Located on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, just south of Mandalay Bay Hotel and across the street from the McCarran International Airport airfield, stands the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada sign. Although much of Las Vegas has changed over the last five decades, this iconic landmark has withstood the test of time.
Erected in 1959 and standing 25 feet tall (7.6 m), this historic sign welcomes visitors to Las Vegas, and also bids them a fond farewell as people leaving Las Vegas will see the back of the sign which reads "Drive Carefully Come Back Soon". When the welcome sign was unveiled in 1959, access to the sign was very limited -- the median's curbs (along with the lack of close parking) made it challenging to stand right next to one of the city's coolest symbols. The result? People either jaywalked, or risked parking in one of the Las Vegas travel lanes;
However, scurrying across Las Vegas Boulevard and dodging speeding cars is now a thing of the past, for many improvements have been made to make it easier for visitors to access this iconic sign. Firstly, a ten space parking lot was built in 2008, but due to overwhelming demand the parking lot was expanded by another forty spaces by 2015, along with the addition of new traffic signals and marked crosswalks to help pedestrians cross Las Vegas Boulevard at the historic sign. Some extra cosmetic ground improvements were also made at that time. Recently, the sign has been changed to run on solar power.
In late 2008, Clark County employees sought to have the sign listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office officially nominated it. On May 1, 2009, the National Park Service approved the designation.
So, if you ever find yourself in Las Vegas, take some to visit this famous landmark. To access the parking lot at the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada" sign you must be going south on Las Vegas Boulevard heading away from Mandalay Bay and toward the Las Vegas Outlet Center. If you're driving into town, you will have to make a U-turn past the sign.