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Neon Museum Review – Put This On Your Itinerary. Period.

Key Points:

  • The Neon Museum is one of my favorite attractions in Las Vegas – I’ve visited 3x now.

  • While daytime visits are great, I recommend stopping in at night as select signs are illuminated – Well worth the small upcharge.

  • If visiting at night, I recommend adding “Brilliant! Jackpot” to your experience – A choreographed light show that brings signs back to life with projection tech.

The Neon Museum was founded in 1996 and is a nonprofit with the mission of “Collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment”.

The museum documents the rich history of a city that finds itself in a constant state of reinvention.

Over 800 signs from about 200 Las Vegas properties are currently on display, some of which have been restored to working order. Many of the casinos they advertise have been gone for some time, while some are still open for business.

I thought it would be fun to swing by the Neon Museum (I’ve been there a few times now) to give you an idea of what to expect and help you determine if it deserves to be on your itinerary.

My Neon Museum Experience

The Lobby

The show stars in the Lobby, which previously served as the lobby for the La Concha Motel on the Strip. It was originally built in 1961 and stood just south of Riviera, boasting a distinct shell shape.

Saved from the wrecking ball, the lobby was moved to the Neon Museum site in 2006.

The La Concha motel lobby illuminated in blue at night.
The former La Concha Lobby at the Neon Museum.

The tour hadn’t even started and my imagination was already running wild. Can you imagine what those walls had seen and heard over the years?  

I even tried to set an over/under for the number of cigarettes that had been smoked in the lobby throughout the years. I came up with 2,500 as a fair figure.

The interior of the Neon Museum Lobby / former La Concha Hotel.

Guided Tour vs. General Admission Tickets

The Neon Museum offers opportunities to tour the boneyard both day and night.  

While they offer relatively cheap self-guided “General Admission” tickets ($20 day / $28 night), I recommend paying the extra $15 for the guided “History Brought to Light” tour if it’s your first time visiting.

My first visit was during the day and the guided aspect of the tour enhanced my experience exponentially.

There were signs that I would’ve walked right past without a second glance that had fascinating stories that I only heard about because I was with a guide.

I opted for the cheaper, “General Admission” ticket for my recent nighttime visit as I was already armed with the knowledge I needed.

Rest assured, even if you select a cheaper “General Admission” ticket, employees are posted up all over the place to answer questions and educate you on what you’re looking at.

A weird tangent, but I had recently spotted the sign pictured below in Minneapolis (of all places) and instantly recognized it as being from Lady Luck in Las Vegas (now Downtown Grand).

Armed with a photo, I confirmed with one of the museum’s employees that it was indeed authentic, and that signs in the boneyard are commonly sold to businesses or organizations.

An old, weathered sign that says "LUCK" on a building in Minneapolis, MN.
Pretty cool find away from Vegas!

The Boneyard

One of the more unique aspects of the Neon Museum is how they display the signs.

While typical museums display artifacts very neatly and “one at a time”, The Neon Museum has layers of signs that almost appear to be haphazardly thrown along the trail.

They do this to emulate what a real-world sign boneyard would look like.

Within those layers of signs were hidden gems or “Easter eggs” that were fun finds. Examples of those hidden little tidbits were gold coins from the Fitzgerald’s sign, Googie stars from Stardust’s marquee, and several individual letters from signs like Sahara and Lady Luck that were instantly recognizable by their color and font.

Especially for those who experienced Vegas of yesteryear, the display will leave you feeling plenty nostalgic. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

After wandering the outdoor museum, guests are released into the gift shop which offers unique books, shirts, and memorabilia that celebrate the history of Las Vegas.

Here are a few pictures of the Neon Museum that I snapped during my recent nighttime visit:

A Hard Rock Cafe sign shaped as a guitar standing as the tallest sign in the museum.
Moulin Rouge sign illuminated in pink at dusk.
A sign for Plaza is illuminated along a dirt walkway.
A sign for Palms illuminated at dusk.
A sign by Tim Burton titled "Lost Vegas" stands tall in front of an assortment of signs behind it.

Day vs. Night Visit

The Neon Museum is really cool during the day. But it’s amazing at night when select signs are illuminated.

There’s no comparison if I’m being honest – Going in the evening is well worth the additional $8.

Brilliant! Jackpot – An “add-on” Option

An evening visit also allows you to add Brilliant! Jackpot (see my review) to your experience.

Brilliant! Jackpot takes place in The Neon Museum’s North Gallery, which is steps away from the main museum.

There, you’ll be treated to a show choreographed to music that brings vintage signs back to life with detailed projection technology.

It’s an amazing experience that I recommend you add to your itinerary.

They don’t allow photos or video during the show, but they allow guests to snap a few pictures afterward.

A large upside down Horseshoe with the word "Casino" in the middle of it, surrounded by a collection of other illuminated signage.

Is The Neon Museum Worth Doing?

100% yes.

While I recommend going at night, The Neon Museum is a treat to explore whenever you’re able to fit it into your schedule.

If you have yet to do it, I recommend taking a guided tour, as the knowledge shared enhanced my experience.

I wouldn’t have paid much attention to some of the more obscure signs without their insight which made the trip much more educational.

If you have the time, add the Brilliant! Jackpot light show to your evening tour – Vegas history dweebs won’t be disappointed.

For my money, the Neon Museum ranks among the best things to do in Vegas besides gambling.

The guides and crew at the boneyard are passionate about the subject matter, and do a fantastic job articulating the history of each piece.

Lastly, ensure you book your Neon Museum tickets early as slots fill quickly!

Some Additional Tips

  • My daytime tour wreaked havoc on my emerging bald spot, arms, legs, and uncovered feet. Bring sunblock. I can’t stress this enough.
  • While beverages are available for purchase at the Neon Museum, guests are also welcome to bring their own bottled water. Especially on a hot day, you’ll be glad you have it. Grab extras in the gift shop before heading outside.

  • Parking is free, but the lot tends to fill quickly. There is an overflow lot that an employee can guide you to.

  • While the Neon Museum is relatively close to Fremont Street, I don’t recommend walking there. Snag a cheap Uber/Lyft instead.

Related: Check out these FREE things to do in Vegas, as well as things to do with kids!

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