[Article originally published on: May 27th, 2018].
So, you’ve just checked into the hotel, it’s your first day in Sin City, and you’re pumped, right?
But the big question: “Where do I start my adventure?”
Answer: By having your pic taken with the world-famous ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada‘ sign, of course.
Where else, silly? 😛
But even if you’ve already enjoyed the delights of Vegas and you’re about to head home, don’t forget a couple/group photo with the sign as an extra memento because it’s an absolute must.
If you don’t seize the opportunity, you’ll probably kick yourself on your return flight home (just like I did in 2015).
But before I share all the cool stuff that you DIDN’T know about the fabulous sign, let’s cover a bunch of common questions about the sign, yeah?…
What is The Las Vegas Sign (+ Its Age)?
Designed by Betty Willis in 1959, and standing 25-foot tall – the historic sign is a symbol of LV – greeting a drove of travellers from around the globe as they descend on the City of Sin.
But if you want a golden picture opportunity with Betty’s beautiful masterpiece, you’ll have to stand in line with everyone else and wait your turn.
Anything worth having is worth the wait, as they say.
“Can I take a Stroll to The Magnificent Sign?”
The short answer is YES.
But obviously, the time it’s gonna take for you to reach the sign depends on your location and walking speed – particularly when it’s a real scorcher.
For example, starting from one of the following hotels (with a normal walking pace):
- The Venetian will easily take more than an hour.
- Caesars Palace can take roughly an hour or so.
- Aria takes under an hour.
- Mandalay Bay only takes 15 – 20 minutes roughly
But if you’re situated on Fremont Street, then you may wanna ride something with a set of wheels to the sign.
Which, kinda leads to the next question.
“Can I Park my Car at The Sign?”
If public transport doesn’t quite tickle your fancy and you prefer seeing the sights of LV using your own wheels, then YES, you can park at the sign.
Followed by a big BUT though…
The car park only has 12 spaces available!
So be prepared to stock up on the snacks, especially during the busy times of day or night because god knows how long you’ll be waiting to snap up a space.
Where is The Iconic Sign Located?
You see folks plastering snaps of themselves with the sign (representing a fun-filled fantasy land) all over Facebook and Instagram, but very few actually tell you where it’s situated.
It’s criminal if you ask me!
So where the heck is the sign, huh?
Standing tall and proud in all its glory – the sign is located at 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South – the very start of the southern end of the strip.
However, there seems to be much confusion over whether the sign is actually within LV itself or not.
On one hand, LV has no “official” boundary.
And on the other hand, some folks consider the sign as being within the neighboring town of “Paradise”.
But for argument’s sake, let’s just place the damn thing where it belongs…
Who is ‘Betty’, The Sign’s Designer?
Betty Willis (born Betty Jane Whitehead) on 20th May, 1923 – attended a school in LA before she became an artist for the commercial world.
In 1959, a sales guy by the name of Ted Rogich requested that she put her artistic skills to the test and design a sign for the world-famous resort city (and which she did brilliantly I might add).
She had only one word to describe LV.
And YEP, you’ve guessed it: “Fabulous”.
Additionally, the lady was hired to design a sign for the LV Moulin Rouge hotel and the Motel Blue Angel.
But sadly, Betty passed away in 2015. 🙁
She has inspired so many LV locals and tourists, and her legacy will certainly live on until the end of time.
So let’s raise a glass to the fabulous lady for bringing so much joy to people across the globe…
Cheers “Betty Willis!”
5 Fun Facts About The Magical Sign…
Every single part of LV has its own story to tell (including the sign).
So here are 5 super cool facts you didn’t know about it, that might just surprise you.
#1: It’s Not Actually The Biggest
With the sign being one of the most famous of all time, you’d expect it to be “the” biggest one in LV, right?
Most signs in the city are bigger, especially “Vegas Vic” – a 40-foot neon Cowboy sign which stands on Fremont Street in downtown LV.
But size isn’t everything. Right, ladies? 😉
#2: The Sign Was as Cheap as Chips
Sorry, pun kinda intended.
After Betty designed the neon sign, Ted Rogich sold it to Clark County, Nevada for just $4,000!
When you compare that to, let’s say, the ‘Stardust Resort and Casino’ which paid a STAGGERING $500,000 to replace its iconic roadside sign in 1967.
That’s a huge difference!
#3: Betty Never Copyrighted Her Masterpiece
That’s right, the lady who designed the sign didn’t “copyright” her work of art.
But it was intentional because Betty wanted it to be a “special gift” to the residents and tourists of LV.
She didn’t ask for one single cent!
Hmm, I wonder if other LV sign designers could say the same thing…
Today, the Fabulous sign is no doubt helping souvenir goods companies to generate $10,000,000s, since the logo is free for every man and his dog to use.
It’s become a real cash cow, I tell ya!
#4: The Lights Are Sold as Souvenirs
I’m not kidding!
The used bright yellow light bulbs around the edge of the sign are sold off as souvenirs at the ‘Official Las Vegas Light‘ website – which also donates a percentage of the sales to charity.
I dunno about you, but I’ll support anything that’s for a great charitable cause.
To get your own light bulb, you simply choose the date the bulb was on the sign that you wanna buy and choose a package from $30 to $150.
Each package includes various options.
Like, whether you want a certificate of authenticity, a display box or wall unit, a quote – along with your photo, and a poker chip, etc.
Needless to say, the more you pay, the more awesome your souvenir.
Having your own piece of the LV sign sure is the icing on the cake, in my book!
#5: There Are Replicas
On your LV sightseeing adventures, you’re not gonna come across just 1 sign, BUT several!
I know Sin City can be hot and cocktail-heaven during the day/night, but you definitely won’t be seeing a mirage on the strip (well, unless it’s the hotel resort).
So when you’re about to grab a pic, ensure that you have the right “authentic” sign first.
In fact, why not take a pic with all the signs you come across just to be on the safe side.
In 2002, the council built a replica sign on LV Boulevard and 4th Street.
Except, a pick up truck rammed into it.
In 2007, another replica was erected on Boulder Highway.
In 2013, yet another was added to one of the towers belonging to the SlotZilla Zip Line attraction at Freemont Street.
Wrapping up This Las Vegas Sign Stuff…
In my opinion, your top priority (before hitting the hotel bar) when you arrive in LV should be to get your photo with one of the world’s most iconic signs because it’s rude not to.
Plus, getting the pic out the way first is gonna free up your time for other cool stuff to do on or off the strip.
And it’s also an opportunity to rub people’s noses in it on FB and Insta too – “Hey guys n’ gals, wish you were here!” lol.
But more importantly, taking a snap with the sign is gonna serve as an awesome memento – remembering a truly fun-filled time of your life, where you got to escape reality and let ya hair down.
One last thing: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
Your Friend, Neil 😀
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Also, if you have any questions, thoughts or amazing experiences to share when it comes to the iconic LV sign – We’d LOVE to hear from ya below…