LIGHTS — neon, LED, and flood. Think of Las Vegas and you can’t help but think of the lights. They bring energy and life to nighttime. The International Space Station images show Las Vegas as the world’s brightest city. According to byutv.org, if you lined up all of the neon lights on the Strip it would make a trail 15,000 miles long. It all starts when you enter the Strip.
“Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” flashes the iconic red, white, and blue sign as you enter Las Vegas via the South Strip. While working for the Western Neon Company, Betty Willis created the sign in 1959 and it cost about $4,000 to build and install. Now the sign is solar powered. The National Historic Register added the sign to their list in May 2009. There are 12 free parking spots in front of the sign to get out and take a picture. The leaving Las Vegas side of the sign says “Drive Carefully, Come Back Soon”.
When you think of the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign, you think there is nothing quite like it. However, since there is no copyright on the sign, many versions of the sign exist, including one on the Harley-Davidson store across the boulevard from the original sign. The neon sign “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Harley-Davidson Nevada” has top billing over the “Harley-Davidson Motor Cycles” logo.
Continue down Las Vegas Boulevard AKA the Strip.
The Las Vegas Strip
Travel the world via the Strip. Visit New York New York, Paris, Venice, or even Egypt as you follow the lights. White lights invite you to visit New York New York. View the New York City skyline, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, or Lady Liberty with her torch held high.
Visit Paris and the golden lit Eiffel Tower. After dark, dine in the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the lighted Bellagio fountains.
Travel to Venice at the Venetian. Take a gondola ride.
The Luxor pyramid represents Egypt — outlined in lights, topped with a shining beacon that could be seen from outer space. A bearded sphynx guards the front of the building. Outside the beacon’s blue color reminds me of the inside show “Blue Man Group”.
Not the world traveler type? Enter the Excalibur time machine and travel back to medieval times. The “Tournament of Kings” is a dinner and show adapted from the stories of King Arthur.
The Bellagio and Monte Carlo remind me of under stated elegance, beautifully lit, without the screaming neon.
It has been over 30 years since we had visited Vegas and stayed at the Flamingo Hilton. The neon signs remind me of the “old” Vegas.
The sculpted golden lion stands proud at the entrance to The MGM Grand. Inside we became accredited Crime Scene Investigators at CSI: The Experience and gave our opinion on a new television show at Television City.
A dazzling sign lights up Harrah’s entrance.
The Stratosphere is a 1,148 feet tall structure. Experience several different thrills. Look closely at the upper right portion the image. The Stratosphere has a five-prong star-shaped ride called “The Insanity” that spins you 64 feet over the Tower edge. You can stare straight down at the Strip during the ride, if you dare open your eyes.
Sky Jump 108-stories (829 feet) off the Tower to reach free fall speeds of over 40 miles per hour. A milder X-Scream ride catapults you 27 feet over the Tower’s edge. For the faint-of-heart, there is always the Observation Deck.
The High Roller Ferris Wheel peeks out from behind another building and shares the spotlight with the Swarovski Crystal sign.
The Veer Towers are twin 37-story leaning towers of luxury condominiums.
Circus Circus is a family-friendly hotel. Visit the Big Top and see a free 30-minute show.
Got a sweet tooth? Make a stop at the M & M’s Store on the Strip. Print some M & M’s with your name. It might prevent others from eating them. After all, they are your M & M’s, aren’t they?
If you enjoy history, make a stop at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop as seen on television. Inside you find art, antiques, coins, sports memorabilia, and jewelry. Every piece has a history.
The 40-foot long flaming Praying Mantis lives at the Container Park on the corner of Seventh Street and Fremont. Shout “wake up Mantis, wake up” and fire just may appear from his antennae. Admission to the Container Park is free. The insect formerly lived at the Burning Man Festival in northern Nevada.
Fremont Street in Las Vegas
Fremont Street at night is an experience in and of itself. Add the zip line down the length of Fremont Street on Slotzilla to experience a real thrill.
El Cortez is vintage Vegas. It is the only Las Vegas casino still using coins in their slot machines. The others have given way to dollar bills. This is how I remember Vegas 30 years ago. The noise of the coins clinging after the “big” win.
At Binion’s, if you are at least 21 years old, you can take a free photo with $1,000,000 stacked pyramid-style. Yes, convince your friends you won BIG! After all, seeing is believing.
At the Golden Nugget, check out the free aquarium with sharks.