The Neon Boneyard Museum, where the bright lights of Vegas go to die. Okay, not die, more like rest glitteringly in the Nevada sunshine. I’ve had this place on my wishlist ever since I found it (fully booked) on my first visit to Sin City. This time around I made sure to book a month in advance and oh my goodness, it was most certainly worth the wait! The oh so sassy neon signs are my fave thing about Vegas. You can’t help but imagine just how glamorous the city must have been in it’s heyday. I was like a kid in a candy store the entire time wandering around, admiring the fallen letters and vintage signs.
Disused and broken signs have been rescued and donated to the museum from across the city since it opened in ’96. There’s a collection of over 200 signs, scattered in their final resting place for the public to enjoy and learn all about Las Vegas’ history through one hour guided tours. Giant rusty motel signs, flaky paint, broken light bulbs and dreamy pastel hues add to the already retro vibe. Not only does the boneyard display the golden era of neon, it also illustrates the changes in design and typography, with signs dating back as late as 1930. The museum’s restoration project also sees them lovingly revive the cream of the dazzling crop, displaying some of the world famous signs as art installations.
The signs are all displayed outside, so unless you fancy a scorcher of an hour in 45 degree heat – during hotter months especially – I’d recommend a morning time slot. Our tour guide was seriously knowledgable, he told us juicy stories about each sign; who made it, who bought it and the tales about the places they adorned. Spoiler alert: Mobster Bugsy Siegel named his casino Flamingo after his girlfriend’s long legs. Oh, and he was said to have been shot dead a few months after the casino opened for stealing money from the mob for the build. There’s plenty more kingpin scandal where that came from too.
Find it: 770 Las Vegas Boulevard North.
Price: $19 per adult ticket