By Steve Beauregard
While not officially defined, or even an official street for that matter, what we all commonly refer to as the Las Vegas Strip is 4.2 miles, or 6.8 kilometers long.
This incredible stretch of roadway may be the most unique street in the world. Where else can you see a pyramid, dancing water fountains, the Eiffel Tower, Stature of Liberty and a volcano all within a four mile drive?
There are 32 casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, and combined, they bring in roughly $6.5 billion dollars a year in gambling revenue.
The Las Vegas Strip is 4.2 miles long
Fifty-eight percent of the gambling revenue in the entire state of Nevada comes from this 4.2 mile stretch of asphalt.
Yet it comes as a surprise to many that there is no official “Las Vegas Strip.”
Instead, the long, busy, party-central four mile plus stretch of pavement is formally called Las Vegas Boulevard. “The Strip” is simply a nickname that has caught on. In fact, you won’t find an official city street sign that says “The Strip” anywhere in Las Vegas.
(Go here to read more about the real name of the street the Las Vegas Strip is on).
So while there are no officially-recognized starting or stopping points of the Strip, in general, the Strip is generally recognized as running from Mandalay Bay on the south to the Stratosphere on the North.
Las Vegas Strip Boundaries
Rather than being a straight line, the Strip, (when going north), starts off at Mandalay Bay (across the street from the Las Vegas airport, McCarran International Airport), and winds its way up past such Las Vegas icons as the Luxor, MGM Grand, Bellagio and Caesars Palace, before beginning to curve right when you get to the Mirage Hotel and Casino.
From there it pass the enormous Venetian/Palazzo complex, the Wynn/Encore resorts, and Circus Circus, amongst others. While there are some stretches of vacant land on the Strip, ready for future development, the 4.2 miles consists mostly of side-to-side mega resorts. In fact, seven of the ten largest hotels in the world are on the Strip.
The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino (the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River), is where the Las Vegas Strip ends on the north side. Las Vegas Boulevard, however, continues on towards Fremont Street, or old downtown Las Vegas, however this stretch of the street past the Stratosphere is not considered the Strip.
Some old-school traditionalists don’t even consider the Stratosphere to be on the Strip. They believe the Strip ends at Sahara Avenue, where the old Sahara Casino used to reside, and which is now the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.
Looking north towards the Las Vegas Strip
Others feel that the Strip starts at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign on the south, (just down the street from Mandalay Bay), rather than at Mandalay Bay itself.
Either way, this four mile and change stretch of pavement brings in over 41 million visitors a year, making it perhaps the most exciting street in the world. It has been officially designated as an “All-American Road.”
Interestingly enough, while the length of the Las Vegas Strip is 4.2 miles currently, this number could go higher. It’s easy to imagine future hotel/casino development either south of Mandalay Bay, or the North of the Stratosphere, in which case we’d have to do some recalculation.
Other facts that may only interest me:
* During peak times, there are an estimated 41,000 people per hour on Las Vegas Strip sidewalks.
* On average, there are approximately 37,000 cars on the Las Vegas Strip each day. (All of whom are usually in front of me).
How Long Does it Take To Walk the Length of the Las Vegas Strip?
I hope you’re in shape and in the mood for a good workout, because at 4.2 miles in length, it would take you about an hour and half to walk down the entire length of the Las Vegas Strip.
This is assuming you walk at a normal pace. It also doesn’t include stops for drinks or gambling or general sight-seeing.
This 1.5 hour walk down the length of the Strip from the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino down to the far end at Mandalay Bay, (or vice-versa) includes the time spent having to traverse up and down, and around, several pedestrian bridges.
Las Vegas Strip distances and corresponding walk times are notoriously difficult to calculate on the fly. You look and see, for example, the large “Mirage” sign in glittering gold lettering, and say to yourself, “Oh, it’s not too far.” But a half hour later, you’re still trudging through 100 degree heat on your way there.
In addition, the sizes of the resorts themselves are so large, there is a not-so-insignificant amount of time spent just getting from your hotel room to the Las Vegas Strip sidewalk.
For example, if you’re staying in one of the Spa Tower rooms at the Bellagio, it can be 1/3rd of a mile from your room to the Las Vegas Strip sidewalk (trust me, I’ve walked it and measured it).
How Long Does it Take to Drive the Length of the Las Vegas Strip?
This answer really depends on the time of day. An early morning drive on the Strip (which is wonderful by the way), takes just about ten to fifteen minutes, whereas the stop-and-go traffic on a weekend night can make this scenic drive stretch to a half an hour.
In general, however, you can assume a drive on the entire length of the Strip to take around twenty minutes.
Taking a bus the entire length of the Strip, could take just 39 minutes, assuming two things (normal traffic), and that you take the city of Las Vegas’s SDX bus.
How Long Would it Take to Bike Down the Las Vegas Strip
Unfortunately, the Las Vegas Strip is not very bicycle friendly. The only bikers you usually see are the ones in yellow shirts with walkie-talkies. Otherwise known as Las Vegas PD.
You’ll feel like you ran a marathon when walking the entire length of the Las Vegas Strip
There are no bike lanes, nor shoulders in most places on the Strip. In addition, the cars going by you are likely to be driven by either inattentive taxi drivers, excited tourists focus on the unique architecture (instead of the road), and of course, drunks.
Having said all that, it would take you between 25 minutes to a half hour to bike your way down the length of the Strip. Most mapping systems, however, recommend that bicyclists take side roads, such as Frank Sinatra Drive and Industrial Road. These are the side streets west of the Strip.
As for attempting to ride on the Las Vegas Strip sidewalk? Forget it. This would be near impossible due to the number of pedestrians on the sidewalks at all hours. Heck, it’s hard enough sometimes to be a pedestrian on the strip, navigating past the legions of fellow tourists, meandering up and down the sidewalk, gawking at the sights.
One recent study conducted for the Clark County Transportation Department counted exactly 2,633 pedestrians walking past on the Strip sidewalk south of the Bellagio. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that was just in a 15 minute time span.
Are there any 5K races down the Las Vegas Strip?
Considering it is 6.6K long, it seems the Las Vegas Strip would be an ideal route for a 5K race. Yet other than an annual “Strip on the Strip” 5K Charity race that starts south of McCarran Airport and goes by the south part of Mandalay Bay, there isn’t a 5K race on the Strip.
There is, however, the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon held each year in November. The race starts by Mandalay Bay on the south end of the Strip, and has entrants running up the entire length of the Strip, before going further on North and then back.
In addition to the marathon, the Rock N’ Roll series has a half-marathon and a 5K. The 5K course runs partly on the Strip, on the north part by Circus Circus.
(Photos courtesy of Glenn3095, prayitno, and Marco Verch and Thomas Kriese via Flickr).