|The Neon Museum|
Today, five years later, these “Year of Downtown” projects continue to grow their respective operations, celebrate ongoing milestones and collectively help to draw millions of visitors to downtown each year.
The Mob Museum, which opened on February 14, 2012, the 83rd anniversary of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, has welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors from 36 countries, added more than 2,000 new artifacts and hosted 57 weddings. The Museum has garnered several significant awards, including landing on TripAdvisor’s list of “Top 25 Museums;” USA Today’s “12 Can’t Miss Museum Exhibits;” and Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “Best Places to Travel in 2015,” among many others.
While the city of Las Vegas officially began transitioning into its new 310,000-square-foot city hall in February 2012, the building was officially dedicated on March 5, 2012 with a spectacular display of its signature LED lights that front the building. Today, the iconic building is more than just the operational home of the city of Las Vegas. It hosts scores of public events, lectures, town halls and art shows; and it serves as a satellite campus for the College of Southern Nevada where select night classes are offered.
That same week, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts opened on March 10, 2012 to much fanfare and a sold-out audience packed with city leaders, influencers and celebrities. Since then, The Smith Center has sold more than 2 million tickets to various productions and hosted more than 1,900 performances, nearly 350,000 local students and teachers, and 47 weddings. The Smith Center is widely lauded for elevating the quality of culture and the performing arts in Las Vegas, thanks to its ability to host productions of all sizes, including Broadway shows that previously had no place in Las Vegas capable of supporting their production needs. Plus, The Smith Center is the resident home of the city’s two beloved and long-time performing arts groups, Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Las Vegas Philharmonic.
After collecting historical neon signs from the city’s storied casinos and venues since 1996, the Neon Museum finally found a permanent home on Las Vegas Boulevard North, with a restored lobby shell from the defunct La Concha Motel serving as the visitor’s center. This truly unique museum opened on October 27, 2012. Since then, the Neon Museum has welcomed nearly 100,000 visitors and significantly grown its retail offerings by partnering with Marshall Retail Group to offer Neon Museum merchandise in 16 locations throughout the city. The Museum’s hallmark Neon Boneyard that showcases its signs has been the site of scores of high-profile photo shoots for fashion magazines such as French Vogue and GQ, as well as high-profile musicians like The Killers, Tiesto and Carrie Underwood. The Boneyard also continues to be a popular spot for brides, engaged couples and tourists from all over the world seeking the ultimate vintage Vegas backdrop for their photos. The Neon Museum recently acquired land adjacent to the Boneyard to expand its educational and special event space and to showcase additional signs that are currently in storage.
“The Year of Downtown was a remarkable period of our urban core’s ongoing revitalization,” said Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, city of Las Vegas. “It was the culmination of years of work by both public and private entities and marked the beginning of a new and historical era for the heart of our city. We continue to be thrilled with the growth and enduring appeal of all these projects that serve as landmarks and attractions of significance for both tourists and residents.”
For more information about downtown Las Vegas’ successful economic development efforts, visit lasvegasnevada.gov/EUD.