From its iconic "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign to its many casinos, neon lights, and tourist attractions, it's easy to see why Las Vegas is such a popular vacation destination. You can visit the canals of Venice, the Eiffel Tower of Paris, the streets of New York, and replicas of ancient Roman ruins without leaving the city.
As the most populous city in Nevada, Las Vegas is a major transportation hub for the state. The city is served by McCarran International Airport, as well as a number of other smaller airports and airstrips. Interstate 15 passes through the city and is the main highway connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, the city no longer has an Amtrak train station, so you won't be getting here by train.
The city's public transportation system is operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC). The RTC operates a fleet of over 300 buses, which provide service to many parts of the city and surrounding areas. In addition, the RTC operates a system called the Strip & Downtown Express (SDX), which runs along the Las Vegas Strip and the downtown Las Vegas area.
In recent years, ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular in Las Vegas. This option is generally cheaper than a taxi and is seen as a more convenient option for many visitors to the city. If you prefer to travel by car, there is always the option of rental cars as well.
With all the traveling around you're bound to be doing when you're visiting Las Vegas, the last thing you want to do is cart your luggage all over town. Head to a Bounce storage locker in Las Vegas and leave your bags in our care. Then, there will be nothing stopping you from exploring everything that Sin City has to offer.
How to get around Las Vegas by train
As we mentioned, Las Vegas no longer has a passenger train station as we think of them. Instead, you can get around using the Las Vegas monorail for your train fix. This is actually one of the most convenient public transportation options to get you around the Las Vegas Strip. The Las Vegas Monorail is a 3.9-mile monorail mass transit system located adjacent to Las Vegas Blvd (the Strip). It connects several large casinos and Las Vegas hotels on the Strip via seven stations, including The MGM Grand, Bally's/Paris Las Vegas, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, Harrah's/The Linq, Las Vegas Convention Center, Westgate, and the Sahara Las Vegas monorail station. And the Las Vegas Convention Center has its own transportation system to get across the expansive campus.
The hours of operation of the monorail are generous, which makes sense since the city is known for all-night gambling and late-night parties. If you can't resist the many unmissable things to do at night in Las Vegas, you can still get back to your hotel safely. The Las Vegas monorail service starts daily at 7 am and runs until midnight on Mondays, 2 am Tuesday through Thursday, and until 3 am from Friday to Sunday.
A single one-way trip on the monorail will set you back $5 for adults, and you can also opt for day passes anywhere from one day to a week. A 24-hour monorail pass will set you back $13, and a seven-day one is $56. Your needs are probably somewhere in the middle. Las Vegas monorail tickets can be purchased at any of the ticket vending machines located at each station or online in advance.
How to get around Las Vegas by bus
The absence of a comprehensive train system in Las Vegas makes buses one of the best ways to get from area to area. The most popular bus in town is affectionately known as The Deuce Bus. Operating 24 hours a day, this two-level bus can take you from Fremont Street Downtown Las Vegas all the way to the South Strip Transfer Terminal, with many stops along the way. You can get off at the Town Square Mall for some of the best shopping in Las Vegas or stop off at many of the major hotels and casinos. The route goes back the same way, and the fact that it runs all day makes it very convenient.
The Deuce Bus runs every 12 to 15 minutes during peak times and every 15 to 21 minutes during the early morning hours when most vacationers are still recovering from the night before. Remember to have the exact change for the ticket. Neither the machines nor the bus driver will make change for you. A two-hour pass is $6, and you can also get longer day and multi-day passes if you need them.
In Las Vegas, city buses are the primary mode of public transportation. The city's bus system, known as the RTC, consists of over 60 routes that cover all areas of the city. Buses in Las Vegas are clean, safe, and reliable. They are also air-conditioned, which is a must in the hot desert climate.
If you are planning to be out and about in the Downtown Las Vegas or Fremont Street area, you can use the free downtown shuttle that operates on a loop and stops at all of the major tourist attractions. It goes all the way from the Strat Hotel to the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets to the Fremont Street Experience and the Mob Museum. You can also get off at City Hall, Symphony Park, and Brewery Row. At least you don't have to worry about having the exact change for this one! And the Fremont Experience has a zipline, so that's a fun way to get across the arcade without using your feet.
