Welcome to Las Vegas Sign
The Las Vegas Sign, which was funded and erected in 1959, is now an iconic landmark and a popular attraction for those who visit this always exhilarating city. The Welcome to Las Vegas sign has been relocated several times in order to make way for expansion, but its popularity has steadily risen despite the moves. While snapping a picture of the sign has posed a problem in the past, a solution has been devised that acknowledges the sign’s immense celebrity, and visitors can now park very close by and click away at their leisure, and getting photos of Las Vegas that include the sign are high on the to-do lists of many travelers.
Designed by Betty Willis of the Western Neon Company in 1959, the Vegas welcome sign is now a member of the National Register of Historical Places. Since its creation, the sign has been an important piece of the city’s allure and history. The illumination of this piece of history has only gone dark twice, once in 1999 when the ownership of the sign changed hands and someone neglected to pay the bill; this lasted for approximately one month until the lights were missed and the lack thereof was investigated—the past due figure amounted to about $60. The other time was in 2009, in honor of Earth Hour.
The popularity of the Vegas welcome sign has increased so much that souvenir replicas began to be produced; in 2004, lights were added to the replicas, and proceeds were donated to the Nevada Cancer Institute. A larger replica of the sign was installed on Boulder Highway in 2007, also representing a grand entrance to Las Vegas. The upkeep upkeep of the sign has been continuous since its establishment in 1959, from an artificial turf below the sign to seasonal changes that take place on the sign itself. At the beginning of 2008, on January 2008, the sign wore red in recognition of National Wear Red Day, promoting education on women’s risk of heart disease. The Las Vegas Sign 50th anniversary took place in 2009, marking the beginning of summer. In celebration of the day, the largest bikini parade commenced in front of the sign, featuring a series of bathing suits from the 1950s to today.
Until 2008, the landmark was virtually inaccessible to anyone hoping to snap a few pictures as they passed the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Visitors pulled neck breaking stunts, dodging cars and parking amid traffic in order to achieve the coveted photo with the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. After such a vast number of years and individuals attempting such feats, a twelve-car parking lot was installed in the median under the sign. The parking lot is accessible to cars traveling south on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Visitors to Las Vegas can commemorate their trip to this fabulous city by purchasing one of the lights on the Vegas welcome sign to take home as a souvenir; these sales go to a number of local charities. Stopping at the Las Vegas Sign is an important historic element of visiting the city, and posing with the sign for pictures is one of the quintessential things to do in Las Vegas, so be sure to park and snap a few photos before your leave.