In the best way, March in Las Vegas really brings the Madness. The long weekend of Thursday, March 16 through Sunday, March 19 is one of the most fun weekends of the year. Las Vegas is a national destination for a combustible combination of people visiting for Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day and the first weekend of March Madness. It’s also a time where many locals mingle with tourists.
While activities in Las Vegas typically draw people of all ages, this weekend generally attracts a younger crowd. You’ll find spring breakers partying like there’s no tomorrow. Sports fans and sports bettors will be awake from the first tip of the college basketball tournament at 9 am each day and partying until the sun rises again. Saint Patrick’s Day attracts crowds of all ages, some looking for debauchery and others looking for a more familial celebration of the day.
The first weekend of March Madness is always one of the busiest sports weekends of the year. Spring break usually falls during this time and brings more than just sports fans to Las Vegas. The years when St. Patrick’s Day falls during this weekend can be explosive in a great way. This weekend brings three different groups of people all looking for fun.
March Madness, Spring Break & St. Patrick’s Day Fun
The first weekend of March Madness is the busiest of the college basketball tournament because of a) there are a lot of games played and b) you can legally wager on all of those games. Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17 each has 16 games beginning at 9 am and ending around 9 pm. The pace slows down on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19 when each day only has 8 games.
Sports books will be overflowing all day and night. Many casinos, bars, and restaurants will have parties that offer food and drink to go along with seats for you to watch the games. Some of these parties will have mobile betting stations so you can skip the sports book. It’s a great time for all sports fans but the fun doesn’t end there.
Spring break brings out the hardcore partiers. Most dayclubs won’t be popping off like the summer, but the nightclubs bring in A-List talent for those looking for entertainment. You’ll find that many of the big name Las Vegas residencies will have shows that sell out shows for this weekend. This group of mostly college students don’t need all that much more than just being in Las Vegas and enjoying everything Sin City has to offer.
St. Patrick’s Day brings out a few different groups of people in addition to those already in Las Vegas. Many people from nearby states like California and Arizona will visit just to celebrate some away from home. There are whiskey and beer specials at bars all over town. Local residents will often make an appearance on the Vegas Strip to partake in the parties.
One of the larger celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day takes place at New York-New York. The Celtic Feis festival takes place on March 17 and 18. Festivities kick off on Friday, March 17 with live entertainment beginning at 11 a.m. on the Brooklyn Bridge. The Las Vegas Pipe Band will lead a parade at 10 a.m., starting on the Mezzanine and continuing through New York-New York. The parade is complimentary and open to guests of all ages. Starting at noon on March 17, guests must be at least 21 years of age and admission starts at $10.
Between the Brooklyn Bridge and Nine Fine Irishmen, my favorite Irish Bar in Las Vegas, you’ll find Irish food, booze, music and more. It’s a true celebration or the holiday that you might not expect to find on the Vegas Strip.
Beyond all of this, the weather is just heating up and it’s a great time to be outside in Las Vegas. This is probably my favorite weekend to be on the Vegas Strip. You might want to get busy, if you want to visit for this weekend and haven’t already made plans.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.