By Steve Beauregard
Las Vegas annually hosts over 22,000 conventions, attended by 6.3 million attendees.
Combine that with a 3.2 million square foot modern facility, you can see why the Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the largest, and busiest convention facilities in the world.
To accomade the millions of convention attendees who either drive their own car in, or rent one from the airport, the Convention Center has created several large outdoor parking lots surrounding the facilities.
Spacious lots, (most boasting thousands of spaces each) surround the Convention Center to the west, northwest, south and east sides. These are all uncovered. All total there is room at the convention center for over 7,000 cars.
Even with that much room for cars, the parking lots can fill up quickly, especially at some of the larger events.
At the annual Consumer Electronics Show, for example, roughly 160,000 attendees gather for the festivities. If that weren’t busy enough, the CES uses some of the parking lot space as tent space, meaning the convention center’s 7,000 spaces are reduced significantly, particularly the nearby spaces.
Las Vegas Convention Center Parking Fees
There is a $10 fee to park at convention center. You are entitled to leave and come back, but only if you keep your parking receipt. Payment can be made by cash, debit card or credit card. This $10 is for the entire day.
I’ve heard feedback from people who have attended a smaller convention and said the parking was free. This may be the case, however I haven’t experienced it during the large shows I’ve attended. Parking fee information is not published on the Las Vegas Convention Center’s website. All of this is to say you should assume you will have to pay $10.
Las Vegas Convention Center Parking Map
Each star on this map above represents an official Convention Center parking lot. The Gold Lot (yellow star) is the main lot for many conventions. The two silver lots (Black Stars) are smaller, but ideal due to their proximity to the entrances.
The newest lot is the Diamond Lot (purple star). Located on the site of the former Riveria Hotel & Casino, the Diamond Lot, totaling 23 acres, has 3,000 parking spaces, for now. The Convention Center is expanding, and meeting space will soon be built on part of this parking lot.
The Bronze Lot is just south of the Convention Center, and is marked by the Bronze Star. The Platinum Lot (also called the Green Lot) is marked by the two green stars. Smaller lots include the Blue Lot (Blue Stars), and White Lot (Brown Star – The map didn’t have a white star option;)
Some maps show an “Orange Lot” that appears to be very close to the Convention Center, and in fact, it is close. However this lot is almost always used for loading and for storage vehicles, and not for general parking.
Las Vegas Convention Center’s Gold Lot
Unless you can score a prized “Silver Lot” spot directly in front of the convention center entrance, you are most likely going to find yourself parking in what’s called the “Gold Lot.”
This massive parking lot is just over 19 acres. It sits to the north and west of the convention center, across the street (across Paradise Road), on Convention Center Drive.
It’s quite a walk from this parking lot to the front lobby of the convention center, however there is a covered pedestrian bridge over Paradise Road.
In addition, the larger conventions, (the aforementioned C.E.S. for example), offer shuttles that run from the lot to the entrance of the convention center. These shuttles run frequently during rush hours, (every ten minutes in the morning before the conventions start, and every ten minutes in the later afternoons).
During very busy conventions, properties adjoining, and across the street from the convention center offer parking at inflated rates. Instead of the $10 fee, nearby properties have been known to charge $20, $30, and even $40 for parking.
Should you want to avoid the $10 and up parking fees, (along with the resulting mass of cars all leaving at the same time as you after the convention is over), you have two main options:
1) Stay at nearby hotel and take a shuttle. Most large conventions provide this service to nearly all of the major hotels up and down the Las Vegas Strip.
My wife and I used the shuttle service and found the shuttle to be almost completely empty.
Granted, you are still probably paying for parking, as most Las Vegas Strip hotels have institued pay-for-parking programs, however taking a convention-provided shuttle will keep you from having to pay two different parking fees per day.
2) You could also take the Las Vegas Monorail, however it is not free. A one-way ticket is $5, so round trip, you’re spending the same as you would when parking at the convention center. (A two day unlimited pass costs $22).
The main benefit with taking the monorail however, is that you won’t have to deal with the heavy traffic both when entering and leaving the convention center parking lot. And there will be traffic.
The LV Monorail is clean, quick, and efficient. Definitely consider it if you are staying at one of the resorts with a monorail stop: MGM Grand, Paris/Bally’s, the Flamingo, Harrahs, Westgate, and the SLS Las Vegas.
If driving into Las Vegas, I would even consider parking at a place like the MGM Grand, or the Linq Hotel and Casino, paying their parking fee, and taking the monorail into the convention center.
(Related: How much do Las Vegas Monorail tickets cost?)
* Box truck or RV Parking is only available in the Gold and Platinum lots.
* There is no overnight parking at the Las Vegas Convention Center
(Photos courtesy of Michael Gray via Flickr.)