Yes, Las Vegas has a monorail, and if you have ever visited Disneyland, then you are familiar with what they are. The monorail is not advertised a lot, so there are many people who visit this city and are not even aware that it exists.
The first thing you need to know about the monorail is that it should not be confused with the trams that operate on the west side of the strip. The Las Vegas monorail moves along the backside of several hotels. A portion of it travels near Paradise Road; a street parallel to, and east of, the Strip.
The three trams on the west side of the Strip, I have written about under this same transportation section, so I won’t repeat that information here. However, suffice to say, because the trams are free, it is hard to be critical of them. The monorail costs money to ride, so there are some things you need to know about it.
Let’s start with the basics
Tickets are easy to buy. They have kiosks at every station.
All you need is a credit or debit card and follow the easy instructions on the touch screen. Your monorail ticket will print out and be ready to use.
You can purchase a 24 hour pass for $12. A single, one-way ride is $5.
Once you have your ticket, it is simple enough to insert into a turnstile gate, and you are on your way.
There are seven stations or stops on the monorail system. The monorails operate on two tracks moving in opposite directions, and the monorail will automatically stop at each of the seven stations traveling in either direction. The monorail system moves north to south and vice versa, and it stretches from the MGM hotel to the SLS hotel (This used to be the Sahara). For whatever reason, when this monorail system was designed, they placed it far from the main areas of the Strip. The result is that there can be a lot of walking to get to and from a monorail station, depending upon your destination.
The seven monorail stops
The MGM Grand station
The most southern stop is the MGM hotel. The monorail station is located next to the parking garage, and I think it is one of the shortest walks, but this isn’t saying much. From the hotel lobby area, you have to walk downstairs to The Underground. This is a shopping area that leads to the parking garage. At the end of The Underground shopping strip you turn left. This is the entrance way to the monorail station at the MGM hotel. This is the place I usually buy my ticket; there seem to be a lot of people in the Underground shopping area, even though most of them are not getting on the monorail. Some of the other stations seem desolate to me.
The Bally’s – Paris station
Like the MGM, this station is also located all the way in the back of the casino. The Paris hotel, of course is next door to Bally’s, but the front of Bally’s to Paris is a much shorter walk than the front of Bally’s is to the monorail station. I think this is why it is referred to as the Bally’s – Paris station.
The Flamingo – Caesar’s Palace station has the same problem as the first two stations; the distance is too far from the station to the Strip or even the main areas of the Flamingo casino. Also, don’t be fooled by the name of this station. Caesar’s Palace is across the street, and therefore, an even farther walk.
Harrah’s – LINQ station
Technically, this station is at Harrah’s, but the LINQ is close by. In fact, the LINQ is between the Flamingo and Harrah’s. If you’re going to the LINQ, it may be better to get off at the Flamingo stop. On a side note, if you have ever walked by Harrah’s on the Strip, you may have noticed the doors have the word monorail on them. It almost seems as if the monorail is right on the other side of the doors. But it is the casino that is on the other side, and you must walk to the back of the hotel to get to the monorail station.
Unless you’re attending an event at this venue, there is no reason to disembark here. I never have, but it sure does look like a long walk across a big parking lot to get to the convention center.
Westgate Las Vegas station
This is the only stop for the monorail that is convenient. The walk from the monorail station to the front door of the Westgate hotel and casino is a short one. The way the monorail works with this hotel is the way I wish the entire monorail system worked. The Strip is down the street from the Westgate hotel. Although the Riviera closed its doors, Circus Circus is across Las Vegas Blvd. If you want to get to the Strip on foot from the Westgate, you will need to walk down Riviera Street. This is directly across from the Westgate hotel. There is a signal light with a crosswalk, but when walking down Riviera Street, stay on the left side. The sidewalk on the right side runs out, and you will have no choice but to j-walk or walk back to Paradise Road. I have walked down Riviera Street a few times without incident, but I would avoid walking it at night. There is nothing open, and the lighting is not great.
The SLS hotel station
If you haven’t been to Las Vegas in a while, the SLS is a renovated version of the old Sahara hotel. Although the hotel is located on the Strip, the monorail is located across the street on the back side of the hotel. To me, this is clearly the longest walk of them all. You must cross over Paradise Road on an overhead pedestrian bridge, then attempt to find your way to the hotel. Of course, if you are looking for the Strip, you will have to transverse the length of the hotel and casino.
Regardless of what you may have heard about the monorail, I would avoid using it as transportation. With the exception of the Westgate station, there is simply too much walking involved. However, you may want to look at it as an attraction here in Las Vegas, and as an attraction, it may be something you might enjoy. You could spend $5 on a one way ride, going from one end to the other. You will have to plan your trip, so you can get back to your hotel. You could also buy a 24 hour pass for $12 and use it to go from one end to another, seeing the sights of the backside of the Strip. Maybe do it once in the daytime, and then again at night. Las Vegas always looks different at night.
You might want to throw in a single trip to a specific spot. The Westgate might be a good choice since it is a major hotel, but one not on the Strip. With a couple of complete trips and a specific trip, you will likely get your money’s worth, and you will avoid a lot of walking. I think many people get fooled into using the monorail for transportation, and after their vacation has ended, they end up with leg cramps as a souvenir.
You can find more information on the Las Vegas Monorail Website: http://www.lvmonorail.com/
There is also a map of the monorail’s route on this same site http://www.lvmonorail.com/route-map/
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