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In April, TPG Editorial Intern Nick Ellis and several other TPG staff members took a food-fueled trip to Las Vegas with Chase Sapphire Preferred and visited their Vegas Uncork’d event. Along the way, they visited The Neon Museum, a place you just have to visit while in Vegas. Read on for Nick’s impressions and why you should head to this classic Sin City exhibit. (All photos by TPG Editor in Chief Zach Honig).
Neon signs occupy a storied place in the history of Las Vegas — the warm glow of these brightly blinking signs has compelled countless gamblers to step inside the adjacent casinos and spend their hard-earned cash on a few rounds of Blackjack or Roulette. With Las Vegas looking toward the future, many of these famed signs are coming down in favor of more efficient LED signs.
The Neon Museum is a massive outdoor homage to the signs that once adorned the casinos and hotels of the Las Vegas of the past. It’s a highly recommended attraction for guests of all ages and provides a glimpse into a Sin City that not many would recognize today. Here are five reasons why you should visit this nostalgic exhibit on your next trip to Las Vegas.
1. You Don’t Have to Wait in Line — And it’s Off the Strip
We purchased our tickets to The Neon Museum online before leaving New York, which allowed us to arrive just a few minutes before our tour was scheduled to start. There was no need to wait in line, which was a welcome change of pace compared to some of the other attractions here. Also, since it’s located off the Las Vegas Strip, you’ll get a nice break from the usual crowds and chaos.
2. It’s Easily Accessible Thanks to Uber
Before Uber’s arrival in Las Vegas, it would have been much more of a burden to visit The Neon Museum because of the extremely expensive cab rides involved. Nowadays, more reasonable Uber prices in Sin City make getting to this attraction a lot easier — and more affordable — for families to visit.
3. It’s a Good Place to Meet the Locals
Unfortunately, many Vegas visitors don’t know anything about the city besides the casinos, resorts and bars — a tour of The Neon Museum gives you the chance to meet local residents and learn about other aspects of the city that you’d never hear about unless you leave the Strip. Our guide was born and raised in Las Vegas and shared a fun fact that few would probably be aware of: if you never leave the Strip during your stay, you actually never set foot in Las Vegas because the Strip is technically located in Paradise, Nevada. Who knew?
4. It’s Fun to Spell Your Name Out in Individual Neon Letters
At the very beginning of our tour, our guide mentioned that one of the most popular things to do during The Neon Museum tour is to take photos of each letter of your name from the many different signs. You can then use your phone or computer to paste together each letter to spell your name out in a unique neon design, creating a little piece of Las Vegas that you can take home with you. Here’s my name in neon:
5. You Can Get Admission to the Mob Museum As Well
When purchasing tickets to the Neon Museum — which you should always do ahead of time online since tickets tend to sell out fast! — there’s an option to buy a package that also gives you access to The Mob Museum, which contains three floors of exhibits tracing the history of the Mafia in Las Vegas. There, you can view photos, articles and other types of memorabilia that show the extent to which the Mob was once involved in nearly every aspect of Sin City life.
The Mob Museum is housed in a former courthouse where one of the Kefauver Hearings, formal investigations by a US Senate Special Committee into the role of organized crime syndicates in interstate commerce, took place on November 15, 1950.
A visit to The Neon Museum in Las Vegas was a great way to spend an afternoon before kicking off the Vegas Uncork’d event we were in town for. It’s a fun and interesting way to learn the history of the city and hear the stories of the people who shaped it from the beginning. Now that it’s easier than ever to get to, there’s no reason to skip this shrine to neon signs during your next trip to Sin City.
Have you ever been to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas? Tell us about it, below.
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