We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. How do I get from one terminal to the next? What are the best airport restaurants? Is there anything to do if I have a long layover?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to the world’s top airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to McCarran International Airport (LAS).
McCarran International Airport is the international airport of Las Vegas, and conveniently located just off the Vegas Strip. Travelers staying on the South Strip, for example, can be to and from the airport in as little as 5-10 minutes. As such, most travelers staying on the Strip take a taxi or use Lyft or Uber. However, for those renting a car, there is a rental car facility located just a few minutes from the airport. To access the rental car facility, travelers just have to follow the signs to Ground Transportation to locate the pick-up area for the complimentary shuttle.
McCarran International Airport has two terminals, Terminal 1 (T1) and Terminal 3 (T3), which are in separate buildings, and therefore not connected. Travelers will need to know which airline they’re flying before arriving, since each terminal has its own parking, pick-up/drop-off locations, check-in, and baggage claim. Allegiant, American, Delta, Southwest, and Spirit predominantly serve T1, while all other airlines, including international airlines, use Terminal 3.
Terminal 1 offers a variety of familiar dining franchises, like Wendy’s, Great Steak & Potato, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Burger King, Chili's, Quizno’s, and California Pizza Kitchen. Food lovers will find some recognizable chef names at LAS with Wolfgang Puck Express and Burke in the Box, which comes from Chef David Burke. For something a little more local, Rachel’s Kitchen is a local, healthy casual restaurant, also located in T1.
Terminal 3 has many of the same restaurants listed above, including Chili’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Wolfgang Puck Express, and Burke in the Box. Other notable T3 restaurants include Pei Wei Asian Diner, featuring 200-plus locations across the U.S., and Las Vegas Chophouse & Brewery, which is part casual steakhouse and part brewpub. A full list of restaurants in both LAS terminals is on McCarran’s website.
Fittingly, the city dubbed “Sin City” would have a lot of bars to choose from. Las Vegas Chophouse & Brewery, mentioned above, is a restaurant and brewpub, which has a selection of bottles and draft beer, including some craft beer options. If you go to one bar, however, make it Village Pub, which is a family-owned pub with more than 10 locations around Las Vegas. It also has a full food menu. Other bars for catching a drink before catching a flight include The Layover Bar, Crafted Bar, Stella Artois Bar, Lucky Streak Lounge, Jose Cuervo Tequileria, and Corcoran's Irish Pub.
For those travelers feeling lucky, McCarran International Airport has slot machines located throughout both terminals, which is something you’ll find at a few international airports. Perhaps the airport’s most unique thing to do, however, is the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum. While there are aviation artifacts throughout the airport, the Aviation Museum's main exhibit is on the concourse level above baggage claim in Terminal 1.
Like most airports, LAS has a lot of shops, including familiar names like Brooks Brothers, Coach, Ethel M Chocolates, Michael Kors, Pandora, and Swatch. For travelers with a little bit of time, they can enjoy a quick massage, or manicure and pedicure, at one of two XpresSpa locations in T3. Finally, if you have some extra time before a connection, or your flight is delayed, the Vegas Strip is 10 minutes away. Additionally, other points of interest, like the National Atomic Testing Museum and Pinball Hall of Fame, are just a few minutes from the airport.
LAS has several airport lounges, most notably of which is The Centurion Lounge (near D Gates), available exclusively for American Express Card Members. Elsewhere is the United Club, near D Gates, and The Club, which has lounges in both terminals. Day passes for The Club can be booked on their website.
Use TripIt’s interactive airport maps in the app to discover shop, restaurant, and bar locations. You’ll also have everything you need to navigate your way with estimated walk times and step-by-step directions.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he's not traveling, he's perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.