Where Neon Signs Go to Die: The Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas

While my past three or four trips into the glittery desert have centered on pure debauchery, I’m slowly learning that Vegas isn’t just about the cards and the cocktails. (Or perhaps it is, but you need those little journeys off the Strip to reset from the night before. To breathe. To keep yourself from slipping into a slot machine abyss.)

This time around, on my 11.11.11 pilgrimage, I finally managed to do something different: I visited the Neon Boneyard, an outdoor museum on Las Vegas Boulevard, about 15 minutes from the Strip.

The simplest description of the Neon Boneyard? It’s where Sin City’s signs go to die.

But that sounds rather morbid, and I guess it’s better to say the neon signs in this approximately two-acre park—most of them vintage and from the golden era of neon—rest elegantly in ruins. Established in 1996, the boneyard has over 150 donated and rescued signs, like this deep lavender Algiers Hotel sign:

neon boneyard

We toured the boneyard just before a part of the site—the future La Concha Visitor Center—was scheduled to be closed for construction. Boneyard guides are volunteers; ours gave us a one-hour walking tour inside a fenced-off lot of massive neon displays, hotel and casino marquees, fallen letters, and signs with broken bulbs.

Neon Boneyard

The neon signs in Vegas, leased by hotels and casinos, are made by YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company). YESCO started the sign biz in Vegas in 1932—the first sign sold in the city was to the Oasis Cafe on Fremont Street—and set up shop in the area in the 1940s, ushering in the grand age of “neon spectaculars,” like the classic Golden Nugget sign.

Neon Boneyard

For $15, you not only see these gorgeously dilapidated signs up close, but are also treated to a history lesson of Las Vegas. You learn random tidbits about the beginnings of the city; its expansion; and the major players, casino kingpins, and mafia figures that have built and shaped the Strip through the decades.

Neon Boneyard

While you’re not allowed to wander away from the group, you’ve got time to linger and snap photographs. (The section of the boneyard open to tours isn’t that big to begin with, so it’s not like you can escape anyway.) I loved the colorful, unattached letters on the ground: upright, on their sides, or upside down. Stacked, clustered together, or lonely and on their own.

It’s eerie and still here. Yet…also vivid and alive. Decades of history, frozen.

Feels also like some of the letters and signs are speaking to you.

Neon Boneyard bulbs
Broken bulbs. Dirty pink. Stacked letters in the background.

Neon Boneyard arrow
I loved the rusty, peeled-off displays, like this yellow arrow and 24-hour cocktail sign.

Neon Boneyard shadow
A girl on her side, and a shadow of a person quietly looking upon her.

Neon Boneyard
One of the casino signs near the entrance of the park.

Neon Boneyard detail

It’s cool getting up close to the bulbs within the “channeling” of the signs. When lit, the channels on the signs had helped shield the bulbs from the elements and keep the illumination strong and concentrated. Our guide said that while none of the signs are currently set up to be electrified, the museum hopes to do this someday. (Night tours of this site would be sweet.)

Neon Boneyard shadows
Our group silhouette in front of the massive red Stardust sign, partially shown above.

neon motel sign
The washed-out blue on this distressed motel sign is beautiful. Not all the colors on the signs are vibrant, yet even the duller, weaker shades are healthy splashes.

neon stardust sign
More of the Stardust sign, which rests near the tail end of the tour.

Neon Boneyard
Not-so-random placement of N, E, O, and N.


You must purchase tour tickets in advance.

280 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    WOW! I loved this article on Neon Boneyard. I never heard of this place before, but your article makes it sound so fun with all the artistic pictures. Now I can’t wait to see it next time I go to Vegas. Btw I love how you use shadows to your advantage in your photos. I especially like the picture of the tall shadow looking at the girl’s head. It’s both eerie and enchanting at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. The “girl on her side” sign fragment was from the Quickee Chickee fast food chain in the West, specializing in hamburgers and Chinese food!

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    1. Oh, nice! Thanks for the bit of information (and for visiting my blog and finding this older post of mine!).

      Like

  3. This is on my bucket list of small but amazing places I want to go! Almost tempted to get back to Vegas asap just for this. We have a similar place in London but the signs are so much smaller than these beasts!
    http://fizzy-cola.com/gods-own-junkyard/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, nice! Thanks for sharing this. My sister-in-law lives in Walthamstow — we’re actually leaving England end of this week so wouldn’t have a chance to see this right now, but I’ll bookmark it for next time 🙂

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  4. Last time we were there, the museum was closed by the time we decided to go. You see the signs exactly the way I do, so glad others appreciate them, and good to know there is a home for them! I really enjoy your writing as well—just happened upon this from Google images, where I was searching to purchase single, vintage letters, so if you hear of such a resource, please let me know! In the meantime I’ll read up on your lost items and incessant drinking, LOL!!

