Handicapped Accessibility in Las Vegas
For many travelers with disabilities, planning a vacation, trip, or any type of travel can easily get overwhelming. There is transportation to arrange, accessible accommodations to coordinate, and questions to worry about like how will you carry your bags? How will you get around once you arrive to your destination? Will you be able to visit all the attractions your travel destination has to offer? Thankfully, if you are a wheelchair user thinking about traveling to Las Vegas, you’ve chosen one of the leading cities in the country for handicapped accessibility. Check out what makes Las Vegas a top tourist destination for people with disabilities and why you should consider your next visit to Sin City.
Much like the city itself, you can expect the same great service offered to disabled patrons at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. McCarran offers courtesy wheelchair service to any disabled passenger who may need it. All you need to do is dial 5475 from any phone located around the airport to request assistance whether it be someone to help carry your bags or push you through the large corridors to your gate or baggage claim.
Wheelchair taxis and shuttles are also readily available. When my husband and I traveled to Las Vegas, the assistants pushed us out to the taxi waiting area and assured we were able to board an accessible taxi to take us to our hotel. They even helped load and unload our luggage.
The airport also offers additional services for passengers who are visually impaired like:
Visual Paging to display flight information
A service dog area
TDD phones for hearing impaired passengers
To help ensure you are not rushed through the crowds you may find at the airport, make sure to arrive with even more than the recommended lead time. This will allow you to take your time and not rush through security to eliminate the risk of injury to yourself or your mobility equipment.
Choosing your Hotel
Once you’ve landed, it’s time to unpack your bags and begin enjoying everything Las Vegas has to offer. With so many hotel options, choosing the right one for your needs can feel overwhelming. If you are concerned about not being able to walk or “wheel” yourself long distances without tiring, look for a hotel located directly on the Strip, if not centrally located. While you might pay a little more to stay on the Strip, the convenience will be worth it, especially if it’s your first time to the city.
Caesar’s Palace is a great option for first-timers with limited mobility. It’s centrally located so you will be able to walk to many attractions and other resorts nearby. You can even make a day of it inside the resort itself with concert venues, a multitude of restaurants to choose from, the casino, and the Forum Shoppes. Be sure to ask for a room close to an elevator or exit if you manually push your wheelchair. The carpets can be tough to push on long distances.
Other great hotel options, thanks to their wide open spaces, making them easy to navigate, include:
You might want to avoid the Flamingo which has a lot of different and often uneven flooring across the casino area. Most hotels offer several different accessible options so think depending on which floor you want to stay on, if you need a fully accessible shower/bathroom, and if you want to take advantage of the hotel casino. Several hotels have even added wheelchair accessible pool lifts in recent years.
Ask your hotel for a floor plan so you can see how the entire resort you are considering will accommodate your mobility needs the best.
Traveling the Strip
Now that you are all settled in, you can begin enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. Luckily, Las Vegas also provides a variety of transportation options that are disability friendly.
The local bus service is fully accessible for passengers with disabilities.
The paratransit service is available for disabled travelers for up to 3 weeks without requiring paperwork to be submitted to ride.
The Las Vegas Monorail operates between Sahara Avenue and the MGM Grand and is fully wheelchair accessible.
Accessible taxis are also readily available.
If you chose a hotel on the strip and don’t plan on traveling far around the city limits, Las Vegas is a great city to walk and wheel yourself to most all destinations. If you are planning on going from one end of the strip to the other all in one day, you may want to consider asking your hotel concierge about electric scooter rentals to give your arms some rest.
Taking in a Show
Las Vegas is known for their world class entertainment and well-known artists who have graced Las Vegas stages like Celine Dion, Donny and Marie, Britney Spears, and Cirque du Soleil.
Thanks to the ADA, all shows are required to have handicapped seating. No two venues are the same, however. To guarantee you will get a seat that works for your needs, consider reserving your tickets via phone so you can get a clear picture from the rep and ask all the questions you need to as opposed to buying online.
