There are no direct rail services into Las Vegas per se. Below are the nearest train routes with an Amtrak Thruway Motor coach shuttling passengers between Las Vegas and the nearest Amtrak station:
- Amtrak’s Southwest Chief operates daily service from Los Angeles, CA and Albuquerque, NM to Kingman, AZ located 112 miles south of Las Vegas. From Kingman, you may purchase Amtrak Thruway Motor coach service to Las Vegas.
- Amtrak’s San Joaquin Route operates between Stockton, CA and Bakers eld, CA. From Bakers eld, Amtrak operates two daily Thruway Motor coaches to Las Vegas.
The main highway connecting Las Vegas with the rest of the country is I-15; it links Montana, Idaho, and Utah with Southern California. The drive from Los Angeles is quite popular and can get very crowded on weekends as hopeful gamblers make their way to and from Las Vegas.
From the east, take I-70 or I-80 west to Kingman, Arizona, and then U.S. 93 north to Downtown Las Vegas. From the south, take I-10 west to Phoenix, and then U.S. 93 north to Las Vegas. From San Francisco, take I-80 east to Reno, and then U.S. 95 south to Las Vegas. Vegas is 286 miles from Phoenix, 759 miles from Denver, 421 miles from Salt Lake City, 269 miles from Los Angeles, and 586 miles from San Francisco.
International visitors should note that insurance and taxes are almost never included in quoted rental-car rates in the U.S. Be sure to ask your rental agency about these. They can add a significant cost to your car rental.
Getting Around Las Vegas
Though you can get around central Las Vegas adequately without a car, the best way to experience the city can be to drive it. A car gives you easy access to all the casinos and attractions; lets you make excursions to Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and elsewhere at your leisure; and gives you the chance to cruise the Strip and bask in its neon glow. If you plan to spend most of your time on the Strip, a car may not be worth the trouble, but if you plan on seeing the sights in and around Las Vegas, renting or bringing a car is a good idea
Parking on and around the Strip, although free, can require a bit of work. You’ll have to brave some rather immense parking structures. Parking at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino is complimentary for hotel guests! Valet parking is available but can take a while at busy times and requires that you tip the valets ($2 to $3). Still, it’s usually less expensive to rent a car and drive around Vegas, or to use the monorail (or even—gasp!—to walk), than to cab it everywhere.
One of the easiest ways to get around is by taxi. It is relatively cheap to go from hotel to hotel, but be aware that since traffic is often so congested on the strip, taking a taxi often isn’t much faster than walking. The taxi driver is required to use the meter and to take the shortest route to your destination. There is a surcharge for rides originating at the airport, but not for extra passengers. Taxi lines (queues) are typically found at the front of hotels. Cabs aren’t allowed to pick up passengers on the street, so you can’t hail a cab New York–style. You have to wait in a hotel taxi line or call a cab company. If you dine at a restaurant off the Strip, the restaurant will call a cab to take you home.
The fare is $3.30 on the meter when you get in and 20¢ for every 1/13th mile (there’s also a $30 per-hour charge for waiting). Taxis are limited by law to carrying a maximum of four passengers, and there’s no additional charge per person. No fees are assessed for luggage, but taxis leaving the airport are allowed to add an airport surcharge of $2. The trip from the airport to most hotels on the south end of the Strip should cost about $13 to $16, to the north end of the Strip about $16 to $27, and to Downtown about $22 to $26.
Drivers should be tipped around 15% to 18% for good service. Some drivers can’t accept credit cards (and those that do usually add a surcharge); all drivers carry only nominal change with them
Be sure to specify to your driver that you don’t want to take Interstate 15 or the airport tunnel on your way to or from the airport. This is always the longer route distance-wise, which means it’s the most expensive, but it can sometimes save you 5 to 10 minutes on the trip if traffic is heavy on the Strip. Drivers who take passengers through the airport tunnel without asking are committing an illegal practice known as “long-hauling.”
When you get in the taxi, tell the driver you want to be taken to your hotel via Swenson Avenue, NOT, the airport tunnel. The airport tunnel may seem faster because it connects to the freeway and has fewer lights, but the route is several miles longer resulting in cab fares that are $5 to $10 more. Besides, if you hit the airport tunnel route during rush hour (8:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.), any time savings you gain using the freeway will disappear in the exhaust of the morning or evening commute. So say NO to the airport tunnel (the only tunnel in Vegas) and use the extra cash for an extra cocktail instead
By Shuttle Van
Shuttle service is often shared with other riders, and costs $6 to $8 per person to the Strip, $9 to $15 to Downtown, and $12 to $33
to outlying casinos (excluding tips). The vans wait for passengers outside the terminal in marked areas. Because the vans often make numerous stops at different hotels, it’s not the best means of transportation if you’re in a hurry. For round-trip service, save time and money by booking online and printing out your vouchers beforehand