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Incredible Photos of Las Vegas: Then and Now


Whenever anyone mentions Las Vegas, the standard images come to mind. The bright lights of the casinos, the sprawling busy streets filled with tourists, the exotic dancers and show. Some of the most incredible photos of this wild city depict a time when things were a bit more serene.

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From the past to the present, there are simply spectacular photos of Las Vegas out there. From quiet backstreet casinos to smoke-filled jazz lounges, there is a reason why Las Vegas remains one of the most intriguing cities in the world.

Be prepared to see images of Las Vegas you’ve never seen before! Click ‘Start Slideshow’ to be even more enthralled with this timeless city!

Fremont Street, late 1940s

Woah, is that you, Fremont Street? The Fremont Street of Las Vegas we are familiar with today is jam packed and busy with tourists, entertainers and a variety of casino employees. This flashback to the late 1940s or early 1950s depicts a much quieter, more serene still of Las Vegas in the city’s earlier days. Although the streets are pretty empty, those iconic Las Vegas hotel, club and casino signs burned brightly throughout the night, as many of them continue to do today. Fast forward to almost a century later, the city has only grown bigger, better and much, much brighter

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Gambling in Swimming Pools

Talk about a “refreshing” game of cards. In this early Vegas photo, guests are splashing up to the dealer to continue gambling without having to be inside the actual casino. Many hotels in Las Vegas for known for being so accommodating to guests, it’d only make sense that they’d bring the gambling to you, even if you’re enjoying a refreshing dip. Surely you’ve heard of swim-up bars before, but swim-up card games aren’t something you’d necessarily be familiar with. I wonder how they kept all the cards from getting wet. Only in Vegas would you see something like this!

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Sky View of the Las Vegas Strip

Out of all the things you can possibly do in Las Vegas, taking a helicopter tour has to be one of the most interesting. Not only will this give you a rush if you’re a thrill seeker, but you just won’t be able to capture the kinds of images you can capture on one of these amazing tours. Depending on the time of day, you can capture all sorts of amazing photos of the classic Vegas strip, but in this particular photo, our view is set upon the actual helicopter giving the tour instead. It’s pretty amazing to have a photo of those old cars from the ‘40s and this photo of this incredible, sleek helicopter all in one article.

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Supermoon of 2015

In this incredible photo, the supermoon and eclipse coincided at just the right time for this photo to be snapped, preserving the moment forever. The moon looks like it’s rusting over due to the eclipse. The earth’s atmosphere scatters more blue light than it’s typical red light, creating this dusty organey hue. The red light is what reaches the lunar surface giving us this incredibly stunning image. You wouldn’t guess that Las Vegas would have held such a fantastic visual, but given the terrain of the Las Vegas desert, it’s no wonder this gorgeous moon looked redder than usual.

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Rainstorm over Las Vegas

Las Vegas is located in a desert, so you wouldn’t necessarily assume it rains there often. You would be right on the rarity of rain front, but when it does rain, be prepared to get wet! Rainy season for the desert and Las Vegas starts in Autumn. Mind you, it still doesn’t rain anywhere near the rainfall in most cities, but it does tend to pick up in October and November. Given the view, this photo of the rainstorm over the city is absolutely stunning. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Nature can be truly gorgeous all on its own.

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Neon Museum – Where Neon Signs go to Retire

This super cool photo reveals the Neon Museum’s lustre. Your assumptions are probably right – this is a museum depciting all the historical neon signs that lit up the strip. All these signs were either torn down, burnt out or maybe just replaced with a newer, fresher look. Whatever the reason, these signs have found a home safe within the vicinity of the classic Las Vegas main strip. The museum is located just north of the strip, in fact, but reservations need to be made far in advance, so book early if you’re planning a trip.

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That’s a Huge Dam!

