With the recent additions of Uber and Lyft, the options for getting around Las Vegas are better than ever.
Before going into the various options for getting around Las Vegas, I would like to stress the importance of reading the Taxi section for those of you who will be taking taxi's. You'll find that at the bottom section of this page.
It will help in not getting ripped off when the occasion calls for taking a taxi rather than one of the other options that are listed below - especially if going between the Airport and the Strip.
Now, with that being said, when it comes to getting around Las Vegas, the two most important things to consider are;
Answering these two questions before getting here will save you either time, money, and/or aggravation - especially when time becomes more important to you than a little added expense.
Do you only have time to visit one other place aside from the Strip? Are you okay with a lot of walking? Are you solo, a couple or here with a group? Are you here just to relax and enjoy? Here for a trade show or convention? Do you like to get out and explore when you travel? Will it be a long time before you visit Vegas again?
For example, if most of your time will be centered somewhere on the Strip and walking everywhere, but you'd like do something a little different for one day, consider Downtown. From there you can walk to the Mob Museum and back, and the Neon Museum is also close by.
You could do both and you'd still have plenty of time to enjoy the Fremont Street Experience and Fremont East in the evening. Except for the Neon Museum, all of it is walkable once you're Downtown.
For this option, you could catch public transportation on the Deuce, SDX or WAX to get you Downtown, saving you money, and then take a really short cab ride or Uber/Lyft to the Neon Museum and back. (For Neon Museum, it's best not to walk to and from it.)
If gambling isn't that big of a thing for you, renting a car will open up so many more different, fun and interesting things to do during the day.
For some, doing a tour which picks you up and drops you off at your hotel is ideal.
Once you answer the 2 questions above, you'll have a clearer picture of the kind of transportation listed below that will best suit your purposes.
It's an overview of the options without specifics because there are simply too many and they can easily change by the time you read this. Also because it's easy enough to get the latest pricing and most current accurate info online.
You'll find some of these have their own coupons, promotional codes, discounts and incentives only offered online, which can save you even more with whatever options you end up choosing.
Obviously, renting a car gives you the maximum time flexibility, freedom and comfort.
For those who like to explore when they travel, don't want the daytime temptations in a casino all day, may want to avoid the limitations that weather can sometimes impose or want to save on the expense of tours, this option will save you money.
The expense of one tour alone can go towards the rental and your visit to two or three places on this website. Plus you'll enjoy more freedom, quality time and comfort while visiting these places in many more ways than a tour can give you.
You can also save by buying lunch at regular eateries or stores while heading out to many of the places on this website and put that money saved towards the finer dining options on the Strip in the evening.
It saves you money, time and convenience to and from the Airport too. Unlike other cities, parking is normally plentiful and almost never a cost issue in and around Las Vegas.
NEWSFLASH- I purposely left the above paragraph as is because right as I was ready to publish this page onto my website, MGM came out with the news that they will be charging for parking in most all of their resorts on the Strip.
To say the least, I was stunned. I don't have any idea how this will play out or how much they plan on charging for parking but unfortunately, you may need to consider this cost when renting a car.
This makes for such a fundamental change in Las Vegas and I don't like it one bit. I can only hope there's enough of a backlash that will make them reconsider, and help keep Vegas the better bargain to other destination cities.
A much welcomed option by many as an alternative to calling a cab, Uber and Lyft are now operating in Las Vegas.
As of this writing some pick-up points are still being refined, but many places either already have them or are in the process of dedicating spots for this service. Both of them now have spots at the Airport.
For those of you not familiar with these ride-share programs, you'll want to read up on them. They're quite different, highly convenient, will save you time and most always some money.
The dramatic differences with this transportation option are;
These differences have created a huge fan base of those who will never hail a cab again due to the issues with cabs, which is detailed in the Taxi section below.
You'll need to download their app and sign up for it. Don't forget to look for their promo codes when signing up with them. It's relatively simple and chances are you might already have the service where you live. If so, try it out before coming to Vegas to get familiar with it.
They have various vehicle categories for different needs. One thing to note is 'surge-pricing'. That's when rates can spike during peak demand periods so should the need arise, check out some of the other possible options here if you want to avoid that.
