Located conspicuously off-strip and bright enough to read by, the Neon Museum sits on the very edge of the tourist-trekked portion of Las Vegas. Formerly— and lovingly still— known as the Neon Boneyard, the Neon Museum houses discarded signage from way back in Las Vegas’ arguably humble history to more recent years.
From the mundane (signs for dry cleaners) to the majestic (signs from the late-greats: Sassy Sally’s, Stardust and The Riviera to name a few), the relics here represent not just the textbook history of the area, but the cultural and economic shifts that shaped this barren desert over the past hundred years, as well.
Getting to the Neon Museum
After driving or taking a rideshare to Downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find yourself wondering slightly about where you are. You’ve gone beyond Fremont, and in the distance are the lights of The Strip, but wrapped around the surprisingly subdued Boneyard lies… a normal residential neighborhood.
Check your skepticism right here. Head on over to the visitor’s center on the Neon Museum campus. Your tour starts here— the visitor’s center is the site of the old La Concha Motel, and make sure your camera batteries are charged because there are plenty of photo ops.
On the tour
The guided tour is 2 parts flashing lights, 1 part history, with a TL;DR-sized science lesson thrown in for good measure— and it’s great fun! Our guide skillfully weaved a tale of the hope, tenacity, (and literal murder) that built Las Vegas, segueing seamlessly into the life and innovation that continues to sustain the city.
In front of the reassembled sign for the Moulin Rouge, you’ll get a crash course in Betty Willis‘ career and accomplishments— she’s the talented dame who designed the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign!
Add the Neon Museum to your Las Vegas bucket list
My trip this past June was my fourth time in Las Vegas and my first to the Neon Museum, and I absolutely loved it. With all the flashing lights and the persistent and flattering glow, it’s a highly Instagrammable place. That’s like candy to a photographer— at least this one!
Note: I first published this article here in July 2018, a month after my trip the month before.
And the storytelling that comes with the price of admission? That was, much to my surprise, a pure, enthralling delight!
Though the recommended age is 10 and up (12 and up for night tours), I’m not convinced anyone under the age of 13 would appreciate the Neon Museum as much as a teenager or adult with a smartphone would anyway. But if you’re in that demographic (who isn’t, really?), then add the Neon Museum to your Vegas itinerary. It’s a nice break from the smoky, charmingly wanton revelry that happens on the Strip— but not so off-brand to make you forget exactly where you are.
A trip to the Neon Boneyard will give you a fresh, newfound appreciation for the entertainment capital of the world. Plus, you’ll come away with some gorgeous visual fodder for your Instagram feed.
Tickets can be purchased directly from the Neon Museum website. The Neon Museum is also part of the following tours:
Have you been to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas? Let’s see those pics! Drop a link to an Instagram post in the comments, I’d love to see the Neon Museum through your eyes.
This article is syndicated from a post I originally published to my blog, Aspire to Wander. See the original article, including more photos, here: The Neon Museum: An Homage to Old Las Vegas
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