Should I Rent A Car In Vegas? A Complete Guide

With its sprawling cityscape and surrounding natural wonders, renting a car opens up many possibilities for exploring Las Vegas. But is it necessary? Does it make your Vegas trip easier or more complicated?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: For most visitors, renting a car in Vegas is not essential but can be handy for side trips out of town. The Strip is very walkable and has efficient public transit.

This comprehensive guide examines when renting a car in Vegas is advisable and when you can skip it. We’ll weigh factors like cost, convenience, parking, traffic, alcohol laws, and side trip options to help you decide if a rental car fits into your Vegas plans.

Navigating Las Vegas Without a Rental Car

Las Vegas is a bustling city known for its vibrant nightlife, world-class entertainment, and iconic casinos. Many visitors wonder whether renting a car is necessary to explore everything the city has to offer.

While having a rental car can provide convenience and flexibility, there are several alternative transportation options available in Las Vegas that can help you navigate the city without the hassle of driving and parking.

Walking the Strip

One of the best ways to experience the Las Vegas Strip is on foot. The Strip is approximately 4.2 miles long, and walking allows you to take in all the sights and sounds at your own pace. With iconic landmarks like the Bellagio Fountains, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, and the High Roller Observation Wheel, walking the Strip gives you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the Las Vegas experience.

Plus, with the abundance of pedestrian bridges and sidewalks, it’s easy to get around on foot.


If you prefer a faster mode of transportation, the Las Vegas Monorail is a convenient option. The monorail system stretches along the east side of the Strip, connecting major resorts and attractions. With stations at popular destinations such as the MGM Grand, the Flamingo, and the SLS Las Vegas, the monorail can quickly get you to where you want to go.

It runs from early morning until late at night, making it an excellent choice for both daytime and nighttime adventures.


The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) operates a comprehensive bus system that serves the Las Vegas area. With multiple routes and frequent service, buses are a reliable and affordable way to get around.

The Deuce, a double-decker bus that runs along the Strip 24/7, is particularly popular among tourists. It provides access to all major resorts and attractions, allowing you to explore the city at your own pace.


Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in Las Vegas. With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can request a ride and be on your way to your destination. Rideshare services offer convenience and flexibility, especially if you’re traveling with a group or have specific time constraints.

Additionally, using rideshare services can be more cost-effective than traditional taxis in some cases.


Traditional taxis are still a viable option for getting around Las Vegas. Taxis can be found at designated taxi stands outside major hotels and resorts, or you can hail one on the street. They offer a convenient and efficient way to travel, especially if you’re in a hurry or have a lot of luggage.

However, keep in mind that taxi fares can vary depending on traffic and time of day.

When a Rental Car is Handy in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, known for its vibrant nightlife and iconic Strip, offers visitors a plethora of entertainment options. While navigating the city is relatively easy with public transportation and ride-hailing services, there are certain situations where having a rental car can be highly advantageous.

Here are a few scenarios where renting a car in Vegas can make your trip even more enjoyable and convenient.

Exploring Beyond the Strip

While the Las Vegas Strip is undoubtedly the main attraction, there is so much more to explore beyond its glitzy façade. Renting a car gives you the freedom to venture out and discover the natural wonders surrounding the city.

From the stunning landscapes of Red Rock Canyon to the awe-inspiring Hoover Dam, having a car allows you to easily access these breathtaking sights at your own pace. Plus, if you’re a fan of hiking or outdoor activities, having a rental car will make it much easier to reach popular hiking trails and national parks in the area.

Quick Grocery/Supply Runs

Las Vegas is not just about casinos and entertainment; it’s also a fully functioning city with grocery stores, shopping centers, and other amenities. If you’re staying in a vacation rental or an Airbnb, having a rental car can be extremely convenient for quick trips to stock up on groceries or supplies.

Instead of relying on expensive convenience stores or paying for delivery services, you can simply hop in your rental car and head to the nearest supermarket for all your needs. This not only saves you money but also gives you more control over your shopping choices.

Large Group Trips

If you’re traveling with a large group of friends or family, renting a car can be a cost-effective and practical solution. Instead of splitting up into multiple taxis or relying on public transportation, having a rental car allows you to stick together and travel as a group.

