Las Vegas, Nevada

Enjoy this virtual walking tour of the glitz, glimmer and glass of Las Vegas heading north along The Strip followed by a quick trip downtown to historic Freemont Street. Also please visit my “Faces on the Vegas Strip” galleries for 100 images of the inanimate faces that silently stare at you as you stroll through “Sin City.”

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1 Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign near Las Vegas, Nevada

This diamond-shaped, 25 foot neon sign is actually in the town of Paradise, Nevada, but has been welcoming tourists to fabulous Las Vegas since 1959. And the numbers are fabulous: in 2012, nearly 40 million visitors generated $17 billion in gaming revenues. No wonder the back of the sign reads, “Come Back Soon.”

5200 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119

2 New York New York Hotel Buildings and Marquee in Las Vegas, Nevada

Look up from the marque of the New York New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and you’ll see the skyline of the city’s famous skyscrapers. Or if you want to take a spin around the Big Apple, then hop aboard The Roller Coaster. Your Checker Cab car will travel over 60 mph inside and outside of the reproduced landmarks. That’s a lot faster than any New York cabbie can get you through the city.

3790 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

3 MGM Grand Hotel Building and Leo Lion Sculpture in Las Vegas, Nevada

There is a good reason this hotel, casino and convention center is called the MGM Grand: it was the world’s biggest when it open in 1993 and is still the largest in the United States. Speaking of big, the Leo the Lion statue is over 45 feet tall and weighs about 50 tons. And of course it is the biggest bronze sculpture in the U.S.

3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

4 Showcase Mall Entrance in Las Vegas, Nevada

The entrance of Showcase Mall features a giant Coca Cola bottle and several colorful M&M characters. M&M’s World opened in 1997 as the first store dedicated to the famous candy plus every other imaginable product from Mars, Incorporated. Since this photo was taken, GameWorks has moved their 125 video games to Town Square.

3785 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

5 Veer Towers in CityCenter in Las Vegas, Nevada

These twin yellow towers in the heart of CityCenter lean five degrees towards each other and are appropriately called Veer Towers. Together the 480 foot high-rises contain nearly 675 condominiums. Studio condos start at about $280,000.

3722 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

6 Aria Resort and Casino Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada

This is one of two towers that make up the 4,000 rooms and four million square foot of Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The property was built in partnership between MGM Resorts International and Infinity World Development (part of Dubai World) during the height of the financial crisis in 2009. Its height dominates the new CityCenter complex along The Strip. The name comes from a Greek word meaning air.

3730 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89158

7 Elara Hilton Grand Vacations Building in Las Vegas, Nevada

This stunning, 52 floor blue skyscraper with the distinctive red slash is the Elara, one of several Hilton Grand Vacations hotels and resorts in Las Vegas. When it opened in 2009, it was called PH Towers by Westgate and was part of Planet Hollywood.

80 E Harmon Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89109

8 Paris Hotel Eiffel Tower Replica in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark in Paris, France, so it is appropriate that a Las Vegas hotel with a Paris theme would have a 541 foot replica which is about half the size of the original. You can enjoy a great view of The Vegas Strip from the observation deck on top.

3655 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

9 Paris Hotel Montgolfier Balloon Sign in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you are familiar with the city of Paris, then you probably recognize many of the reproductions at the Paris in Las Vegas like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. But you may not know the significance of this enormous sign. It is a replica of the first hot air balloon invented in France by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783.

3655 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

10 Bellagio and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Bellagio hotel, resort and casino opened in 1998 and is owned by MGM Resorts International. Its older neighbor along Las Vegas Boulevard South, better known as The Strip or the Vegas Strip, is Caesars Palace. Its first tower was built in 1966. Both properties have nearly 4,000 rooms.

3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

11 Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Fountains of Bellagio are one of the most popular and free attractions in Las Vegas. About every fifteen minutes or half hour depending upon the time of day, 1,200 nozzles begin spraying jets of water choreographed to music and lights. Large crowds always gather along the wall on Las Vegas Boulevard to ohh, ahh and snap photos. When the music is quiet and the fountains are still, this eight-acre lake is a gorgeous reflection pond for the Bellagio Hotel and Caesars Palace.

3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

12 Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

When Caesars Palace opened in 1966, it only had 680 rooms. Today, after a series of expansions and renovations, it has nearly 4,000 rooms and 166,000 square feet of casino operations. It is owned by the Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

13 Flamingo Built by Bugsy Siegel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Flamingo Las Vegas is the oldest hotel and casino on The Strip. It was developed and financed by Bugsy Siegel in 1946, the notorious mobster who also founded Murder Incorporated. Apparently, what goes around comes around. Bugsy was murdered six months later by the mob for overspending and allegedly skimming money from the new casino. The iconic, Art Deco hotel has a Wildlife Habitat featuring penguins and flamingos.