Super flashback to the late 1930s when the infamous Hoover Dam was completed. This rare photo depicts construction workers and city officials posing in front of the completed Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam remains one of the top tourist spots of Las Vegas and for a good reason. The dam has been standing strong for nearly a century. Notice the old vehicles and clothign of the men in the photo. They must have been so proud of their accomplishments and would no doubt be proud to know that the dam is still standing safe and sound.

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Impressive Architecture

The Keep Memory Alive Center in Las Vegas is an events center perfect for weddings, anniversary parties, birthdays – you name it. The interesting structure was designed by architect Frank Gehry and it’s meant to represent “keeping memories alive” by enthralling guests by using sensory elemtns to appeal to all the five senses. Gehry structured the facility after an idea by Larry Ruvo, a medical researcher, who’s own father had Alzheimer’s. Day or night, the structure is incredible to look at and even more incredible to be inside. This gorgeous photo shows us just how gorgeous the structure looks at night when it’s lit from within.

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Last Photo of The Sands Casino

A little bit morbid and maybe even a little bit sad, but the truth is that there are countless hotels and casinos that have been demolished over the years to give way to brand new, sparkling hotels and casinons. Ths Sands Casino, for example, stood where The Palazzo and Venetian Casino sit now. This is one of the last photos of The Sands Casino before it’s demoltion in 1996. The Sands had stood over the Las Vegas strip for 44 years before crumbling into nothing but dust. Although it’s bittersweet, the truth is the Las Vegas strip is only so big, so it makes sense that they have to “clean house” every so often.

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The Waterfall at Tryst

Talk about the perfect wedding reception location. The Tryst is an upscale nightclub located inside the Wynn Las Vegas Casino. Due to its gorgeously lit up waterfall, the location has doubled as an event center, but plenty of guests visit just to see the amazing beauty of this scene. At night, golden light spills all down the flowing waterfall creating a golden cascade of soothing water and light. This gorgeous scene isn’t commonly seen by tourists since not many people know that there is this stunning waterfall just outside of this nightclub.

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Historic El Cortez Hotel

It may drown out behind the lights of new, sparkly Las Vegas signs, but many tourists pass this historic hotel and don’t even realize it’s significance. In this photo, the El Cortez sits as gallantly as it did in its inception in 1941. The hotel has stood the test of time and survived potential demolition to remain one of the most classic hotels you can visit in old Las Vegas. The hotel lobby features hundreds of historical photos of celebrities through the ages that have visited and stayed inside the El Cortez. The hotel has been renovated several times to add more rooms, features and amenitites.

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High Angle Shot of Las Vegas Strip

This interesting photo depicts the City of Lights at a high angle. The direction of the camera makes the city sprawl out beneath it as the lights twinkle on below. Some of the most famous hotels are seen at an interesting height due to the unique viewpoint the photo gives us. Since there are plenty of photos of classic Las Vegas out there, photos that make us view the city at an interesting angle are necessary to view the city in a different light. No matter the angle, the city remains to be gorgeous and easily recognizable due to all the amazing lights and glamour.

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Out With the Old, In With the Old?

In order to keep that Old Vegas feel, newly installed old neon signs have been popping up around the older parts of Las Vegas. Although most of these signs are reconstructions of the old signs, the signs are meant to keep that old classic era of Vegas alive and well. Tourists can take in all the nostalgia simply by driving down some of the most popular strips in old Las Vegas. Sometimes newer just isn’t better, and in this case, the older the better. These neon signs will light up and be as vibrant as the newer signs along the selected strips of Vegas.

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Birdseye View

Another view from a helicopter, this stunning view brings in all the old time class of Vegas while keeping the modern Sin City intact. Not only is this view of Las Vegas absolutely gorgeous, the same view could be easily accessed by signing up for one of many popular helicopter tours. You can see Las Vegas the way a bird does by being able to hitch a ride on your own steel bird. Keep in mind, a helicopter ride may not be for everyone, but if youre looking for adventure and a fantastic “off the beaten path” view like this one, it’s the only way to fly in Las Vegas.

