Can Sin City's new Gateway Arches outshine the Welcome to Las Vegas sign?

Mary Forgione
·2 min read
Gateway Arches, a new Las Vegas landmark.
The new Gateway Arches in downtown Las Vegas. (Mona Shield Payne/City of Las Vegas)

Las Vegas has a new downtown landmark — the Gateway Arches. The recently installed 80-foot-high twin interlocking steel arches dangle a seven-ton, pink retro-style City of Las Vegas emblem framed by more than 13,000 LED lights. That's a lot of bling.

The lights went on for the first time Wednesday at the northern end of Las Vegas Boulevard between St. Louis and Bob Stupak avenues at the base of the Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod. It's at the opposite end of the Strip from the 1959-era Welcome to Las Vegas sign, which technically is outside the city limits.

By day, the sleek arches are deep blue; by night, they light up in various colors. Other wow factors: Each leg of the arch spans 140 feet, and the emblem measures 20 by 40 feet and weighs 7,300 pounds, according to a news release from the city. The project took eight months to complete and cost $6.5 million. It was designed by Selbert Perkins Design and created by the century-old sign company Yesco.

The new Gateway Arches in Las Vegas.
The Gateway Arches at the base of the Strat cost $6.5 million. (Mona Shield Payne/City of Las Vegas)

Why is there a new downtown landmark?

A couple get married with the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign in the background.
A couple get married with the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign in the background. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The new landmark was created after a truck hit and mangled a Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas sign four years ago. The sign was modeled on the iconic Strip sign and had been in place since 2002. The arches were seen as a grander permanent replacement to welcome people to the less-visited downtown area.

Can it top the more famous iconic welcome sign? Too early to tell, but it may provide fodder for the Insta selfie crowd.

The Las Vegas gateway sign features showgirls and dice.
A new Las Vegas gateway sign is lighted after being dedicated in August 2018. (Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau )

This isn't the city's first try at bringing a glitzy gateway to downtown. Two years ago, the city installed signs featuring 26-foot-tall showgirls and the city's name as well as betting chips and big dice. It stands at Main Street and Las Vegas Boulevard, not far from the Strat and the new arches.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.