3555 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

14 Flamingo Hotel Donny and Marie Show in Las Vegas, Nevada

An essential part of the Las Vegas success formula is the shows which often feature celebrity performers. Many of these featured acts last for years and still draw huge crowds. An example is the Donny & Marie Osmond Show. These siblings have been performing at the Flamingo since 2008.

3555 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

15 Classic Neon Sign at Flamingo in Las Vegas, Nevada

As the sun begins to set, the lights begin to flash all along the Las Vegas Strip. Some are classics, like this sign at the Flamingo Las Vegas. If you really prefer the old neon signs, then visit the Neon Museum. Since 1996, they have collected 150 vintage Las Vegas signs in their six acre “boneyard” and are slowly restoring them.

3555 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

16 High Roller Ferris Wheel in Las Vegas, Nevada

For thirty minutes you can enjoy a ride on the High Roller, the world’s largest Ferris wheel with spectacular views of the Las Vegas Strip. The 550 foot attraction opened in March, 2014. It is the centerpiece of The LINQ, a new shopping, restaurant, hotel and casino district built by Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

3545 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

17 Oceanus Statue Trevi Fountain Reproduction in Las Vegas, Nevada

This powerful figure is Oceanus, the Greek god who personified the world’s oceans. The original 16 foot statue was carved from Carrara marble and has been the centerpiece of the Trevi Fountain in Rome since 1762. This reproduction in Las Vegas is outside of The Forum Shops next to Caesars. For good luck, throw in a coin. But follow the traditional procedure: use your right hand to toss the money over your left shoulder.

3500 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

18 Planet Hollywood Banners at The Forum Shops in Las Vegas, Nevada

Things are always changing in Vegas. For example, the Aladdin hotel and casino opened in 1966, was closed by the Nevada Gaming Commission in 1979, purchased by Wayne Newton in 1980 then went bankrupt four years later and liquidated in 1998. The new Aladdin opened in 2000 but was sold in bankruptcy to Planet Hollywood in 2003. Their ownership lasted less than seven years when Caesars Entertainment Group bought it in 2010. Two years later, they added a Planet Hollywood Restaurant to The Forum Shops which is connected to Caesars Palace. And that is how these red banners appeared on the balconies during the grand opening in mid-2012.

3500 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

19 Harrah’s Two Gilded Jester Sculptures on Marquee in Las Vegas, Nevada

These two gilded jesters on the Harrah’s marquee – each are 32 feet tall – are covered by 23 karat gold leaf. They have been blowing their trumpets on The Strip since 1997. The hotel and casino has a Mardi Gras theme. It is owned by Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

3475 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

20 Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

The next time you are down on your luck in Las Vegas and are staying in one of the 3,044 rooms at The Mirage, consider scraping the outside windows. Their distinctive golden hue comes from real gold dust. The hotel and casino was built by Steve Wynn. Construction costs exceeded $630 million, setting a world record in 1989. The resort and casino is now owned by MGM Resorts International.

3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

21 Mirage Hotel Erupting Volcano in Las Vegas, Nevada

This volcanic eruption occurs four times a night in front of The Mirage hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The explosive fireball and smoke display is accompanied by loud music and a soundtrack of real volcanoes. If you are strangely thirsty for a pina colada afterwards, it might be because the cocktail’s fragrance is added to reduce the smell of natural gas.

3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

22 Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you have always wanted to see Venice, Italy, then you will enjoy visiting The Venetian Las Vegas. The architectural firm KlingStubbins reproduced several of the Italian city’s landmarks including the Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Campanile and the Rialto Bridge. You can even experience a gondola ride.

355 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

23 Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

When the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino was built in 1993, it was owned by its neighbor Mirage Resorts. Consequently, the two properties are connected by a tram. In 2009, it was sold to Phil Ruffin who is a real estate investor. The TI Hotel has 2,884 rooms and a casino covering almost 100,000 square feet.

3300 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

24 Treasure Island Hotel TI Marquee Screen in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Treasure Island’s initial theme revolved around Caribbean pirates including a huge pirate ship out front in Buccaneer Bay. But that emphasis has softened since it was built in 1993. The hotel and casino owned by Phil Ruffin now seems to prefer the “TI” name as evident by this huge LED screen along the Las Vegas Strip.

3300 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

25 Stephen Wynn’s Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada

Stephen Wynn has had the largest impact on revitalizing Las Vegas and particularly The Strip. His company, Wynn Resorts Limited, built the Wynn Las Vegas in 2005 and the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in 2008. He is also responsible for developing the Golden Nugget, The Mirage, Treasure Island and the Bellagio. Apparently it was a good bet because his estimated net worth is $4 billion.

