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The Top 5 Worst Las Vegas Casino Parking Garages

Over 50% of Las Vegas visitors arrive at their hotel by car. While they may get a glimpse of the property at which they'll be staying as they pull up to it, the first experience with the property for those who elect to not valet park will be with the Parking Garage. So, casino moguls, what does your parking garage say about you and your property? Perhaps both more and less than you'd like.

We don't expect Corinthian columns and gold leaf in a parking garage, but that doesn't mean it should be reminiscent of a coal mine. Some are clean enough, well lit, and easy to get into and out of. We like those. They don't have to be fancy. Some of them are labyrinthine, frustrating, congested, and often just plain dangerous. If I'm staying at a hotel and I get frustrated parking my car, my hotel experience is not just about me having a good time. First you have to win me back before I can start to have the experience you want me to have.

Frankly, some of the Las Vegas hotels and casinos show nothing more than contempt for the customers foolish enough to park their cars themselves. These deserve to be called out. Not all of them can be the Wynn, an example of a parking garage done right, but there's no excuse for making this list.

Without further ado, the Top 5 Worst Las Vegas Casino Parking Garages are:

5. Caesars Palace

A lot of people would rank this one higher, but it's not all that bad if you come in from Frank Sinatra Drive in the back of the property. Of course, from several directions it's not all that easy to get to Frank Sinatra, and it is a real PITA to park coming from the Strip, so it makes the list. Once you're at the garage, though, getting in and out of the actual structure isn't too bad, although on the lower floors it can be a bit of a hike to get from the garage to the casino.

4. Aria

Aria is part of the CityCenter project, the most expensive construction project in the history of the human race ... with a single parking garage that's totally inadequate. Perhaps the thought is that "CityCenter people don't self park." Heck, maybe they don't even know how. In any case, the only access to the garage is via the Strip, which is packed to the gills with people who want to ooh and ahh at CityCenter.

After you've made the trek from the garage to Aria, though, and you're debating whether it would have been better or worse to walk from your car to the Monte Carlo and taken the tram, you can still take some comfort in the fact that at least you're not staying at Vdara.

Bottom line: When it's more convenient to park at either of two other casinos (Monte Carlo and Bellagio) than to use your own parking garage (*cough* *Venetian* *cough*) you know you have problems.

3. MGM Grand

After parking one's car but before setting out on foot for the registration desk in the lobby of the MGM Grand, the first thing one should do is decide on a bivouac point for the first night you'll spend on your trek. Even though there are a couple of vending machines along the route, you should still seriously consider packing food and water. It takes less energy to walk the length of downtown Las Vegas than it does to get from the MGM Grand's parking garage to the casino, and woe unto anyone heading to Studio 54, the sports book, or the poker room. The folks at the MGM should provide Sherpas and pack animals.

2. Venetian

The Venetian is undoubtedly one of the nicest casinos on the Strip. Its parking garage is, well, second worst. There's bad access from the Strip, and difficult access from the back. The parking garage itself is tall and narrow with tight turns. The experience of trying to get out at the same time as several hundred of your closest friends (or fellow show-goers) will feel familiar to those of you who have driven on L.A.'s 405 freeway during rush hour. Plain and simple, Sheldon Adelson, who is not known for wanting to splurge on parking, did this on the cheap. It shows.

Even less explicably, you park, you take the elevator to the 3rd floor, and then you walk back through the parking garage to get to the casino along a causeway and a hallway that looks like it's still under construction. I'd be certain it was still under construction, but it's been like this for well over a decade now. I fail to grasp the intent of the folks who built this embarrassment.

There is good news, though. The Venetian's sister property, the Palazzo, opened with an underground parking structure that's easy to get in and out, is easy to navigate, and doesn't feel like a hard hat is required going from your car to the casino. Honestly, if the Venetian makes the bottom five list, the Palazzo could easily be among the top five best parking experiences on the Strip. Frankly, when I'm going to the Venetian, I park at the Palazzo and walk. It's far less frustrating.

1. Imperial Palace

Confusing, difficult to get in and out of, cramped, and difficult to navigate are just some of the features of this travesty. Moreover, these aren't even its worst qualities. When it rains, the IP parking garage resembles the Green River more than any place you'd normally want to leave your car. This one qualifies as downright dangerous. Even with a map, a compass, a GPS unit, and a guide there's a good chance you'll get lost between your car and the casino. Worse, there's an even better chance you'll get lost on your way back. Plus if your vehicle wasn't manufacutred by Harley Davidson, you'll end up passing on some spots you just don't want to contort your car into. Never in my life have I seen a worse designed parking structure than this insult to civil engineering.

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