Free parking and cocktails are as classic Vegas as the Rat Pack and all-you-can-vacuum-up buffets. Unfortunately, the casinoresorts are dropping one of their acts. Ladies and gentlemen, blow a farewell kiss to gratis parking.
Properties along the Strip started rolling out daily fees for self-parking and valet service last year. The wallet-squeezing trend affects both overnight guests and casino-hoppers.
Most of the major players are now charging. Seven properties run by MGM Resorts — Aria, Bellagio, Delano, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, the Mirage and New York-New York — require visitors to pay $7 for one to four hours of parking and $10 for up 24 hours. Tack on $10 for overtime. At Excalibur, Luxor and Monte Carlo, also part of the MGM family, the fees are $5 and $8, respectively, plus $8 for additional time. One bright spot: The first hour is free. Valet parking ranges from $8 to $18, depending on the property and punch clock. (For Washington-area casino enthusiasts, the new MGM National Harbor in Maryland charges for valet parking but not for DIY-parking.)
Eight properties owned by Caesars Entertainment, another big presence on the Strip, will also charge for valet parking. Rates are $8 and $13 at Flamingo, Harrah’s and the Linq for less than or more than four hours, and $13 and $18 at Bally’s, Caesars Palace, the Cromwell, Paris and Planet Hollywood. Also, in the first half of the year, the company will introduce self-parking fees at select hotels — prices to be determined.
“Self-parking at [the Linq and Harrah’s] will remain free for the time being, until self-parking equipment is installed,” the company said in a statement.
What do you get for the fees, besides a temporary home for your car? A new parking guidance system that helps locate available spaces. (Apologies if you were expecting a pony or a serenade from an Elvis impersonator.)
There are some outliers — for now. Self-parking is still free at Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Resort, the Venetian, Palazzo and Circus Circus. Off-the-strip casinos such as the Palms and Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, of the Caesars clan, still offer gratis valet and self-parking. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino treats its guests to parking and also provides a complimentary shuttle to the Strip. Members of casino rewards programs receive free parking, depending on their tier. Locals can park free at some casinos.
You can also head downtown, where the pinch is less painful. The California Hotel and Casino near the Fremont Street Experience, a pedestrian mall, waives the fee for guests and validates parking tickets for visitors who gamble or eat there. Even if you leave without the stamp, you will pay $3 per day on weekdays and $5 on weekends. El Cortez Hotel and Casino, the longest continuously running casino in Vegas, provides the perk to overnighters and charges a flat rate of $5 to short-time visitors. Parking is also free at such local joints as Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, and Suncoast Hotel and Casino.
If you are committed to the Strip, consider alternative forms of transportation. Ride the Monorail ($12 per day) or take the Deuce on the Strip or Strip & Downtown Express bus (both $8 for unlimited rides per 24-hour period). Order an Uber or Lyft. Or walk. The neon-paved road is only 3½ miles long, and you can carry a cocktail for emergency hydration. Finally, you can pray to Lady Luck that you will win enough to cover your parking.
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