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Las Vegas, Nevada - Transportation

Air travel to Las Vegas

Airport

The Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the USA with nearly 1500 flights per day including direct flights from most major US cites and several foreign countries. It also has multiple daily commuter flights to and from Los Angeles, Phoenix and many other Southwestern cities.

McCarran Airport is somewhat unique in that it has over 1300 slot machines throughout the terminal. Even after midnight, this terminal and its huge baggage concourse is normally teeming with thousands of arriving and departing visitors.

The airport is located about five minutes from the south end of the Las Vegas Boulevard also known as "The Strip."

Airport Grand Transportation

Frequent traffic congestion on the Las Vegas Strip. © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Frequent traffic congestion on the Las Vegas Strip

Plenty of rental car agencies service McCarran Airport. The new McCarran Rent-A-Car Center shuttle runs every five minutes and is located at exit door 10 or 11.

Taxicabs are located outside on the east side of baggage claim, outside door exits 1-5. The average fare to the Las Vegas strip is $15 and to Downtown $19.

Tip: If you exit the grand baggage concourse and find that the queue for taxis is long, just go to the exit on the opposite side and you may find that the shuttle bus wait is minimal.

Group shuttles are a cheap way to get to your hotel. The only downfall is there may be several stops between the airport and your hotel. A ride to the Las Vegas Strip hotels cost $5-$6 and to downtown $6.50-$8.

Sedans and limousine service starts between $35 and $55 per hour. The shuttles, sedans, and limos are located on the west side of baggage claim, outside door exits 8-13.

The Citizens Area Transit (CAT) has a stop at McCarran Airport, Route 109. The fare is a cheap, only $2 to the strip, but remember it may be a good walk between the bus stop and your hotel.

In the future: Plans are in the works to expand the Las Vegas Monorail to include two stops at McCarran Airport.

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Trains

Amtrak does not service Las Vegas directly but does provide thruway service through Greyhound via each of the three routes Greyhound provides. The closest route is the Southwest Chief which stops in Kingman, Arizona, about a 1 1/2 - hour drive south of Las Vegas.

Interstate Busses

Greyhound busses offer several departures on its three routes: northeast into Utah, southern California, and south into Arizona.

Private tour companies throughout the country operate chartered bus trips to Las Vegas. If you are visiting other U.S. cities this may be something you want to look into.

Driving

The Interstate-15 (I-15) runs through Las Vegas coming from the Los Angels area and leads to the Salt Lake City area. The Las Vegas Beltway (I-215) makes a big C connecting North Las Vegas with south Las Vegas stretching to Henderson, Arizona. I-515 heads southeast also to Henderson.

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A few highways pass through Las Vegas. US Highway 95 (known as the Las Vegas Expressway) comes from Carson City, Nevada, northwest of Las Vegas. US Highway 93 stretches to northeast Nevada. The US Highway 95 shoots south into southern California and connects with Interstate-40.

Navigating Las Vegas

Main Roads and Traffic

Las Vegas is very easy to navigate. The main streets that run east-west are Flamingo Road, Tropicana Avenue, and Sahara Avenue. The Las Vegas Boulevard runs north to south through the center of the city parallel to I-15. As one of the fastest growing cities in the USA, Las Vegas suffers from severe traffic congestion. The Las Vegas Strip is busy every evening and especially jammed on weekends. I-15 becomes nearly impassible with traffic on weekday afternoons.

Busses

The Las Vegas Strip is lined with luxury hotel-casinos. © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
The Las Vegas Strip is lined with luxury hotel-casinos.

The Citizens Area Transit (CAT) services much of the Las Vegas area. Only the buses that run along The Strip run 24 hours 7 days a week. The Strip fare is only $2 and off the Strip is $1.25.

The Deuce double deck bus service runs up and down the Las Vegas Strip. One ride is $2 and a 24-hour All Access Pass is $5 and is also accepted on CAT.

The Strip Trolley

The Strip Trolley runs along and off of the Las Vegas Strip. There are four "Loops" or routes. The cost is $2.50 one way or $6.50 for an all day pass.

Monorails

There are several trams and monorails that take visitors between the Las Vegas Strip hotels. The free monorails only connect casinos owned by the same corporation, the longer Las Vegas Monorail is rather expensive, but the Las Vegas Strip bus is a real bargain.

The Las Vegas Monorail is the longest monorail. It has seven hotel stops along its east-side Strip route. The Monorail stops/starts at the Sahara Station and the at MGM Grand Station. A single ride ticket is $5. Reduced prices are available for multi-ride tickets.

The Mirage-Treasure Island tram goes back and forth between the two hotels. It departs every 15 minutes.

Mandalay Bay-Excalibur Tram takes passengers from the Tropicana walkways to the Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay hotels.

Many of the hotels extend additional shuttle service to the hotel guests between one or more hotels.

Taxicabs

Taxis drivers know Las Vegas very well which means they can get you to your destination quickly. But, they may also try to take you "the long way" (such as taking the I-15 instead of the faster and cheaper Industrial Road). When you get in the cab request where you want to go and which route.

Driving

While the Las Vegas streets are easy to navigate the traffic on The Strip is often jam-packed. Industrial Road runs parallel to The Strip on the west side and is a quicker route to take when trying to get from one end of The Strip to the other. I-15 is a little further west of Industrial and is the quickest route to take from the south Strip to downtown but rush hour can often be no better than The Strip.

The famous Fremont Street (home to the neon cowboy) is located in downtown Las Vegas. The street is closed to vehicles but is open to pedestrians.

There is plenty of free parking around the strip but when there are huge conventions in town parking is nearly impossible. Some hotels offer paid parking and most hotels offer valet parking.

Bikes

Local stores rent bicycles to visitors, but riding bicycles on the Las Vegas Strip is not recommended. The congested traffic and thousands of pedestrians make it nearly impossible to ride safely down the street or sidewalks.

Las Vegas offers a variety of motorized vehicle rentals. © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Las Vegas offers a variety of motorized vehicle rentals.

There are rental shops that loan out motorized scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, and Segways (four wheeled scooter the driver stands on) for about $30 for three hours.

Walking

Walking The Strip has become more convenient over the last several years. Footbridges have been installed over busy streets and moving walkways are available at many of the large hotels.

The Las Vegas Strip is four miles long. If you plan on "walking The Strip" wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen. Also, don't underestimate the distance between the oversized hotels. Walking The Strip is fun and a great way to experience Las Vegas but it's easy to lose track of your distance. By the time you are ready to turn around you may be very far from your hotel. Keep in mind Las Vegas afternoons get very hot, especially during the summer months, making the long walk outside very uncomfortable.

Warning: Jay walking (crossing a street without a pedestrian walkway) is illegal.

Handicapped Access

There are locations that rent mobility scooters and wheelchairs. All hotels, restaurants, and shows offer handicapped accessibility. There are shuttle services that offer accommodate handicapped passengers.

Written by: Elizabeth Blair
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas