Every adult playground needs a high-tech people mover and despite millions of riders a year, the Las Vegas Monorail often feels like an overlooked resource. A pleasant way to take a beat and a rare chance to avoid the crowds and rush of Strip, for guests on the northern end of Las Vegas Boulevard it also provides a very convenient connection to all the action and attractions without the unnecessary burden of paying for a ride, or taxi.
Open daily at 7 a.m. and staying on track until at least midnight, all stations are located close at the rear of each property; something to note if you are not in mood for a potentially long, yet pleasantly air conditioned walk. But the walk does provide a different perspective of the sprawling layouts at each hotel leading you to restaurants and stores you might have previously missed.
The seven-stop, 3.9-mile (6.4-kilometer) elevated system along the east side of the Strip carries 5 million passengers annually with 81 percent leisure travelers and the remainder business/convention visitors.
Nine climate-controlled trains, each with four cars and 72 seats travel at speeds up to 50 mph.
The Las Vegas Monorail operates on Mondays from 7 a.m. to midnight, Tuesdays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m., and Fridays through Sundays from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.
The Las Vegas Monorail is the first transit system in the world to fully integrate its ticketing system with Google Pay, so riders can purchase their fares online, then use their phones at fare gates for access. The monorail also offers scan-and-go mobile ticketing, with etickets delivered to phones via either email or text messaging. At the fare gates, riders scan the QR code and ride.
Tickets start at $5 for one ride. A 24-hour pass costs $13. A two-day pass is $23. For three days, the price is $29. Four-day passes cost $36. A five-day pass goes for $43. And a seven-day pass costs $56.
Beginning a journey at its most southern hub, the design of the MGM Grand terminal feels the most like a modern transportation hub. Forget any rumors you've heard about an extension to the McCarran International Airport, you still can't get there from here. This is as far along the Strip as the Monorail will extend for many years to come.
Reached beyond the resort's upmarket restaurant row, travelers also walk by the budget-minded food court, before making a turn at the Hecho En Vegas Mexican Grill. The ATM-style ticket machines found at each stop are easy to navigate, or you can buy from the attendant.
Once up the escalators, passengers can watch the trains disappear around a corner, making a turn to head back and pick you up.
From the MGM Grand, the almost four-mile journey to the final destination at the Sahara will take appropriately 14 minutes. During the day, you will rarely be without a seat and if you feel crowded, at each stop you have a few moments to move to the adjoining car. There's no conductor on board, so listen to warnings of closing doors. Inside, signage offers tips of the closest resorts and attractions along the route. The frequent announcements are clear and helpful, the ride is smooth and comfortable and security guards are easy to spot.
Departing every four to eight minutes, on the Strip-hotel side of the ride you won't always find much to see, other than parking garages, the backs of buildings and the occasional abandoned large sign, but as you begin your trip take a look to right and catch views of lazy river pools, cabanas and tennis courts.
Jumping off at the Monorail's next stop, the Bally’s & Paris Station, pedestrians will exit toward the Bally's food court, lesser visited retail stores, and the unusual sunken design of the race and sports book.
Next up is the Flamingo resort, across Las Vegas Boulevard from Caesars Palace. If you keep your head on swivel, below the tracks you can catch a view of the famous Battista's Hole in the Wall Italian restaurant seconds before the train comes to a stop. The walk from the station provides an enticing view of a section of the Flamingo's pool complex.
One minute later, the train pulls into the exit for Harrah's and The Linq. Scan to the left for a first glimpse of the Linq Promenade and if you take a moment to wait for the next train, this is an excellent high vantage point to take close-up photos of the High Roller attraction.
Stay onboard for the longest uninterrupted stretch on the Monorail track, snaking its way to the Convention Center Station. The four-minute ride features views of the attractive trees and greens of the Wynn Golf Club on the left. During high volume hours at a large convention, the monorail is frequently the best way to leave the crowds behind, avoiding traffic snarls and long lines for ride-share vehicles.
Guests and visitors at the Westgate will appreciate being on the second to last stop, helping the out of the way location become an easy link to the Strip in under 10 minutes. And at the final terminal on the circuit, take a tour of newly remodeled Sahara Las Vegas, a gateway to downtown and the freshest casino and dining destination on the Monorail map.