By Steve Beauregard
(Editor’s note: as of this writing in January of 2018, the Monte Carlo is transforming into the Park MGM and NoMad Hotels. During construction, the Monte Carlo tram stop remains open. We’ll update this article as construction and remodeling progresses).
We’ve all been there: you’re walking along the Las Vegas Strip, wanting to get to another casino. You see the large flashy sign, and think to yourself, “just a little bit further.” Twenty minutes later, you find yourself still slogging along in the Sin City heat.
Distances between casinos in Las Vegas can be deceivingly long, which is why the free tram that goes from the Bellagio down south through the Aria and Monte Carlo is Godsend to Vegas visitors tired of walking all day.
The tram, called the “Aria Express” is the free, quick and convenient tram system that shuttles passengers to and from three MGM Resorts International properties on the Las Vegas Strip: Monte Carlo, the Aria, and the Bellagio.
It’s one of three free Las Vegas Strip trams.
The Bellagio/Crystals/Monte Carlo tram opened on December 16, 2009. Before that, a tram linking the Bellagio to the Monte Carlo had existed since 1998, but was closed during the construction of the $9.2 billion City Center project, of which Aria Resort and Casino is the centerpiece.
While not a 24 hour-a-day operation, the free Aria Express tram runs late enough for all but the latest of night owls. The cars are air-conditioned, safe, clean (at least in all my experiences), and offering beautiful, elevated panoramic views of the massive City Center complex.
Aria Express Tram to Monte Carlo and Bellagio Hours Schedule
The tram runs 20 hours a day, starting at 8 a.m. and going until 4 a.m. the following day.
There is some disagreement over how often the trams arrive, and the Aria’s website doesn’t give us the hard facts.
In my experience, the trams run every seven to ten minutes. Another reputable website says a tram arrives every 15 minutes, but I’ve never had to wait even close to that length of time. So unofficially, the tram runs every seven to ten minutes or so.
The travel time going the entire length of the tram (From Bellagio to Monte Carlo or vice versa), is in the six to eight minute range.
Bellagio to Crystals to Monte Carlo Tram Stops
Beginning on the south end of the line, the tram starts off at a station located in-between the Monte Carlo and Aria Resort and Casino. When coming from the Monte Carlo, you can access this station through what WAS the resort’s shopping mall area, called the “Street of Dreams.” However, while the shops have closed, the tram stop here remains open.
From this stop, you’ll take an escalator up to the outside station (it’s covered to shade you from the sun or rain). At this station, you can also simply walk to the south entrance of the Aria as well.
From the Monte Carlo/South Aria station, the tram travels north through the heart of City Center, just past the Aria itself to the Shops at Crystals. With this stop being a little above the luxurious shopping mall, you’ll go down flights of stairs, where the north entrance of the Aria is accessible through a breezeway.
Alternatively, you could walk through the Crystals to get to either the Strip, or to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.
The last stop is at the Bellagio. Specifically, it’s at the extreme south and west part of the massive resort. This stop is also the stop you’d want to use if you’re staying at the Vdara Resort Hotel and Spa.
The Bellagio tram stop is a pretty long walk away from the casino itself. You’ll pass by the Bellagio’s convention center area, past some restaurants and shops before getting to the beautiful conservatory and front desk.
Originally called the “City Center Tram,” the tram consists of two different trains, each with 4 cars. Each “car” can hold up to 33 passengers, meaning each train can transport up to 132 people. The tram can transport up to 3,000 people per hour in each direction. The full length of the system’s tracks is 2,132 feet, or 650 meters.
The Aria/Monte Carlo/Bellagio tram was built by Doppelmayr Cable Car, an Austrian company, who claims they completed the project on time, and on budget, which was $66 million dollars. Since its December of 2009 opening, the tram has been a busy hit, and has presumably achieved MGM Resorts International’s goal of keeping most of its guests inside MGM properties, rather than venturing out into the Strip and possible onto competing properties.
Modern day Las Vegas mega-resorts are so large, you’re sure to have plenty of walking to do. Fortunately, people movers like the Aria Express can reduce the time spent on your feet while making the journey between some of these casino behemoths a lot easier.
(Photo courtesy of and La Citta Vita via Flickr.)