If you’re looking for a great Cirque show but unsure which of the many options to choose, Beatle’s LOVE is not only great entertainment, but the staff at the Mirage made sure that their wheelchair using passengers received world class treatment. Ushers are available to walk wheelchair users to their seats and ensure they are seated comfortably, even bringing wheelchairs back and forth right to your reserved spot if you choose to transfer out of your chair and into the theater seat.
Trying your Luck
Are you hoping Lady Luck will be on your side during your visit to Las Vegas? Then you’ll want to stop by one of the dozens if not hundreds of casinos found across the city. All hotels have wheelchair accessible slot machines.
While slot machines can easily accommodate wheelchair users, game tables and poker tables are not all built with wheelchair reserved seating. Las Vegas is in the business of making money and the city caters to their patrons who are there to spend money, so shop around. Call around casinos ahead of time to make sure they’ll have options to accommodate your needs depending on the types of games you’re looking to play.
Once you’ve taken in a show and tried your hand at a round at the casinos, be sure to explore the strip and catch some of the unique attractions you can only experience in Las Vegas.
Bellagio is a good example of a resort that offers several different attractions in one place, so if you are taking the trolley or walking to and fro, you can see lots of things in one place without having to worry about arranging multiple transportation options for your wheels. Check out the Botanic Gardens which changes out their displays often. It’s very easy to navigate with a wheelchair and is located on ground level.
Then step outside for a view of the fountains at the Bellagio which are viewable right from the sidewalk, making it one of the best attractions for people with disabilities who may be concerned about space and ease of access.
Across the street from the Bellagio you can find Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and the Gondolas at the Venetian resort. The wax museum is fully accessible, even accommodating wheelchairs through various hallways and rooms throughout the museum, though you have to ask for access to the elevators to take you up. The gondolas are not handicapped accessible, unless you can transfer out of your wheelchair, but are great fun to watch from inside as you stroll through the romantic walkways throughout the resort.
What's your favorite accessible Las Vegas attraction?
The Eiffel tower is another popular attraction located in the Paris resort. Keep in mind that if you are a wheelchair user and are traveling with a wheelchair using companion, the resort policy only allows one wheelchair user at a time to access the elevator, due to fire codes. If you are weary of heights this may not be the attraction for you, as the elevator takes your chair up multiple stories and lets you out over a narrow platform overlooking the entire city.
The live flamingo exhibit at the Flamingo resort is a relaxing option, however some of the paths are narrow and covered in natural paths like stones and grassy which could make it tricky to get through depending on your wheelchair or type of mobility equipment you use.
You can check out more attractions at http://www.vegas.com/attractions/. Call ahead to the resorts to ask what level of access the attraction you are interested in provides.
Shopping the Strip
If you’re a shopaholic or fashionista, Las Vegas is your city. Consider packing one of those reusable grocery shopping bags to hang on your chair to carry around all of your shopping bags throughout your visit.
The Forum Shoppes at Caesars Palace is a must stop for all shoppers. The indoor shopping area provides a unique atmosphere with a domed ceiling painted like the sky to give shoppers the feel of an outdoor Italian pavilion. The matching cobblestone on the floors can be a bit precarious for people using walkers or walking devices and you may find it a bit bumpy from the seat of your wheelchair so take your time.
Le Boulvard Shops in the Paris resort recreates a Parisian outdoor shopping atmosphere. There’s more cobblestones here and does not offer the same wide variety as the Forum Shoppes. Many of the shops are small so proceed with caution when entering with your wheelchair.
Via Bellagio is perhaps one of the easiest and smoothest shopping forums you’ll experience with the Bellagio’s smooth floors and wide variety of shops to choose from, it will make your trip worthwhile.
Are you a traveler with a disability who has visited Las Vegas? What was your favorite attraction? Was your hotel experience accommodating? Share some of your accessible travel experiences in the comments!