Here’s 10 things to know about travelling to see pro sports events in Las Vegas and Los Angeles for the NFL Las Vegas Raiders, NHL Vegas Golden Knights and NFL Los Angeles Rams in their home stadiums.
Pro sports events Las Vegas and Los Angeles
What makes Las Vegas a great sports tourism destination?
If you’ve been thinking of Las Vegas as just a gambling hub, it’s time to rethink that. This desert city is renown for its nightlife and entertainment options, of course. But with the addition of the NFL Las Vegas Raiders and the NHL Vegas Golden Knights teams, it would be fair to call this town a sports mecca.
I recently tagged along with my husband in early December 2022 when he booked a weeklong trip to see the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Rams. We flew from Vancouver to Vegas, then from Vegas to L.A., and finally from L.A. home to Vancouver. It was a lot of flying but it would have cost an arm and a leg to rent a car in Vegas and return it in L.A.
Being married to a sports fanatic, I’ve done my fair share of these trips. We usually pick a game or two, and then add a few days afterwards to enjoy the city.
If you’ve never done any sports tourism to Vegas/L.A., or even if you have, here are my 10 top tips for the two cities.
Sports events Las Vegas
1. Travel to Las Vegas
Fly in the night before, and choose a direct flight if possible. There’s more than a strong possibility your flight could be delayed, and I think it’s worth the extra hotel night to make sure you get to your game. Our flight was on Alaska Airlines, and they all stop in Seattle. We were delayed twice for de-icing, once in Vancouver and once in Seattle. Needless to say, we missed our connection in Seattle. I’m still stunned that our luggage got redirected with us.
2. Do you need a car rental in Las Vegas?
If you need a car, perhaps to explore outside of the Las Vegas for a day, check to see if you can rent one at your hotel. Ours offered this service. This way, you can rent and return a vehicle right at your hotel and you won’t need to pay for parking. You’ll need to Uber or taxi from the airport but you’ll still come out ahead.
3. What’s the best way to get to Allegiant Stadium to see the Las Vegas Raiders?
Las Vegas looks deceptively small on a map but in reality, it’s huge. Once you’re on Las Vegas Boulevard, aka “the Strip,” you can walk everywhere. But you’ll need a rental car or an Uber to get to the Strip from the airport. Allegiant Stadium, which is where the Raiders play, is at the south end of the Strip and you can absolutely walk there and back from your Strip hotel. We stayed at Paris Las Vegas, which is about four kilometres (2.4 miles) from Allegiant Stadium. An Uber ride with post-game surge pricing would have cost us US $40, not including the tip. The walk is pleasant in cooler weather, and not so pleasant in hot weather. Which leads me to my next point …
4. What should you wear to a game at Allegiant Stadium?
Good walking shoes are a must! If you’re travelling in winter, you’ll need a warm coat. I loved having my down jacket because Allegiant Stadium was cool and so was the walk back to the hotel.
5. What about food on game day?
Let’s talk food. I always try to eat before a game so I’m not starving when I get there. On Raiders game day, I ate a huge breakfast and then at the stadium was able to get away with having just a foot-long hotdog for $13. Not too horrible. Post-game: Walk two kilometres (1.9 mi) to New York New York to use their bathrooms, then have the best burger ever at Shake Shack, which is attached to the hotel. (You’re welcome!) Pro tip: New York New York is where we like to stay when we fly in for Vegas Golden Knights games. The hotel is lovely and it’s just a two-minute walk to T-Mobile Arena, where the Knights play.
6. Book a hotel before you book your sports game
If possible, check to see how much hotel rooms are going for before you book your game and flight. We did it backwards … we picked our games and booked our flights — and then discovered hotels were at 98% capacity while we were there due to the games plus conventions. The price for our first two nights were horrendously and soul-crushingly high, and we were forced to stay off the Strip for those nights. Staying off the Strip is very isolating and forces you to rent a car, and changing hotels mid-stay really adds to travel stress.
7. Buy Las Vegas show tickets in advance
If you’re seeing a show, commit to a date and buy your tickets in advance, or it will be sold out. We weren’t able to get any show tickets when we were there. Travel to Las Vegas is back up to 2019 levels and in fact, on track to surpass it.
Sports Events in Los Angeles
8. Where to stay for LA Rams Games
If you’re flying in to LAX, you’ll be about 7 km (4 mi) from the L.A. Rams’ new and gorgeous SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. We stayed in Hawthorne, which was perfect to get to the game quickly. You’ll also be fine staying anywhere around the airport.
9. What to wear to a game at SoFi Stadium?
The L.A. Rams’ SoFi Stadium is absolutely stunning. It’s also cold! We’d researched the stadium and discovered it was covered; however, we didn’t know that SoFi is open at both ends and that the winter wind will whip right through it. If you’re dressed properly, you’ll be fine; just make sure you are dressed properly. I was not, and I paid the price.
10 Do you need a car rental in LA?
SoFi Stadium is one venue where I might suggest driving to the game and just paying the high parking prices. We had a rental car but decided to leave it at the hotel, and Uber to the game, which was fine. But post-game, we had to wait nearly an hour to get an Uber back due to the high demand. If you’re lucky enough to get a ride-share vehicle faster than that, you’ll be charged super-high surge prices. So either you’ll wait, or you’ll pay. If you have a car while you’re in L.A., I’d highly recommend thinking about driving to SoFi.
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Juanita Ng is a freelance travel writer in Vancouver who’s relishing the freedom of being an empty nester, and trying to see as much of the world as she can. She’s headed next to sunnier climes to try to warm up: Hawaii.
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❝Enjoy your life, be happy. It’s all that matters.❞
Great post!! I’m hoping to visit a friend here the end of the year so this has been really helpful. Made me even more excited to go! Thanks for sharing :-)