Just about everyone’s taken photos of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and the Bellagio fountains, but we like our photo ops a little more twisted.
We’ve pulled together 25 obscure, quirky and downright bizarre photo ops in Las Vegas, so wipe the schmutz off your lens as we expose the offbeat side of Sin City.
1. Downtown Meerkats
Downtown’s Life is Beautiful music festival has brought a lot of eye-catching artwork to Las Vegas, and this meerkat sculpture is one of our favorites.
This art installation was created from trash and found materials by Portugese artist Bordalo II.
2. Bliss Dance
Oh, we’re not done at The Park yet, bub. Yes, we said bub. Somebody had to. We broke the story Bliss Dance was coming to Las Vegas, so she holds a special place in our heart. She’s also naked, so there’s that. Bliss Dance, a 40-foot public art piece by Marco Cochrane that originally appeared at Burning Man, is based upon an actual woman who would never date us in a bajillion years.
Similar to many professional dancers in Las Vegas, Bliss Dance took about 10,000 hours to construct.
3. Typewriter Eraser at Aria
It’s an eye-catching piece of art, and its name is Typewriter Eraser, Scale X. Aria and City Center are bursting with art, and Aria even offers a brochure to help find it all.
We like it for its dizzying scale and its ability to confound millennials. Because typewriters. And erasers. And brochures.
4. Berlin Wall at Main Street Station
There’s no way this chunk of the Berlin Wall isn’t making our list of offbeat Las Vegas photo ops. Not so much because it’s the Berlin Wall, but because it’s in the men’s restroom. Women can get their pic, too, just ask security to escort you in.
When erected, the Berlin Wall was 27.5 miles long. We can all see where this photo caption is going.
5. St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall at The Mob Museum
Speaking of unique walls, how about this macabre offering at downtown’s must-visit Mob Museum? It’s a strange and fascinating artifact from the 1929 whackings of seven mobsters, presumably by members of Al Capone’s posse. Why anyone would associate the mob with Las Vegas is anybody’s guess.
6. John Gotti’s Sportscar
While we’re downtown, we should probably hit the Plaza. And speaking of “hits,” be sure to snap a photo of the Teflon Don’s car in the Plaza’s casino. No, really, in the middle of the casino. The car is on loan from the aforementioned Mob Museum.
The 1972 Jaguar XKE convertible was supposed to be on display until mid-2015. Think they’re giving it back? Fahgettaboudit.
7. The Pink Motel
Fun City is a motel in a fairly crappy part of Las Vegas, but it’s worth the risk to life and limb, mainly because the motel’s pink. Fun fact about Fun City: In “Vegas Vacation,” the Griswalds got remarried at the adjoining Chapel of the Bells.
Many Las Vegas strippers fly in for weekends and stay at Fun City. Which might explain why the Stratosphere looks like that. Just saying.
8. Diamond Inn Motel’s Pink Elephant
You can never have too many seedy motels or too many pink things. This roadside curiosity recently got some repairs, so it’s ready for its close-up. The pink elephant can be found along Las Vegas Boulevard, near Mandalay Bay and the welcome to Las Vegas sign.
The pink elephant was imported from Disneyland in the 1950s. It used to trumpet loudly, but the County forced the owners to remove the sound device. Thank you, County.
9. Elephants at Rainforest Cafe
If you’re a fan of pachyderms, you’ll be thrilled to know there are more elephant photo ops in Las Vegas, and these babies still have their trumpeters intact. These large elephants can be found at the new location of Rainforest Cafe, Harmon Corner, at the juncture of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue. They’re a little cheesy, but the lifelike movements will win you over.
Embrace the cheese. Although we were expelled from school for that one time.
10. Crazy Girls Bronze Statue at Planet Hollywood
Just around the corner from Harmon Corner is Planet Hollywood, and Planet Hollywood is the new home of an iconic, and decidedly offbeat, photo op. It’s a bronze statue for “Crazy Girls,” a topless revue that was once at the demolished Riviera. The statue can be found at the base of the escalator leading up to the hotel’s Sin City Theatre.
It’s considered good luck to rub the statue, hence the strategic buffing, if you get our drift.
11. Chocolate Statue of Liberty at New York-New York
Everything’s better with chocolate, so it follows the Statue of Liberty is better made of chocolate. Hershey’s Chocolate World at New York-New York boasts a Lady Liberty replica made of 800 pounds of chocolate. Yes, in a city where the temperature often exceeds 120. Here’s a video about the making of this curious Vegas photo op. The statue took 1,000 hours to make, or roughly the amount of time your flight takes when you’re headed to Las Vegas.
We’re thinking this has the makings of the world’s largest, and most patriotic, s’more.
12. Dogs at Cosmopolitan
We don’t know much about these dogs, other than that they’re very cooperative when it’s time to take a photo. The collection of pups (there are five) can be found on the level above the Cosmopolitan’s casino.
The position of the dogs changes from time to time, so drop by and check out the latest doggy positions. We probably should’ve checked your I.D. before letting you read these photo captions.
13. Headless Lenin at Mandalay Bay
Just outside the Red Square bar at Mandalay Bay you’ll find a headless statue of Lenin, sometimes referred to by his DJ name, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. When the statue first went up, it had a head, but customers complained, mainly retired servicemen. So, the head was lopped off in 1999.
Lenin is considered one of the most influential foreign leaders of the 20th century, so 96% of Americans have no clue who he is. All due respect.
