To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exploring Neon in the Desert

Hello there! It's been a while, and so much is going on, so I thought I'd have a little flashback post to October in Las Vegas!

For this most recent trip to Vegas I wanted us to add in things we hadn't done before. The one thing that was on our MUST DO list was visiting the Neon Museum. I love all the lights on the strip, I love the history and nostalgia of old Vegas, I love a chance to see something "new" and take tons of photos... the Neon Museum met all of this desires!

We happened to be there on the 1 year anniversary of it's opening in the current location with the La Concha Motel lobby as the main hub. It totally reminds me of Men in Black, yes? no? Before the tour I wandered around taking photos off the less glamorous part of Las Vegas Boulevard. I recall things like bullet holes and bars over doors and windows of empty buildings. BUT they had the awesome Neon Museum sign that just summarizes all things I love about Vegas!

The gift shop had cut merchandise, which I ended up buying after our tour, and some videos and pictures talking about the history of the signs. We noticed that we were one of only a few Americans on the tour - so apparently Europeans like this kitschy history, too!

Right on time we were off on our tour through this open air museum in the desert. It might have been late October, for but for this Oregonian it got pretty toasty! Throughout the tour nearly everyone was sneaking a pause break in the shade of the neon signs.  

The signs were so cool. It was like stepping into the old vintage photographs I love to look at. Hotels with well-known names, small motels that have been gone for ages, wedding chapels... everything with a sign, we saw it! The tour weaves through the signs, pausing every few paces to give history, quiz you on your trivia knowledge (we did pretty awesome at it!), pointing out photo stops and answering questions. At a wedding chapel sign we were the only couple to raise their hands when asked if anyone had gotten married in Las Vegas! A bonus for the trivia was my knowing that I was married in the same place (new hotel, same location) as Elvis and Priscilla Presley!

It costs only $18 for the standard Neon Museum tour, $12 for those of us with military ID, and is really worth the value. I mean $18 for an hour of history and entertainment (well, I found it entertaining!) in Las Vegas? That's a win in my book! They also offer night tours where you can see some of the signs lit up as intended. For photography fans you can book time for photo shoots as well. I took an obscene number of photos and was able to do it without getting other people in the shots, so really you don't have to go out of your way to book something special if you are wanting to see it all and get pictures.

Our tour guide was great! He answered questions and had such passion for his job that it really rubbed off on all of us. I highly recommend stepping away from the heart of the Strip and visiting the museum next time you are in town!

Now a couple more photos and I'll send you on your way!

The R -- I made it a point to photograph every R I found! *And yes, I was risque with my see through shirt and animal print "bralette". Viva Las Vegas!

The hotel/casino with the biggest presence in the boneyard ... Stardust.

Looking back at one of the rows of signs.

The happy Las Vegas newlyweds!


  1. Wow! I had no idea you could go there! I have friends who live there and every time we go we tend to do non-touristy things. I totally want to go to the neon museum!

    1. Put it on your list! We stayed at Flamingo Hilton and were there within minutes via a taxi!


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