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Parking and Driving in Las Vegas
First Time in Vegas?
While there are some hotels off of Las Vegas Boulevard (known as "The Strip"), a large majority of the major hotels, and as a result much of the tourism industry, is centrally located around Las Vegas Boulevard. Unless visitors are staying at one of the few casinos located off the Strip, most will have to consider whether or not to drive on the Strip.
Driving on Las Vegas Boulevard
Many websites describe the act driving on the Strip as an act of frustration, especially for those visiting Las Vegas on the weekends. While Las Vegas Boulevard provides the best views of the hotels (especially at night), the street is regularly plagued with tight gridlock traffic. As a result, what appears to be a quick jaunt between Mandalay Bay on the southern end of the Strip to Caesars Palace can be turned into a lengthy and daunting undertaking.
Alternatives to Las Vegas Boulevard
Driving on The Strip can be a lengthy, and sometimes even risky. So, those choosing to drive during their Las Vegas visit should familiarize themselves with the various alternatives to Las Vegas Boulevard. While the Strip is very much the main drag of the Las Vegas tourism center, there are a number of smaller side streets paralleling it in either direction, which can be used to side-step the busier main road.
Dean Martin Boulevard runs parallel to the Strip on the west side of I-15. The road begins outside of the popular tourist section of the city and drivers can take it as far north as East Flamingo Road before Dean Martin Boulevard splits into West Twain Avenue and Industrial Road. Drivers can continue northeast on Industrial Road which continues to parallel the Strip until Wyoming Avenue which intersects Las Vegas Boulevard just south of Downtown Las Vegas.
Another cited popular alternative to Las Vegas Boulevard is Frank Sinatra Drive which runs just west of the Strip. Running north and south, it should be noted that the access routes to Frank Sinatra Drive (other than the various resort parking lots) are Industrial Road on the north end and Russel Road to the south. Paralleling the Las Vegas Strip, the street connects the casinos on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard via their parking lots and parking garages.
If worse comes to absolute worst, Las Vegas Boulevard also parallels I-15, so visitors to have the option to exit onto the interstate than exit upon reaching their destination of choice.
Those needing to cross the Strip by car are recommended to cross Las Vegas Boulevard at Charleston on the north end of the Strip, or Tropicana at the south end. Choosing to cross at Spring Mountain or Sahara can easily add twenty minutes to your drive time.
Parking in Las Vegas
For visitors staying in Las Vegas, a vast majority of the hotels offer free parking garages for guests. However, as was stated earlier, those visiting the city on the weekend should be prepared for a crowded parking situation. However, it is in the best interest of the casinos to keep guests inside gambling, and free parking allow those staying inside Las Vegas city limits to park their vehicle and leave it for the duration of their stay.
Those who would rather not drive in circles looking for a parking spot can always take advantage of the valet parking which is offered at most of the major hotels. While the valet parking is often free, tipping is strongly recommended.
Tips for Taxis
For those opting for the easy method of taking taxis in Las Vegas, there are a few tips which will make the process even easier. Due to the seemingly unending traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard, it is advisable to research proper alternatives reach the desired destination. It is not advisable to sit in a lengthy traffic jam with the meter running. A common request for those coming from McCarran Airport, is to take Swenson Avenue to Las Vegas Boulevard. The more common route, the I-215 is one of the longest, most indirect routes possible. Cab drivers in Las Vegas are required to take the routes requested by passengers. Long hauling is crime, which occurs when taxi drivers take passengers a long and in-direct route to their destinations.