Las Vegas has several things it’s well known for, like gambling and live entertainment. However, one of the most recognizable sights in the city is the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. But just how many “Welcome to Las Vegas” signs are there?
There have been three main “Welcome to Las Vegas” signs over the years. The original is on Las Vegas Boulevard South. The second was a replica on Las Vegas Blvd. downtown, but it was destroyed. And the third is on Boulder Highway, welcoming visitors driving from Arizona.
In this article, I’ll tell you about the three “Welcome to Las Vegas” signs, where they are, and well as some history about the original sign. I’ll also show you a couple of interesting variations of the sign that you can find around town.
Table of Contents
- 1 Where Are the “Welcome to Las Vegas” Signs?
- 2 The History of the Original “Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign
- 3 Destruction of the Sign at Las Vegas Boulevard and 4th Street
- 4 The Original “Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign Today
- 5 Get A Piece of The Vegas Sign as a Souvenir
- 6 How Many “Welcome to Las Vegas” Signs – Conclusion
Where Are the “Welcome to Las Vegas” Signs?
The Las Vegas sign is a famous landmark, and even if you haven’t visited it, you’ve likely seen it in pictures or other media. But is it always the same sign you see? Or are there others in the city waiting to be explored?
For over 40 years, there was only one “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. Erected in 1959, it was the original sign that still stands today on the south end of the Strip in Paradise, Nevada, which is not officially in Las Vegas.
Then, in 2002, the City of Las Vegas built a replica that was actually within the city’s limits. Finally, the city built another replica on Boulder Highway in 2007 as the casinos on the “Boulder Strip” wanted their own sign.
Here are the locations of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” signs in order from oldest to newest:
- 5100 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119 (the original sign)
- Las Vegas Boulevard and 4th Street (was destroyed and is no longer there)
- Boulder Highway, just north of Tropicana Avenue (newest sign)
While these are the most well-known “Welcome to Las Vegas” signs, you’ll likely see versions of the sign all over the city, especially on souvenirs like t-shirts. The sign and its design are not copyrighted, so anyone can replicate the sign without any legal consequences.
A couple of the most popular versions of the sign have a slightly modified saying, such as the “Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.” at the entrance to the Fremont Street Experience in downtown.
The sign looks slightly different from the official sign, but it was still inspired by the original. This version of the sign is 20’ (6.10 m) wide.
You can also see another variation of the sign at the Chapel of the Flowers, which reads, “Married in Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.” The sign is a popular place for newly married couples to snap a picture after they get married at the chapel.
The History of the Original “Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign
Artist Betty Willis, who worked for Western Neon, an electronic display company, designed the sign in 1959. Many people do not know that a woman designed the sign. Unfortunately, she passed away at the age of 91 in 2015.
She decided not to copyright the sign, as she wanted it to be her gift to the city. She later said that if she had copyrighted the sign, it probably would not have been as popular and recognizable as it is today.
The Young Electric Sign Company bought Western Neon, Willis’ employer, in the 1960s. They still own the sign today, and it is actually on lease to Clark County, where the sign and Las Vegas are located.
While Willis never earned any money after creating and not copyrighting the sign, her company did since they owned and leased it.
The sign joined the National Register of Historic Places list on May 1st, 2009, and it’s on Nevada’s State Register of Historic Places. The state added the sign to the list on December 6th, 2013.
Destruction of the Sign at Las Vegas Boulevard and 4th Street
The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, built within the city limits on Las Vegas Boulevard in 2002, was destroyed in 2016 when a truck crashed into the sign at 6:50 AM on July 17th, 2016. The driver of the car was fine and not injured, and no others were involved in the accident.
However, the sign did not survive the crash. It was torn down and has not been replaced to this day. Fortunately, the sign was only a replica and not the original one designed by Willis.
The Original “Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign Today
The Las Vegas sign is hard to miss, as it is 25’ (7.62 m) tall and in the middle of one of the most well-known streets in the world. Tourists flock to the sign to take a picture and commemorate their visit to the city.
However, until 2008, crossing the street was the only way to get to the sign. As this was a safety risk to everyone, the city opened a parking lot and a paved walkway to make access to the sign safer and easier.
The parking lot was expanded again in 2012 and 2015 to add more parking spaces.
→ You can get a map and precise directions to the original Las Vegas sign in our article here.
Get A Piece of The Vegas Sign as a Souvenir
You can always visit Las Vegas and get a picture with the sign or a t-shirt or other souvenir with the sign on it. Or, if you want a unique way to remember the city or sign, you can buy a light bulb that has been used in the original “Welcome to Las Vegas Sign.”
These lights come with a certificate of authenticity stating their burn date and which light slot they were in. There are only 89 of these lightbulbs used at a time in the sign, and they last quite a while, so having one is somewhat rare and would make for a great remembrance or gift.
How Many “Welcome to Las Vegas” Signs – Conclusion
Today there is one official “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign on Las Vegas Boulevard and one replica sign on Boulder Highway. And a trip to Las Vegas just wouldn’t be complete without making a visit to the original sign on the Strip.