3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

26 The Cloud at Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you like shopping, then you will be on cloud nine at the Fashion Show Mall on the Las Vegas Strip. This enormous, 128 foot high structure called “The Cloud” stretches 480 feet over the entrance to almost 1.9 million square feet. It houses 250 stores plus restaurants and famous anchors like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

3200 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

27 Trump Hotel Gilded Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada

Real estate developer Donald Trump sure liked developing tall buildings and then putting his name on top of them before he became president. The Trump International Hotel Las Vegas is a shining example, particularly because the windows in the 620 foot skyscraper are gilded with gold. After an initial success, it was announced an identical sister property would be built next door. But the Great Recession put those plans on hold.

2000 Fashion Show Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89109

28 Wynn and Encore Hotel and Casino Buildings in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Wynn Las Vegas hotel, casino and resort opened in 2005 after Steve Wynn and his investors spent $2.7 billion. Exactly one year later he started to build it sister property at a cost of $2.3 billion. Collectively, they offer 4,750 rooms and 185,000 square feet of gaming space. They are frequently given the highest ratings for their service and amenities.

3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Former Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

The list of famous people who performed at the Riviera reads like a who’s who in entertainment since the hotel and casino opened as the first high-rise on Las Vegas Boulevard South in 1955. The Marx Brothers and Dean Martin once owned minority interests. Unfortunately, the old dame lost its luster and star appeal as so many grand hotels and casinos were added further south on the Las Vegas Strip. The property was closed in 2015 and then imploded during the summer of 2016.

29 Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Some people think all of Las Vegas is a circus, but the Circus Circus hotel and casino actually is. It has the world’s largest big top where performances include acrobats and clowns. They also offer a full-size Midway with carnival and arcade games. It was built in 1968 but has undergone several renovations and owners. The current parent company is MGM Resorts International.

2880 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

30 Man Suspended on Stratosphere Tower SkyJump Bungee in Las Vegas, Nevada

Imagine the spectacular view from the top of the Stratosphere, the tallest observation tower in Las Vegas and the U.S. at 1,149 feet. If the thought of that does not give you vertigo, then try plummeting 855 feet on the SkyJump bungee ride. That should get your adrenalin flowing.

2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104

31 Four Queens Marquee in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada

Some visitors to Las Vegas love the glitz, glamour and skyscrapers along The Strip. Others prefer to “experience” the historic casinos downtown like the Four Queens. The hotel and casino opened on Fremont Street in 1966. The developer, Ben Goffstein, named it in honor of his four daughters. This classic marquee is beneath the Fremont Street Experience canopy.

202 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101

32 Cowboy Neon Sign Vegas Vic in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada

This 40 foot neon cowboy on Fremont Street is the second most iconic image in Las Vegas (the first is the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign). When Vegas Vic was installed at The Pioneer Club in 1951, his arm waved and he said “Howdy Partner” every fifteen minutes. Both have stopped working but he still delights visitors to downtown’s Freemont Street Experience pedestrian mall.

25 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101

33 Cowgirl Neon Sign Vegas Vickie in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas gambling started on Fremont Street in 1905. As it grew, the street was nicknamed “Glitter Gulch” because of its abundance of neon signs. A strip club borrowed the name to become the Girls of Glitter Gulch. In 1980, this neon sign of a cowgirl kicking up her leg was erected on Fremont Street. Her original name was Sassy Sally. In 1994, she was married to Vegas Vic, the 40 foot neon cowboy sign across from her. Sadly, Vegas Vickie was removed during the summer of 2017.

20 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Faces on the Strip 100 Photos Composite at Las Vegas, Nevada

I have been to Las Vegas, Nevada, countless times for business and pleasure and each time my camera accompanied me. In May, 2012, I aimed for a unique perspective of Las Vegas Boulevard South, better known as The Strip. I wanted to capture the inanimate faces that silently stare at the tourists and collectively help to create the Vegas ambiance. So, during two very hot days, I walked both sides of the 4.2 miles of casinos and hotels in search of statues, sculptures, art, mannequins, paintings, murals, logos, posters, ads and billboards. I also included a bathroom, pedestrian sign and the side a bus. The result is a one-hundred photo composite that I call Faces on the Strip. The framed artwork, which is for sale, is 16 ½” x 70” (that’s nearly six feet) and each photo is 2” x 3.” You can see the individual photographs in the two galleries called “Faces on the Strip.” This is the composite. A photo of the framed art is available upon request.