If there's 4 or more in your group and you want convenience and a touch of class when arriving, there are Limo options that are very affordable when sharing the cost.
If convenience and time matter more than a little added cost, a limo might be what you're looking for.
Be sure to ask about the vehicle type as the term 'Limo' is often widely applied to different kinds of vehicles rather than the classic one many of us are use to thinking of.
Before traveling, check with your hotel to see if they have any kind of arrangements for Airport shuttles. Some of them do and it's often part of what you pay for when paying a resort fee.
Also some Downtown as well as off-Strip hotels have them, with some having Limo options as well.
There's a number of companies that do Airport shuttles. As you'll see, the reviews on this vary quite a bit. It seems advice on this is always shifting.
Some companies do this better than others and there are different kinds of shuttles and vehicles to choose from according to your needs.
If you end up in a van shared-ride type of shuttle, a common complaint is the time wasted in the many stops before finally getting to your resort if yours is further than most.
The price may attract you but be aware that this arrangement may take more time than you bargained for.
For many people and many reasons, renting a car isn't an option. If you still want to get out to see some of the places on this website, there are dedicated tours that can take you there.
Most all of these will pick you up at your hotel and return you after touring. There's no driving, directions or extra decisions. For some visitors, this will be ideally simpler and easier.
There's also bus tour options for local spots as well as locations further out. For example, 'Big Bus' has a topless double-decker hosted by tour guides that travel between the Strip and Downtown as well as other places of interest.
It's a hop-on, hop-off tour letting you hop off to explore a place for a while if you want, then hopping back on to a later bus when you're done. They feature day and night time tours.
The Las Vegas Monorail travels the Strip in between MGM Grand/Tropicana Ave (south Strip area) to the SLS/Sahara Ave (north Strip area), with five other stops along the way.
They have hourly and day passes along with some discounts and promotional code offers found online.
This option is often overlooked by visitors and can be a convenient and cost saving way to go up and down the Strip. Average wait time for a train is 5-9 minutes.
One complaint you may hear about the Monorail is the walking it takes to get to their stations since they're situated at the back of properties. For those with walking issues, that can be a problem. Aside from that, what I've mostly heard are positives about it.
A common thing by visitors in Vegas is underestimating distances when they decide they'll simply walk the Strip to check out the various hotels. Resorts are huge so they look to be closer than they actually are. "Look, it's right there ... come on, let's just walk there".
A few times of that and they begin to seriously eyeball a taxi. That's usually when people discover the Monorail ... and that a walk to the back of a few resorts isn't nearly that bad after all.
It's also a good option when the Strip is jam-packed with traffic, is shut down for events, during tough weather or when you want to avoid surge-pricing by Uber or Lyft.
Near to some monorail stations a few off-Strip hotels like the Rio, Palms, Sam's Town and others offer shuttles to and from their resorts. That can save you quite a bit if you've been wanting to see any of those properties too.
Check out the LV Monorail website to get the info on this and much more.
And don't forget the mini-monorails or trams. MGM has them from Mandalay Bay to Excalibur, Monte Carlo to Bellagio, and Mirage to Treasure Island. These can be nice little time and money savers too.
Example?- Say you're staying at the Tropicana. You can go see MGM, then take the walkway to see NYNY, then Monte Carlo next door - tram from Monte Carlo to the Bellagio, check hotels on that corner, walk up a little ways to check out the Flamingo, Harrah's and Linq, then catch the Monorail back to MGM.
Or you could just as easily Monorail it to Harrah's-Linq and do this in reverse.
You'll be able to visit 10 major hotels with no cab fares, only pay for the Monorail, and most of your walking involves seeing places, not getting to them.
All public transportation in Las Vegas is run by the Regional Transportation Commision, also known as the RTC.
THE DEUCE - this is a Strip dedicated double-decker bus that runs 24 hrs a day from Mandalay Bay to Downtown, as well as stops at the Outlet Malls and Town Square.
It stops by most major hotels and a few other places, so it takes a while to run its route. If you're not in a big hurry, it's a leisurely way to see sights along the Strip and other places to and from Downtown.
Peak hours will get busy where you may have to stand or may not get picked up because its full. Normally there's room on the next bus, which comes around every 15-20 minutes or so.