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  5. What an interesting and informative article. I actually have wondered in the past just what happens to all these wonderful signage pieces when they pass out of use. Here in Vancouver we have a truly great history of neon signs of our own. Consider this excerpt, “In 1953, an estimated 19,000 neon signs lit up Vancouver. That’s one sign for every 18 residents,… In fact, 1950s Vancouver was believed to have the highest number of neon signs per capita, second only to Shanghai…” from an article that can be found here, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/15/vancouver-neon-signs-photos_n_5318385.html. It was your posting though, that gave me the answer to my actual question, since I had visited Las Vegas many times in my days with Royal American Shows, and it was your city in particular that I was curious about. After all, that, and the fact that I love your writing is why I follow your Blog. So please keep the postings coming, and I in turn, will keep returning. Thank-you.

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  6. […] the street signs we see on our commute to work each day to the vintage neon signs put to rest in an outdoor museum in Las Vegas, signs are functional, but can also be decorative. […]

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  7. This is such an amazing place! Beautiful pictures.

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  8. Woooow! Awesome collection. I love these kind of pictures!

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  9. It makes me nostalgic for a place I’ve never been.

    Thanks for showing a different side of Vegas.

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  10. […] Dit is een foto van het Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. Op deze website zijn een paar prachtige kiekjes te vinden! Dit bericht werd geplaatst in Blogs en getagged […]

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  11. Mich überkam in diesem Moment der Wunsch dir zu diesem Blog zu danken. Die Art deiner Worte sind änzlich super und ich meine behauptenzu können, dass du ein totaler Experte bist!

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    1. Vielen Dank!

      Like

  12. I will definitely go there next time we go to Vegas. We arrived with Elvis piping up in the background music of our car and stayed in sheer decadence at the Wynne, highly recommend it if you want to feel looked after. Am enjoying your stuff, it’s great, am about to do a piece about Vegas, Grand Canyon and Palm Springs. My blog based in L.A and all surrounding parts as far as we can travel. Love to know your thoughts, Kate x

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    1. Thanks, Kate. I’ve got a growing list of things I want to see and do in southeastern CA, NV, and AZ. From the Grand Canyon (can’t believe I’ve never been) to kitschy stops along the highways, the “wigwam hotel” on Route 66, the pockets of hot springs near Death Valley, Joshua Tree, quirky Googie and Space Age architecture in the region, etc. I realize there’s so much in that area to explore!

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  13. Hi everybody, recently I read about a Museum of Letters (Buchstabenmuseum in German) in Berlin, maybe it´s worth a visit… Check the homepage: http://www.buchstabenmuseum.de/ (German/English)

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    1. Great find! I plan to return to Berlin — this is now on my list. Thanks!

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  14. Awesome dudette. Nice shots!

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  15. I love your pics! I know where I’m going the next time I go to Vegas. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Totally portrays that end-of-year feeling! Great post

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  17. Oh, wow!! I want one!! ;-D

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  18. Its great to see some of the classic signs saved!!! It would be great to see more of the classic signs be refurbished

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  19. These photos are amazing!

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  20. Cheri, great post and pictures! I wish I knew about this when I visited a few months ago. It’s added to the list for next time. Thanks for sharing.

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  21. Absolutely gorgeous. I’m inspired to find some letters of my own with a vintage las vegas vibe to put in my room 🙂

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  22. I love all those signs. I wish I could get my hands on some of them!

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  23. pornoscopy

    Hey that was really cool, I’m sure they must sell for loads.

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  24. neat! i never knew such a place existed in las vegas. sounds like an educational and fun outing.

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  25. Reblogged this on alifelostinspace and commented:
    Pretty

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  26. Best post I’ve seen in a while! You’re so inventive!!

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  27. bravo cheri, fingers cross… you define photography.

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    1. Vikram–you are very kind. Thank you for your note!

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  28. thebehenjialterego

    OH MY GOD i LOve this post! When I get my magazine running, you’re so going to feature in it!

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  29. I love that everything has a second life – the decay can be beautiful!

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    1. Decay can be beautiful!

      YES! I completely agree. I’m drawn to abandoned buildings and ruined objects and decorative detritus…

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  30. Christian Debbie Cheerilee Alvarez

    Wow! They have some really cool signs there!

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  31. Awesome memories…Thank you!

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  32. I must say…the photos are really good! 🙂

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  33. This is unexpected! I didn’t even think about what they would do with these signs! Nice pictures and posts!

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  34. Great pictures, and a fascinating place.

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  35. A relative recently moved to Vegas. I will tell him about your find.

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  36. Wow, those pictures are amazing and I love the way you write. Very enchanting. I like the idea of this place and it’s name is really cool. Neon Boneyard. It kind of reminds me of the Elephant Graveyard in The Lion King. But flashy.
    Thanks for the post xx

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  37. The best idea would be to use renewable energy, most likely solar, generated and stored there on site at the museum, to power the signs for the “night tour”, lighting up the classic signs to full brightness without harming the environment.

