Las Vegas, a place synonymous with glitz, glamour, and the promise of unforgettable experiences, has long been recognised by its dazzling display of neon signs. These luminous beacons, brimming with history and nostalgia, have become integral symbols of the city, capturing the essence of Vegas' vibrant nightlife and bustling casino scene. Amidst the evolution of digital displays, many of these neon signs continue to stand tall, preserving the city's rich heritage and contributing to its unique visual identity.
1. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
Undeniably the city's most iconic neon sign, the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign has been a staple of the city's landscape since its creation in 1959 by Betty Willis. This emblematic sign, which has never been trademarked, greets locals and tourists alike, establishing itself as not just a city symbol but a cultural icon recognised globally. Its popularity has even spurred various iterations, such as the one seen at the Ski and Snowboard Resort on Mt. Charleston and the "Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas" sign on Fremont Street.
2. Paris Las Vegas Sign
Standing tall since 1999, the Montgolfier neon sign at the Paris Las Vegas casino is a testament to the city's ability to blend the old with the new. Though not as old as some of its counterparts, its unique spherical shape, reminiscent of the first passenger-carrying balloon that flew over Paris in 1783, captivates the attention of passersby, especially during dusk when it beautifully complements the replica of the Eiffel Tower nearby.
3. Binion’s Gambling Hall
Opening its doors to the public in 1951, Binion’s Gambling Hall, originally known as Binion’s Horseshoe, is a legendary establishment in the city's gaming scene. Its vintage signage, a blend of curvy pink-and-turquoise Googie aesthetics, continues to illuminate Las Vegas Boulevard, reminding visitors of the city's colorful past.
4. Circus Circus
The Circus Circus neon sign, featuring "Lucky," the 123-foot-tall clown, has been a staple of Las Vegas' landscape since 1976. Apart from "Lucky," the casino's pink-and-gold porte-cochère is another exquisite piece of neon artistry that adds to the city's visual charm.
5. Flamingo Las Vegas
Established in 1947, Flamingo Las Vegas is one of the city's oldest casinos. Its neon sign, a blend of feathers and flames, was installed following one of its numerous renovations. The property also boasts several other neon embellishments, including neon flamingos, that contribute to its overall allure.
6. Golden Gate Hotel & Casino
As the oldest casino in Las Vegas, the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino has seen numerous renovations and expansions over the years. The property's rich history is reflected in its magnificent neon signage, featuring various fonts and a hypnotically tilting Googie-style vertical sign.
7. High Hat Regency Motel
The High Hat Regency Motel is one of the last remaining motels from the golden era of family road trips. Its neon script title and flashing top hat add a touch of elegance to the otherwise modest establishment.
8. In-N-Out Burger
The In-N-Out Burger sign, a rotating neon spectacle, is a testament to the city's love for the popular fast-food chain. While the brand's burgers are a crowd-favorite, its neon sign is a feast for the eyes, contributing to the overall visual experience of Las Vegas.
First appearing in 1953, the Par-A-Dice neon sign has been recently refurbished and reinstalled just north of Oakey Boulevard. This sign, along with seven others, forms a complete neon streetscape that stretches from the gateway arches up Las Vegas Boulevard to The Neon Museum and Washington Avenue.
10. Neon Museum
The Neon Museum is a treasure trove of Las Vegas' luminous history. Here, technicians and artists work tirelessly to restore and preserve the city's old, historic signs. Some of these signs, like the Riviera's iconic sign, have found a new home at the museum, enabling nostalgic tourists to reminisce about the city's vibrant past.
11. Las Vegas Boulevard Improvement Project
The Las Vegas Boulevard Improvement Project has played a significant role in preserving and showcasing the city's neon heritage. This $125 million project has led to the refurbishment and installation of eight neon signs, creating a neon trail that beautifies Las Vegas Boulevard and celebrates the city's history.
Las Vegas' iconic neon signs serve as glowing reminders of the city's vibrant past and its unrelenting spirit. They stand as testament to Vegas' unique visual identity, adding to its charm and allure. Whether it's the welcoming glow of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign or the mesmerizing spherical brilliance of the Montgolfier neon sign at Paris Las Vegas, each neon beacon tells a tale of the city's illustrious history, making Las Vegas truly a city of lights.
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