiers usually subsides around 1:00 AM.
We’re going back this year leaving Pittsburgh on the 30th and coming back on the Jan 5. I won’t have as much money this year as last. I am looking for some good places to eat that won’t cost very much. We’ll splurge a few nights on dinner but will have to watch our money. I still going to Vegas and I’m sure there are places I can go, not spend to much and have a good time,. Any one with some actual experiences of good affordable places to eat and or places to go, Please post it. I will be checking this site often.
Greetings! I thought you and your readers might enjoy this story. My wife and I had planned a trip to Vegas arriving December the 6th. We made our reservations months in advance. However, in early October, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has had her surgery and the doctor told us she should do just fine after treatments. She has started her radiation treatments and should finish them in late December.
Now to reason I am writing. We had our plane reservations with Delta Airlines. We live on east coast. After trying to make new arrangements, refund (no way), or credit for later travel, I got in touch with the nicest lady (Ms Walker) from Delta and she worked out a new schedule with us. We will be flying to Vegas on January the 10th for 5 days. The only charge I will incur will be $10 plus change because taxes have gone up since we purchased the original tickets. We just have to give ‘Kudos’ to Delta and its employees for being so helpful in our time of sickness.
Thanks for you great and informative website.
My best to you and your wife and my thoughts and prayers are with her for a complete recovery and full health. It is really nice to hear about an airline that goes out of their way for you like this and we appreciate our readers sharing things like this.
I go to Vegas 3 to 4 times a year and love it. There are many things to see and do away from the strip. I urge travelers to see all of your city. ( the Springs Preserve etc.) I do the Strip also, but won big at the Orleans!! I’LL BE BACK
Jon from Montana
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More Las Vegas News – Concerts – Events
Coming Hot Holidays – The following dates are huge times to be in Las Vegas, and rooms are in high demand. Booking in advance is the best way to save. Visit our friends at I4Vegas Discount Las Vegas Reservations and spend one of the following hot dates having fun in Las Vegas:
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, U.S (Observed) January 19-21 (3 day weekend)
- Chinese/Lunar New Year January 26
- Lincoln’s Birthday, U.S February 12
- Valentine’s Day February 14
- President’s Day, U.S (Observed) February 14-16 (3 day weekend)
- Washington’s Birthday, U.S February 22
- St. Patrick’s Day March 17
- Easter Sunday April 12
- Cinco de Mayo May 5
- Mother’s Day May 10
- Father’s Day June 21
- Canada Day, Canada July 1
- Independence Day July 4
- Civic Holiday, Canada August 1-3 (3 day weekend)
- Labor Day, U.S September 5-7 (3 day weekend)
- Labour Day, Canada September 5-7 (3 day weekend)
- Jewish New Year September 19
- Halloween October 31
- Veteran’s Day November 11
- Thanksgiving Day, U.S November 26-29 (4 day weekend)
- Hanukkah Dec. 2 – Dec. 9
- Christmas December 25
- New Year’s Eve-Day December 31 – January 2 (3 day weekend)
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