This excursion is by far my most favourite activity in Las Vegas. If you don’t fancy gambling or drinking at 9am then it’s a great way to spend the morning.
It also goes to show that Vegas has much more to offer than the clichés I mentioned in my above sentence.
The Neon Sign Graveyard really is a work of art. All the signs have been carefully arranged in their respective themes and it is pretty mesmerising to walk amongst them.
The Tour: To see the signs you must book a tour. Our tour guide was great, she gave us such an in-depth history of Las Vegas and behind every sign was a brilliant story.
Hearing accounts of why these hotels no longer exist, which ultimately led to the signs being brought to the graveyard, was fascinating.
The tour takes an hour as you wander around the relatively small, but jam packed yard. Read on for a couple of the stories that stuck out the most for me:
Quickie Vegas Weddings: Vegas is famous for its quick weddings and even quicker divorces. I never really gave it a second thought as to why the place is actually so well known for this. Turns out the state of Nevada don’t require any medical certificates, medical exams or blood tests – thus meaning there is no waiting period for two people to marry. This makes the process instantaneous, unlike every other state in the US.
Ultimately what sometimes comes with a shotgun wedding is also a divorce not long after. Well, fear not because Nevada makes that pretty damn easy as well. Not only does residency in the state only need to be six weeks as opposed to 12 like other states, but the divorce papers only require one signature. Who know’s how many people out there have been none the wiser that their marriage was over – something I won’t dwell on for too long. I digress. This is also why divorce ranches are so popular in the state. People need to shack up for those few weeks before signing the papers. The whole thing is quite peculiar.
Howard Hughes: The eccentric tycoon took residency in the top three floors of this hotel back in the 60s. In the beginning promising to only stay a few days, Mr Hughes outstayed his welcome by a fair few months. Once the hotel staff tried to evict him from the premises Howard took action in the most outrageous of ways in order to be left alone – he bought the place. That’s right, he bought the building so he could stay there. Whilst he was at it he also bought the building opposite.
Moulin Rouge: This In Love sign is actually parts of the makeup of the sign that hung above the Moulin Rouge and has cleverly been rearranged. Quite fitting for our visit on Valentines day.
The Boneyard is even great for discovering little bits of your own history. I came across The Sahara, a hotel that me and my family stayed in on the Las Vegas Boulevard ten years ago. The hotel no longer exists and the sign has resided to the graveyard. I got a little flutter of nostalgia when I saw it and just had to get a pic with it. Memories!
Cost: $18 entry. Pre-booking is absolutely necessary as the tours tend to sell out days in advance.
Getting there: The Neon Sign Graveyard is a short walk from Fremont Street so it would be a good idea to incorporate the two attractions in one morning.
We did the walk that was only a short distance out of Downtown Vegas, however we felt like we had ventured onto a different planet. It’s incredible how once you have ventured off the Strip the mood changes, there’s no noise, flashy buildings, or people for that matter.
Instead it is eerily quiet, with a vast amount of derelict buildings and a lack of human presence. Saying this, we made it in one piece and didn’t feel unsafe on our journey. The Museum is located at 770 Las Vegas Boulevard and you can’t miss it – it’s the most chic looking building for miles.
For other fun things to do in Vegas check out my Alternative Guide to Las Vegas.