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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Nevada > Las Vegas

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Getting around Las Vegas

Public transport

Public transportation is mostly limited to buses, operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) (tel: +1 800 228 3911; www.rtcsnv.com/transit), which runs over 30 routes in the Greater Las Vegas Valley. You can order transit passes online or buy them from vending machines. Two-hour and 24-hour passes are available from the driver.

The Las Vegas Monorail (tel: +1 702 699 8200; www.lvmonorail.com) runs Mon 0700-2400, Tues-Thurs 0700-0200 and Fri-Sat 0700-0300 from SLS Las Vegas to the MGM Grand. Connect to the LV Monorail by using the free private monorail between The Luxor, Excalibur and New York New York.

Taxis

It is against the law to hail a taxi - use the stands on the Strip and Downtown, or call a taxi from ACE Cab Company (tel: +1 702 888 4888) or Desert Cab Inc (tel: +1 702 386 9102).

Meters run at a set rate per mile, and you should be aware that fares will continue to rise (albeit more slowly) even when traffic is stationary. By law, standard cabs can only accommodate a maximum of five people, including children, so you’ll have to split between different vehicles if you’re part of a larger group. Don't forget to tip around 10-15%.

Driving

Traffic is heaviest during rush hour (0800-1000 and 1630-1900). The Strip and Downtown, however, can become congested any time. There is little street parking - hotels and casinos offer free or valet parking. If you’re travelling from one part of the Strip to another and can’t make use of the monorail (see above), don’t rule out the possibility of walking. The distances between resorts are often easily managed on foot, and you may even find it preferable to crawling from A to B in a traffic jam.

Car hire

Drivers must be over 21. National driving licences are permissible, but check if your car hire company requires an International Driving Permit. The main appeal of having your own vehicle isn’t so much the ability to get around Vegas itself as the opportunity for independent exploration of spots like the Mojave Desert and the Grand Canyon. Many visitors combine Los Angeles and Las Vegas into one trip – the drive between the two usually takes around five hours. 

Recommended car hire companies include: Alamo (tel: +1 888 826 6893; www.alamo.com), Avis (tel: +1 702 531 1500; www.avis.com) and Hertz (tel: +1 702 262 7700; www.hertz.com).

Bicycle hire

You can hire bikes from Las Vegas Cyclery, 10575 Discovery Drive (tel: +1 702 596 2953; www.lasvegascyclery.com), or McGhie's Bike Outpost, 16 Cottonwood Street, Blue Diamond (tel: +1 702 875 4820; www.mcghies.com). Bicycle Nevada (www.bicyclenevada.com) has route information.

The Strip itself isn’t the most glaringly obvious spot for a cycle ride, but the wider urban area, and in particular the surrounding landscapes, can make for extremely rewarding biking territory. It’s worth checking out online community Biking Las Vegas (www.bikinglasvegas.com) for suggested routes and other tips.

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New York New York Hotel and Casino

This 2,000-room resort and casino is easy to spot: it's the one with the Statue of Liberty out front, standing proudly beside a miniature Brooklyn Bridge. Rooms in its Empire State and Chrysler Building towers are large, well-appointed and can be surprisingly good value. If you pick upon the faint sounds of screaming coming from outside, don't be alarmed. It's adrenaline junkies hurtling around the full-size rollercoaster that loops around the perimeter.

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

With a stellar location on the Strip, attentive service and the best rooms boasting balconies overlooking the Bellagio's water fountains, The Cosmopolitan has deservedly become one of the top-rated hotels in Vegas since it opened in 2010. Rooms are sophisticated, modern and spacious, and amenities include a casino (of course), a nightclub, restaurants, rooftop pools and a spa. Make sure to have a cocktail in the bar built inside a giant chandelier featuring two million Swarovski crystals.

Fremont Hotel

It may not have an Eiffel Tower outside or a Grand Canal running through it, but the Fremont has a longer-standing claim to be one of Las Vegas's best-loved landmarks. Now the heart of the Fremont Street Experience, when it was built in 1956 it was the first high-rise hotel in the downtown area. Its history might be long in the tooth (for this city), but the 447 spacious guestrooms are regularly renovated and modernised.

El Cortez Hotel

One of the more modest casinos in Las Vegas, El Cortez's roots actually go back to the era of 'Bugsy' Siegel, one of the city's founders. These days, this Las Vegas hotel advertises a modest selection of rooms with furnishings that are generally simple but comfortable. The friendly atmosphere and central location to downtown attractions have long been one of the draws, despite it now being outmatched by the grandiose casinos of the Strip.

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

An inventory of over 5,000 rooms makes the MGM Grand one of the big players in terms of volume, but they've done their best to retain some character. Black-and-white movie photos adorn the guest rooms, and the art deco furniture also helps. Joël Robuchon, Michael Mina and Tom Colicchio add their names to the top-class dining rooms. The casino is gigantic, with Cirque du Soleil among the entertainment options.

Green Valley Ranch Resort

Located in Henderson, a short drive outside of Las Vegas, Green Valley Ranch Resort puts the focus on pampering and provides a break from the pace of The Strip. The resort is a rambling Mediterranean hacienda and houses eight restaurants, a cinema and a European-inspired intimate casino. The main buildings open onto the pool area with a small sand beach and private lounging beds in a more modern European setting.