I am going on a Contiki Tour in November and early December, I plan on staying after the tour for a few weeks to travel around the US. My tour finishes around the 13th of December and I plan on staying in the US to the 5th of January.
The Tour ends in New York, so I am planning on spending a few days travelling around NY then maybe go to LA and Vegas.
I am hoping to spend Christmas in New York and New Years in Vegas but are open to any suggestions.
Let me know if you are keen.
Well, I've spent Christmas the last 12 years straight in New York, and have been in Las Vegas twice on New Years' Eve, so I guess I qualify to answer this question.
New York at Christmas is great--although very crowded--and usually quite cold. Buy your theater tickets early for the shows down near Times Square, or else go to the ticket booth (indoors) at Times Square and hope to be able and get some leftovers.
There are many cruises that go along the Hudson River, then up the East River and then makes the return trip. These include a nice dinner, a band or DJ with dancing and time out on deck for sightseeing--Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, old World Trade Center site, etc. Dress to impress if you take this tour.
Radio City is great, 5th avenue, Central Park, the UN, and the Guggenheim are all crowded--and a lot of people shopping at Macy's on 34th street--and all over town.
Las Vegas, on the other hand, is packed--but there are a lot fewer shows to go see since most of the major celebrities go home for the holidays. If you go, try to catch a comedy show or one of the dance shows, which don't necessarily feature a celebrity, but just a whole cast of great performers. Book your shows way early, since these will all sell out in advance.
At New Years' they have often shot off fireworks from the tops of the major hotels. A few years back they had the largest fireworks display in the world--which started at one end of the Las Vegas strip and then were shot off from each hotel going down the entire length (about 2 miles long) for about 1 1/2 hours.
This record has now been broken by a similar fireworks display done in Beijing, but I'm sure they will still do some great New Year's celebration in Las Vegas. Personally, I prefer Las Vegas in the spring or fall, when hanging out at the pools is so much more comfortable (most are closed in the winter--during Christmas and New Years). Spring and Fall are also when the mix and mingling between the sexes is at its peak--while the Winter months are for both singles and families--and summer in Vegas is just unbearably hot. (Think daily highs of 115 F or about 46 C and still about 98 F at night or about 37 C. (Last time I was there it was 98 F at 2 o'clock in the morning).