The U.S. Dept. of Transportation calls the Strip’s four miles of neon an “All-American Road.” You’ll probably think of more colorful descriptions; Vegas has the nation’s fastest-growing population and the traffic problems to prove it. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of options to help avoid a breakdown.
Monorail: Runs north from the MGM Grand to the Sahara, with stops at Paris, the Flamingo, Imperial Palace, the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Las Vegas Hilton.
Pros: End-to-end in 15 minutes and cheap ($3 one-way; $10 per day), the Monorail can fit 200 passengers and runs seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight.
Cons: It often fills up before it gets to your stop and it only connects the hotels along the east side of the Strip.
Taxi: Desert Cab Co. (702) 386-9102, Lucky Cab Co. (702) 477-7555 or Whittlesea Blue Cab (702) 384-6111 will take you anywhere you want to go.
Pros: Cabs line up in front of hotels, which make them an easy choice. The best places to catch one are at Caesars Palace and the Bellagio; their driveways can sustain a constant flow of traffic. Most cab rides around the Strip should cost $10 to $15.
Cons: Lines can be unbearably long at night, so allow at least 30 minutes. The worst driveway is at the Venetian, where incoming cabs often get gridlocked with cars driving in to park. But don’t try to hail a cab on the Strip; cabs get cited for stopping.
Bus: In October, the Regional Transportation Commission launched a double-decker bus, the Deuce, which travels 17.25 miles up the Strip and into downtown.
Pros: A stylish ride that costs $2 one-way or $5 for the day. “I see these buses becoming as synonymous with Las Vegas as the red double-deckers are with London,” says RTC spokeswoman Ingrid Reisman.
Cons: You have to brave the elements from hotel to curb, since the Deuce stops only at select spots along Las Vegas Boulevard. However, most stops are shaded or indoors; the South Strip Transfer Terminal even has restrooms and a gaming area.
Rental Car: National rental car companies are all here, with Corvettes, Ferraris and other showy cars available by the hour or day (Rent-a-Vette, (702) 736-2592; Dream Car Rentals, (702) 895-6661).
Pros: Your own wheels means exploring the Strip on your schedule. And all casino hotels have free valet and self-parking lots.
Cons: Get ready to sit in traffic, and heaven help you if you miss a turn. Add in the often long waits to get your car back from the valet and renting a car is probably not worth the effort, unless you have your sights set off the Strip.
On foot: The distance from the Stratosphere (2000 Las Vegas Blvd.) to Mandalay Bay (3950 Las Vegas Blvd.) is slightly less than 4 miles.
Pros: The cheapest means of travel lets you see the sights up close. Catwalks are available over major intersections.
Cons: Blisters, exhaustion and frustration. Sidewalks periodically disappear, forcing you to take one of those catwalks across the Strip and back if you want to cross the street.