By Steve Beauregard
First off, the Las Vegas Trams we’re discussing here are the three free monorails owned and operated by casinos on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip. These are different than the longer, official Las Vegas Monorail system on the other side of Las Vegas Boulevard, which you have to pay to ride and which you can read about here: Las Vegas Monorail price.
Now on to the three free trams: These three non-related systems offer a patchwork of convenience for walking-weary tourists. They can save you both a lot of time, as well as blisters on your feet.
In fact, someone staying at the southernmost end of the strip, Mandalay Bay could go nearly the entire length of the Strip, all the way up to the Wynn, just by walking a couple of blocks and by taking three free monorails. (Disclaimer: these may actually be monorails, rather than trams. I don’t know the technical difference and don’t really care).
Here are the three free monorails:
1) Mandalay Bay – Luxor – Excalibur Tram
First off: why is there a tram between these hotels? After all, don’t the casinos want to keep you inside? Sure, but all three of these casinos are owned by MGM Resorts, hence, they don’t care if they shuttle you to one of their other properties (so long as you stay and play at one of these other properties).
Starting at Mandalay Bay, this tram goes north, stopping at the Luxor before ending at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. All three stops have great signage to help you get around and figure out where you’re going.
The train cars themselves are clean and air-conditioned, but can get pretty crowded sometimes – especially on busy Las Vegas holiday weekends. The trip takes about anywhere from 7 to 8 minutes by my calculation.
However the trip is much faster going from the Excalibur to the Mandalay Bay. That’s because it’s an express tram, and does not stop at the Luxor on its southern journey. The express tram takes less than five minutes to get from the Excalibur to the Mandalay Bay stop.
Hours of Operation
Contrary to what you may have read or heard, the free Excalibur-Luxor-Mandalay Bay tram is not a 24 hours a day operation.
This tram runs as follows:
Thursdays to Saturdays: From 9 AM until 2:30 AM.
During operating hours, trains run every five minutes or so, so you won’t ever be waiting long.
From the Excalibur Tram station, it’s just a quick walk over the pedestrian bridge to get to either the Tropicana on the east, or the New York New York to the north.
2) Monte Carlo – Aria – Bellagio Tram
What used to be just the Monte Carlo to Bellagio tram has seen the addition of stops at the enormous City Center complex, (Aria, Vdara, Mandarian Oriental Las Vegas, Crystals)
(Here’s some raw footage of this tram)
Starting at the south, the monorail, called the Aria Express, begins outside, near what used to be called the “Street of Dreams” shopping mall at the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino. The Monte Carlo is currently undergoing a massive renovation and re-branding, and will soon be the Park MGM Hotel & Casino, with a boutique hotel called the NoMad Hotel located within the property as well. However please note that the tram entrance remains open and the tram still runs during this construction.
This Monte Carlo/Park MGM stop also leads you close to one of the entrances to the Aria. From the Monte Carlo stop, the tram heads north, stopping at the Crystals shopping mall, which is the dropping off point for those of you heading to the Cosmopolitan. There’s also access to the Aria from this stop too.
From the Crystals/Aria stop, the tram continues north to the south tower (Spa Tower) of the Bellagio. From here, you can go down some escalators, walk past the convention hall, and voila, you’re in the Bellagio. This stop also provides access to the Vdara Hotel. Of course, you can go back the same way.
Hours of Operation
The trip takes between 5 to 8 minutes, and trams run every seven to ten, seven days a week, from 8 AM to 4 AM.
Like the other trams and monorails on the Las Vegas strip, the passenger cars are comfortable, and always seem to be clean. Be sure to hold on to something (or someone) around you, as they can accelerate and stop deceivingly fast.
3) Mirage – Treasure Island Tram
This monorail system starts at the south at the Mirage, and runs north to..well..Treasure Island. It was built when Steve Wynn opened Treasure Island in 1993. At the time Wynn owned both Treasure Island and the Mirage.
There’s not much else to say about this quick tram trip (it takes less than five minutes), other than it’s the monorail system in Las Vegas that requires the least amount of walking to get into the heart of the casino. Both stops are relatively close to their respective casino entrances.
Unlike the other two free monorails, which just shuttle customers back and forth between casinos that are in the family, the Mirage/T.I. tram takes customers and drops them off at a competitor’s casino. The Mirage is now owned by MGM Resorts, whereas the Treasure Island is owned by the man who used to own the old Frontier Hotel and Casino, Phil Ruffin. MGM Resorts used to own Treasure Island, but they reportedly had to sell it (for a relatively cheap $775 million), to help pay for the costs associated with the City Center project.
Hours of Operation
The Mirage – Treasure Island monorail runs as follows:
Friday – Saturday: 9 AM to 3 AM
I cannot find an official running schedule, but I’ve personally rode this a lot and cannot recall ever waiting longer than ten minutes for the tram to show up.
A Free ride from One End of the Strip to the Other
So to recap my earlier boast about how you go from one end of the strip to the other just by walking a few blocks and taking three free trams:
From Mandalay Bay, (the southernmost part of the strip), take the free tram to the Excalibur. Once off, walk north, across the pedestrian bridge, past the New York New York to the Monte Carlo/soon to be Park MGM.
At the Monte Carlo, take that free tram all the way to the Bellagio, where you’ll get out and walk through the Bellagio – crossing over the pedestrian bridge over Flamingo Boulevard towards Caesars Palace. From there, you could either walk towards the Mirage on the strip sidewalk, or take a cooler stroll through Caesars Palace and the Forum Shops.
From the Mirage, take the tram to the T.I., where you’ll exit and take the pedestrian bridge across to the Venetian, where it’s just another fairly short pedestrian bridge walk to the Wynn – which is not really the northernmost part of the Las Vegas strip, but close enough.
So there’s your look at the free trams (or monorails) in Las Vegas. They’re a fairly easy, and affordable way to navigate the deceptively long distances between the casinos of the Las Vegas Strip.