This can be particularly useful when visiting popular attractions or attending events outside of the Strip. Plus, with a rental car, you have the flexibility to plan your own itinerary and explore the city on your own terms, without the constraints of public transportation schedules.

While renting a car in Las Vegas may not be necessary for everyone, there are certain situations where it can greatly enhance your overall experience. It provides the freedom to explore beyond the Strip, easily handle quick grocery runs, and accommodate large groups.

Assess your needs and consider the convenience of having a rental car during your stay in Las Vegas.

Factors to Consider


One important factor to consider when deciding whether to rent a car in Vegas is parking. The city is known for its large resorts and casinos, which often charge high fees for parking. Additionally, finding a parking spot on the Strip can be a challenge, especially during peak tourist seasons.

If you plan on staying primarily on the Strip and don’t mind paying for parking, renting a car may not be necessary. However, if you plan on exploring areas outside of the Strip or prefer the convenience of having your own transportation, renting a car could be a good choice.


Vegas is a bustling city with busy streets and heavy traffic, especially on the Strip. If you’re not used to driving in congested areas, navigating the crowded streets of Vegas may not be the most enjoyable experience.

Additionally, construction projects and road closures are common in the city, which can further add to traffic congestion. If you’re comfortable with driving in busy urban areas and have experience navigating through heavy traffic, renting a car might not be a problem for you.

However, if you prefer to avoid the stress of dealing with traffic, utilizing public transportation or ride-sharing services might be a better option.


Another important factor to consider is the cost. Renting a car in Vegas can be quite expensive, especially if you factor in the daily rental fees, parking fees, and gas expenses. On the other hand, public transportation options like buses and trams are widely available and relatively affordable.

If you’re on a budget or don’t plan on traveling long distances, relying on public transportation might be a more cost-effective choice. However, if you’re traveling with a group or plan on exploring areas outside of the city, renting a car could provide more flexibility and potentially save you money on transportation expenses.

Alcohol Laws

Vegas is famous for its vibrant nightlife and numerous bars and clubs. However, it’s important to consider the alcohol laws in the city when deciding whether to rent a car. In Nevada, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

Drinking and driving can result in severe penalties, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. If you plan on enjoying the nightlife and consuming alcohol, it’s important to have a designated driver or utilize alternative transportation options to ensure your safety and comply with the law.

Ultimately, the decision to rent a car in Vegas depends on your personal preferences and itinerary. Considering factors such as parking, traffic, cost, and alcohol laws can help you make an informed decision that suits your needs and ensures a hassle-free experience in the city.

Best Day Trips to Take

When visiting Las Vegas, taking a day trip outside of the city can be a great way to explore the natural wonders of the surrounding area. Here are some of the best day trips to consider:

Grand Canyon

No visit to Las Vegas is complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon. This iconic natural wonder is located just a few hours’ drive from the city and offers breathtaking views and hiking opportunities.

Whether you choose to visit the North Rim or the South Rim, you’ll be amazed by the sheer size and beauty of the canyon. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning vistas!

Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is another popular day trip destination from Las Vegas. This engineering marvel is located on the border of Nevada and Arizona, and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in architecture and history.

Take a guided tour to learn about the construction of the dam and its impact on the surrounding area. You can also enjoy panoramic views of Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, from the top of the dam.

Red Rock Canyon

If you’re looking for a day trip closer to Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is a fantastic option. Just a short drive from the Strip, this conservation area offers stunning red sandstone formations, scenic hiking trails, and opportunities for rock climbing.

You can also drive along the 13-mile scenic loop to admire the unique geological features of the area. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the desert heat can be intense!

Valley of Fire

Located about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire State Park is a hidden gem that’s worth exploring. This park is known for its vibrant red sandstone formations, ancient petroglyphs, and unique rock formations.

Take a hike through the Fire Wave trail to see the mesmerizing swirls of sandstone, or visit the Elephant Rock for a photo opportunity. The Valley of Fire is a photographer’s dream, so don’t forget to bring your camera!


Renting a car in Vegas can enable sightseeing beyond the Strip, but for most visitors the walkable Strip and cheap public transit make it optional. Consider side trips, parking costs and convenience as you decide if an expensive Vegas rental car truly fits your travel plans.

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