Last Updated on July 14, 2022
Open container laws that permit public consumption of alcoholic beverages are regulated on state and local levels. Most cities in the United States prohibit drinking in public areas, such as on a sidewalk while strolling through town. Unincorporated Clark County, Nevada, which includes all areas of Las Vegas, is one of only a handful of localities that permit alcoholic consumption from open containers in certain areas.
Even with such liberal open container laws, there are some rules about what, how, and where you can carry and enjoy the contents of open alcohol containers in Las Vegas. Here’s the scoop on the current Las Vegas open container law.
What the Law Says About Drinking From Open Containers In Las Vegas
- What the Law Says About Drinking From Open Containers In Las Vegas
- Open Container Law on the Las Vegas Strip Vs. Downtown Vegas
- Where Is It Legal Drink from an Open Container In Las Vegas?
- What Is an Open Container of Alcohol?
- Types of Open Containers That Are Prohibited
- Public Intoxication In Las Vegas
- Drinking From an Open Container While in a Moving Vehicle
- Violation of the Open Container Law Rules
- Bottom Line
The city of Las Vegas has open container laws that make it perfectly legal for adults who are at least 21 years old to carry and consume alcoholic beverages from open containers in public places. Given the highly pedestrian nature of Las Vegas, this primarily refers to pedestrian walkways, such as sidewalks.
Many restaurants, bars, and casinos will happily pour a guest’s drink into a disposable paper or plastic cup for them to take outside the establishment. Some bars and restaurants even have special memorabilia-style cups designed to transport your drink easily as you walk around the city. These laws apply to all of the unincorporated Clark County, including both the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.
While you can carry open containers of an alcoholic beverage around with you, Vegas open container laws don’t exactly allow for a boozy free for all on the streets. Some rules and caveats apply. For starters, specific areas of the city can set their own rules. Because of this, the open container laws are slightly different on the Las Vegas Strip than in Downtown Las Vegas.
Open Container Law on the Las Vegas Strip Vs. Downtown Vegas
When you’re walking along the sidewalks or any other pedestrian safety zone on the Las Vegas Strip, it’s completely legal to carry an open container of any beverage, including an open alcohol container. An open container of alcohol is defined as a vessel that holds a drink of any percent alcohol that is open or contains a broken seal. For example, if you were to purchase alcohol from a party store and open it, that would be considered an open container, even if you haven’t yet had a sip.
The only exception to this open container rule on the Las Vegas Strip is glass containers. A glass container poses an obvious threat to public safety and everyone you’re sharing the walkway with. There’s a huge potential for broken glass, which presents a serious hazard to pedestrians. In fact, to prevent broken glass, no glass containers are allowed on the Strip, regardless if they contain alcohol or not.
If you’re in an establishment serving alcohol or any drink and want to bring it with you, it must be transferred from the glass into plastic or some other type of suitable container. Aluminum containers are also allowed on the Las Vegas Strip, but they’re not allowed on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, which we’ll cover in more detail in just a moment.
If you’re carrying an open container on the Strip, make sure you don’t cross any parking lots. While open containers are allowed on Las Vegas sidewalks, they’re absolutely prohibited in parking lots.
You also can’t have an open container of alcohol within 1000 ft of where it was purchased if it was sealed at the time of purchase. In other words, you can’t pop open that aluminum can of hard seltzer the second you walk out of the liquor store.
The open container laws in Downtown Las Vegas, including the Fremont Street Experience, are a bit more restrictive than they are on the Strip. For starters, you can only carry an open container if you purchase alcohol from an establishment, such as a restaurant, casino, or bar with a specific liquor license. Carrying an open container of alcohol purchased from an establishment without one of these licenses or purchased in a store is prohibited. These licenses are limited, and only a set number of establishments have them.
Also, in addition to glass containers being prohibited throughout Downtown and Fremont Street, aluminum cans are also not allowed. Again, this can pose a safety risk, and crushed or damaged aluminum cans can have sharp edges.
