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Travel

Las Vegas is more accessible than ever for wheelchair users

Las Vegas.
Pedestrian bridges across the Strip make Vegas a bit easier for wheelchair users to navigate.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Wheeling on vacation? You’re in luck. Las Vegas is one of the easiest places to visit while using a mobility device.

I’ve made several trips to Las Vegas in the last three decades and find access improves each time. There is more to be done, but there are more workarounds. For instance, you can avoid vehicle traffic by using pedestrian bridges to cross the busy Las Vegas Strip.

Much of what Vegas has is disability-friendly. Here are the basics or a refresher course for staying on the go.

When you land

There are several ways to request wheelchair service at McCarran International Airport.

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As always, it’s best to request anything you need in advance through your airline. You can request a wheelchair or you can ask for someone to assist you in yours.

To request a wheelchair:

• On-site — dial 7874 on any courtesy phone in the terminal or use the information booths.

•On-site or in advance — dial (702) 261-7874 or (702) 261-5211 (main airport contact); if you need different accommodations once at the airport, contact passenger services at your airline.

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• After hours — dial 0 from any courtesy phone and ask for the “airport service coordinator.”

More info: Contact airport accessibility and services at mccarran.com/SpecialAssistance

Ground transportation

Accessible taxis are available at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, and there are designated wait areas for travelers with disabilities.

Terminal 1: You can find taxis on the eastern side of baggage claim and outside Exits 1-4.

Terminal 3: Taxis are outside Level Zero, which is the ground floor.

Ride-hailing pickup: In Terminal 1 on Level 2 of the parking garage. In Terminal 3 on the valet level of the parking garage.

Getting around town

All taxi companies in Las Vegas have lift-equipped vans that can accommodate one wheelchair. The Convention and Visitors Authority website has a list of those companies: bit.ly/vegasliftequippedvans.

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You can book rides directly with the company or ask a hotel concierge to do this for you for your trip back to the airport.

Pro tip: I sometimes keep business cards of cab drivers who have provided good service and will reserve trips with them in advance.

You can use wheelchair-accessible public buses, trams that run between Sahara and Tropicana avenues on the eastern side of the Las Vegas Strip and a monorail system that stops at various resorts. This is where to find accessible transit options: bit.ly/vegasaccessibletransit

One of my favorite ways to see neon light shows or just get some fresh air after being inside a casino is to stroll the Strip. From a physical access standpoint, this is easier and much safer to do since Clark County installed overhead walkways and pedestrian bridges with elevators between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road.

There are now 17 bridges, and three more are planned at the Linq, at Resorts World and near the new convention center property, spokesman Dan Kulin said in an email. The county has been working to increase the width of all sidewalks along Las Vegas Boulevard to 18 feet, he said.

Where to stay

Las Vegas has more accessible guest rooms than any other city in the country, according to VegasMeansBusiness.com, the website of the convention and visitors authority. I have not had problems.

You can book accessible rooms with roll-in showers, grab rails or oversize tubs pretty much anywhere. Ask for specific accommodations during booking and get a confirmation.

Motorized scooters and wheelchairs are also available for rental at most resort hotels. The equipment is typically one size, standard adult, so don’t expect a custom fit. Bring your own cushions or accessories to make yourself comfortable.

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As for swimming, the law requires new and renovated hotels to have accessible pools so you should be able to take a dip.

Come to play

In terms of gambling, Las Vegas speaks the language of universal access. Hotel casinos have accessible slot machines, and wheelchair users can roll up to a variety of table games.

My favorite is the Venetian poker room. It’s clean, smoke-free and easy for me to maneuver my chair among the tables. For a vintage Vegas experience, try your luck at Caesars Palace, where lowered blackjack tables and slot machines with removable seats make it wheelchair-friendly.

More information

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s website, vegasmeansbusiness.com, is a good place to begin your trip planning. Click for specific accessibility information and links, or go to the special needs visitors page at bit.ly/specialneedsvisitors.


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