Nevada is the selfiest state in America, and most of those selfies happen in Las Vegas. There are more selfies taken per capita here than anywhere else. Sure, you can photograph yourself in front of the most popular Instagram spots in Las Vegas, but your photos will look just like everyone else’s. Yawn. If you want to stand out from the crowd with some unique Las Vegas photo shoot locations that won’t cost a dime, read on.
The best places in Vegas to take unique Instagram photos are in front of the great pieces of public art and historic locations downtown. These free, outdoor Las Vegas photo spots will grab attention in your social media feed.
361 Symphony Park Avenue, 89106
Pipe Dream is a massive, colorful metal sculpture by artist Tim Bavington that visually represents the notes in the 1942 composition “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland. This is a famous song used in many sports broadcasts and inspired the score for Superman and Saving Private Ryan. This rainbow of standing pipes is a great backdrop. Find the spot to make your outfit pop.
One of the best places to take pictures in Las Vegas is in front of some great street art. Downtown is covered in beautiful murals, most of them created for the Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival. There are works by renowned artists like D Face, Tristan Eaton, Okuda, Shepard Fairey, Pixel Pancho and more. New artworks are added every year.There are so many you could probably do a whole Instagram 365 photo challenge. In our video, we feature “W3 Dimensional Neon” by Felipe Pantone and “Rest of the Three Graces” by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel. Nothing makes for an eye-catching selfie like a great mural wall. There are colors and styles and scales to match any instamood, and they are around just about every corner of downtown Vegas.
Showgirl Gateway Sign
1810 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 89104
This is the sign that welcomes visitors to downtown Las Vegas (a truck hit the old welcome sign).The gateway sign features dice, poker chips stacked high enough to sit on, a roulette wheel, the city of Las Vegas logo and 26-foot tall Showgirls. Elements of the sign light up so it’s gorgeous in the daytime or at night. Bonus – this hidden gem on Las Vegas Boulevard next to The Strat is hardly ever as crowded as most of the other outdoor spots. This photography spot out-Vegases any other selfie spot in the city. Get there before everyone else finds out about it!
Fremont East Crosswalk
Intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street
Want a unique photo full of vintage Vegas? The intersection of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard has the iconic Fremont East sign, vintage neon martini glass, red Silver Slipper and more. As a bonus, this intersection has a diagonal crosswalk which will put you square in the middle of the intersection. You have just enough time to get a shot of yourself under the iconic Fremont East sign before time runs out. If those aren’t enough, you’re also right next to the Welcome to Downtown sign on Fremont Street Experience and the Lyft Art Park. In addition, the city’s Project Enchilada continues to restore vintage signs, add trees and original lamp posts to transform this area of downtown into a retro paradise. With all the different visuals, restaurants and activities you can spend a whole day taking photos on Fremont Street.
Intersection of Main Street and Commerce Street
Radial Symmetry by Luis Varela-Rico is two, 16-foot-diameter stainless steel radial shapes inspired by Southern Paiute basket weaving. It weighs 20 tons and makes a huge statement as you enter the Arts District from downtown. Varela-Rico wanted a piece that broke from the traditional language and motifs of downtown Vegas. The resulting unique, metal artwork provides many variations for a great selfie or Instagram shot from using it as a background, to standing inside it or catching the rays of the setting sun through the metal blades. You can see more of Varela-Rico’s steel creations at the Brett Wesley Gallery, the Clark County Government Center and Burning Man
Bulbs at Plaza
1 N. Main St, 89101
Vegas is all about lights and one of the best Instagram backdrops downtown is the Plaza canopy. The Plaza has been around since 1971 and is pure, classic Vegas. The lighted canopy on Main Street contains 23,000 bulbs that were replaced a few of years ago with LED lights cutting the power consumption in half. The secret to getting great shots here is framing out all the people and making sure the ambient light level isn’t too bright or too dark - too bright and the canopy won’t have that pop, too dark and the canopy will look great but your skin will be dark and blotchy. If you’ve spent the day on Fremont Street, this photo op is a great ending as the sun just starts to set. There’s no better bokeh for your portrait-mode shots than a background full of thousands of lights.
Did we miss a great Vegas photography spot? How did you do in our suggested places? Send us your favs on social media and tag your best pics with #DTLVgram so we can see.
Shane Savanapridi is a Public Information Officer for the city. Some people might call him a professional doughnut eater, but that would way understate the case. Follow his adventures - @savanapridi or listen to him on the VegasTMI podcast.