When you are in Downtown Vegas, you’re not allowed to be in possession of an open container of alcohol within 1000ft of schools, churches, homeless shelters, hospitals, and liquor stores. The rule about no open containers in parking lots also applies to Downtown Vegas, and open containers are not allowed at bus stops as well.
Where Is It Legal Drink from an Open Container In Las Vegas?
You can carry and enjoy an open alcoholic beverage throughout most of Las Vegas, with a few exceptions. First, know that neighborhoods can define their own open container rules, which is why the rules are different on the Strip than Downtown. Residential neighborhoods may have their own rules. If in doubt, it’s always best to ask.
It’s legal to consume alcohol on the sidewalks of Las Vegas. The one caveat is that you really should keep moving. You can sip on your frozen boozy drink as you walk along the Strip, but parking and sitting at one spot, such as a public bench, for too long may bring some unwanted legal attention to yourself.
Technically, there are no open container rules or laws in Las Vegas that prohibit you from taking your open container into any establishment, and most that are able to are happy to transfer your drink to a plastic cup to go. However, this doesn’t mean that a restaurant, bar, or casino is obligated to let you on their premises with an open container from an outside source. After all, they have their own bar and serve their own drinks that they want to make a profit from. It’s always best to ask first before barging in with an open container.
As mentioned earlier, there are certain areas that are excluded from the open container rules. Parking lots are off-limits, as are bus stops and public transportation. Open containers must also not be within 1000ft of liquor stores, schools, churches, buildings of religious worship, hospitals (including rehab facilities), and homeless shelters.
You also want to keep your open container of an alcoholic beverage out of the public parks. The only exception to this is special events, such as festivals and concerts, where alcohol is served on-premises.
What Is an Open Container of Alcohol?
There’s not a whole lot of mystery as to what defines an open container of alcohol. When we’re talking about open containers, we’re mostly referring to plastic cups of your favorite alcoholic beverage or maybe an aluminum can of beer or other similar fermented beverages. But, an open container is really any alcoholic drink that is not sealed. So, if you purchase a bottle of alcohol, it’s considered an open container as soon as the seal is broken.
Types of Open Containers That Are Prohibited
The big one that is prohibited is the glass container. It doesn’t matter what you have in it. Open carry glass containers are not allowed anywhere in Vegas, both on the Strip and Downtown. In addition to glass, aluminum containers are also prohibited Downtown and on Fremont Street.
Public Intoxication In Las Vegas
In Nevada, it’s not illegal to be publicly intoxicated. If you’ve ever wandered around the Strip at night, we know this will come as a shocker (insert sarcasm). While you’re not going to face any criminal charges or fines for staggering down the sidewalk, there are some limitations to what you can do while intoxicated.
The rules are pretty simple. Don’t be a public nuisance, and don’t break any laws such as harassment, vandalism, assault, etc. If you’re just a bit tipsy (or more than a bit), nobody is going to give you a hard time just for having a little fun.
Drinking From an Open Container While in a Moving Vehicle
One place that absolutely cannot take advantage of Vegas’ open container laws is in a moving vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you are riding in the passenger seat or if you are in actual physical control of the car – open containers are off-limits either way.
This rule applies to other types of transportation, including public transportation such as buses and trams, taxis, and ride shares. The only exception to this is commercial transportation vehicles, such as party buses and limos. The difference between these types of vehicles is that they operate with a special type of license. You can enjoy a few drinks on a party bus, but not in the passenger seat of your friend’s car or Uber.
Driving while in possession of an open container of alcohol is an open container violation and can be charged as a criminal offense. This offense compounds if you’re found to also be operating a vehicle while under the influence or getting into a car accident.
Violation of the Open Container Law Rules
Violation of the Nevada Law regarding open containers is considered a misdemeanor that’s punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1000 fine, and may include community service, so make sure that the drink is in a plastic cup and not a glass bottle!
Las Vegas has very liberal open container laws that allow you to take the party with you. Make sure you follow the rules and are respectful. If you can accomplish these two things, you’re free to enjoy your libations while enjoying the lights and sights of the great outdoors in Las Vegas.