On Friday, the crowds began flocking to Las Vegas for Memorial Day weekend to do what they do best: have a good time.
Visitors entered the resorts on the Strip in waves on Friday afternoon with large groups blocking the check-in lobbies around 3 p.m. The traditional time periods begin to open, followed by a pause before another wave of visitors from Southern California invades the city.
Through Friday night, the strip was active with a mix of foreigners and locals hitting the T-Mobile arena to celebrate the Golden Knights’ first-round playoff win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 7.
“It’s my son’s 21st birthday, so we flew in yesterday and stayed for four days,” said Matt Souza of Albany, Oregon. “We’re here to be silly, to have fun. He’s obviously never been here. So we probably ran 40 miles yesterday and stayed up until 3 am. “
South Nevada is expected to see thousands of visitors over the three-day weekend, the traditional kick-off to summer and the first major holiday since restrictions to contain COVID-19 were lifted.
Recently, the weekend crowds in Las Vegas have steadily increased as more people feel safer and more comfortable with millions of Americans being vaccinated.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority had no forecast of the number of people expected to go to southern Nevada this weekend because previous estimates were based on data prior to the weekend and there aren’t many historical reference points to indicate the emergence of a pandemic .
Over the past few years, Memorial Day has often attracted more than 300,000 visitors.
AAA predicted 37 million Americans would travel that weekend – a 60 percent increase from last year – with 34 million cars and 3 million planes. AAA said Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida are top destinations this Memorial Day weekend.
Buzz near T-Mobile
Near the T-Mobile Arena, crowded parking lots gave way to crowded Toshiba Plaza as the Knights beat the Wild 6-2 to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. After the game, Park MGM was noisy as the Knights fans went for some post-game entertainment.
Souza and his family were busy doing tourist things and paused while the sun went down to see the Bellagio fountains.
“We’re going to Fremont Street tonight,” he said. “We were on the strip all day yesterday. Who knows, we might end up in Fremont tomorrow. We could be here again. Maybe make a zipper lining. We went roller coaster in New York-New York. Whatever comes our way. Make it happen as we go.
“If it’s a script, it’s not a vacation, it’s a plan. If you don’t have a reservation, there is always something else to do in Las Vegas. ”The customer review has been automatically translated from German.
Another couple at the Bellagio came to partying and to work.
“We’re taking photos of a wedding for a Seattle couple,” said Seattle-based Scott Williams, who was with his wife, Mistry. “We have some nice dinners, but this is mostly a business trip for us. We’ve been to Vegas several times so we know what we’re getting into. We have been really strategic over the past two days; We have planned our places for our bridal couple. “
Not too crowded
Williams said he was a little surprised that the Friday night crowds they saw weren’t any bigger.
“We used to be here on Friday or Saturday nights, you can’t find a railing to watch the fountain,” he said. “We were surprised that there weren’t any large crowds, but we’re grateful for that because it’s beautiful, but we don’t swim in people.”
The casino at the Bellagio filled with blackjack tables showing a minimum of $ 25 and $ 50. Bellagio staff were still putting the finishing touches to a new exhibition in the property’s flower-filled conservatory.
On Treasure Island, the parking garage filled up later that evening as visitors drove to the casino with wagons full of groceries, cool boxes, and ice. Some of the cars had trailers with baseball equipment for softball tournaments for teenagers and adults that weekend.
At Wynn Las Vegas, Miami residents Henry Pelaez and Carolina Cortes were in town for a romantic getaway. Cortes said the couple planned their trip based on the dates of their second COVID-19 vaccinations and didn’t even realize it coincided with Memorial Day. You’ve been in Las Vegas for seven days.
“Many of the stores were closed but opened on Tuesday,” said Pelaez. “We got here before everything really, really opened up, but it was nice to see everything a little more relaxed.”
Cortes said some of the highlights of the trip so far have been a high roller ride and dinner at Paris Las Vegas’ Eiffel Tower restaurant.
“We saw the whole strip and we were able to continue right at sunset, so the sky was beautiful. It was great, ”she said.
Pelaez added, “There wasn’t a long line for almost anything. I can imagine the high roller having a massive line during peak hours at the perfect time when the sun goes down. The waiting time was only 15 or 20 minutes. “
Masks mostly gone
While most people walked the Strip without masks, about 10 percent still wore face coverings. Signs in some resorts explained the honor system for wearing masks.
“No face covering is required when visiting our resort if you are fully vaccinated as per Centers for Disease Control guidelines,” said a sign at the entrance to Wynn Las Vegas.
All of the guests surveyed said they felt safe and were not worried about COVID-19.
“I’m not worried about such things,” said Souza. “I’m not worried about catching the flu, I don’t worry if you have a cold. I would hug you anyway. When you have a positive attitude, your body takes care of everything else because when you worry about it, your immune system breaks down.
Scott Williams said he was “not at all nervous about COVID. Hopefully it is largely behind us. “
“Most of the people are vaccinated and it’s less scary,” Pelaez said. “We showed up with our masks on, but our Uber driver said, ‘Just a note, it’s optional in some places.'”
And everyone said they are looking forward to their next visit to Vegas.
“I would love to bring our friends and family with me,” said Pelaez. “This time it was just us, a little romantic getaway. But next time it will probably be with all of our drunken friends. “