THE SDX (Strip-Downtown Xpress) is a Strip dedicated bus that also runs from Mandalay Bay to Downtown, with stops at the Outlet Malls and Town Square too. It has fewer stops than the Deuce has, so if you're headed to a certain place on its route, this one gets you there a little faster than the Duece.
THE WAX (Westcliff-Airport Xpress) is a great choice that saves you money if you are staying somewhere near the south Strip area or if staying Downtown, with stops at Terminal 1 and 3 at the Airport. At just $2.00, it's one of the best deals around.
Although the pick up and drop off points depend on if you're headed north or south, both are right by the Tropicana and NYNY hotels on the Strip, and by Binion's and the 'D'/Walgreens Downtown.
Be sure to verify the stops because even though it doesn't happen often, they can change.
The WAX bus has very few stops between the Airport and Downtown. It travels I-15 in between so it gets you there pretty quick. Reviews on this one are great if it's an option for you.
For all of these buses, you can get hourly and multi-day passes of varying time lengths with some passes allowing you to board either 2 or all 3 of these. If you only need to get around for one day, this might be the money saver choice for you.
Check out the Regional Transportation Commission website for all the info you need on how to purchase fares (some online options), route choices, hours of operation and more.
Few things get people as angry as arriving in Las Vegas and beginning their trip by getting ripped off by a cabbie.
Unfortunately, it's still happening often enough that it's something you'll need to know more about to avoid.
Certainly there are some decent people driving cabs that just want to make a living and that are helpful and caring when it comes to treating our visitors right.
Like with anything else though, it only takes a percentage of them to ruin things for the rest. There's plenty of blame to go around as to why it's still a problem - whether it's cab companies, cab drivers, agencies, policies, regulations so forth and so on.
But that's none of my concern here. My focus is on you and giving you the edge while visiting here. Following are a few of the main issues, as well as information on how to avoid them, whenever you find you either need or want to take a taxi.
There are two phrases you'll often here when it comes to taking a taxi in Las Vegas, and that's 'Long-hauling' and 'getting tunneled'.
Long-hauling is when you're taken the long way to your destination, which jacks up your fare. There can be a number of excuses used to justify taking you a longer way in order to do this.
'Getting tunneled' happens at the Airport. This is when a cab driver needlessly heads south as he leaves the airport, going through a tunnel that runs under a portion of its runways. It leads to the 215 beltway, which is the quickest way to get to Interstate 15 (I-15).
Taking the tunnel is fine if you're heading somewhere south of the airport, like to the Silverton, South Point or M hotels.
It's also the fastest way to get Downtown via the I-15, but often not the cheapest - especially during later afternoons to late evenings.
But if you're staying on the Strip, there's no good reason for 'getting tunneled'.
If you're given construction or an accident as the reason for the tunnel, you're getting long-hauled ... and you'll want to follow up on that accident or that construction excuse.
The section after this one has information on how to follow up on that 'excuse,' as well possible remedies to get reimbursed or file a complaint.
Why do cab drivers long-haul? Drivers have to maintain an average daily amount per shift that is set by their cab companies. If they don't, they may get reassigned to less desireable routes.
For example, if it's late in their shift and they haven't booked enough fares yet, they'll make up for it by long-hauling. That's where tunneling someone comes in handy for them.
You'll often hear advice to tell your cab driver that you used to live here. That's because one of the first questions a cabbie will ask you is if this is your first time here. If you say 'yes', then naturally you don't know your way around, which makes you a potential mark for getting tunneled.
Another common piece of advice is to tell the driver 'No tunnel'. Some say these work, others say cabbie's know these tricks and have ways to work around them.
One example is them asking you if you want to go to the 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign to get a really cool selfie. For this spur of the moment idea, would you know the best way to get there? Not likely.
*The 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign is about a mile south of Mandalay Bay.
Suggestions by cabbies for stops along the way (up-selling the fare) can be legitimate and quite helpful - like to a liquor store to load up for your stay. Unfortunately, they also offer opportunity for long-hauling since you won't know enough about the locations of these places.
Just be sure it's what you want to do and pay attention to how you're taken there.
