Young couple kissing by the 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign
Stuart Bak

Las Vegas Airport to City Travel Options (Harry Reid)

Las Vegas is the world’s entertainment capital; truly a city that never sleeps. So you’ll want to spend as little time as possible between touching down at Harry Reid International Airport and getting yourself to the heart of the action. We’re talking supersized casinos, malls the size of aircraft hangars and some of the biggest, glitziest stage shows outside of Broadway. Marvel at the Mirage’s erupting volcano, take the great glass elevator up the (replica) Eiffel Tower at Paris, grab a selfie by the Bellagio’s legendary dancing fountains, and hitch a gondola ride down Venice’s Grand Canal at The Venetian. All this and more (so much more) awaits you in Sin City. Read on for our guide to all the transport options from Harry Reid International to downtown Vegas…

Las Vegas Harry Reid Airport in Brief

Plane coming in to land in Las Vegas

There’s only one international airport in Las Vegas. Harry Reid International was known as McCarran International up until 2021, when controversy over the antisemitic and racist beliefs of former Nevada senator Pat McCarran finally boiled over, prompting a 21st-century update. Senator Harry Reid lived just long enough to see the airport take his name in December 2021, just two weeks prior to his death. In spite of this, many still know the airport as McCarran. Or just plan Las Vegas Airport. The airport identification code – LAS – remains unaltered.

Depending on direction of travel (and which side of the plane you’re sitting on), you might well get to enjoy cracking views of the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and the Strip on your descent into fabulous Las Vegas. No matter how experienced your pilot, you’re also reasonably likely to experience a turbulent landing here. That’s due to unpredictable mountain air currents and hot dry desert air. The effect is particularly pronounced in summer. Still, the excitement will set you up rather nicely for all the thrills and spills that await in Sin City. But first, let us address the rather more prosaic matter of getting from LAS to downtown.

Red dice in a cocktail glass at a Las Vegas casino

The good news is that Harry Reid is a mere hop and a skip from the Strip, from a little over a mile if you’re staying at the southern end (MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay) to more like five miles if you’re bedding down at e.g. The STRAT, at the northern end. It’s nine miles to the Fremont Street Experience in downtown, technically the center of Vegas.

Harry Reid Airport to Las Vegas by Public Transport

Proximity of landing strip to actual Strip means there’s no need for stacks of transit options. Buses are frequent, reliable and – if a little slow – certainly the cheapest way of getting from A to B, useful if you’ve just accidentally dropped 100 bucks on the airport’s 1,000+ slot machines. Viva Las Vegas, baby!

Getting from the Airport to Downtown

Traveler watching a plane taking off at the airport

This is pretty straightforward. There are three public bus services out of Harry Reid, and all of them bypass the Strip and make straight for downtown. One-way tickets cost $2 and should be bought (exact fare only!) on the bus. Routes 108 and 109 run most frequently and will get you to the Bonneville Transit Center bus stop in around 35-45 minutes. Route 109 runs around the clock. Alternatively the Centennial Express CX out of terminals 1 and 3 takes around 45 minutes to reach the end of the line at Casino Center & Fremont. However, this service only runs once per hour. You can also pay a little more ($3) for a 2-hour ticket that allows you to bus-hop around on Nevada’s RTC network until the time runs out. This excludes The Deuce, of which more below.

Top tip: once in downtown Las Vegas, you can make use of the excellent Downtown Loop bus service for free. 

Getting from the Airport to the Strip

Tourist taking photos of the Paris resort's replica Eiffel Tower on the Las Vegas Strip

There are two options for getting to your Strip hotel from the airport using public transport:

  1. Take the Centennial Express CX, which departs from terminals 1 and 3, and disembark at the Tropicana after Koval Ln stop after around 20-25 minutes. From here you can transfer to the Las Vegas Monorail, which runs roughly parallel to the Strip along its eastern side and stops at several stations close to major hotels. A single one-way ride on the monorail costs $5.50 and multi-day passes are also available.
  2. Take the 109 bus route from the airport and disembark at South Strip Transit Terminal Bay 18. From there it’s a short walk to the South Strip Transit Terminal Bay SSTT for transfers to The Deuce, a 24/7 coach that services 28 stops along the length of the Strip. A one-way ticket costs $4 and it’s $6 for a two-hour pass. Again, multi-day passes are also available.

Harry Reid Airport to the Strip or Downtown by Cab

Croupier at the roulette wheel in a Las Vegas casino

You’ll have to spring more for a cab than for the bus, but there’s no doubting this is the fastest and easiest way to get to your Vegas digs from the airport. Flat rates apply for rides from the cab ranks at terminals 1 and 3 to the Strip, and these vary depending on where you want to go, as follows:

  • Zone 1 (Sunset North to Tropicana): $21. This covers Excalibur, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Tropicana, the Luxor and other hotels towards the Strip’s southern end.
  • Zone 2 (Tropicana North to Flamingo): $25. Mid-Strip hotels in zone 2 include Paris, the Bellagio, Planet Hollywood and the Cosmopolitan.
  • Zone 3 (Flamingo North to Stratosphere): $29. Zone 3 covers the northern end of the Strip, which includes Caesars Palace, the Venetian, the Wynn, Circus Circus, the STRAT and more.

Note that flat-rate fares within these zones don’t include credit card fees, the $2 fuel surcharge or that all-important tip.

Cabs to Downtown are metered and should set you back around $40.

Operators including Lyft and Uber are a little less convenient but can cost up to 30% less than official airport cabs, so are always worth considering.

Harry Reid Airport to Downtown Las Vegas by Rental Vehicle

Tourists in a soft-top car at the 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign

The Harry Reid Rent-a-Car Center is on Gilespie Street, around three miles south of the airport. You can catch a free shuttle there from the terminals; the journey takes 10 minutes and services depart every five minutes.

You’ll find all the usual suspects here, including Alamo, Budget Hertz and Thrifty, with vehicles available from as little as $20 a day, right up to the kind of soft-top shocking-pink cadillac you might favor if you really want to stand out on the Strip.

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