Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
5200 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
24 Hours Daily
Vegas4Visitors Rating: A
At a Glance
What is it?
Probably the single most iconic bit of Vegas, this sign has been welcoming people to “Fabulous Las Vegas” since 1959. It is said to be one of the most photographed signs in the world and most photographed attractions in Las Vegas.
Where is it?
In the center median of Las Vegas Boulevard South, about a mile south of Mandalay Bay, near the entrance to Bali Hai Golf Club. Although it doesn’t have a real address if you are looking to plug something into your GPS use 5200 Las Vegas Boulevard South.
Is it worth the cost?
It’s free, so of course it is.
What else do I need to know?
A parking lot opened a few years ago that makes getting to the sign much easier. Note that it is only accessible from the southbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard and is fairly small so you may need to be patient waiting for a spot.
What’s the bottom line?
Classic Las Vegas.
Betty Willis is a name that you probably don’t know very well but she is responsible for one of the most iconic pieces of Sin City history: the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.
Willis was a graphic designer from Vegas who trained in Los Angeles but moved back to her hometown and began doing design work for Western Neon, one of the main companies that did the neon signs for casinos around town. In May of 1959 she was asked to design the now famous sign and it was erected shortly thereafter (the official date is unknown but it is believed to have been around July of that year). Willis never copyrighted the design of the sign, preferring it to be public domain as her gift to the city. As a result, its shape and basic design have been copied extensively through the years on everything from advertising to souvenirs and it is instantly recognizeable even without the words.
The sign stands at 25 feet tall with the south facing side reading “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” and the north facing side reading “Drive Carefully” and “Come Back Soon.” It is currently owned by the Young Electric Sign Company, which leases it to the county.
It is located in the median of Las Vegas Boulevard South, about a mile south of Mandalay Bay and near the entrance of Bali Hai Golf Club. There is no official address but if you need something to plug into your GPS, use 5200 Las Vegas Boulevard South and that will get you close enough to almost touch it.
For most of its more than 50 years in existence, getting near the sign was a dangerous endeavor. Located in the median of busy Las Vegas Boulevard, there were no parking spaces and no crosswalks near it that allowed easy access. What most people would do is park in the lot of a nearby business or residential development and then dash across the street trying to avoid traffic.
In 2008 the county opened a small parking lot just to the south of the sign. It has ten regular spaces plus a couple of handicappped spots and oversized areas for buses and limousines. It is important to note that it is only accessible from the southbound lanes so if you are traveling northbound, you’ll need to go past the sign a few hundred feet to the entrance of the Bali Hai Golf Club and turn around. More parking and a crosswalk was added in 2015.
It is free to visit and photograph the sign and the lot is open 24 hours a day.
It was here in 2017 that a memorial sprung up to the victims of the mass shooting that occurred just up the street. 58 crosses were erected for each of the victims and people from all over the world left signs, candles, photos, and more. It was a touching display of sorrow and grief – the only time I ever visited when it was totally silent despite the dozens of people there. The memorials were removed and will be put on display at a local museum.
Although, as mentioned, souvenirs shaped like the sign are ubiquitous, if you want to own an actual piece of the sign you can do that too. OfficialLasVegasLight.com takes replaced bulbs from the sign and packages them as commemorative souvenirs, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.