One absolute is that you have final say. If you say you want them to take such and such road, they have to do it. They can suggest all they want, but they cannot take you somewhere without your consent nor by a route you didn't give consent to.
Remember, saying "take the fastest way there" is consent, giving a driver a blank check to go any which way they choose - which may not be a good idea.
Long-hauling is illegal in Las Vegas and there are a few things you can do to avoid this.
The most important is notating a few details in case you need the info later. And it doesn't hurt to do it in such a way that the driver knows you're paying attention.
A few items to note are - Cab company name, cab number, drivers name-permit #, and then time and destinations. Afterall, you'll need this if you leave something behind in their cab, right?
If you are given reasons for a diversion such as construction, big accident, a spill or similar and discover this wasn't true, there are options you can take. You'll find details about this and more at the bottom of this page.
The next important thing is knowing there aren't many different roads involved in getting you from the Airport to the Strip. Below, I've detailed the roads and routes for all the major hotels along the Strip.
Highlight the route to your hotel and either print it out, save in you phone, or better yet, both. This will make it easier for you to instruct your cab driver.
Quoting streets will give them a sense you kinda know your way around and may help you avoid any funny business.
Before traveling, do look at an online map of the Airport and the Strip area, which are quite close to each other. Look for the roads I've listed pertaining to your hotel and find the streets involved. You'll see that it really isn't very complicated.
The main North-South roads which run parallel to the Strip are Swenson St, Paradise Rd and Koval Lane.
Swenson leaves the Airport - Paradise takes you to the Airport. Both are one-way streets coming into the airport area. They remain one-ways up to Harmon Ave, after which they become regular two way streets.
The main East-West roads are Tropicana Ave, Harmon Ave, Flamingo Rd, Sands Ave, Desert Inn Rd and Sahara Ave.
Swenson leads directly to Tropicana Ave, where a left turn onto it will point you towards the Strip. Depending on where you're staying, there are basically 3 main roads that will get you where you need to go.
Entrances to hotels vary, with some not being right off of the Strip. Where I have 'go to Strip' in these directions, it means the entrance to that Strip resort. Your driver should know where these are.
SWENSON STREET - this will always be the first road on all these routes since this is the road going north out from the airport and the FIRST one a cabbie should always be taking for hotels to the Strip.
At the Airport, first thing to tell them is "No tunnel, take Swenson instead". Afterwards give the streets from the list provided below to whichever hotel you're headed for.
Swenson to Tropicana Ave - left turn - go to Koval Lane - left turn at Koval Lane, which then becomes Reno Ave, then flows into Giles St. This takes you directly into Mandalay Bay with Luxor right next to it.
These little roads are short and will get you there much quicker than going via the congested corner of Tropicana Ave and the Strip.
BTW, the 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign is about a mile south of Mandalay Bay.
Return to Airport - Exact reverse, Strip to Giles St - flows into Reno Ave then into Koval Lane - right turn - go to Paradise - right turn to Airport.
Swenson to Tropicana Ave - left turn, then go all the way to the Strip. For the Orleans, stay on Tropicana Ave - It's about 3.5 miles past the Strip.
Return to Airport - Strip/Tropicana Ave to Paradise - right turn to Airport.
CITY CENTER AREA
Aria-Vdara-Mandarin O-Cosmopolitan-Planet Hollywood-(Paris)
Swenson to Tropicana Ave - left turn - go to Koval Lane - right turn - go to Harmon Ave - left turn then go to Strip. -- For the Paris - same route except once on Harmon - right turn at Audrie St - about 1 mile up is back-way access road for Paris.
Return to Airport - (except for Paris) Strip to Harmon Ave - go to Paradise - right turn.
For Paris - Strip to Flamingo Rd - right turn - go to Paradise - right turn to Airport.
Swenson to Tropicana Ave - left turn - go to Koval Lane - right turn - go to Harmon Ave - left turn, entrance is off of Harmon Ave about a half mile down.
Return to Airport - Harmon Ave to Paradise - right turn to Airport.
Swenson past Tropicana Ave to Harmon Ave - left turn - go one block and you're there.
Return to Airport - Paradise all the way to Airport.