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    1. FYI, neon is the second most energy efficient light form, after LED, and before even fluorescent. Granted, not all of the signs are neon. And your idea of having the museum self-powered through solar is still an excellent suggestion.

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  38. alchemistphotography

    these pictures are amazing although my personal view would to be darken up the pictures and make them seem more “antique”

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  39. Love these. Brilliant!

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  40. Love this!!! This has been on my hotlist to see while in Vegas – barring too much debauchery of course. Beautiful photos!!! And congrats on Freshly Pressed!!!

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  41. Beautiful photos – although the signs don’t go there to die? It is an amazing space.
    I also recently visited the neon boneyard museum and was completely fascinated by all of the history & old iconic signs …http://krispix.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/if-only-those-signs-could-talk/
    Very cool!

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  42. i love this! these are amazing photos!

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  43. I LOVE your post! I have never been to Vegas but when we do go, I’ll be sure to visit the Neon Boneyard. It’s the out of the way unique kind of places that I love to visit!

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  44. Your photos are amazing! I love old neon signs. I will for sure visit this place when I head down to Vegas.

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  45. Oh, I love this kind of history where your imagination takes over, inventing stories from a kind of graveyard of once young, exciting places. Your photos are fabulous and another way of preserving the past! Thanks for sharing.

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  46. I’ve never been so grateful to have checked Freshly Pressed… thank you for speaking to me!

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  47. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I have to go here next time I’m in Vegas!

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  48. Wonderful photos!

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  49. beautiful images! Will definately have to pay this place a visit someday

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  50. Fantastic photos! Given Algeria’s troubled history over the last few centuries, I was surprised not only to see an old sign for the Algiers Hotel, but all the more so to learn that it’s still in business!

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  51. You said “lonely” somewhere in the writing. Lonely I felt, indeed.

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  52. barbaralongley

    Great pictures! I’d love to visit the neon sign graveyard one day. Can you imagine what aliens would make of it if they accidentally landed there? :0)

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  53. Awesome – awesome – awesome! I want to go there. Too bad you’re probably not allowed to hang a giant A in your living room after you steal it from the pile of left-over alphabet soup.

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  54. Prettylittleraindrops.

    Really cool pictures!

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  55. “Where Neon Signs Go To Die” could’ve been titled “Neon Sign Hospice”. Here at http://stainfreemedia.wordpress.com, we like it.

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  56. I’ve a sibling who lives in Vegas, and so I get to visit more often than I ever imagined I would and I love it – never have seen the “neon graveyard” but from your pics, def looks like somewhere to add to my itinerary for the next trip.

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  57. Great pics. Would make a class location for a music video!

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  58. […] PS: Take a look at Writing Through the Fog’s pictures of old Las Vegas signs. (We love them! Maybe we could even see how to get a hold of some!?=) http://writingthroughthefog.com/2011/11/16/where-neon-signs-go-to-die-the-neon-boneyard-in-las-vegas… […]

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  59. Impressive! Love the gorgeous signs. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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  60. Amazing pictures and great post!

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  61. Great Pics I love Las vegas.

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  62. I’d not ever considered that those old signs would be saved in a place like that…I’l have to pay a visit when or if I go there! Great pics!

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  63. […] a nice piece of miscellany for you: some gorgeous photos from the Neon Boneyard, repository for Las Vegas’s defunct neon signs.  Too cool! […]

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  64. thank you so much – your photos are beautiful…I’ve always wanted to visit this place, hopefully one day I can.

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  65. wow. looks cool and kind of sad at the same time.

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  66. My first visit to Las Vegas was in 1963 and I stayed at the Stardust.

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    1. Old school. Nice!

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  67. Dustin Adams

    We should get all these and restore them there are new lighting systems that are energy efficent and have a loger life. Business idea!? Not that all the structures could be used but many could be put to use from the photos.

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  68. Great photos! And so unique because of the subject matter. Awesome job.

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  69. Steven D'

    Sin City, boy ain’t that the truth. Vegas Prayer- D’oh! Lord please forgive me for the stuff I’m doing down here.

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  70. kholidwakhid

    wow this is nice stuff.. beyond bright of las vegas.. nice pic

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  71. Wacky Jokes and Pics

    Nice to know that this place exist in Las Vegas.

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  72. This is sweet!

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  73. thesinglegirldiaries

    I have ALWAYS wanted to visit this place … I actually assumed it was an urban myth… Glad it actually exists 🙂 Thanks for sharing some amazing pictures!

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  74. CallMeMsCrissi

    Beautiful Pictures. I was unaware such a place existed, but will definitely have to put that on my to-see list when I finally make it out to Vegas.