14. Big Rig Jig
Let’s head (please refer to #13) back downtown to get a look at Big Rig Jig, a hidden gem and spectacularly weird Las Vegas photo op. Big Rig Jig is a 50-foot, 25-ton sculpture, assuming you use the term “sculpture” very loosely.
Big Rig Jig sits in the courtyard of the closed Fergusons Motel. Think “Human Centipede,” but with trucks.
15. Manneken-Pis at The D Las Vegas
No, really, that’s what it’s called. This defiant statue is an over-sized replica of the famous statue in Brussels. Which is another country altogether, we’re pretty sure. Manneken-Pis means “little man pee” in Dutch. This isn’t rocket science, you know. This blog personally tossed the very first coin into the Manneken-Pis fountain and promptly won $1,000 on a Top Dollar slot machine in The D. Which makes this not only an offbeat photo op, but also a financial planning strategy. Or something.
The original Manneken-Pis was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder, a name which got the dude epic amounts of tail, trust us.
16. Mantis at Downtown Container Park
This 150:1 scale model of a praying mantis lights up the sky with fire each night at the Downtown Container Park, a shopping district fashioned from recycled shipping containers. The flame-throwing mantis took 3,000 hours to build and burns through about 50 gallons of propane each day. Flames from the beast reach six stories high.
Be sure to bring some extra bejesus with you, as the mantis is sure to scare what’s in you out of you.
We weren’t kidding about the “six stories high” thing, by the way.
17. Painting at Park on Fremont
Park on Fremont is a bar and restaurant on (wait for it) Fremont Street. East, to be specific. Fremont East is flush with idiosyncratic bars, and Park on Fremont is no exception. On the restaurant’s patio, you’ll find an awkward painting most customers don’t even notice. We did, and now you will, too. Snap away!
Ask your server if you’d like to sit in the non-blushing section.
18. Giant Fire Hydrant
This larger-than-life fireplug, found in downtown Las Vegas, is said to be the world’s largest working fire hydrant. We’d love to say we verified that claim, but that would involve setting our drink down for a minute, so no thanks. The hydrant is located near the Western Hotel, which was euthanized in 2012.
On hot days, officials uncap the hydrant so children can cool off. They can be reclaimed in Arizona.
19. Truck Cab at Pizza Rock
All right, just one more Las Vegas photo op downtown before we head back to The Strip. Guests of our favorite Vegas restaurant, Pizza Rock, are sometimes surprised to see a Peterbilt truck cab. Their surprise turns to WTF when they realize the truck doubles as the restaurant’s DJ booth.
This is the only acceptable kind of “long-hauling” in Las Vegas, thank you very much.
20. Blue Man Group at Luxor
Back to The Strip we skip! In November 2015, Blue Man Group moved back to Luxor after a number of years at Monte Carlo. After settling in, they set up a photo op to help market the show. Inside the display, you’ll find life-like blue persons and random props to up the weird quotient. Guests can stick their head through a hole in the wall of the display (swapping faces with legendary TV painting instructor Bob Ross), making the display both interactive and sort of disturbing, in a good way.
The display is named the Blue Man Wax Shack, a cross-promotion with Madame Tussauds, which created the blue men.
21. “Ka” Dragon at MGM Grand
At the entrance to the “Ka” Theater at MGM Grand, there’s a massive, colorful dragon, the perfect addition to your Las Vegas photo collection. “Ka” is one of the Cirque shows in Las Vegas that offers a free open house to guests. There are very few words we love as much as “free.” They include “Captain,” “craps” and “formicophilia.” Don’t ask.
Dragons are mythological, much like the Alon resort.
22. Mastro’s Ocean Club at Crystals Mall
You either get why this is an offbeat photo op or you don’t. And if you don’t, we admire the rose-colored glasses through which you view the world.
We’ve tried getting a reservation at Mastro’s, but it’s hard.
23. Penn & Teller at Rio
That’s right, one of the quirkiest Las Vegas photo ops isn’t a thing, it’s a who. Troublesome magicians Penn & Teller hang out with audience members after their show, signing autographs and taking photos. Unlike some Vegas celebs, they don’t charge for the meet-and-greet, they do it as a way to show appreciation to their fans.
It’s not a Madame Tussauds thing, promise. It’s the actual Penn & Teller.
24. Scorpions at Nacho Daddy
If you thought the scorpion shots at Nacho Daddy were creepy, wait until you see their new display case. Nacho Daddy opened a location on The Strip in August 2016 (at Miracle Mile Shops) and installed a custom display featuring gargantuan Emperor scorpions. The case was built by the team from the reality show “Tanked,” and Nacho Daddy was featured on the show.
The Emperor scorpions at Nacho Daddy share their case with lots of very, very nervous crickets.
25. Seven Magic Mountains
They’re big, they’re bold and they’re out in the middle of nowhere. Seven Magic Mountains is about 10 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip, and you sort of can’t miss them. Seven Magic Mountains is seven pillars, all between 30 and 35 feet tall. Each rock weighs between 20 and 25 tons. The public art piece took five years to complete, at a cost of $3.5 million. You want offbeat? You’ve got it!
About a third of Vegas visitors come from California, so this photo op has quickly become a Sin City fanatic favorite.
Here’s a look from a slightly different perspective.
Well, that should keep you busy during your next visit to Las Vegas.
Have a favorite offbeat Las Vegas photo op? We might just include your suggestion in our follow-up story which we’re sure you’ll be clamoring for any time now. We’ll wait.