Saturday, November 8, 2008

Las Vegas Neon Boneyard: The coolest place in the world, even when it's 100 degrees outside

Las Vegas is a city full of eccentric roadside attractions. I've lovingly called it the bad taste capital of the world... a city that revels in vices and celebrates wretched excess. The Las Vegas strip of today, while exciting in all its electronic splendor, has changed with the times. Most of the casinos sport fancy modern hi-def-like TV monitors for signs. I much prefer the signage of Las Vegas past that's still found at the Fremont Street area: those monolithic boards lit by really hot individual light bulbs all blinking furiously in your face and real neon tubes bent in the shape of a sexy cowgirl or winking Marlboro Man. As a fan of both roadside stuff and decay, the Las Vegas Neon Boneyard is just about the coolest place I've ever seen. As Vegas's casinos get torn down to build even bigger, more up to date places to lose your kids' college fund, Las Vegas's Neon Museum's earnest preservationists have arranged to have the classic old signs dragged to an area on the outskirts of town. And thank God, for these signs are history. It's a surreal experience to take the tour, a real bargain at $15, and led by a local Vegas signage historian/fan. The Neon Museum is lovingly restoring the signs one by one and putting them up again. They look fantastic restored but I find them even more amazing in their state of ruin. The irony is overwhelming. Something that was once so glittery, happy, huge and spectacular is now rusted, busted, and rotting away. A trip to Vegas is simply not complete without a trip to the Boneyard. The Neon Museum uses the $15 tour fee to keep on restoring the signs so visit them, please. Here's their website:

1 comment: said...

Found this on a Las Vegas blog search. Thanks for the great post and reminding people about the Neon Boneyard. Well worth checking out for someone who wants to get beyond simply drinking and gambling their vacation away!