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  75. I have been here and just loved it. I didn’t have a camera with me as I was expecting to just eat, drink and be merry. I’m old enough to have seen a few of them when they were still up, like the Sands. Even though the neon shouts tacky, Vegas used to be a really classy place with people dressing for dinner and the nicer casinos etc. long before people started walking around in shorts and tee shirts.Great post.

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  76. This is great. I’ve always wanted to go and explore Vegas’ history. It seems like this would be a great way to begin such a trip. Thanks for posting.

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  77. Coooool….There something magical about neon signs…..like those beautifully kept fifties American cars in Havana or old fairgrounds….

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  78. You have some marvelous shots here. LOVE the one of the girl on her side and the persons shadow. I’ve lived near Vegas and visited there too many times to count and didn’t know of this place. Next time around you can bet I will check it out and take some photos.

    Sarah

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    1. Hey Sarah–that shadow shot is one of my favorites, too!

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  79. Why does the sign say Algiers? Isn’t that in Algeria?

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    1. That sign is from the old Algiers Hotel on the Vegas Strip.

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  80. That was pretty cool. I always wondered about the old signs!

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  81. I see the images as something as beautiful…like a graveyard of the gods.

    When the legends die, the dreams end; there is no more greatness.
    –Tecumseh

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  82. Beautiful post! I would love it there!

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  83. […] The elegant ruins of the Neon Boneyard, where neon signs in Las Vegas go to die. The photos here are gorgeously […]

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  84. I love it, thank you! I reblogged here http://1129designorecchinigioielli.blogspot.com/2011/11/dove-vanno-morire-i-neon.html hope you don’t mind 🙂
    best nicoletta

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  85. LV and the nearby mountains and deserts have a lot to do that you will never find on the Strip. The Boneyard is a great place to start making an escape. Your photos pick up the excellent opportunity for abstractions and social commentary. On future trips, seek out the Spring Preserve and recently opened Nevada State Museum. These are state of the art facilities. For some hiking, drive to the mountains at Red Rock, or go a little further to the north to Valley of Fire.

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    1. Oscar–I’ll definitely check out the Spring Preserve, Red Rock, and Valley of Fire. Hopefully the next time I visit Vegas the weather is just right for hiking and being outside!

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  86. Cool post, really great photos!

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  87. Only in America…:-)

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  88. awesome images… i really wanna go check this place out!

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  89. A fascinating piece and such lovely photos too! (This reminds me of a story about a place in Italy, where they keep the statues of saints who become unsainted somehow. ..I keep trying to write a poem about it but it never materializes. 🙂 )

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    1. Ah, a site of unsainted statues in Italy — this sounds fantastic!

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  90. Hanna Maze

    I love this! I once saw a great show where someone redesigned there living room with a bunch of neon signs that had probably once ended up in a grave yard somewhere along the way like this!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  91. I just thought of something else looking at your fascinating pictorial – most of the signs you shot didn’t have neon, but were just electric bulbs, inside and out of the channels you described. Makes me wonder how the sequencing of those bulbs turning on and off was controlled in the time before our present-day sophisticated computers. Thanks again for a fun read.

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  92. Great pics. Congrats on being Fresh-Pressed. Thanks for sharing this post. I think you’ve chronicled a fascinating way our pop-culture moves through history – taking some things along and leaving others behind.

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  93. Really cool stuff–a whole other side of Vegas!

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  94. chelsealeighbee

    This was so interesting! I can honestly say I have never thought about what happens to all of those neon signs- but to see the retired ones in such beautiful photo’s was amazing!

    All the Best!

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  95. I cannot begin to describe how much I loved this post and those amazing photos. Have you ever thought to use some of those letters in your interior decorating? The huge signs may be a bit large but a single letter may be re-appropriated as a coffee table or ottoman.

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    1. I recently moved into a new place, and my walls are pretty bare at the moment. Letters and words made out of recycled objects and pieces of wood are on my decorating list. I’ve seen objects at craft stores and flea markets, but this boneyard definitely inspired me to get moving on this!

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  96. wow great photography. I love the worn out colors, beautiful. check mine out http://www.lindseyeileen.wordpress.com 🙂

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  97. Whoa! Beautiful captures and great post!

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  98. As a Las Vegas native (we do exist – LOL) this brings back memories of my childhood. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Ha.

      And so glad that this post brought some childhood memories to the foreground.

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  99. Great post! Its nice to see a positive article written about Vegas.

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  100. A post that deserves to be Freshly Pressed! Unique and interesting. I’d like to tour this, especially if they lit up the signs at night! What a cool idea.

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  101. Love the photos!

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  102. Great photos!!!

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  103. Modern Bookshelf

    This post is so cool. I love the photos. I’m pretty much obsessed with all things vintage. I hope to visit Vegas one day and take some photos myself. I am a photographer based on the coast of Virginia, and there definitely isn’t anything THIS interesting here. But I’m a small town girl, so I don’t mind. Glad I found your blog. Will visit again soon. 🙂

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  104. Great find. I really enjoyed your writing style. This is the type of thing that really interests me. I like getting off the beaten path a bit.

