Mob Museum – 300 E. Stewart Ave.
Today’s Vegas may seem long separated from the small mafia seedling that sprang up out of nowhere in the 1940’s, but rest assured mob blood runs deep through the veins of this city from Uptown to Downtown and every alley in between. It all started when Meyer Lansky, known as “the Mob’s Accountant” entrusted infamous gangster Bugsy Siegel to build the Flamingo from the ground up, with blood, sweat, tears, and piles of illegal money. Bugsy was eventually caught skimming funds from the construction fund and given an ultimatum. Pay back the mafia, or meet his maker. Well, that was the end of Bugsy but not the mob’s involvement in the city. His story and many more can be found at downtown’s Mob Museum. Put together by the same folks who brought you the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, with a board ran by a 24-year F.B.I veteran you can be sure to have an authentic, dazzling experience from start to finish. Take a step back in time and learn about famous gangsters such as “Lucky” Luciano, John Gotti, Whitey Bulger, “Lefty” Rosenthal, and many more. Plus the F.B.I. agents of yore who managed to infiltrate the Italian-American mafia during the peak of their dangerous, dastardly reign.
Neon Museum – 770 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
The Neon Museum, otherwise known as “the Boneyard” is like stepping out of a time machine and in to vintage Vegas. Home to the remains and signage of yesteryear from some of the city’s most treasured gems, from Caesar’s Palace to the Golden Nugget. In fact the museum features more than 150 artifacts, even housing the sign from the legendary Stardust Resort and Casino. The Stardust closed it’s doors in 2006 after a 48 year run. The casino in it’s glory had once been the face of Vegas. An iconic glittering beacon of glamour, gambling, and sin. The classic 1995 flick Casino featured Robert Deniro and Joe Pesci as gangsters “Lefty” Rosenthal and “Nicky” Santoro and took place at a fictional casino called the “Tangiers” but actually took place at the Stardust. (The name change for the movie was due to legal complications.) Pieces at the Neon Museum range from as early as the 1930’s to the present day.
Madame Tussauds (Venetian) 3377 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Madame Tussauds is arguably the only place in the world that you can meet the guys from the Hangover, Tony Stark, Snoop Dogg, and Hugh Hefner all in one day. They may be made of wax, but they are so realistic you’ll have your friends believing your #selfie with Gwen Stefani is the real deal. Madame Tussauds actually began with Marie Tussaud, who began crafting wax statues in the 1700’s. By 1835 she had opened up her own museum on Baker St. in London. Back in the days of few newspapers, and of no radios, televisions, or wifi, news traveled mostly by word-of-mouth. So Tussaud’s museum was a sort of exhibition of world events and leaders from all over. It was a way to educate and amaze the masses in a time of war and great political disarray. Ever since then her legacy has carried on until the present day. These days Madame Tussauds has many locations from Berlin to Tokyo, to right here at the Venetian on the Las Vegas strip.
If you can find sometime between bar-hopping to go museum-hopping you won’t regret it in a city as colorful and unique as Las Vegas. Each attraction has it’s own flair and unique flavor. Besides, what traveler doesn’t love a good photo-op?