Las Vegas: The Real City of Light

As we get ready to head out to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, we have to give a nod to what one of the most memorable visual of the City of Sin: the lights.

Though Paris has been deemed “The City of Light,” Vegas sure does have a solid history of over the top lights. Digital signage is a large part of Vegas’s draw — from musical and colorful slot machines to the iconic Vegas signs.

Many visitors may not think of the long history of signage that has been attracting Vegas goers since the city legalized gambling in the early 1930s.

Thanks to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, we are able to dig into the history of all of our favorite neon signs — and to realize just how very large they are when not hung on buildings high above the Vegas Strip.

Vega’s Famed Neon Signs Past and Present

1. The Hacienda Horse and Rider

hacienda horse




















Image via InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA

Installed in 1967, the Hacienda Horse and Rider was the distinctive sign found at each of the hotel’s four locations, and the first sign to be displayed on Fremont Street. Due to its location at the south end of the strip, it was the first sign vacationers driving up from California saw. They knew they had made it when they saw this guy!

2. Welcome to Las Vegas

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Image via akampfer (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

As the New York Times notes, the famed Stardust sign was “the Strip’s largest, at 216 feet long, rising 27 feet above the casino’s first floor, with 11,000 bulbs and 7,000 feet of neon tubing, sparkling with extraterrestrial splendor.” The sign now resides in the Neon Museum.

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4. Circus Circus

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Image via Mutari (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Whether you remember this sign as fun or frightening, if you ask folks who have been to Vegas what signs stood out to them, this is always in the line up. Circus Circus is home to the largest permanent big top in the world. The sign, crafted in 1976, was yet another constructed by the Young Electric Sign Company. It still stands tall today.

5. Paris














Image via ZooFari (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Even if you can’t make it to the real City of Light, this one is sure to suit your fancy. Paris in Las Vegas is made complete by a 541-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. If it wasn’t for the nearby airport, this glorious light display may very well have been as tall as the real Eiffel Tower.

6. “Vegas Vic”

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Image by BoldSolitude (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Though the Pioneer Club no longer exists, its famous neon sign still does. Since 1951, the 40-foot “Vegas Vic” has greeted visitors with a friendly wave.

7. “Vegas Vicky”

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Image by Tobias1983 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Not far from Vegas Vic you will find Vegas Vicky. She was originally known as Sassy Sally, but seeing as her and Vegas Vic were married in 1994, her new name is only fitting.

Have you been to Las Vegas? What neon sign burns brightest in your memory?