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12 Things You Never Knew About the Las Vegas Sign

It dates to 1959

Famous sign welcoming visitors to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.Stock Connection/ShutterstockYep, the iconic Las Vegas sign, which greets modern-day visitors as they enter the city, has been around since the days of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and the Rat Pack. Betty Willis, who was one of the first female commercial artists to work on neon signs, designed it, along with other famous signs including those for the Moulin Rouge Hotel and the Riviera Hotel-Casino, two once iconic Vegas hotels that are both now closed. Don’t miss these other must-see attractions in Las Vegas that aren’t casinos.

It’s not trademarked

Baseball caps, Las Vegas, Nevada, USANorbert Eisele-Hein/ShutterstockThe designer of the famous landmark, Willis, never trademarked her work, so that’s why you see it replicated by companies on everything under the sun from T-shirts and mugs to posters and magnets. So, go ahead, print yourself a T-shirt!

It’s in the style of Googie architecture

JAPAN-SEPT 9: Futuristic gas station in Nagasaki, Japan on Sept. 9, 2009. Built in the style of Googie architecture, influenced by car culture and the Space Age and associated with the 1950s and 1960s.cdrin/ShutterstockGoogie what? A style of architecture that developed mid-century in Southern California, Googie, according to Architectural Digest, features futuristic motifs along with large, bright elements designed to capture the attention of passing cars. The Las Vegas sign is an example of this space-age style and its design was also influenced by Walt Disney.

It has a back side

Drive carefully sign Las Vegas Nevada USAEye Ubiquitous/ShutterstockWhile everyone knows the front of the sign says “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada,” did you know there’s also something on the other side? It doesn’t get often captured in photos, but the flip side of the Las Vegas sign says, “Drive Carefully, Come Back Soon.”

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It’s not actually in the city of Las Vegas

Las Vegas Boulevard street sign at night.Eric Baker/ShutterstockCrazy, right? The sign welcoming you to Las Vegas isn’t actually in Las Vegas! Located south of Mandalay Bay on Las Vegas Boulevard South, the sign actually sits in unincorporated Clark County. It’s technically about four miles south of the Las Vegas city limits. Read on for the famous American landmarks that almost weren’t.

Its seven circles represent silver dollars

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada sign Las Vegas Nevada USAEye Ubiquitous/ShutterstockThe circles that enclose the letters of the word “Welcome” on the sign are designed to look like silver dollars as a tribute to Nevada’s nickname, “The Silver State.”

It’s one of the most popular selfie spots in town

Tourists pose for photos in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign that has flowers honoring the people who died in a mass shooting on Sunday in Las Vegas on . A gunman opened fire on an outdoor music concert on Sunday making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. But even though the city is in mourning, for many it is business as usual with celebrations and parties continuingAP/REX/ShutterstockIn today’s world of Instagram-worthy destinations, the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign has to be at the top of the list. As one of the most popular selfie spots in the city, it gets quite crowded throughout the day. Arrive early for your best chance at a clear shot of you and the sign or aim for sunset for the perfect lighting.

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You can park your car to snap a selfie

romantic couple taking selfie by welcome to las vegas sign with smart phoneJoshua Resnick/ShutterstockBecause it’s so popular, yet was difficult to access due to traffic, Clark County added a parking lot in 2008, which it expanded in 2015 to accommodate even more visitors. The area also now features crosswalks and pedestrian-activated traffic signals to improve safety. Check out Instagram’s most photographed hotels.

It’s powered by solar energy

" Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas " sign on a bright sunny dayView Apart/ShutterstockThe Las Vegas sign is even environmentally friendly, using renewable energy! In 2014, Clark County installed three “solar trees” by the sign, which provide enough solar-powered electricity to offset its power usage.

It’s 25 feet tall

 The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign in Las Vegas, Nevada USAf11photo/ShutterstockStanding 25 feet tall, the Las Vegas icon is about two and a half stories and is topped by an eight-pointed starburst. While it pales in comparison to some of Vegas’ mega-hotels, it still holds its own. You’ll also find exactly 94 light bulbs outlining the sign. See if you can you guess these famous cities based on their skylines.

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