The Neon Museum in Las Vegas has been collecting since the mid-90s and on a couple of trips to Vegas I had searched, un-successfully to find it when it was slightly less official collection of signs stored Downtown known as the ‘Neon Boneyard’. Even though fathoming any kind of opening hours proved unsuccessful – I had hoped to at least catch a glimpse. I never had any luck locating it and finally got to visit well over a decade later in their new, more substantial and official home, opened in 2012. It can pretty much be seen as a charity – all those years of saving these wonderful parts of Vegas heritage and it finally got the recognition and support it deserved. The museum is a bit of a walk from outside of the Downtown area. I’m British, so I walked, but it’s not a pretty walk so maybe taking a cab makes sense for most visitors.
Its entrance kiosk/shop alone is a wonderful part of Vegas history – having saved, moved, and re-constructed the entrance ‘shell’ to the La Concha hotel. The La Concha sign is also found in the museum.
I first came to Las Vegas in the early 2000s and since then many hotels that I recognise have gone but it is heartening to see the signs here. Stardust was one of the last that had that bit of old school sparkle in its sign and of course in its name.
A favourite place to visit in Vegas for me is the Peppermill Lounge. A fabulous hangout – dark whatever time of day it is with firepits to sit around and a fine array of cheesy tunes playing as a background to great cocktails. I’ve heard that it’s days are numbered, as is the way with ever-evolving (or devolving – please not another shopping mall!) Vegas, is that part of it at least will end up here.
For a neon junky like me – one visit will never be enough. It’s one of those places wher eyou can see different things, from different angles everywhere you look and of course, as things continue to be renewed (ie knocked down) in Vegas, things are added. On my next trip I will definitely go on the tour at night-time for a totally different perspective.
When I visited they were talking about gaining more space which should be fantastic as there are so many signs in the collection and so many likely to be added as all these gems are moved to make way for the new.
And there’s more…
The Downtown area, around Fremont Street has long time been the home to a variety of other neon signs. The ones on Fremont Street now that it’s covered, get a little lost, but there ware some classics like the cowgirl.
As you wander around the area you will come across others like the Cowboy and the Oscar’s Martini sign. The hotels in Downtown also have some great frontages. The Golden Nugget, 4 Queens and Binions are all treats.
Back on the strip, much of the glitzy ‘fun’ side of Vegas has gone but my old-time strip favourite still does itself proud, in all it’s pink glory!!