Getting from the airport to your hotel
Last update: October 2020
Uber / Lyft
Uber & Lyft can't pick up right outside the terminal, at least they couldn't the last time I checked. You have to walk to a parking garage.
Most hotels have staging areas for Uber/Lyft, but the city doesn't have as many staging areas for them as it does for traditional taxis.
I boycott both because of Uber is an incredibly ethically-challenged company, and because in my hometown of Austin, Uber & Lyft refused to comply with local regulations, then paid for a "grassroots" election to try to override local laws, and when voters defeated their measure, the companies then lobbied the Texas state government to cancel Austin's law, which it did. None of us should want a world in which corporations bully and bribe the government in order to get favorable treatment.
There's flat-rate pricing from
the airport to the Strip: $19 to the South Strip,
$23 to the Mid Strip, and $27 to the North strip. There's no
flat pricing to downtown but it'll cost around $32. The price
is the same no matter how many people ride. I generally
boycott the taxis because most drive so dangerously, threatening
pedestrians and bicyclists, and because buses and shuttles work
fine. Taxis also aren't as convenient as you might expect,
because they can't and won't stop on the street; you have to wait in
the line at the hotel, and sometimes those lines are long. Here's more
on taxis in Vegas.
Finding the bus stop
The bus stops are at Terminal 1. (If you're in Terminal 3, take the shuttle to Terminal 1.) From the inside of Terminal 1, go to the spot right between the two baggage claim areas, and take the escalator down to Ground Level Zero. Go outside, and the bus stop is the last stop on the right, right under the little canopy. (Last I checked, it was just beyond the last numbered slot, #23, where slot #24 would be if there were a #24. If this has changed, let me know.) You'll see airport employees waiting for it.
Which bus to take
You can find your hotel on our map if you don't know where it is.
- South Strip: The CX (Centennial Express) goes straight from the airport to the Tropicana / MGM / NY NY / Luxor area. Or you could take the #109 South/SSTT (not #109 North), get off at the SSTT (South Strip Transfer Terminal), and transfer to the Deuce, which runs up and down the strip.
- Mid-Strip: Take the #108 to the Strat, then transfer to the the Deuce, which runs up and down the strip. For Circus Circus, instead of transferring to the Deuce, you could get off at Rivieria Blvd. and walk 10 minutes west towards the strip if you wanted.
- North Strip: #108 takes you straight to the Strat, Sahara, Westgate, and the LV Convention Center.
- Downtown: Both the CX (Centennial Express) and the #108 go straight to downtown, and are equally fast (about 30 minutes). You could also take the #109 South/SSTT (not #109 North) from the airport and transfer to the SDX at the SSTT (South Strip Transfer Terminal).
- SDX and WAX routes have been discontinued, as of 10/4/2020.
By the way, it took the bus agency until 2010 to create a route that goes straight from the airport to the Strip, probably because of lobbying/kickbacks from the taxi industry.
Deuce. Every 15-20 minutes, 24/7.
#108. About every 30 minutes, and not between 1:40-4:40am, but then again, neither do the planes.
CX. Every 30 minutes weekdays, every hour weekends, and generally not between 11pm-7am.
Get the official bus app to find when the next bus is coming to your stop.
It's $6 for a 2-hour pass, $8 for 24 hours, and $30 for 3 days (72 hours). There's no single-ride fare.
More about the buses
Shared shuttles will take you to Strip hotels for $8 per person, and downtown hotels for $9 per person. It's a great deal if you're traveling solo, but not so much otherwise, since taxis are the same cost for 1-4 people. It's also slow: you might wait up to 20 minutes for the shuttle to leave (even if the ticket seller says just 5-10 minutes), and since you share the ride with other passengers, if you're the last to be dropped off, the trip could take an extra 30 minutes over what it would in a taxi.
To find the shuttles, go to the space between the two big baggage claim areas and face the direction of the escalators that are coming down from the second floor. Go past the escalators (i.e., don't ride them), walk out the door, and look left or right.
Your hotel probably doesn't have a free shuttle. The only Strip & Downtown casinos that have them reserve them for the high rollers. Some off-strip casinos have free shuttles, like Palace Station, Red Rock, Rampart, and Suncoast. The pickup area for these is next to the bus stop described in the Bus section above.
You don't need to rent a car
If you're not venturing beyond the Strip and Downtown, you absolutely do not need a car. In fact, a car might just slow you down. Between gridlocked traffic and distant parking (you can't park directly on the strip—you have to go to a parking garage and then walk), taking the bus or just walking is often competitive on time, and a lot less stressful. Not to mention cheaper, even before we consider that free parking is becoming something of a dinosaur, even if you're a guest of the hotel.
Even if you're going to Hoover Dam, a tour bus is often a better option. It's cheaper, safer, less polluting, more relaxing (you can sleep on the bus), and your driver will point out interesting things about the places you pass, which you wouldn't know about if you were driving yourself. There are places along the strip and downtown that sell the cheap Hoover Dam bus tours. A friend and I took one of them and it was definitely more fun going with a group.
Also, you can't even rent a car right at the airport any more. The car rental place is now three miles from McCarran.