Originally conceptualized as a one-mile link between Bally’s and the MGM Grand, the Las Vegas Monorail runs from SLS Las Vegas on the north end of the Strip to MGM Grand on the south end. It is the only privately owned public transportation system in the country.
The approximately four-mile trip from end to end takes about 15 minutes and offers passengers the opportunity to rest their feet — and avoid those timeshare salespeople who hang out on the Strip — all while seeing Las Vegas from a unique vantage point.
As the Monoral glides over the network of roads that parallel Las Vegas Boulevard on the east side, it stops seven times, providing access to some of the city’s definitive places to work and play. Whether one is a local taking advantage of the $1 Nevada resident fare or a tourist soaking up as much of the Strip as possible, here are five restaurants to try along the Monorail.
Burgers, beer and sports betting
Starting at the northernmost end of the Monorail, Umami Burger at SLS Las Vegas serves gourmet burgers, loaded fries and a rotating selection of craft beers. The eponymous Umami Burger, topped with crispy parmesan frico, shiitake mushroom and roasted tomato is especially savory when paired with french fries smothered in truffle cheese fondue. Other notable selections include a falafel burger with beet infused couscous and cheese stuffed tater tots.
Umami Burger, SLS, 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-761-7614
A true Vegas steak dinner
Heading south from SLS Las Vegas, the Monorail veers away from the Strip to Westgate Las Vegas, a property famous for playing host to 58 consecutive Elvis performances in 1969 (back when the property was the International Hotel). For a meal as classic as the history of the hotel itself, diners should hop off the Monorail and head to Edge Steakhouse. The fine dining experience offers wet- and dry-aged steak including Wagyu aged 400 days, corn-fed angus with exceptional marbling and unique sides such as short rib mac and cheese and Mexican street corn with chipotle crema.
Edge Steakhouse, 3000 Paradise Road; 702-732-5755
Tequila and tapas
Those who get off the Monorail at the Harrah’s/Linq stop will be treated to a world of dining and shopping in the shadow of the highest observation wheel in the world. For a view of it all, Chayo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar is the place to be. The stylish restaurant serves Mexican and American favorites including table-side guacamole, spicy tuna tostadas and tequila flights.
Chayo Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar, The Linq Promenade, 3545 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-691-3773
Late night Thai
Part dimly lit haven of serenity, part pre-clubbing lounge, Sea: The Thai Experience is just a short walk from the Bally’s and Paris stop on the Monorail. Open until midnight, the restaurant serves Asian fusion cuisine that’s essentially Thai with a hint of Vietnamese. Diners can expect spicy Asian jungle curry with roast duck, honey walnut fried rice and lychee martinis in a dark, inviting setting that feels worlds away from the casino floor.
Sea: The Thai Experience, Bally’s, 3645 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-967-3888
A shared feast
The southernmost stop on the Monorail brings travelers to MGM Grand, where a wealth of dining opportunities awaits. For those seeing KA by Cirque du Soleil, nearby Crush is the perfect setting for a pre-show bite. The warm, vibrant restaurant serves shareable plates including cheese steak dumplings with fondue, tempura battered rock shrimp and a unique French onion soup topped with a parmesan cracker shell.
Crush, MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-891-3222
• All Something for the Weekends [ELV]