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How to travel from McCarran airport to the Strip or Downtown

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What is the best way to travel from McCarran airport to either the Strip or Downtown?

McCarran airport (LAS) is actually much closer to the strip than many airports are to the cities that they serve (we are looking at you Heathrow, and you JFK).  Most people heading to either the Strip, or Downtown will get in a cab. However this isn’t the only way, or even the best way to travel from McCarran.

Getting the bus to Downtown Las Vegas

The bus timetable does change from time to time – See the latest version. You should check in advance that the bus will be operating when you need to know how to travel from Las Vegas McCarran airport

You actually have three options to get to Fremont Street Downtown. Each one is $2 for a one way ticket.

  1. Take the 108 bus from Terminal 1 – Level 0 of the airport.
  2. Take the Westcliff Express (WAX) from Terminal 3
  3. Take Centennial Express (CX) from Terminal 3.

Both the CX and WAX routes depart from the RTC bus stop at Terminal 3. This is located at the Departures curb on level 2. From Baggage Claim, take the elevator or escalator up to level 2. Exit the terminal building and proceed across the pedestrian crosswalk.  The RTC bus stop is located across from door 44.

Getting the bus to the Las Vegas Strip

Unless you are staying at the South end of the Strip, MGM, Excalibur or New York New York, we can’t recommend the bus, as the traffic on the Strip is very heavy most times of the day and the bus takes a long time to traverse it. Jump in a cab instead. If you are staying at the South end of the Strip you need to take Route 108 or Westcliff Airport Express (WAX) from Terminal 1.

The bus stop at Terminal 1 for the 108 is located on Level Zero.  From baggage claim, take the elevator or escalator down one level.  Exit the terminal building and proceed across the pedestrian crosswalk. The RTC bus stop is on the right.

From Terminal 3 you can get the Westcliff Airport Express (WAX). The RTC bus stop at Terminal 3 is located at the Departures curb on level 2. From Baggage Claim, take the elevator or escalator up to level 2. Exit the terminal building and proceed across the pedestrian crosswalk.  The RTC bus stop is located across from door 44.

Getting a Taxi or Cab

A taxi will cost about $20 to the Strip, and about $30-35 downtown. A cab is the fastest way if you are staying Centre Strip (Paris,Ballys, Aria etc) or North Strip (Stratosphere,SLS,Circus Circus). This price depends on the time of day, and the resulting traffic, and the route that your driver takes.  Drivers are supposed to take the shortest route, but it certainly isn’t unheard of for them to make a small detour. We should say though that we love Las Vegas taxi’s (cabs) and have had many a fun journey in one.

Airport Shuttle

An airport shuttle will be about $15 but as ever with shuttles, the small saving you will make versus getting a cab will be swallowed up by driving around multiple hotels dropping the other passengers off. We really don’t recommend airport shuttles.  Remember the distance between hotels on the Las Vegas strip can be significant, and you could waste hours dropping passengers off, all for the sake of $5-10.  Just buy one less drink, or play one less hand on Blackjack, and save yourself hours.

Other Travel from McCarran Options

You could hitch hike – Actually, don’t do this. Ever.

You could get the police to drive you. – Via a night in the cells. Don’t do this.

You could get a limo. We have seen this happen. If you desire you could get one of the strip clubs free limo’s to pick you up.  You would have to then take your suitcase into Cheetahs, Little Darlings, Palamino’s etc – But you would be a Vegas PLAYER.   This works best if one of your party is already in Ls Vegas when you arrive, and arranges it secretly. Imagine the look on their face when you roll into arrivals parking in a stretch limo. Note – Having “entertainment” in the limo along with you will cost a lot more…..

No, you can’t walk. This really isn’t how to travel from Las Vegas McCarran airport.

No, you can’t hire a bike.

In conclusion

We are big fans of getting the bus if you are staying downtown.  They are frequent, fairly quick, clean and you potentially get to meet some locals.  You will also save around $30 compared to getting a cab.

If you are staying on the strip, a cab, especially if you can share it, really is the best option. Sure it will cost about $20 depending on where you stay, but it is much quicker.

From the Strip or Downtown to McCarran airport

Essentially all of the advice is still applicable in reverse. However we bet that a much higher % of travellers opt for the convenience of a cab on their way back to the airport.  Dragging your suitcase onto the Strip or Fremont Street just seems much less fun when you are travelling home.  However, if you have lost the lot, then the 108 or WAX bus is your friend.

Make sure you also read our guide to how to travel on the Las Vegas strip

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