The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is one of the most iconic landmarks in America. It has welcomed tourists and newlyweds since 1959, a year after it was designed by Betty Willis and erected by Western Neon. A great post ahead.
It is currently owned by YESCO and leased to Clark County. It is located in Paradise, about four miles south of Las Vegas city limits.
When you think of Las Vegas, the first thing that comes to mind is probably that famous sign that reads “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas.” It’s one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and it’s a must-see for visitors. But what is the history behind this beloved tourist attraction?
In 1959, the sign was erected on the median of what is now Las Vegas Boulevard to welcome travelers as they drove into town from Southern California. It was designed by Betty Willis and it featured a popular midcentury Googie architectural style with a futuristic design that reflects the Space Age.
In 2008, the sign was made safer to visit by creating a parking lot and a paved walkway for people to get their photos taken. It’s now owned by YESCO, which purchased it from Western Neon, and Clark County continues to maintain the sign-in contract with the company. It has been a symbol of Vegas for decades and is seen around the world in movies, television, and other media.
A popular stop for Vegas tourists, the sign is located at 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South, which sits outside of the city limits in Paradise. It has become a famous landmark that is frequently featured on souvenir items like T-shirts, keychains, and license plates.
The iconic sign was designed by Betty Willis, one of the earliest female commercial artists working on neon signs. She also created the cursive Moulin Rouge sign and the buxom Blue Angel statue.
The sign’s stretched diamond shape is meant to resemble a Goodyear logo and the circles are silver dollars, honoring Nevada’s nickname, the “Silver State.” It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2009. The sign was built in 1959 and it is owned by YESCO, formerly Young Electric Sign Company and Western Neon. The sign is open to the public and can be visited 24 hours a day. At peak times, the area can get busy with selfie seekers and wedding parties. More places to also visit by clicking here.
A lot of tourists visit the sign every day and it wasn’t until 2008 that a parking lot was added to allow visitors to get photos of the landmark. Before that people were just dodging traffic to strike a pose with the 25-foot sign!
Betty Willis, the sign’s designer, passed away in 2015 but her work lives on. She chose a stretched diamond shape for the signs, which has pointed top and bottom angles and rounded sides. At the center is a red star to represent Las Vegas’ nickname as “The Silver State”.
She also curated the words and designs that appear on the sign. The first line reads “Welcome” in white capital letters taking up the entire width of the sign, then “to Fabulous” in blue 1950s-style cursive, and finally “Las Vegas” in smaller text.
Tips for Visiting the Sign
There are some things to keep in mind when planning your trip to the sign. First and foremost, it’s important to bring plenty of water, especially during the summer months. Las Vegas can get very hot, so staying hydrated is key. It is also a good idea to visit in the early morning or later in the day to avoid the crowds.
It is recommended to take photos of the sign at night, as the lighting is better and the sign really pops against the dark sky. Additionally, the crowds tend to disperse during the night, making it easier to get great pictures of the sign.
If you don’t want to drive, the sign is easily accessible via the Deuce bus line. A 2-hour bus pass is only $6. If you prefer private transportation, Uber and Lyft are both available, but be aware that this can be expensive. For those who are comfortable driving, there is a parking lot available on-site for the sign. Next article.
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