Hitting the shopping jackpot at Las Vegas McCarran
Be warned. If you are partial to a flutter, Las Vegas McCarran is perhaps not the perfect airport to be waiting in should you be delayed or have a long wait for a connecting flight. Your wallet could well take a pounding as there are over 1,000 slot machines installed around this giant 95-gate airport. Competing for tourist dollars is what Sin City with its mega-casinos and 24-hour party atmosphere has always done best so why should the city’s airport act any differently?
To be fair to McCarran, however, there are plenty of other less addictive attractions for passengers to while away the time. There is a fitness centre, an aviation-themed play area, numerous public art works and even an aviation museum. And, as if we could forget, there are also over 150 shops, restaurants and cafés, which are spread out across both Terminal 1, (which boasts four concourses (A-D) and handles domestic flights), Terminal 2 and the newly opened Terminal 3.
Here is our handy guide to some of the best retail therapy on offer at McCarran:
McCarran Terminal 1
This pre-security area features a surprisingly large selection of shops and restaurants, many of them with a distinctly local flavour. For instance, two gift shops ply a trade in gifts and souvenirs from some of Las Vegas’ most famous hotels and casinos such as the Bellagio, the Luxor and Monte Carlo. You will also find a newsagent (Hudson News), a bookshop (Borders, a candy store (the Candy Shoppe) and a mobile phone shop (Accessories 4 Wireless).
Two more unusual offerings include the Bahamas Mamas shop, a locally run cigar store offering cigars in flavours such as honey, vanilla, rum, and even blackberry, and Marshall Rousso, a stylish women’s fashion and accessories store run by a Las Vegas company that operates many of the shops in the city’s big casino resorts.
Concourses A and B
If you are a chocolate lover, try and pay a visit to the Nevada-based confectioner Ethel’s Chocolates outlet (the company also has stores in Concourses C and D, and Terminal 2). Prices for boxed collections start at around $20, but you can also make up your own collection or opt for other treats such as the company’s signature brittle and artisan chocolate bar range. See www.ethelm.com
for more details.
If you think of caps as a simple fashion item, a browse through the airport’s Lids store will change your mind. It stocks all manner of sporting and athletic hats from all the big US baseball and football teams, as well for motor sports and basketball. You can even have the in-store team make up your own customised design (see www.lids.com)
Other shopping highlights here include a healthy Las Vegas Fruit and Nuts shop, which sells all manner of dried fruits and nuts, including such unusual varieties as chilli lemon pistachios, toffee cashews and peanut chocolate clusters. Trading at McCarran since 1987, Las Vegas Fruit and Nuts has proved such a hit that it now sells its products online to customers all over the States (see
Concourses C and D
Breathless at the prospect of all this shopping, or anxious about flying? Why not give the O2 Bar & Spa, which has outlets in both Concourses C and D, a try? With sessions lasting around five minutes, oxygen is sent through tubes of scented water to supposedly deliver a mental and physical boost. We are not sure about the science behind it all, but it might just be the pick me up you need before you jump on that long-haul economy flight.
Nevada Diamond CZ also deserves a mention. Its two stores (located in Concourses C and D) sell a wide variety of classic and modern fashion jewellery made from cubic zirconia made from materials, which are mined near the Niagara Falls. Other jewellery shops in this part of the airport include T’ags Jewelry (Concourse D) and Turquoise Dreams (Concourse C).
One of the airport’s more unusual retail offerings is TapouT located in Concourse D, which stocks all sorts of clothing and merchandise dedicated to the decidedly macho world of mixed martial arts fighting (otherwise known as MMA), where bouts take place in a cage!This store stocks two of this fast-growing spectator sport’s biggest brands: TapouT and Hitman.
For arriving passengers at T1 (near D gate) look out for the Liquor Library - not a duty free store as such and certainly not looking like one. Resembling a library together with wooden floors, ladders for shelf access and staff dressed accordingly it offers a wide selection of beer, wine, spirits and cigars. (Hours are 08.00>23.00)
McCarran Terminal 2
The shopping selection in the international terminal is lot smaller than in the airport’s other four concourses. Note that duty-free liquor, tobacco, fragrances and cosmetics can be purchased at the Liberty Duty Free outlet near Gate 3. As at many other US airports there is no website for travellers to browse the offer before they travel. For the country that pioneered the everyday use of the web, this isn’t good enough.
Other shops in Terminal 2 include a PGA Tour golf store and an Ethel’s Chocolates outlet. Regular users of McCarran will be pleased to learn a $1.2 billion third terminal (Terminal 3) is set to open in June 2012, which will feature two new duty-free stores, one of which at 10,000 square feet, will be one of the largest in the country. Roll on June, we say!
McCarran Terminal 3
See: McCarran Terminal 3 Duty Free Shopping
For information on US Customs rules please see our quick guide:
United States Customs Allowance and Exemptions
Las Vegas McCarran international shopping guide