Queen of Hearts Hotel sign in Neon Museum’s Boneyard
It’s hard to imagine Las Vegas without the neon. The flashy signs and iconic lights seem to be part of the desert town’s DNA. But like a limited engagement run by Mariah, even the flashiest of signs has an expiration date. Fortunately there is the Neon Museum and Boneyard where visitors can wander among some of the retired billboards for a big of neon nostalgia.
The Neon Museum building was the former La Cocha Hotel Lobby
Located well off the strip on North Las Vegas Boulevard, The Neon Museum‘s Visitor Center is set in the shell shaped former La Cocha Hotel Lobby, designed by famed Los Angeles architect Paul Williams. Williams is best known for his mid-century buildings and has been credited with designed the distinctive Theme Building at Los Angeles International airport.
Blending into the background at the Neon Museum
The Neon Museum features has an outdoor campus of over two acres of retired signage from local casinos and businesses. In addition to scheduled tours and photographer’s tours, the museum hosts some other interesting happenings.
Vintage Fitzgerald’s Casino sign
Shooting pool at the Neon Museum
I visited the Neon Museum for one of their scheduled photo walks. It wasn’t a guided tour but rather a supervised time around golden hour when we could wander the grounds and photograph the vintage lightbulb goodness.
Stardust memories at the Neon Museum
Some of the old signs are still illuminated and some are in better condition than others. The sign from the now shuttered Liberace Museum was a crowd favorite.
Defunct arrow sign
There is even a sidewalk stargazing event in collaboration with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society.
No Vacancy at the La Concha Hotel
There is some old Vegas represented here including signs from now-shuttered Fitzgerald’s Casino.
Wedding chapel signage
Jack of Spades
It was a lot of fun to enjoy the desert air and shifting light while exploring the boneyard during the photo walk.
Old Sahara signage
The Neon Museum’s grounds are available for photo shoots and special events (including private parties and weddings).
Liberace sign at the Neon Museum
А dry cleaning sign breaks things up
Some of the signs are still partially illuminated. In addition to advertisements from former casinos, there are retired signs from motels, dry cleaners, bars and wedding chapels.
Getting close to Sassy’s
Getting close to the signs you can see how the lightbulbs and neon tubes work together. The is some sort of decaying sense of beauty to the shattered glass and fading paint lovingly laid to rest in the boneyard.
Sideways in the neon Boneyard
Walking through the boneyard you start to think about just how non-compostable the leftover lightbulbs are.
Partially illuminated R
Retired Showboat Sign
Photographing some details at the Neon Boneyard
If you’re looking for interesting things to do in Vegas and want to get off the strip, I highly recommend a visit to the Neon Museum. It’s an interesting and well preserved slice of Vegas history and a unique opportunity to see it up close.
Peeping through the Boneyard Fence
If you can’t visit in person, it’s worth checking out the Neon Museum’s instagram.
А wide angle of the neon boneyard
Illuminated Yucca sign
The illuminated Yucca sign was a personal favorite of mine.
Dusk at Fitzgerald’s
Neon Museum Visitor’s Center
The Neon Museum is also a great place to visit if you don’t consider yourself a traditional Vegas visitor and dislike gambling and over chlorinated pools.
Stiletto sunset outside the Neon Museum in Las Vegas
The Neon Museums offers tours daily.
770 Las Vegas Boulevard North
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Museum hours vary based on the season