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  105. Great post! I live close by and have driven by the exhibit but I’ve never taken time to go see it. This is a good incentive to do so now.

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  106. Everything is decaying.

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  107. I am obsessed with this – I’m a typography geek to be honest, I really want to go and have a nosey! Very inspiring. xx

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  108. Very Interesting! I’ll have to visit this Neon Boneyard next time I visit Vegas. Interestingly, YESCO sign company is a Salt Lake City company who made the famous sign in Ogden that is a famous landmark of Ogden. It has been displayed in Ogden for decades. I also believe they created a sign for Brigham City that like the Ogden sign has been welcoming people for decades to the respective cities. You’re right about how cool it would be to have these signs electrified and even had a night time tour of these signs. It would be cool to see signs from the past of casino’s that no longer exist in Vegas. Like I said, I will have to pay a visit to the Neon Boneyard the next time I visit Vegas!

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    1. Thanks for the note, Marc. The YESCO sign company is pretty interesting — loved looking at their site and history timeline in particular.

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  109. Wanderlosting

    I just got really jealous, I’ve always wanted to go there! Looking at your snaps and reading about them was a nice break from some paper writing over here in London.

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  110. Awesome pictures! Thank you.

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  111. Amazing! There’s something really beautiful and forlorn about them.

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  112. Holy Crap! Those pictures look awesome, and those signs look so cool as wreckage. Isn’t it funny how sometimes things look better with age?

    Ricky
    http://www.TheWandererFL.com
    http://www.CardinalPlaylists.com

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  113. wow, this looks like such a wonderful place to explore!

    The pictures are great.

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  114. interesting how all these things end up. i did a blog on neon vegas, and one was an old shot i did of the strardust sign twenty years ago. i was glad to see the silver slipper was actually still up near the fremont experience and the other by the historical museum up the strip. thanks for the blog.

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    1. Yeah, that silver slipper is cool! Their Neon Signs Project is great: http://www.neonmuseum.org/the-collection/neon-signs-project

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  115. Wow, this is really cool. I got major love for Vintage things so would love to visit it! I’m kinda new to wordpress and would love you to check out my blog + leave comments please! Evie x x

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  116. Great work!
    keep them coming 🙂

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  117. Weirdly enough, neon never looked more interesting than seeing it through your pictures now.
    Congrats on FP! 🙂

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  118. this is such an awesome post. kudos!

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  119. The stardust sign I remember from many a movie set on the strip.

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  120. Joe Labriola

    Wow, beautiful images. I always wondered where neon went to die!

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  121. ahipshooter

    So much to Vegas than what many people know of it. As everyone else thank you for sharing your experience. I’m including a link of the museum for everyone. This is one i will bookmark as a location to shoot at in the future. http://www.neonmuseum.org/the-collection/neon-boneyard

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  122. So cool! Will have to check it out next time I’m in Vegas.

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  123. I seen this on a tv show. Storage Wars. 🙂

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  124. This is such a great collection! Sweet stuff!

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  125. It’s quite an amazing place to see! Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  126. I would love to go, but I think I’d get too sad and pissed off seeing all that perfectly good neon Americana go to waste. Thanks for taking me there…

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  127. Great photos and informative.Thanks for sharing. Keep blogging 🙂

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  128. Wonderful photos! They’re so inspiring and unusual, thanks for sharing!

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  129. That is sick. Great pictures. Interesting view into a side of the glitzy Vegas that is rarely shown.

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  130. howthelightfalls

    Wow, great pictures! It’s all a little sad, and yet utterly captivating at the same time.

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  131. Beautiful. This looks like a painter’s paradise. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

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  132. I didn’t even know that place existed. I’ll have to check that out next time I’m there. Awesome. Thanks for the info.

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  133. Brandon Flowers of the Killers actually did a photoshoot there once to promote his solo album “Flamingo” some months ago. I’m sure another Killers fan will stumble on this blog and share details. 🙂

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  134. Great Photos! I WANT MORE! 🙂
    Greets

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  135. Really cool photos, the colours really make it!

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  136. Your photos are wonderful. I think I saw this place featured on a History, Discovery or some channel like that. Very cool post.

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  137. Reblogged this on Make Something Every Day and commented:
    This is a cool post from today’s freshly pressed. What do you think? I’d love to photograph this place! Make Something Every Day!

    Like

  138. I think there’s a holding place for old neon signs in winnipeg. i don’t know if there’s one in vancouver. It’s a shame because I like neon signs.

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  139. I hit “repost” for the first time… I love your post! I’m assuming it goes to my blog!? Lol. Well it’s here i hope… http://www.foundobjectbeachart.wordpress.com
    Nice work!

