Neon. It runs through my veins. You already know this though? Right? If you’re a regular visitor around here you’ll know my one true love in life is Sin City. Las Vegas. Home of everything you love, that you shouldn’t. Established in 1905 Las Vegas quickly became a crown in the American jewel with thousands of trips made to ‘The Strip’ daily. One of my favourite things about Las Vegas is how it’s ever-changing. The Neon Boneyard is somewhere you should certainly visit when in Vegas.
Over the last 7 years I’ve been going I’ve seen hotels and areas such as The Linq pop up. The demise of The Riveria (it actually did the best curry on the strip) and signs change for bigger, bolder and better lights. Like these new neon business signs which are great for corporate events, company name showcase or just a tradeshow, and that can be personalised and crafted easily. Now, small to medium-sized are easy to install and replace. But what happens to the old signs when they’re pulled down? What happens when a hotel closes or if a sign is made larger and more grand? They go to the Neon Boneyard of course!
How to get to The Neon Museum
Located just a stone’s throw from Fremont Street (approx 1.5 miles). The Neon Boneyard houses an array of retired Vegas signs. If you’re not wanting to walk you can take the bus, which is advisable (however be prepared for the influx of homeless people who appear to ride the bus daily). We took the Deuce up to Fremont getting off at the Bonnerville Terminal. Cross the road and then change to terminal 15 where you’ll get Bus 113 which drops you across the road from the Neon Boneyard.
Welcomed by the Silver Slipper from the Silver Slipper hotel (1950-1988) on the roadside. The gated museum is priced at $19 per person (concessions available). To visit and you can grab the cheapest tickets from here.
Upon entering the museum you head through the actual reception that was one the reception at the La Concha Motel, before passing through the gift shop. Which is great for burning that extra time before your tour begins.
Heading out, for the beginning of the tour you’ll find yourself underneath the Binions Horseshoe. Which has been beautifully restored. Firstly, our tour guide talked us through the colour choice of red and yellow which you’ll see featured frequently in businesses such as McDonald’s, In ‘n’ Out Burger and Burger King. For the simple reason that the colour psychology behind these two colours evokes compulsive behaviour to visit and purchase. Furthermore, these two colours are contrasting and work together against the eye to draw you in. Clever psychology and marketing.
After you head under Binion’s Horseshoe you’ll come to a collection of signs including the Las Vegas Club. The Sign from the Moulin Rouge. Which has been rearranged to spell ‘in love’ and is a frequent photo spot of newly engaged couples or newlyweds.
The Original Golden Nugget
Walk a little further and you’ll spy the original Golden Nugget sign from 1946. With the top layer of the casino scattered about. Designed to actually look like the Golden Nugget which is homed inside the casino.
Similarly, Sassy Sally’s the Saloon bar, you’ll find the original 1980’s sign. Again in the yellow and red with neon backing and bulbs to created that Western-style glow. This hotel was renamed a handful of times, most recently Mermaids which closed in 2016.
The tour is not only interesting but also really extremely educational. Especially if you’re interested, like I am, in Vegas history. With a stack of retired signs, some which light up on an evening (you can visit the boneyard on an evening too). Where you can explore the signs that have been fully or partially restored or those that still work.
Consequently, with signs dating from the ’40s, it’s absolutely astounding how far things have come in the last 70+ years. Some of the signs, if you’re a Vegas Vet, you’ll recognise.
Most noteworthy, a fan of Stardust (1967-1990), this is probably one of their most prominent features, the whole sign including post stars are housed in the Boneyard. The font is indicative of the era it was used. In the 60’s style, the space-age type font was very prominent in Vegas signs. If you’re a fan of fonts you’d love the branding Chapter of our Academy. I must admit I am a self-confessed font geek and love learning about the heritage of the fonts. This font was a popular font at the time. Since then Stardust has been pulled down and the Wynn group are looking to erect a new hotel in its place.
Cover me in Neon.
So with signs from El Cortez, Fitzgerald’s, and the Tropicana to name a few the museum is steeped in rich history and is a great way to spend an hour in Vegas. Of course, I want to keep a little bit of excitement when you actually visit. Above all, it does come highly recommended and is thoroughly enjoyable. It’s one of the ‘Top 10 things to do in Vegas‘ on my list if you’ve not already visited!
Of course, as always I’d love to know if you’ve been to the Boneyard and if so, what was your favourite sign? Drop a comment below and as always, I’d love you to pin any of the images in this post to Pinterest!
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