Become Vegas expert by checking out these must-see attractions

Those of us who live in Las Vegas know the Fountains of Bellagio are a top-notch attraction.

We didn’t need TripAdvisor to tell us this. In June, the fountains were named America’s top tourist attraction by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice awards. But ask any local for his or her list of must-see attractions and you will get a different answer every time. That’s not to say the fountains are undeserving of being named the No. 1 attraction in the whole country. We just think some other Vegas elements are just as worthy.

So, using very unscientific methodology, we put together a list of five attractions that visitors should see when they’re in Las Vegas. This list probably won’t make everyone happy. But arguing over it, that’s part of the fun. So get to debating.

1. Neon Boneyard at the Neon Museum: It makes us a little sad to see all those neon signs laying in a desert lot because it means some really cool places are gone. But seeing these pieces of Las Vegas history in one spot is a real treat for history buffs. The former lobby of La Concha, a famous shell-shaped motel, serves as the museum’s visitors’ center. You must book a tour to see the signs. Admission is $18 for day tours, $12 for Nevada residents, active duty military, students, seniors and veterans; night tours are $25 and $22 respectively. (777 Las Vegas Blvd. North; 702-387-6366; www.neonmuseum.org)

2. “Crazy Girls” statue at the Riviera: Like a brand-spanking-new penny, seven bronze butts shine in majestic glory on this sculpture, which was unveiled in 1997 as a tribute to the topless revue, “Crazy Girls.” The rest of the statue is a dark, dull bronze. The reason? Thousands of hands — and a few lips — have touched those metal buns, accidentally polishing them into mint condition. While the Riviera has seen better days, the statue is a gift that keeps on giving to tourists and the Strip resort. Go check them out. (2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South)

3. “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign: Quite possibly the most iconic attraction in Las Vegas. Everyone here knows the story. Artist Betty Willis designed it and it was erected in 1959. It greets travelers as they enter the Strip, which is actually in the town of Paradise just south of the Las Vegas city limits. People used to risk their lives dashing across Las Vegas Boulevard to get to it. Now that the sign has its own park, there is a constant stream of cars coming and going. Plans are in the works to enlarge the parking area. (5200 Las Vegas Blvd. South)

4. Fremont Street Experience: These days, downtown discussion is all about the growth east of Las Vegas Boulevard. But let’s not forget the Experience, which is, in its own right, a true Vegas experience. With the costumed characters, preachers, buskers, kiosks and drunks, you will find no better place to people-watch than beneath the canopy of Fremont. Add to that the free entertainment that takes place weekly and you have a bona fide Vegas attraction. (Along Fremont Street between Main Street and Las Vegas Boulevard)

5. Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: The great thing about the conservatory is that you’re really getting two attractions in one. You’re going to pass the Bellagio fountains on your way into the resort to see the conservatory, so this is a win-win. Inside, visitors are treated to a cornucopia of flora and fauna, live music, butterflies, birds and more, depending on the season. (3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South)

Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at
spadgett@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @StripSonya on Twitter.

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