Between the Bellagio fountains, the replica Eiffel Tower, and the faux Venice canals, Las Vegas is an Instagrammer’s paradise — in addition to the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and the Elvises on every corner happy to snap a selfie with you for a few bucks. There are so many other wonderfully weird spots that might as well have been designed just for social media. If you’re at the top of your ‘gram game, get deep into the city that locals know and love to see and snap: the lesser-known side of fabulous Las Vegas. These are the most photo-worthy spots in Vegas off the strip.
1. The Neon Museum
The Neon Museum is hardly what you could call “off radar” at this point — it’s probably one of the most Instagrammed locations in Las Vegas, on or off the Strip, for good reason. The “Neon Boneyard” is one of the most eerily beautiful locations in Vegas, a collection of restored old neon signs salvaged from the hotels, motels, restaurants, and other shuttered locations that have their place in Sin City history. At dusk, the dramatic natural desert lighting in combination with the backdrop of these vintage signs makes for the most amazing pictures, which is why you’re almost always guaranteed to see a wedding party or fashion shoot happening here.
2. Downtown Las Vegas murals
Massive murals that covered whole sides of buildings were already seen around downtown Las Vegas before the Life Is Beautiful music and art festival first launched in 2013, but since then, they have exploded — public art is a huge component of the festival, and each year more than a dozen new murals appear around downtown as a result of the international street artists the festival brings in. Artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, D*Face, and more have left their mark, and as a result, downtown Las Vegas is basically a massive outdoor art gallery.
3. Lyft Art Park
Just to the east of the Fremont Street Experience’s LED canopy is Fremont East, aka the area where the locals hang out when they go downtown. What used to be an empty parking lot right next to the popular restaurant and bar Park on Fremont is now the Lyft Art Park — a park of large sculpture and installations (like a three-story Victorian house art car you can climb into and explore) sponsored by Lyft.
4. The porte-cochère at the Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel marks the western edge of Fremont Street, and its entrance is appropriately glitzy for those coming fresh off Fremont. The circular porte-cochère looks like a thousand paparazzi flashbulbs all going off simultaneously. For even more camera-ready glam, head up to Oscar’s inside the glass dome perched above the porte-cochère, one of the most beautiful dining rooms in Vegas (and that’s a high bar) with the absolute best view of the Fremont Street Experience.
5. Selfie room at Corduroy
The East Fremont bar Corduroy knows its audience, which is why there is a whole dedicated selfie room called “The Lightbox” inside with perfect photo lighting for you and your friends to stage the perfect Vegas-night-out selfie. (There are actually several highly Instagrammable corners inside Corduroy — again, they know their audience.)
6. New showgirl signs on Las Vegas Boulevard
Everyone gets a photo of the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign on the south side of the Strip, but just last year, the City of Las Vegas introduced a brand-new sign featuring images of Vegas’s iconic showgirls at the “gateway to downtown,” the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Main Street. These are so new most people don’t even know they’re there yet, so get that ‘gram up soon.
7. Abbey Road Crossing
Right in front of the historic El Cortez Hotel is a replica of the rainbow-colored Abbey Road Crossing in London, made famous by the Beatles on the cover of their 1969 Abbey Road album. Most people miss it walking by, but with the neon lights of the El Cortez in the background, this is a spot that just begs to be photographed.
8. “Big Rig Jig” in the Fergusons courtyard
Head a little further down East Fremont towards Atomic Liquors and keep an eye open for this crazy sculpture originally created for Burning Man. The structure looks like a semi-truck upended and twisted all around on top of itself. It’s located in the courtyard of the historic old Fergusons Motel, which is currently undergoing renovations as a market square, so it’s actually easy to miss despite its size and bizarreness.
9. Peter Pan Motel sign
While the Peter Pan Motel remains vacant, the sign is still an iconic piece of old Las Vegas. Slowly but surely, some of downtown Las Vegas’ old motels have been getting renovated and reopening as affordable options for the scenester sets, so we can hold out hope that this motel and its glorious sign will see new life yet.
10. Fremont Street East
Fremont East is experiencing a revival much like other parts of downtown like the Arts District. The welcome sign here is arguably more photogenic than anything on the strip, with the added bonus of actually signifying something born and bred in Vegas instead of New York, Venice, or Hollywood.
11. A Little White Wedding Chapel
You can’t go to downtown Las Vegas without peeping at one of the many storied and historic wedding chapels. Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world, after all. There are several such wedding chapels located on Las Vegas Boulevard, and they all have their own, um, eccentric points of interest, but only A Little White Wedding Chapel has the “Tunnel of Love,” a drive-through wedding “tunnel” where couples can say their nuptials in the chapel’s own pink Cadillac with Elvis officiating. You’ll definitely want a photo of the tunnel’s faux Sistine-ish ceiling.
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