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  140. Really fetching post! I

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  141. Great post! I lived in Las Vegas twice. It was only the second time that I learned about the activities beyond the strip. The Boneyard is definitely worth a visit and a great place to feel a sense of nostalgia while remembering historical memories from the city of lights.

    Ahh, the great photos is making me want to plan a quick trip back!

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  142. Have always wanted to visit there. Beautiful photos! Cograts on being FP!!

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  143. This is a very cool post! Besides the colourful subject matter – I love the way you present your photos on your blog, do you use an export plugin? Or import each one? Great job!

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    1. Thanks, Julienne. I just use the built-in photo uploader in WordPress.com, uploading one image at a time (or dragging them, with the new feature).

      Like

  144. Great pictures!

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  145. Great photos! Thanks for sharing.

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  146. Interesting, but sad :<

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  147. great post and awesome pics! a side of Vegas we’ve never seen…

    dina
    http://www.lifeofphi.com

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  148. Really interesting post. Maybe when i get back there one day i will check it out. ” incentive to remarry 🙂

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  149. elohimguevara

    Beautiful pictures 🙂

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  150. jennymasonuk

    What a great post – I love the images!

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  151. Julio Eiffelt R R

    I would say that, Neon can be Converted to LED. It consumes less energy than neon.

    Great images Of Neon Advertising Box. 🙂

    Like

  152. This is an awesome series (and great neon). Thanks for putting these out there!

    Like

  153. My wife and I have looked for this boneyard everytime we have been in Vegas but to no avail. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    1. Best for a cab to take you there. Or, when you buy tickets (which you must in advance), print some directions, as a few cab drivers didn’t know where it was.

      Like

  154. Wow, that’s amazing! Being a huge fan of all things nostalgic, this will be a must-see for me if I ever go to Vegas… Love the post! Thank you 🙂

    Like

  155. Hey, thank you for posting these amazing pics. I think there´s something similar in Berlin, but inside a huge hall and of course of smaller scale. Hope this Neon Boneyard will be still there when I someday manage a trip to the US and to Vegas…
    http://justsomemarkers.wordpress.com/

    Like

  156. These are absolutely amazing photographs! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  157. How amazing! I love the photos as well as the interesting history. Sounds like so much fun!

    Like

  158. wonderful images! the graveyard of signs! great stuff. angie

    Like

  159. FP is connecting Vegas with many cities now! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Like

  160. neon signs are very interesting and great for publicity. I am surprised to see the variety of neon signs here.

    Like

  161. Looks beautiful 🙂

    Like

  162. I’m from Reno, NV, and I have to say that one of the coolest moments I’ve ever had in the city was when they re-lit the famous Reno arch with more environmentally-friendly bulbs. It was cool to see the sign dark and then light up like that, and afterward they gave the old bulbs away to the spectators. It’s like having a piece of Reno history in my room.

    Like

    1. This is awesome — I did not know about the replacing of the bulbs on the Reno arch. I actually do love that sign — kitschy and quirky, and captures the spirit of Reno well.

      Like

  163. I’m hooked. Next trip I’m there. Love the neon and hey wait I remember some of those signs.

    Like

  164. wow, my trips to vegas all centre around pure debauchery, but this might inspire me to go see something “cultural”. great post.

    Like

  165. Pretty amazing to see all those signs like that. it’s like going through some crazy history.

    Thinking about what they used to look like and what they look like now. What they used to represent, and what they represent now.

    Like

  166. wow. this is a whole story for something dead. reminds me of the movie Wall-E.

    Like

    1. I also remember that Pixar movie Wall-E where all the scrap and old machines are thrown into certain bone yard. It’s like a deja vu of the scenes.

      Like

  167. WOW. I just went to Vegas this past January, and that is EERIE. It’s such a huge contrast from the livelihood of the main strip. It just goes to show how consumerist our society is. Once something breaks they immediately replace it, and the old has literally no where to go. SO INTERESTING!!

    Like

    1. Once something breaks they immediately replace it, and the old has literally no where to go. I love this — you are right. Our culture is always about bigger and glitzier and shinier, and the old is discarded. Amazing, though, how some of these signs, unlit, have more life than some signs that are currently along the Strip.

      Like

  168. I think I saw Al Capone under one of those signs … the one with the bullet holes 😉
    Cheers,
    Nice pics
    -Ron
    http://www.learntobeatmatch.ca

    Like

  169. Great post. We (in Cincinnati) have a wonderful sign museum … and all these should go there. Then again, what is in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

    Like

    1. I’ll have to look up this sign museum you speak of in Cincinnati — sounds cool. Thanks for the tip!

      Like

      1. Cheri,
        Thought I’d help you … it’s the American Sign Museum … http://signmuseum.org/

        Like

  170. Great pix! I’ve always wanted to go here. This is when I loved Las Vegas – back in the Rat Pack days.

    Like

  171. Brings back the memories! Thanks!

    Like

  172. Did you happen to see the Salty Dog sign that disappeared years ago?

    Like

    1. I did not (and actually, I am not sure what sign you speak of). If you happen to visit this post again, feel free to give me more info!