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Slot Machines from the 1940s

Slot machines in Las Vegas have been there pretty much since the city’s start. In this historical photos from the 1940s, patrons can be seen gathering around slot machines in a casino waiting to test their luck and see if they’re going to win big. The sot machines in the photo are unlike the slot machines you’d see today in modern casinos. These slot machines look more like old fashioned cash registers instead of the electronic, noisey machines we see today. Times certinaly were different back then, and Sin City has taken giant leaps and bounds in the technologcal world since this photo, obviously.

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Killer View from a Killer Table

The rule in Vegas goes, if the restaurant is one of the best, it’s going to have tables with killer views. This photo is no excpetion when it comes to killer views. The gorgeous, sparkling Las Vegas strip glitters below as patrons to The Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay sip their cocktails and chow down on some of the best Vegas strip restaurants you can find. Naturally, these bars and restaurants are going to be more expensive, but given the delectable fare and impressive views, it would totally be worth it. The sun melts away in the distance as the night begins in the City of Lights.

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Old City Sky Line

Here is an old bird’s eye view of early Sin City that is a step out of time. This photo was probably taken from a plane instead of the common helicopter aerial views were most accustomed to. The black and white photo reveals early Sin City when all the hotels were new, the casinos were buzzing and the bars were fully stocked with unique reserves. These were the glory days of Las Vegas, as plenty of celebriteis descended upon the city making these high rollers “royalty” of the city. Naturally, Las Vegas remains one of the most impressive cities in the world, but there’s just something about old Las Vegas photos that instill a sense of unwavering nostalgia.

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Suite View, Literally

If you’ve got the money and the time, why not rent out a luxurious suite for a night or two? In this gorgeous photo, we’re taken right into the heart of one of the most elegant hotels in Las Vegas, into the Sky Villa of The Palms. This suite not only comes with a stellar view, but it has a private pool and balcony. Not to mention all the other great amenities out of view. Most suites like these also come equipped with wraparound terraces so you can get the entire view of Las Vegas in all of it’s sparkling glory. If a suite is a little too rich for your blood, there are always other fantastic hotels with great views … just don’t expect a wraparound terrace or a private pool.

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The Snaking Strip of Early Vegas

Can you believe this is a photo of early Las Vegas? There are no casinos, no lights and certainly not nearly as many people as there are today. This is a photo of very early Las Vegas. The road has just newly been installed and the black of the tar cuts across the desert sands. It’s hard to imagine that this empty photo would soon house over 1,000 luxury casinos and hotels, a unfathomable amount of high end restaurants and all the escapes of modern life you’d need in a city that sticks true to it’s name, “Sin City.”

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High Roller View

The High Roller is one of the world’s largest observation wheels and it’s tucked inside the The Linq Promenade. Not only does it depict some of the most amazing views of the Las Vegas strip, but it has a bar full stocked with necessary libations to make the views that much better. The High Roller is notorious for it’s happy hours, good times and breathtaking views, making it one of the most popular attractions in Las Vegas. I mean, just scope out this view. You can’t get much better than this! It’s no wonder it’s such a hit.

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Fremont Street Lit Up

Here’s another view of early Fremont Street in the early 1950s, but this time, it’s all lit up. This may be one of the most iconic streets in Las Vegas to date. The signs, bars and casinos may have changed, but the feel of that old time Las Vegas nostalgia remains. This is a time of classic Hollywood celebrities smoking cigars deep into the night in bar lounges. This is also the time of risque dancers and shows that were completely out of the norm for this time period. Las Vegas was a revolutionary city and it continues to be a city that never sleeps.

