Las Vegas Transportation
Getting to and around the Las Vegas Strip
Last update: August, 2018.
Getting from the airport to your hotel
Uber / Lyft
Uber & Lyft can't pick up right outside the terminal, at least they couldn't the last time I checked. You have to walk to a parking garage.
Most hotels have staging areas for Uber/Lyft, but the city doesn't have as many staging areas for them as it does for traditional taxis.
I boycott both because of Uber is an incredibly ethically-challenged company, and because in my hometown of Austin, Uber & Lyft refused to comply with local regulation, paid for a "grassroots" election to try to override local laws, and when voters defeated their measure, the companies then lobbied the Texas state government to cancel Austin's law, which it did. None of us should want a world in which corporations bully and bribe the government in order to get favorable treatment.
Taxis to most strip hotels cost about
$17, and the price is the same no matter how many people ride.
I generally boycott the taxis because most drive so dangerously,
threatening pedestrians and bicyclists, and because buses and
shuttles work fine. Taxis also aren't as convenient as you
might expect, because they can't and won't stop on the street; you
have to wait in the line at the hotel, and sometimes those lines are
long. But if you prefer a taxi,here are some sample fares from the
- ~$14 to Alexis Park, Excalibur, Hard Rock, Monte Carlo, NY NY, Planet Hollywood, Platinum, Signature, Terrible's,Tropicana, Westin
- ~$16 to Aria, Bally's, Bellagio, Encore, Four Seasons,Harrah's, Hilton, Hooters, Imperial Palace, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Mandarin, Mirage, Paris, Venetian, Vdara, Wynn
- ~$18 to Caesar's Palace, Circus Circus, Flamingo, Gold Coast, Palazzo, Rio, Riveria, Sahara, Treasure Island
- ~$20 to Palace Station, Palms, Silverton, Stratosphere
- ~$23 to Binion's Horseshoe, Boulder Station, El
Cortez,Fitzgerald's, Four Queens, Fremont, Golden Gate, Golden
Nugget, Main Street Station, Sam's Town, South Point, Union Plaza,
- >$23: Cannery ($47), Fiesta Henderson ($35),
Fiesta Rancho($31), Green Valley Ranch ($27), Lake Las Vegas
($52), Red Rock Station ($43), SunCoast ($42), Sunset Station
($27), Texas Station ($30)
From the airport, many cabbies will try to take the tunnel because it's longer and increases the fare. If you're going to the Strip, make sure to tell your cabbie not to take the tunnel. If you're going downtown, it's a tossup: taking the tunnel will increase the fare by a few bucks, but it'll likely be faster, since you'll be taking the highway.
There's a lot to know about taxis, so I have a special page about taxicabs in Vegas.
Go to the spot right between the two
baggage claim areas, and take the escalator down. Go
outside, and the bus stop is the last stop on the right, right under
the little canopy. (Last I checked, it was just beyond the
last numbered slot, #23, where slot #24 would be if there were a
#24.) You'll see airport employees waiting for it. It's
usually best to pay $8 for the 24-hour pass when you board.
The 24-hour pass works on every bus in the city. More on fares
Here's which bus to take based on where
you're going. (You can find your hotel on our map
if you don't know where it is.)
- Downtown: Your best bet is the Westcliff Airport
Express or the #108, both of which go straight to downtown.
You could also take the #109 South/SSTT (not #109 North)
from the airport and transfer to the SDX at the SSTT (South Strip
- Stratosphere, Hilton, or LV Convention Center: #108 takes you right there.
- Other North Strip, Mid-Strip: Take the #108 to the
Stratosphere, then transfer to the the Deuce or the "Strip &
Downtown Express" (SDX) bus, which run up and down the
strip. (For the Riveria or Circus Circus, instead of
transferring to the Deuce or SDX, you could get off at Riveria
Blvd. and walk 10 minutes west towards the strip if you wanted.)
- South Strip: The Westcliff Airport Express goes straight from the airport to the Tropicana / MGM / NY NY / Luxor area. Or you could take the #109 South/SSTT (not #109 North), get off at the SSTT, and transfer to the "Strip & Downtown Express" bus.
The Westcliff Airport Express goes straight from the airport to the South Strip, then it takes the highway to go to downtown. But it runs only once an hour. By the way, it took the geniuses at the bus agency until 2010 to create a route that goes straight from the airport to the Strip. Go figure!
The #108 normally runs every 20 minutes, except every
30 mins. between 11pm-1am, and then once an hour until 2:00am.
The bus doesn't run between 2-4am, but then neither do the planes.
The Deuce and the "Strip & Downtown Express" (SDX)
buses run up and down the Strip, and also to Downtown. See at
right for info on these buses.
For-hire shuttles will take you to Strip hotels for $8 per person, and downtown hotels for $9 per person. It's a great deal if you're traveling solo, but not so much otherwise, since taxis are the same cost for 1-4 people. To find the shuttles, go to the space between the two big baggage claim areas and face the direction of the escalators that are coming down from the second floor. Go past the escalators (i.e., don't ride them), walk out the door, and look left or right.
