This is a treasure right in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. It is an outdoor museum of historical and vintage neon signs from various establishments, including most commonly, hotels and casinos, but also pool halls, motels, and gas stations. You will have to go with a guide for an approximately hour-long tour. There is no option to do a self-guided tour. But it is worth having company. The docent (guide) will give you a terrific insight into the design, production, and history of each sign, and keep you on pace to see the main items. You might hear stories you have never heard about casino personalities and It is also fun to hear the "oohs" and "aahs" of your companions. They allow up to about 20 people per tour. Be sure to reserve and/or pay for your visit ahead of time. It books up fast! On the day I arrived, it was totally sold out. I was glad that we had planned ahead.
You might be wondering if you should go during the day or night. It should depend on your schedule, not the quality of the tour. For obvious reasons, the nighttime tour is intriguing due to the lighting of some of the restored signs. (Keep in mind that not all signs are restored--due to funds--and so it may not be as illuminated as you may think.) But the daytime tour is quite interesting since you can see the intricacies of each sign, and it feels a bit more like a "boneyard," as the museum is called. I would recommend coming during both day and night and compare for yourself. But if you can only go on one or the other, just pick which time works best for you. Either way, it is a pretty cool experience. (If you go at night, you can also check out the "Brilliant" show which combines a trip to the boneyard with a nostalgic light and music show across the street, which adds an additional 30 minutes to your visit).
The price is not cheap, approximately $20 per person, but it is so helpful to the preservation of these important artifacts of Nevada history. Also, there ARE discounts for locals! Be sure to bring your Nevada ID. And if you are paying online, be sure to look for how to pay as a local on the website. It is not immediately obvious--you have to enter your local zip code. (You will still have to show your Nevada ID at the door!). If you are the type to get bored easily, are not intellectually curious in the slightest, and hate to follow rules or stand or walk around, skip this one.
They start promptly, so get there a few minutes ahead of time. Leave a little time to explore the quaint little gift shop, too. It has some interesting items, and the clerk provides you with some tidbits of the provenance of certain items.
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