The big day is finally arriving!
On Wednesday, MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group open the T-Mobile Arena with a concert by The Killers.
We all know what that means: higher numbers of clueless people trying to find their way around; incessant whining about having to pay for parking; more idle threats from people who say they will never patronize MGM again — until, of course, a big event that the complainers really want to see is scheduled.
If I could get five bucks of the $10 MGM intends to collect for parking on days of special events from those who say they’ll never go to an MGM property again I could build a really nice Road Warrior Retirement Fund.
Nobody seems to get too excited about paying for parking at the airport, at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Field, or in other cities where the parking tab tends to come in at around $40 a day.
From the day it was announced that MGM didn’t intend to build any new parking amenities (that has since changed), it was clear that the company was trying to invoke a cultural change in the way people attend sporting events and concerts.
Many of us who attend events in other cities know how this works. The event is a night out and often involves a meal before or a drink afterward.
For events at Yankee Stadium or Madison Square Garden in New York, it means taking the subway. In San Diego, it’s grabbing the trolley to go to Chargers and Padres games. A Lakers, Clippers or Kings game usually means a stop at L.A. Live. In my former hometown, seeing the Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche or Rockies means light rail to the stadium or arena and maybe a trip to downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall.
Many Las Vegans are averse to change, so the new cultural dynamic isn’t playing as well.
No matter. It’s upon us, so you can enjoy one of the most spectacular entertainment venues in the country or you can pout.
In a bid to make the clueless less clueless, MGM has developed a Web page that sorts out all kinds of options for getting to the arena. For those averse to becoming a pedestrian or rail rider, there are parking garages close to T-Mobile that you’ll be able to use for a price.
You can buy a parking pass online at lasvegas.parkmobile.com and in advance of an event; it’s $10. That will get you into the garages at Monte Carlo, New York-New York and the top floors of the Aria employee parking facility.
For all parking garages, Frank Sinatra is your friend, not because he did it “My Way,” but because Frank Sinatra Drive is the only access to all three close-in garages.
MGM has recommended routes from north, south, east and west.
From the north: Use Interstate 15, take the eastbound Tropicana Avenue flyover exit and take a right turn into the Excalibur lot where there’s a new road that leads directly to Frank Sinatra.
From the south, take the Frank Sinatra exit off I-15. At the end of the ramp at Frank Sinatra, you’ll be able to go straight up a new ramp into the New York-New York garage or turn left to go to Monte Carlo or Aria.
From the east and west, Tropicana is the best access. From the west, make that turn into Excalibur; from the east, turn left on Las Vegas Boulevard and go a couple of blocks to Reno Avenue where you’ll turn right between Excalibur and Luxor to get to Frank Sinatra.
For now — and there’s no guarantee how long this will last — you can park for free at a number of locations and get to the arena on foot and by monorail or tram.
MGM even went to the trouble of testing out how long it takes to commute from 25 different locations.
The mode of transportation plus walking depends on where you park. It’s an easy walk from the Showcase Mall (seven minutes), Excalibur and Tropicana (each 14 minutes), MGM Grand (15 minutes) and Hooters (18 minutes). Planet Hollywood Resort is listed as an 18-minute walk.
A free tram connects Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay, so parking at those locations requires a ride and a walk.
A similar free tram links Bellagio, Crystals and Aria, making that ride-and-walk combination an option if you park at those properties or The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Mandarin Oriental or Vdara.
The much-maligned Las Vegas Monorail will come into play at some properties and remember, locals can get tickets for $1 per ride.
The monorail will be an option from Bally’s, Paris Las Vegas, the Flamingo, the Cromwell, Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, The Linq, the Westgate and the SLS.
One parking spot noticeably absent from the MGM list is the vast lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center. MGM and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority haven’t sat down to talk about the use of those lots, which are an easy walk to a monorail station. One of these days that will likely come into play because MGM has worked with the authority to provide parking access to the company’s festival grounds at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.
One other thing that was still undone as of the weekend was Google Maps inclusion of the T-Mobile Arena location.
For those not attending Wednesday’s opening night concert with The Killers; Nicky Minaj and Ariana Grande on Thursday; or Guns N’ Roses and Alice in Chains on Friday and Saturday, two words of advice: stay away.
The usual Strip-lights gawkers will be joined by people who haven’t read access guides in advance to make for what could be a memorable traffic jam.
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