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Las Vegas Transportation

Getting to and around the Las Vegas Strip

Getting from the airport to your hotel

City Bus

     You wouldn't know you can even take a bus because there's little signage at the airport and the stop isn't well-marked (probably from the influence of the taxi lobby), but I'm about to demystify it.

     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 $7 for the 24-hour pass when you board.  The 24-hour pass works on every bus in the city.  More on fares below.

     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 Transfer Terminal).
  • 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.

   A single ride from the airport is $2, but if you need to transfer you'll pay another $2 for the transfer.  The better deal is just to pay $7 when you board for a 24-hour pass, which lets you ride any bus in the city at no extra cost, including the Deuce and the SDX.  Kids 5 & under ride free, but 6 & over pay the adult fare.  See more on LV buses at the bus system website.

Airport Shuttles

    For-hire shuttles will take you to Strip hotels for $6 per person, and downtown hotels for $8 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.  Not that you need it, but has a list of airport shuttles if you want to check them out before you come to town.

    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.


     Taxis to most strip hotels cost about $16, 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 airport.

  • ~$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, Vegas Club
  • >$23:  Cannery ($47), Fiesta Henderson ($35), Fiesta Rancho ($31), Green Valley Ranch ($27), Lake Las Vegas ($52), Red Rock Station ($43), Sun Coast ($42), Sunset Station ($27), Texas Station ($30)
   Here's the alphabetical list from the NV Taxicab Authority.

   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.

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 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.

Last update: March 2012

Getting around the Strip & Downtown


     Walking 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 about every four days here.  Pay attention and obey the signals!

Buses: The Deuce and the Strip/Downtown Express (SDX)

     Note: The City is constantly screwing with bus routes, names, and service times.  The following is current as of Nov. 2010.  If you encounter any changes, please let me know!  In the meantime, you can check the bus website to double-check your trip.

     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:

Strip & Downtown Express (SDX)
Basic service
Up & down the Strip, and Downtown
24/7, every ~12 minutes
(except every 30 minutes between 2:00-5:30am)
$5 for two-hour pass • $7 for a 24-hour pass
No, you can't buy a single trip for less.
You can buy the $7 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)
Strip Service
17 stops
(i.e., every casino)
6 stops
(i.e., express)
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 $7 day pass on any bus in the city, and that pass works on any bus in the city, including the Deuce and SDX.

    Some trivia:  RTC is constantly renaming the Strip Express bus.  It used to be the #302 route.  Then it was the Ace.  Then it was the Gold Line.  Now it's the "Strip & Downtown Express" (SDX).  Odds are they'll change it again before too long.

Casino-operated trams

    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
    • Monte Carlo < > 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 $12 for a day pass (vs. $7 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.

Casino-to-Casino shuttles

     Off2Vegas has a list of hotel shuttles, which go from casino to casino.  The most popular is probably the one that goes between Bally's and Rio, which leaves Bally's every 30 minutes between 10am to 1am.

The Trolley

     The trolley is a bus which looks like an old streetcar.  It's only $1.50, but it's super, incredibly slow.  That's because it stops at every casino on the Strip, and not on the street, either, but rather it pulls in to the casino's loading/unloading area.  I took this thing once.  Never again.

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Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.