The house always wins, even when it comes to to parking. For decades, Las Vegas was one of the few major American cities where you could always find a spot to park your car for free. Even on the increasingly busy Las Vegas Strip, hotels and casinos would allow the public to park in enormous garages free of charge. The argument was simple: enable people to park for free, and they’ll be more likely to open their wallets at restaurants, shows, and slot machines.
MGM, however, took the bold step of implementing a paid parking program last year, and other resorts followed suit. At least eight major casinos on The Strip now charge for parking, with Caesars Entertainment being the most recent. And the new parking fees aren't cheap. It now costs $7 to $10 for self-parking and $13 to $18 for valet parking at the major facilities.
Here are four tips to help you save you on parking. Just don’t bet all the money you save on a single hand.
Both MGM and Caesars have implemented programs that allow their elite loyalty members to park for free. Each casino is different, but it’s worth calling ahead or researching online to see if a loyalty program might work for you. The key is to sign up ahead of time so that your parking will be free once you arrive.
Most of the larger casinos will allow you to park for free for one hour. The rules are always changing, but it’s also possible to have your parking ticket validated by hotel restaurants in order to extend your stay for free. Hotels like Four Queens, Plaza, Binion’s, Arizona Charlie's East, The D Las Vegas, Circus Circus and Golden Nugget will also validate your parking if you’re a registered guest.
A few hotels are steering clear of parking fees in order to stand out amongst the competition. Hard Rock Hotel, Hooters, Orleans, Palace Station, Palazzo, Palms, Rio, Sam's Town, Santa Fe Station, Fiesta Henderson, Boulder Station, Silverton, Sunset Station, Treasure Island, Tropicana, Venetian, and Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino are still allowing free parking. Plus, almost every Vegas area hotel that isn’t directly on Las Vegas Boulevard still offers free parking. So, you may want to consider booking a place just off the strip and then use your own two feet to get to the action.
If you’re going to focus all of your time in Las Vegas on The Strip, you really can live without an automobile. The Las Vegas Monorail does a decent job of connecting the major attractions (the airport notwithstanding), and the RTC bus system is a nice supplement. If you do decide to spend a few days away from the madness -- and trust us, you should -- it’s easy to rent a car and return it once you’re back at The Strip. A visit to Death Valley National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Lake Mead is well worth doing, but you’d be wise to only rent the car for days that you’ll need it.