      Like

  173. Haunting. This seems like it could be a great setting for a story or a scene within it.

    Like

  174. As a former neon bender apprentice (never got that good at it), I found this post intriguing and would love to see the Neon Boneyard. It looks fascinating in and of itself, but I also always enjoy being able to get up close to the signs and see how they were put together. Maybe some day…

    Like

  175. Very cool, in all my trips to Vegas I never heard about this gem!

    Like

  176. Those shots are great. Thank you for sharing. I love the one with your shadows. Cheers!

    Like

    1. The shadow shots are some of my favorites, too — staring at the ground as I walked made the place feel even more eerie. There are a few more shadow pics in the Flickr set (link at bottom of post).

      Like

  177. That is so cool! Seems like a great place to take photos!

    Like

  178. I’ve heard of this place, but you’ve really brought it to life, so to speak! Nicely done!

    Like

  179. I found out about the boneyard right before I went to Vegas in June, and alas, I didn’t quite make it over there. Loved this post, it made me want to go even more. I won’t miss it next time.

    Like

  180. while i’m usually not a fan of non-gluttonous things, the photos were gorgeous! man, i really need to go to vegas.

    Like

  181. My husband and I are planning a trip to Las Vegas next year (I’ve been several times before; he’s never had the experience) and we will definately check this out. I’d heard about it but hadn’t thought it would be worth the money. You’ve convinced me otherwise. Thanks (and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!) Awesome pictures!

    Like

  182. Very great post. Those pictures were awesome and congrats on being on Fresh Press

    http://www.eartharoundus.wordpress.com

    Like

  183. Those signs would be worth a lot to collectors.

    Like

  184. Love off the beaten track – cool pictures

    Like

  185. Oh, wow! I love this!

    Like

  186. nice post.. i’ve been to vegas but wasn’t able to visit the neon boneyard.. i love its rustic looks and those signs should sit in a (neon boneyard) museum instead complete with working lights.. i’m sure it’s going to be awesome walking past each neon sign and travelling back in time..

    Like

  187. That is very cool! In all my trips to Vegas I have never heard of this.

    Like

  188. Visited here through Freshly Pressed. Aside from preserving old signs, the Neon Boneyard also gives people a safe topic of “what happened to them in Vegas!”

    Like

  189. I think people will find most of the South West and West are like that. People travel there to buy things you can’t find anywhere else, roughly preserved by the arid desert weather.

    Like

  190. This really makes me think of the episode of Seinfeld when Kramer gets all the old signs from The Merv Griffin Show and drags them into his apartment.

    Great photos.

    Like

    1. Ah! That is one of my all-time favorite Seinfeld episodes — it’s so funny how Kramer sets up the entire Merv Griffin set in his apartment and has Jerry, Elaine, and the eagle/hawk(?) trainer on his show… On another note, there’s definitely that old Vegas/showtime feel in the boneyard, so I totally get your comparison.

      Like

  191. awesome post.. 😀

    Like

  192. I had to share your link on facebook and twitter! These images are amazing and inspiring.

    Like

  193. Wow! I never knew of the history behind the place! And I don’t think I’ve made the connection until now, they also shot this music video there!

    Like

    1. Interesting — thanks for sharing that video! My co-worker mentioned that a Killers video was shot here, too (but I haven’t seen it).

      Like

    2. Very cool to see the signs come to life in the video.

      Like

  194. To see a place like that lit up in all it’s former glory would be fabulous!

    Like

  195. This is awesome! It is so going on the bucket list. 🙂 Great post!

    🙂

    uponatlas.

    Like

  196. ruelgaviola

    I’ve always wanted to go, but always seem to run out of time whenever I’m in Vegas. Thanks for sharing the photo essay.

    Like

  197. Wow a side of Vegas i sure didnt see. Your photography is amazing 🙂

    Like

  198. Thanks so much! On a trip to the US I took heaps of photos of old neons signs but never dreamt there was a boneyard – looks like I’ll be saving again to get back there. Cheers Sue

    Like

  199. Going to Vegas next week (from NY) it will be my 5th trip. Looking for random stuff to do and this will def work!

    Like

  200. Great pictures, the whole place looks strangely fascinating, like it’s crying out to be a location in a Neil Gaiman novel….

    Like

    1. Indeed. One of the coolest things about this place is, depending on one’s imagination and interests, it conjures up stories and fantasies. You think of Neil Gaiman, another person thinks of something else. It’s a great spot!

      Like

  201. Never heard of this before! adding it to my bucket list! 🙂

    Like

  202. Cool find! I hope to check this out someday

    Like

  203. these pictures are amazing!