Your hotel probably doesn't have a free shuttle. The only Strip & Downtown casinos that have them reserve them for the high rollers. Some off-strip casinos have free shuttles, like Palace Station, Red Rock, Rampart, and Suncoast. The pickup area is next to the bus stop described in the Bus section above.
You don't need to rent a car
If you're not venturing beyond the Strip and Downtown, you absolutely do not need a car. In fact, a car might just slow you down. Between gridlocked traffic and distant parking (you can't park directly on the strip—you have to go to a parking garage and then walk), taking the bus or just walking is often competitive on time, and a lot less stressful...Not to mention cheaper, even before we consider that free parking is becoming something of a dinosaur.
Even if you're going to Hoover Dam, a tour bus is often a better option. It's cheaper, safer, less polluting, more relaxing (you can sleep on the bus), and your driver will point out interesting things about the places you pass, which you wouldn't know about if you were driving yourself. There are places along the strip and downtown that sell the cheap Hoover Dam bus tours. A friend and I took one of them and it was definitely more fun going with a group.Also, you can't even rent a car right at the airport any more. The car rental place is now three miles from McCarran.
Getting around the Strip & Downtown
WalkingWalking the strip is a viable option. Cabs are expensive, and you usually have to wait in a long line at the hotel to get one. (They can't and won't stop on the street.) The bus is cheaper but it's often not much faster than walking. Renting a car is often a big waste—traffic on the Strip is often gridlocked and you have to park so far away that you'll wind up walking anyway. Walking is my preferred way of getting around the strip. The whole thing is only four miles long and you could walk the entire strip in an hour and a half.
But walking isn't a perfect option. First of all, the Aria/Cosmo/City Center monstrosity is absolutely hostile to pedestrians. In that area you can't cross at street level, and the detours to the walkways are lengthy and laborious. You could walk on the other side of the street, but that area of the south strip is packed with people so walking is slow-going. Another annoyance are the guys who constantly thrust ads in your face for call girls. Finally, walking is the summer often means braving 100°+ heat. Still, I walk if I'm going only a mile or two. For longer distances, I take the bus.
By the way, please wait for the green light when crossing! Tourists seem to have no regard for the traffic signals, and many of them pay the ultimate price for that lack of judgement. Vegas is twice as dangerous as the national average for pedestrians. It's the 6th-most dangerous city for walkers in the U.S. A ped gets killed here about every four days Pay attention and obey the signals!
Buses: The Deuce and the Strip/Downtown Express (SDX)
There are two buses that run up and down
the Strip, and to downtown, The Deuce and the Strip/Downtown
Express (SDX). Here are the differences:
Downtown Express (SDX)
& down the Strip, and Downtown
every ~12 minutes
(except every 30 minutes between 2:00-5:30am)
for two-hour pass • $8 for a 24-hour pass
No, you can't buy a single trip for less.
You can buy the $8 pass on the Deuce, or from a machine at an SDX stop, and the pass works on every bus in the city, and the 24 hours starts from the time you buy it.
|Where to get tickets
||On the bus
||From machine at
the bus stop (NOT on the bus)
(i.e., every casino)
|Goes to LV Premium Outlets
|Goes to Convention Center
|Goes to LV Outlet Center
|Goes to the South Strip
Transfer Terminal (SSTT)
The SDX is usually fast, but the Deuce can be pretty slow, and when the Strip is congested the Deuce isn't much faster than walking. Downtown to Mandalay Bay (5.7 miles) is as quick as 40 minutes, but once it took me 1:23 in traffic, and I could walk it in 1:44. (When I ran the Vegas Marathon, I did that route in 51 minutes—almost as fast as the fastest bus.) But even though the Deuce is often barely faster than walking, it does get you out of the heat, and is a relief when you're tired. Also, if you're able to snag the front two seats upstairs then you get a great, cheap tour of the Strip. And of course, the SDX is always faster than the Deuce.
Note that if you have occasion to ride a
numbered local bus (not the Deuce or SDX), you can buy your $8 day
pass on any bus in the city, and that pass works on any bus in the
city, including the Deuce and SDX.
Some casinos run their own private trams between their properties. These trams are fast, free, and run from 9:00am to 10:30pm, every 8 minutes. The only downside is they don't take you very far. Trams run between:
- Treasure Island < > Mirage
- Park MGM < > Aria < > Bellagio
- Mandalay Bay < > Luxor < > Excalibur
Las Vegas Monorail
The monorail is a joke. If you're going to or from the Convention Center or the Hilton it's great. But it's useless for traveling the strip. It's too far away, too expensive, has too few stops, doesn't run as late, and doesn't go the whole length of the strip, For traveling the Strip, it's often much faster (and cheaper) to take the bus or walk.
The monorail isn't even on the strip itself. You have to walk one long block to the west to get on it. When you do you'll pay a $5 for a one-way ride or $13 for a day pass (vs. $8 for a day pass on the bus). Then when you get off the monorail you've got to walk a long block back to the strip. Unless it picks up and drops off exactly where you need to go, which is almost never the case, skip the monorail.