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Can I Leave Las Vegas Airport During a Long Layover?

If you find yourself with a long layover at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, it’s natural to wonder if you can temporarily escape the airport and explore what the city has to offer. Known as the “entertainment capital of the world,” Las Vegas is renowned for its glamorous casinos, dazzling shows, and vibrant nightlife. With so much excitement just a stone’s throw away, it’s tempting to step out of the airport and immerse yourself in the city’s unique atmosphere. So, can you leave the airport during a long layover in Las Vegas? Let’s find out.

The Length of Your Layover Matters

Before considering leaving the airport, it’s essential to determine the length of your layover. If you have an extended layover of several hours or more, it might be worth it to venture out and experience a taste of Las Vegas charm. However, if your layover is very short, leaving the airport may not be the best option, as it can be challenging to make it back in time for your connecting flight.

Terminal 1 or Terminal 3?

Las Vegas McCarran International Airport operates with two main terminals: Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. Your terminal will depend on the airline with which you are flying. It’s crucial to consider your terminal location and the time it would take to reach the city from each terminal. Terminal 1 is closer to the iconic Las Vegas Strip, making it easier to access popular attractions and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant ambiance. Terminal 3, on the other hand, is a bit further away but still feasible to explore within a reasonable timeframe.

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Should You Check Your Baggage?

If you’re considering leaving the airport during a layover, you will need to evaluate whether to check your baggage. If you have checked baggage, you will need to collect it before leaving the airport. This can be time-consuming and might not be feasible if your layover is short. However, if you have a longer layover and do not have any checked baggage, you can proceed straight to the exit and explore the city without any hassle.

Transportation Options

Las Vegas offers several transportation options from the airport to the city, ensuring that you can easily reach your desired destination. Some of the options available include:

  1. Taxis: Taxis are readily available at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. They provide a convenient and efficient way to travel to the city center or any other destination in Las Vegas.
  2. Rideshare Services: Popular rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft operate in Las Vegas. You can book a ride through their respective apps, offering a more affordable option compared to taxis.
  3. Airport Shuttles: Various shuttle services run between the airport and the city. These shuttles typically have fixed routes and schedules, so it’s important to check their availability and plan accordingly.
  4. Public Transportation: Las Vegas has a public bus system, known as the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC). The buses connect the airport to various parts of the city at affordable rates, allowing you to explore Las Vegas on a budget.

Exploring Las Vegas during Your Layover

Once you’ve decided to leave the airport, you can explore the numerous attractions and experiences Las Vegas has to offer. Here are some popular options to consider:

  1. The Las Vegas Strip: A trip to Las Vegas wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Las Vegas Strip. Lined with luxurious resorts, casinos, and extravagant entertainment venues, the Strip is the pulsating heart of the city’s nightlife. You can stroll along the street, marveling at iconic landmarks like the Bellagio Fountains or the Eiffel Tower replica, and even try your luck at one of the many casinos if you’re feeling adventurous.
  2. Fremont Street Experience: Located in downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience is a five-block pedestrian mall jam-packed with souvenir shops, street performers, and vibrant live music. The canopy that stretches overhead showcases an incredible light and sound show every night, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere.
  3. High Roller Observation Wheel: For a bird’s-eye view of the city, take a ride on the High Roller Observation Wheel. Towering at 550 feet, it is the tallest observation wheel globally, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Las Vegas and its surrounding landscape.
  4. Neon Museum: Discover the history of Las Vegas through dazzling vintage signs and neon lights at the Neon Museum. This outdoor exhibition space showcases retired signs from famous hotels and casinos, giving visitors a glimpse into the city’s past.
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Returning to the Airport

After exploring Las Vegas during your layover, it’s important to ensure you have enough time to return to the airport, check-in, and go through security before your next flight. Make sure to plan your return journey in advance, accounting for traffic and potential delays. The airport recommends arriving at least two hours before a domestic flight departure and three hours before an international flight departure, so plan accordingly to avoid any last-minute rush or stress.


If you have a long layover at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, leaving the airport to explore the city can be a thrilling experience. However, it is crucial to consider the length of your layover, your terminal location, and your luggage situation before deciding to leave. With proper planning and awareness of transportation options and time constraints, you can make the most of your layover and get a taste of the electric atmosphere that Las Vegas has to offer.

Can I Leave Las Vegas Airport During a Long Layover?
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