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Getting Around Las Vegas
Walking the Strip
Las Vegas Boulevard, otherwise known as "The Strip", is the main drag of the Las Vegas tourism industry. While there are hotels located off Las Vegas Boulevard, a majority of Las Vegas' most popular casinos are situated along the roughly four mile stretch of busy roadway.
Due to the heavy traffic on the Strip, as well as a tight parking situation, it is usually quicker to walk (or take public transportation) when moving between casinos. As the area has continued to expand and develop, the streets have become increasingly evolved to sustain the high foot traffic. Many of the pedestrian crossings have been raised above street level, removing the danger of the fast, heavy traffic.
Walking is one of the best ways to truly experience the atmosphere of Las Vegas. Popular Vegas landmarks like the Fountains at the Bellagio, the Mirage Volcano and the TI Pirate Battle are best and easiest seen when walking by the casinos. Visitors with families should be aware, Las Vegas is a popular adult destination. As a result, there are a number of advertisements for local businesses geared towards the adult population, like local strip clubs
The Las Vegas Monorail
The Las Vegas Monorail system boasts being the only privately owned public transportation system in the United States. From its initial stages, the monorail has expanded to cover 3.9 miles of the Las Vegas Strip. Riders can board the monorail at stations which span much of the length of the Strip, from the MGM Grand Station all the way down to the Sahara Station (named after the recently demolished Sahara Hotel). From these stations, many of the prominent hotels and casinos are easily accessible.
Single ride tickets are available $5.00, while those interested can also purchase one day and three day passes for $12.00 and $28.00 per person. The monorail runs Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m.. Friday through Sunday, the trains continue to run until 3:00 a.m..
In a city where daytime summer temperatures can soar upwards of 100 degrees, the Las Vegas Monorail offers families a comfortable, climate controlled way for families to travel up and down the Las Vegas Strip.
While the Las Vegas Monorail is the biggest in Las Vegas, a number of the hotels have installed monorails and trams to transport guests between casinos. Those staying at Excalibur, Luxor or Mandalay Bay can ride the monorail which runs between the three casinos. Trains run every five minutes between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.. There is also a tram which connects the Mirage to T.I. which runs every ten minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m..
Las Vegas Taxis
Those staying on Las Vegas Boulevard may find taxis one of the easiest ways to get around. The Nevada Taxicab Authority reports that there are sixteen taxicab companies which serve Las Vegas and patrons can expect a fare of $2.60/mile.
Those in need of a taxi can find them plentiful from any of the Strip hotels. Each hotel offers a staging area for cabs and patrons, eliminating the need to call for a cab. Weekend visitors should be aware that there is often a longer wait for taxis on the weekend.
Driving in Las Vegas
For those absolutely intent on avoiding public transportation and driving yourself, most hotels offer free parking garages, and the few that don't usually validate parking. Most hotels also offer free valet parking; however, tipping is highly recommended.
A car is necessity for those wanting to make jaunts outside of Las Vegas: The Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, the famed Area 51 and Rachel, Nevada are all popular tourist destinations within a few hours drive of Las Vegas. However, those staying within the city limits should be prepared for heavy traffic.
For those who do choose to drive, it is advisable to study up on a number of short cuts to avoid driving on the Strip. It is recommended that visitors familiarize themselves with Frank Sinatra Drive and Dean Martin Drive. These roads were built to take pressure off the Strip and are advisable alternatives to the busier main road.
Las Vegas Public Transportation
While Las Vegas does not have a subway system, an under-utilized transportation option is the Citizens Area Transit (CAT) bus system. Visitors on the Strip can catch the Strip and Downtown Express. Between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. buses run regularly up and down the strip between 12 and 20 minutes depending on the time of day.