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Open-Top Bus View

Almost as popular as the helicopter tours, open-top bus tours are a novelty to tourists. You won’t get the kinds of photos like these without being in one of these tours. The tours go up and down the main Las Vegas strip, but some go beyond that – it just depends what you want to see and how much you’re willing to spend. (Like everything else in this city.) The beauty of the open-top bus is that you can sit back and relax taking beautiful snapshots, just like this one, while a tour guide totes you around and gives you interesting nuggets of history along the way. Note: You’ll proabbly want to go on a night open-top bus tour to get all the great action shots with lights.

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Luxurious Luxor

Here’s a breathaking view of the Luxor Hotel and Casino off the main strip in Las Vegas. The impressive Egypt-themed, highly modern hotel is one of the most iconic hotels in the area. You can easily find images of this hotel in any Las Vegas travel websites, brochures or even travel magazines. No matter the angle, this hotel remains one of the most photographed spots in Las Vegas and contnues to be one of the most popular hotels in the area. With it’s gorgeous exterior and even more luxurious interori rooms, it’s no wonder this hotel has reamined to popular and a staple to the Las Vegas experience.

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Late ‘70s Vegas

Here’s a great semi-aerial shot of Las Vegas in the 1970s. The Stardust was one of the most popular hotel casinos of the time, as well as The Riviera depicted toward the front of this incredibly rare photo. This photo brings all the greatness of Las Vegas into scope with so many iconic bars and casinos that still stand today. Mind you, Las Vegas has gone through countless renovations, but with photos like these, you won’t forget what made this city so great and so timeless. Being able to see cars from the time period is always great to remind yourself just how old these photos are.

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The Thunderbird

The Thunderbird was one of the most popular resort casinos in the 1940s. Not only was it impressive in luxury, but the fact that it was a resort casino was even more unique to the time. True to its name, the giant, vintage thunderbird looks over as guest hurredly come in droves to check in and get ready for a fabulous night out. Another attribute to resort hotels was that they had live music and performances. Many hotels had stages even inside the bars to make sure live music, standup comedy or other live performances were readily available to guests at any time.

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1950s Las Vegas Strip

Here is a timeless photo of the strip in Las Vegas depicting some of the most popular hotesl of the time period. The best part of this photos is the marquee of The Flamingo hotel that says Ella Fitzgerald will be the featured act of the night. How exciting would that have been? To see Ella Fitzgerald live on stage performing some of her most famous songs in the golden age of Las Vegas? Las Vegas was home to many stars, espeically those who had talents in singing, dancing and performing. Ella, like Elvis, were mainstays when it came to Las Vegas performance gold.

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Vintage Las Vegas Sign

This vintage photo shows the iconic Las Vegas sign, with a few major differences. Notice how empty the scenery behind the sign is. There are no glittering neon lights, no super lit casinos and definitely not any bars in sight! This is old Las Vegas – and vintage photos like these just show us how much has changed over the years. It looks like a true desert in the background, full of sand and not much else. The few cars on the roads are probably heading to one of the few restaurants or smaller casinos open at the time. Or who knows, maybe just passing through, assuming this is a ghost town.

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Classic Fremont Street

Here’s another view of classic Fremont Street. In this vintage photo, the marquee tells us the Minnie Pearl is going to be the performing headliner tonight. Even back then, the lights of the casinos sparkled more brightly than the stars. In fact, the high impact of the city lights drowned out the stars beyond it entirely. Even though many of the hotel casinos depicted no longer stand, the area remains a booming area – constantly changing and growing. How great would it have been to have been able to see Vegas around this time and be just another spectator on the street?

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Vintage Sands

Here’s a wonderful photo of the vintage Sands hotel in downtown Las Vegas in the 1950s. This photo is unmistakably vintage – if you couldn’t pick that up by the cars, hairstyles and that woman’s great shorts in the front. Sammy Davis Jr. was the act for that night and that should have tipped you off right away that this was a classic Las Vegas photo. Any photos depicting marquees with great acts on them remain incredible because it’s just another reminder that the greatest performers remain immortalized through photographs like this one.

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Incredible Photos of Las Vegas: Then and Now

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