    Like

  204. This is awesome!:)

    Like

  205. love love love. I always get tempted into taking pics of lit neon, but these look amazing all in their shabby chic. Fab photos

    Like

  206. Great pics! They’ve got equal parts creepiness and Americana.

    Like

    1. Equal parts creepiness and Americana. EXACTLY! Love your succinct description. It’s a kitschy spot, fit for a cheesy horror flick, too.

      Like

  207. What a great post! Those signs certainly make for some interesting artwork…if you can find a place to put them, of course! 🙂

    Like

  208. Very cool! I actually saw this on American Pickers I think!

    Great Post! 🙂

    Like

  209. Nice photos. Those are some really cool signs. Could make for great design touches in a home or office.

    Like

  210. Well, I didn’t see your tweets, I don’t think (are we twitter connected?) but your pics are freakin awesome. They’re so filled with nostalgia and eeriness. Just love it.
    I used to live in Henderson, about 15 minutes from the strip. I didn’t know about this place.

    Val

    http://valentinedefrancis.wordpress.com

    Like

  211. Alessandro Paiva

    I need to go there soon!

    Like

  212. I never knew such an awe inspiring place existed, very interesting! It seems somewhat akin to an elephant graveyard of the industrial variety. Congrats on being featured, you totally deserve it for cataloging this experience and writing such a great post! I hope you’re prepared to be completely overwhelmed with comments like these, some far more ridiculous 🙂

    Like

  213. I would love to go to Las Vegas. Your images show a different perspective.

    Like

  214. I suppose that is the draw of Las Vegas. Ever evolving constant destruction and reincarnation of the entire town. It is a shame they are left to die. I’m sure there are plenty of people willing to repurpose them.

    Like

    1. Hey Chris–I think I used the phrase “where neon signs go to die” for dramatic effect. Because really, this nonprofit “takes care” of these signs, and some displays are restored and displayed along Las Vegas Boulevard. I think it’s an ongoing project.

      Like

  215. This place looks so cool. I’m going there in April so I think a visit is in order.

    Like

  216. They do look so imbued with life that they have a voice of their own, don’t they? I’ve never travelled to the States but even here in the UK we sometimes get to see bits of this site as it is occasionally used in TV series and movies shown over here and I’ve always wondered how large the whole place is. Thanks for sharing your visit with us 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks for saying hi from the UK! Yeah, our guide mentioned a CSI episode, for example, and I know it’s been filmed in many other productions. Very cool.

      Like

  217. Cool! I’m heading to Las Vegas tomorrow for Thanksgiving with my brother — should I ask him to take me?

    What a fun place…totally off the “must-visit tourist hot spot” list!

    🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Mikalee–If you go tomorrow, be sure to buy a ticket online before you go: http://www.neonmuseum.org/plan-a-visit/tour-request You can’t go without a reservation. Have fun!

      Like

  218. This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

    Also your comments increasingly resemble a who’s who of my favourite bloggers.

    Like

    1. Yep, it’s pretty sweet, huh? Thanks for tweeting it earlier.

      Like

  219. Love this. I “stumbled” you so hope lots of people will see and like it also 🙂

    Like

    1. Just noticed all the visits coming in via StumbleUpon. Thanks 🙂

      Like

    2. Thinking about it now, I’ll bet it was your stumble that got this post eventually Freshly Pressed. So, thank you for sharing it 🙂

      Like

  220. michaelraymond86

    I’ve heard about this place many times and would love to visit. I like the eerie feeling of it.

    Like

    1. Eerie, yes. The mixture of the signs with our shadows on the ground made it feel especially eerie (and beautiful) at times.

      Like

  221. I’ve always wanted to visit this museum, I’m so glad that you went! Thanks for the beautiful pictures. The colors are amazing.

    Like

    1. Thanks, my pirate sister 🙂

      Like

  222. This is fascinating! Would love to go some day. And yeah, I second the night tours option. There must be something very sad about non-lit neon signs though? And seeing all the bulbs inside… a bit like discovering the mechanics of a magic trick?

    Like

    1. Yes, there’s totally something sad about non-lit neon signs, and I love your description: a bit like discovering the mechanics of a magic trick. The signs are huge, and still so vibrant…they want to electrify, but can’t.

      Next time we head to Vegas, we’ll go.

      Like

  223. thank you… this has just been added to my road trip list. someday… someday. (-:

    Like

    1. Road trip, yes! There are a number of fun, quirky attractions in this region (Arizona especially) I’d like to see, like this boneyard and the wigwam motel on Route 66.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  224. Wow really great pictures it makes me want to find out more about neon lights,
    In fact I think I will.

    Like

    1. Yeah, after visiting I checked out the YESCO site and their history timeline is rather interesting: http://www.yesco.com/yesco-timeline2.html

      Thanks for the note!

      Like

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