McCarran Airport: What to Expect When Traveling to Las Vegas

Known as “The Pulse of Our City” because of its size, central location, and overall popularity; McCarran International Airport continues to satisfy travelers with its broad selection of shopping and restaurants.  However, many would be surprised by just how much more it offers to its guests.

McCarran International Airport History

Named after former Nevada Senator Pat McCarran, a key contributor to the development of aviation in Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport has become the 27th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic and the 8th busiest airport in the world by aircraft movements.

McCarran International Airport Museum and Exhibits

McCarran is the home of the Cannon Aviation Museum, named after Nevada Senator Howard W. Cannon, who helped pass the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.  It showcases the history of air travel in Las Vegas.

A 1958 Cessna 172 hangs over the north end of baggage claim at Terminal 1.  It actually set the World Endurance Aloft flying record in 1959. Flown by Robert Timm and John Cook, they set a record (that still stands to this day) for 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes and 5 seconds without touching ground.

The museum’s exhibits are spread throughout the airport.  The main exhibit is on Level 2, above baggage claim at Terminal 1.  Other exhibits are located in the gate areas, near ticketing and along the moving walkway in the C Gates.  Covering approximately 3,000 square feet, each exhibit is brimming with the aviation history of southern Nevada.

Self-Care at McCarran Airport

Taking care of ourselves is really important and not always something we do when we're on the road.  Traveling can be extremely stressful. Why not choose from a good selection for self-care at McCarran Airport?  They have a full spa and fitness center to help revitalize your mind and body.


The XpressSpa is described as an “upscale airport wonderland."  It offers the full spa experience.  Come into this tranquil oasis for manicures, pedicures, and waxing. Or ease your mind with a rejuvenating massage and facial.     

Zero Level Fitness & Wellness Center 

Zero Level Fitness and Wellness center is a popular choice for working out and sleeping while traveling.  Purchase a day pass and stretch your limbs while using an assortment of free weights or cardio equipment.  Not only can you get a great workout, you can also utilize the “Sleeping Station” that even has a mini-fridge and charging port. Lockers, showers, and saunas are included. You can even access their personal training, health coaching, and mobility therapy.   

Amenities at McCarran Airport

McCarran really goes the extra mile with all-inclusive amenities, especially for parents and children.

Children’s Play Area

Do you have kids?  Are you in need of a place for the kids to get energy out?  McCarran Airport thought this through.  There is a Children's Play Area designated for kids.  This is an aviation-themed playroom that has a mini control tower, and a mock jet engine.  

Nursing Suites

Mothers can feel safe in one of McCarran’s many nursing suites.  These private rooms are secured by Bluetooth enabled SmartLocks.  They are private spaces that include a bench, table and USB port for easy changing while charging.

Pet Relief Stations

Pet parents will be relieved to know that there are actually several designated areas for pets to do their business.  Pet relief stations are located indoors (post-security), and the others are located outdoors.  Remember, you can only travel with an animal as long as it is certified!

Lounges at McCarran Airport

If you’re looking for a more exclusive experience, there are 3 specialty lounges that all include free WiFi and various levels of service.

The United Club Lounge - (United Membership or One Day Passes only)  

Are you a United Membership holder?  You can get access to the United Club Lounge as is complimentary with your membership.  If you're not, you can always purchase a one day membership to this exclusive club.  Comfortable seating can be found here.  As is typical with most lounge experiences, the United Club is accompanied by a large selection of drinks and light snacks.

The LAS Club Lounge

The LAS Club Lounge has one day passes available for travelers who are looking for a more deluxe and relaxing experience on their route.  Delight in free snacks, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and other amenities.  Travel delays?  Post up for a while and watch TV or read a newspaper or magazine.

Centurion Lounge (American Express Platinum Members and Centurion Members only)  

Are you an American Express Platinum member?  The Centurion Lounge is a private area in the Las Vegas airport that is just for you.  Catch up on business in one of their productive work stations. Then unwind with gourmet food, signature cocktails, curated wine, and complimentary entertainment.

Shopping at McCarran Airport

Anyone visiting McCarran Airport will have plenty of places to shop with its huge selection of stores to explore.  These are just 3 interesting examples of the widespread choices.

Welcome to Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas is a popular sign, but it's also a store in the Las Vegas Airport!  Welcome to Las Vegas sells a large variety of Las Vegas gaming, novelty souvenirs, themed apparel, trinkets, and all sorts of accessories line the shelves.  Why not pick up a pair of “What happens in these socks, Stays in the socks” or an “I Donut Care” t-shirt before catching your flight.

World of Sports 

We're not talking about ESPN.  World of Sports is the leading provider for sports clothing in the Las Vegas airport.  This is where any fan can find their favorite team memorabilia.  They have NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, and MLS hats, jackets, shirts, jerseys, and accessories to choose from.

Candy Cove

Indulge in customized treats, personalized chocolate images, or decadent trail mix at Candy Cove.  Each will make for a very unique gift or a simply delicious treat.

McCarran Airport Food

McCarran Airport has an extensive list of restaurants to choose between.  One of the strongest points of the airport is the McCarran Airport food.  Typical airport fare like Starbucks and Cinnabon are easy to find. We also love high-quality sit down establishments like these two gems.

The Village Pub

A family owned business serving amazing food and beverages made with the finest ingredients.  Customers love the beer battered fish and chips accompanied by a nice cold brew. They serve a mix of appetizers, sandwiches, homemade soups, salads and even what many call “the best fried chicken you’ll ever eat.”  This is the perfect meal after a day/night affair of Vegas drinking and gambling.

The Village Pub is a larger restaurant venue and has other locations in Las Vegas outside of McCarran Airport.  If you miss them while you’re there, you can always find them out on the town! Check out their website here!

Las Vegas Chophouse and Brewery 

Did you win big on this Vegas trip?  Why not hit the steakhouse? It’s a great way to cap things off.  Offering the elegant atmosphere of a traditional steakhouse in a more casual setting, we love Las Vegas Chophouse and Brewery.  Choose from a selection of beers or try one of their popular Bloody Marys. Then dine on sirloin steaks, filet mignon, crab cakes and salmon along with garden salads and a plethora of hearty side dishes.

Las Vegas Airport Slots

One of the most popular ways to spend time in Las Vegas is by gambling.  You don’t even have to step foot outside the airport to begin gambling in Las Vegas.  McCarran is known for housing over 1,300 slot machines.  

You might just get as lucky as Sandra A. of Dublin, CA. She bet $5 at the slots and won $1.6 million in August 2017, while playing the “Wheel of Fortune Pink Diamonds” game.

While Sandra is one lucky girl, it is not likely that you will get lucky at the Las Vegas Airport slots.  They are known for having some of the worst odds in all of Las Vegas.  Think about it.  You have to go to the airport regardless.  Having loose slots in the airport doesn't make a ton of sense for those running the gambling setups.

McCarran Airport: Final Thoughts

Whether you’re hoping to hit the jackpot, in need of a myriad of refreshments, lounging with exclusive members, or simply passing through to appreciate the art and history, Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport has got you covered around every terminal.

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