Swenson to Tropicana Ave - left turn - go to Koval Lane - right turn - go to Flamingo - left turn, go to the Strip.
Rio, Palms and Gold Coast are just past the Strip on Flamingo.
Return to Airport - (except for Linq-Harrah's) Strip/Flamingo to Paradise - right turn to Airport.
Linq-Harrah's - (Little back roads can change, so verify before departure-if so, simply use same return as those above) - small street behind properties to Koval Lane - right turn - go to Tropicana Ave - left turn - go to Paradise - right turn to Airport
Mirage-Venetian/Palazzo-Treasure Island-Trump-Wynn/Encore-Fashion Show Mall
Swenson past Tropicana Ave to Harmon Ave - left turn - go one block to Paradise Rd - right turn - go up to Sands Ave (E. Twain) - left turn, go to the Strip.
Return to Airport - Strip/Sands Ave to Paradise - right turn to Airport.
Westgate - Convention Center Area
Swenson past Tropicana Ave to Harmon Ave - left turn - go one block to Paradise Rd - right turn - when you reach Desert Inn Rd, that's the Convention Center Area - a little further up is Westgate.
Return to Airport - Paradise all the way to Airport.
Circus Circus - Hilton Grand Suites
Swenson past Tropicana Ave to Harmon Ave - left turn, go one block to Paradise Rd - right turn - go north - directly in front of the Westgate is Riviera Blvd - left turn - go to Strip. Circus Circus is right there. For Hilton G.S., when you get to the Strip - right turn.
Return to Airport - Strip to Riviera Blvd - left turn - go to Paradise - right turn to Airport.
SLS - Stratosphere
Swenson past Tropicana Ave to Harmon Ave - left turn, go one block to Paradise Rd - right turn - go north to Sahara Ave. There is a back entrance off of Paradise right before Sahara Ave for the SLS, which is the one to use when you have luggage - it also has a front entrance off of the Strip.
For the Stratosphere, when you get to Sahara Ave - left turn - go to Strip - right turn.
Return to Airport - Strip/Sahara to Paradise - right turn to Airport.
Downtown - do the same as the above Stratosphere route. After right turn at Strip, (Las Vegas Blvd) stay on it. About 1 mile past Stratosphere, connect to 4th street and take that up into the Downtown area.
You can also get Downtown via the I-15, in which case you'll be doing the tunnel. Normally, it will be faster but may not be cheaper because of miles traveled.
If you are headed to a resort not listed here, simply find the closest one to yours and the same route should apply.
The routes from the Airport to the Strip are most always reliable, especially Swenson with its 5 lanes. There could be times when a cab driver will tell you that one of the other roads are jammed up due to heavy traffic.
Due to some of our huge conventions or events, that could well be true as you get closer to the Strip.
When that occurs, simply ask them which road they propose to take instead and how far from the original route that is. Take note of the name of that road and keep an eye on the time involved.
You can easily verify this when you get to your hotel by asking a few employees, like the front desk or concierge, about that convention or event and the streets affected - if it's true, they should know.
If taking a taxi after arrival, ask the front desk, concierge or your favorite bartender for the best way to get to where you want to go. Then ask the cab driver and see if you get same advice.
If not, ask them which route they'll go by, about how long it should take, and make note of landmarks on the Strip, mountains in the distance, etc. That will give you a sense of direction which shouldn't repeatedly change.
Take note of the time it takes to get you there and compare that to the advice you were given previously. If it's very different, you may of gotten long-hauled and want to follow up with that cab company.
Sooner or later, some of you will probably get tunneled or long-hauled. Some people get really angry (especially having tipped the jerk), some get mad but just let it go not wanting to let it ruin their good time here, and some figure 'Oh well, it was only 15 bucks, no biggie in Vegas'.
It all adds up though. According to a 2012 article in Time, a state audit found nearly 1 in 4 fares were long-hauled resulting in overcharges of $14.8 million. That's a lot of 'Oh well, no biggie'. A recent 2015 audit highlighted even worse problems.
The issue is not a simple one and the culprits vary. Although some things have changed, the basic problems still persist. This is one reason why so many people were ecstatic when Uber and Lyft finally came to Vegas.
