Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Las Vegas Boulevard — the Strip — is one of the most famous roadways in the world, and why not? Where else can a person see, within three miles, a pyramid, a medieval castle, scaled-down versions of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, dancing water, canals, a volcano and fighting pirates?
There are times on busy weekends when traffic all but grinds to a halt, but the tourists don’t seem to mind because there’s so much to gawk at. And there are times when there is no traffic on the Strip.
Closures are approved to accommodate special events, such as Sunday afternoon and evening’s Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Las Vegas Boulevard will be closed from Mandalay Bay to Fremont Street on Sunday afternoon and evening to make way for, literally, a lot of foot traffic.
Here are other times when parts of the Strip have been closed to vehicles:
Runnin’ Rebels’ NCAA Championship Victory
On April 3, 1990, more than 100,000 people lined Las Vegas streets to welcome home their local heroes: the UNLV men’s basketball team that beat Duke 103-73 for the national championship. The motorcade moved up Fremont Street and down the Strip toward the Thomas & Mack Center, closing all traffic to those roads. The newest Strip resort at the time, the Mirage, offered a special tribute as UNLV’s roster blinked on its marquee in lieu of the property’s scheduled entertainers.
Shania Twain’s entrance to Caesars on horseback
Shania Twain made a grand entrance on Nov. 14, as she paraded down the Strip on horseback, followed by about 40 horses. The street was closed in both directions for about 30 minutes — and an additional 30 minutes for the southbound lanes — as Twain made her entrance. The singer’s track, “Man, I Feel Like A Woman” blasted out as she rode a black steed down the street to Caesars Palace.
The NASCAR hauler’s parade
In this year’s edition of the annual event, 50 18-wheelers hauling the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race cars to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway ceremoniously drove along the Strip on March 8, closing traffic on the northbound lanes from Mandalay Bay to Sahara Avenue. The parade then finished the journey to the Speedway via Interstate 15.
Winning race cars
The Strip roared alive Thursday when traffic in the northbound lanes was held back — but technically not closed — to accommodate the annual victory parade of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock cars. Last year, traffic was stopped for the top 12 cars of the series to work their way down the Strip, closing off the intersection of Spring Mountain Road and the boulevard in all directions. Also last year, the Strip was closed between Flamingo Road and Tropicana Avenue for a parade of IZOD IndyCar Series race cars and drivers. More than 30 race cars staged in front of the Bellagio for the green flag at 8 p.m. for laps on the Strip. The event kicked off the inaugural IZOD IndyCar World Championships that weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Sports Illustrated swimsuit models pose
On Feb. 10, 2010, Sports Illustrated swimsuit models stopped traffic in the southbound lane in front of the Mirage for a photo shoot recreating the Beatles’ iconic Abbey Road pose. Of course, then-Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman joined in.
Immigration protest march
An estimated 7,000 to 8,000 protesters called for immigration reform while they marched peacefully down the Strip on May 1, 2006. The mass of mostly Hispanic protesters waved flags and chanted “U.S.A.” during a march from downtown to the New York-New York on Las Vegas Boulevard. The size of the three-hour demonstration forced authorities to block every I-15 exit from Sahara to Tropicana avenues and close down the southbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard.
New Year's Eve
The biggest of all closures of Las Vegas Boulevard comes on New Year’s Eve, when the roadway between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road is closed to vehicle traffic from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., allowing hundreds of thousands of revelers to party into the new year.