On the Cheap

We’re in the throes of a recession and our economy is shrinking by the day, but there’s at least one good thing to be found in all the bad news: This upcoming New Year’s Eve probably will be the most affordable in recent years.

New Year’s Eve has garnered the reputation of being the most expensive night in town and for good reason. Some businesses charge hundreds of dollars for people to simply walk through their door.

While there still are plenty of expensive things to do, would-be revelers can have all kinds of fun in Las Vegas for as little as $50 per person. We scoped out the upcoming scene and found several options, all less than $50. Some are free.

The following list is not inclusive; we selected 13, a baker’s dozen, of the better or more interesting activities and events.

* Free is the best price to pay for anything and that’s exactly the price for what should be one of the most exciting New Year’s Eve events on the Strip. Watch motocross star Robbie Maddison attempt to land atop Paris’ Arc de Triomphe on his motorcycle. The stunt is being broadcast live on ESPN at 8 p.m. from the resort at 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Maddison plans to jump more than 120 feet to reach the 97-foot-high structure. And the show isn’t over, even if he succeeds. Maddison will then do a 50-foot freefall off the Arc to land on a ramp.

* There was a time when admission to the Fremont Street Experience, 425 Fremont St., on New Year’s Eve cost about $100. This year, it’s free for locals 21 and older with a Nevada ID. Otherwise, admission costs $20. Several cover bands are scheduled to play throughout the evening, and acts such as the Thunderdome’s Globe of Death motorcycle show will perform, too.

* You can usher in the new year on the Strip for $40 at the Caramel Bar & Lounge in Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Of course, you’ll have to stand, because the cover charge doesn’t give you much more than a hip atmosphere for celebrating. Doors open at 5 p.m.

* Or, for $10 less, ring in 2009 at Mist Bar and Lounge in Treasure Island, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The $30 cover includes VIP admission into the lounge. Doors open at 5 p.m. To make reservations, call 693-8300.

* The new lounge at Eastside Cannery, 5255 Boulder Highway, One Six Sky Lounge, will throw a countdown party, charging $20.09 admission. The cover charge includes a glass of sparkling wine at midnight. Call 856-5457 for details.

* Get out of town to see New Year’s Eve fireworks at MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas. It’s free. Call 564-4785 for info. Or check out the LaHavana Cigar bar. The $50 admission includes food, party favors and complimentary champagne all night. Live entertainment will be provided, too. Call 892-9555 for details.

* Check out the cover band Yellow Brick Road at the Railhead in Boulder Station, 4111 Boulder Highway. They play from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $39.95 plus tax.

* Noches Caliente New Year’s Eve with Claudine Castro plays at the Gold Coast, 4000 W. Flamingo Road, from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. The cover charge is $15. Call 367-7111 for more information.

* For $50, join the New Year’s Eve party at Coyote Ugly in New York-New York, 3690 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The cover charge includes party favors and a champagne toast. Doors open at 6 p.m. Call 740-6815 to learn more.

* Lounge band Zowie Bowie ushers in the new year with two performances at 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. at the Monte Carlo’s Brew Pub, 3770 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Tickets start at $35 and include passed appetizers until 11 p.m. and a midnight champagne toast.

* Live music and a chance to catch the Strip fireworks will cost you $30 at Harrah’s Carnaval Court, 3475 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The cover also includes one drink. The admission price is in effect starting at 9 p.m.

* Enjoy free live music in the Images Lounge at the Stratosphere, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Free champagne will be handed out for a midnight toast, along with party favors. Doors open at 4 p.m.

* The Plaza’s house band Next Movement is hosting a countdown concert in the Plaza Showroom, 1 S. Main St. The $20 cover includes one drink. The concert starts at 10:30 p.m.

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