Another way to get around by bus in the Downtown and Fremont Street area is the DVX, which stands for the Downtown and Veterans Medical Center Express bus. This will take you to a few of the tourist areas downtown, but generally, you should get away with using the free shuttle only, as long as you're prepared to walk a little bit.
How to get around Las Vegas by car
Another popular way to get around Las Vegas is by car. This can be via your own car if you drove in, a rental car, taxi, or ride-share. Regardless of which private vehicle you choose, you should be prepared for a few things. The first is that traffic along the Strip can be atrocious. It can take up to an hour to go the length of it, which isn't very far. The second is the sheer number of pedestrians crossing the street, which can be a lot to look out for. Additionally, if you're driving yourself, parking is a real challenge. You better hope that your hotel has parking available; otherwise, during peak season from October to April, convenient parking on the Strip is very hard to come by. The good news is that parking is generally free for registered hotel guests, and even if you aren't a registered guest, the rates aren't that bad. It's about $4-5 for up to six hours, and the maximum daily rate is usually $25, which can definitely add up.
If you want to rent a car for your trip, your best bet is to pick it up when you arrive at McCarran International Airport. This is where you'll find the best rates and the best selection. If this isn't convenient for you, there are rental car companies scattered around town. You may need to use public transportation to get to them, though.
Taxis are the most common way to get from the airport to your hotel. Although costly, it's definitely the most convenient if you haven't just rented a car. Be aware that lines for a taxi can get quite long as passengers from multiple flights all have the same idea. You can pre-book your ride online in advance, which is absolutely recommended.
Avoid taxi drivers for any trip except to and from the airport and rely on the more economical ride-shares instead. Uber and Lyft can get you from A to B as easily as a taxi and for a cheaper price. They can be more convenient as well since they come to you. And, with the abundance of traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard, having a set fare means you won't be compulsively watching the meter.
Can I get around Las Vegas on foot?
At just over four miles long, the Las Vegas Strip can technically be tackled on foot, but if you do the whole thing both ways, that will be up to 8.5 miles of walking. You will visit the Strat Hotel at the north end of the Strip, and if you make it all the way to Mandalay Bay at the south end, you'll have seen it all (from the outside, at least). If you spread it out over a day or two, it's more than achievable, but the Strip is often best explored with a combination of your feet and the monorail.
The same plan goes for Downtown Las Vegas. You can easily explore the Fremont Street Experience on foot and venture from there to the Mob Museum, which is only about a five-minute walk away. Additionally, the Neon Museum is another ten-minute walk from there along Las Vegas Boulevard North. All very manageable. For attractions further out, use the free shuttle to save your feet, especially when the sun is beating down.
Since the Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street are the two most visited areas in town, you can also find guided walking tours of these places. These are great if you want to soak up information as you tour the many sights. But, everything is well laid out, so you can easily go it alone.
When you look at distances on a map, don't forget about all the miles you'll be covering when you explore all the Las Vegas hotels along the way from the Strat to Mandalay Bay. These are massive structures with indoor shopping malls, theaters, massive casinos, and plenty of other entertainment options. Just don't underestimate their size, and when your feet are tired at the end of the day, you'll know why.
Getting around the desert city of Las Vegas is quite easy as long as you know what your options are. Taxis are best left to the airport runs, and ride-shares are ultra-convenient. Sometimes there's nothing like having a rental car at your disposal. You can rely on your own two feet to walk portions of the Strip and explore the exciting hotels that line it, but at some point, you'll likely need a bus to get to Fremont Street, one of the many shopping malls, or that out of the way restaurant you simply have to try.
Regardless of how you navigate the streets of Las Vegas, you're sure to have a good time along the way. You can carry a delicious cocktail with you and pop into a casino to try your luck whenever you feel like it. It's not hard to find a casino anywhere in town! You'll enjoy every second hopping from bar to restaurant to tourist attractions, and before you know it, you'll be packing to go home. Just try to remember all the tips you picked up on your trip to make the next one even better.