Nonetheless, there are times when a taxi is quicker or more convenient. Here are a few things to remember when taking a taxi from the Airport, with a few other pointers in general.
* First, note the taxi company name and vehicle number, which you should easily see on various places around the vehicle. If you don't, then ask for it.
* At the Airport, first thing to tell them is "No tunnel, take Swenson instead". Afterwards give the streets from the list provided in the 'Roads and Routes' section above.
As you're going along, note the driver's name and/or permit number, time and destinations. If it's hard to make out their name/permit number, ask them.
Afterall, "It's just in case I leave something behind in the cab". They'll notice you are attentive ... and get the drift.
* You have final say on routes. A driver must have consent to do otherwise and it must come from you. Be as specific as you can be. Ask if the shortest route is quicker, i.e. traveling the Strip may be the shortest route, but because of traffic it most always takes longer and cost more.
* Remember, "take the quickest way" is technically giving them consent and full control.
* Talking or texting on hand-held cell phones has been illegal on Vegas roads since 2012. Hands free sets are legal but ask the driver to please concentrate on driving and not be on the phone while driving you.
This is another tactic for long-hauling, where they 'didn't hear what you said'. If they give you attitude regarding that, I would consider complaining to their cab company. Why?
Because your safety trumps everything and a cabbie getting attitude about that should be catching grief from passengers and management. You can also reflect that in your tip as you let them know why.
* Don't fall for the language barrier thing. You can let them know that if they don't understand the names of common streets you give them, maybe their management should be aware of this also.
* Never ride the Strip unless you want to see the sights. In that case, be sure you get some great pic's because you'll be paying for them. Use it only to go into and out of your hotel areas, then get onto side streets as soon as possible to get to or from destinations.
* If a diversion is offered, be attentive. These offers may be genuinely helpful, but also offer opportunities for long-hauling.
* Cabs are not allowed to pick you up from the street on the Strip. You need to go to a cab stand at a hotel to get one.
If you believe you've been taken for a ride, there are a few things you can do if you want to address it.
First would be to call the cab company directly. That's why you'll want the details mentioned above regarding cab number, driver name, etc. You'll want those details when explaining your issue to their company.
These details will also be important for following up with the Taxi Cab Authority.
If your situation warrants, you may find that the cab company will re-imburse you directly for the fare. If that settles your issue then your done. If not, then consider following up with the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority.
The Taxi Cab Authority's website has all kinds of information and resources to help you. If you plan on using taxi's while here, they have some good heads up info to check out before traveling also.
As I mentioned earlier, if a cabbie tells you something about construction or some kind of accident to justify a diversion, you can follow up on that by verifying it on their website before contacting the cab company.
You'll find it by either clicking a 'call 511' banner on their website or by clicking on their menu bar on 'Resources - links - Las Vegas Traffic Updates'.
Either one takes you to the nvroads.com and it displays a map of Nevada.
Zoom in on Las Vegas and you'll see the current construction and accident areas. It also provides a section that has written descriptions of the roads affected.
It has a photo page of the different cabs to help you visually identify them, company contact info, approximate rates for fares from the Airport to Strip hotels, how to file a complaint and much more.
For all of this, or to learn a little more about the taxi industry in Las Vegas, go to the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority website.
Uber and Lyft are making a big difference for many in their choice for how to get around in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, there's plenty of people who have dealt with the issues I've pointed out on this page when taking a taxi.
The ride-share programs have been embraced with a vengeance because of these issues and some people feel elated not having to deal with taxi's at all.
The ride-sharing industry is growing rapidly and has been making a huge difference for many around the globe. If you haven't tried it yet, I recommend you do so.
Its only downside seems to be when surge-pricing kicks in. At times like NYE, Super Bowl, March Madness, etc., you'll know when to expect that. Other times, like during our many sizable conventions, festivals or other large events, you may not.
That's why it's good to consider the other options on this page.
Taking some time to explore the options before traveling can sometimes make quite a difference not just on your travel budget but also on quality of time spent while visiting here.
And that's my goal ... helping you to get more quality out of your experiences and time while visiting here in Las Vegas.
If you have a question regarding any of the options on this page or anything else you're wanting to know a little more about, feel free to drop me a line via my Contact Me page.