City of Lights: Neon Museum aglow with Las Vegas history

The Patriot Ledger
City of Lights: Neon Museum aglow with Las Vegas history
Wild Casino

LAS VEGAS – Planning a visit to Las Vegas? Add the Neon Museum to your sightseeing itinerary. It's a sure bet.

 A collection of vintage Las Vegas casino signs – Stardust, Dunes, Sahara – make up the glowing treasures on display at the mostly outdoor museum, located just a few blocks from Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. 

The museum started in 1996 as a "boneyard" filled with glittery façades of days past. Its a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the city's iconic signs and its history. On a recent visit in September, guides led visitors on a 45-minute tour through the collection of signs – saved and restored after the casinos, hotels, motels and more were demolished or closed. Visitors learn nuggets of Las Vegas history and lore.

The signs sit at ground level as you walk through the lighted pathways. Some date back to the 50s when just having air conditioning set some motels apart. The fine art of bent glass tubes filled with neon or argon gas can be seen up close. Signs, such as the Stardust with its thousands of incandescent bulbs, give you an appreciation for the worker who had to climb a 100-foot ladder each night to replace a dimmed bulb.

Other facades include the hot-pink Liberace sign from the defunct Liberace Museum, the giant nugget from the Golden Nugget hotel casino and the towering guitar from the Hard Rock Café, which closed in 2016. 

In total, the museum features about 600 signs, 250 of which are restored and light up the night. Best viewing is after sunset to get the full effect of the sparkling neon. There is an additional multimedia show that covers the history of Las Vegas signage.

Tickets are $20 for daytime entry and $28 for evening tours. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. More details at

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