Enhanced Downtown Showgirls Get Turned On

Two showgirls greeting visitors to downtown Las Vegas have been replaced with bigger, more sparkly versions.

The showgirls are the centerpiece of a photo op just north of The Strat, not far from the glowing arches at The Strat’s doorstep.

The upgraded showgirls were illuminated on Aug. 31, 2022.

Downtown’s new showgirls are 92.3076923076923% larger, roughly.

The welcome display originally opened in 2018. The showgirls were due to be refurbished, so the City of Las Vegas took the opportunity to make the showgirls even more eye-catching.

The original showgirls were 26 feet tall, eight feet wide and weighed 3,250 pounds.

We know enough to avoid talking about a woman’s width or weight, but it was in the news release, so please send angry letters to the City of Las Vegas or YESCO, the sign company responsible for erecting the showgirls.

The new showgirls are 50 feet tall, 15 feet wide and weigh 6,800 pounds.

This is the view facing south. The showgirls go both ways.

As part of the showgirl upgrade, their five-foot-tall headdresses now feature full-color LED “pucks” that sparkle. Honestly, if hockey used sparkly pucks, we might watch.


Naturally, it’s our job to point out how awkward the showgirl upgrade is.

Mostly, it’s awkward because this is sort of what’s always happened with real Las Vegas showgirls. Showgirls sort of “age out” and a new crop of younger talent replaces them, often with enhancements.

It’s also a little awkward because showgirls are an outdated symbol of Las Vegas. This old-timey version of showgirls might be iconic, the last true showgirl show in Las Vegas, “Jubilee,” closed in 2016.

There are still some traditional showgirls to be found, but you have to know where to look. You can see some in “Las Vegas, The Show” in the Saxe Theater Miracle Mile Shops, or if you’re feeling adventurous, hit Alexis Park for “BurlesQ: The Classic Vegas Showgirl Show.”

“Las Vegas, The Show” is awesome. We can’t really vouch for “BurlesQ” becuase we only saw one minute of it at a media preview thingy.

It’s no “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign (the original was designed by Betty Willis), but you’ll always remember where you were.

Showgirls endure, however.

Perhaps the most famous Las Vegas showgirls were the ones on each arm of former Mayor Oscar Goodman. Their names are J.P. Howard and Porsha Revesz.

Howard and Revesz were everywhere when Goodman was mayor, and served as inspiration for the showgirls that adorn the SlotZilla zipline on Fremont Street. Why, here’s a photo we took, because we seem to have photos of everything.

Jennifer’s on the left, Porsha’s on the right.

They were not the inspiration for the showgirls at the gateway, because neither of those women had a birthmark (cleavemark?) as shown in the photo below.

Today’s evidence we have way too much free time.

We really want to like the new gateway showgirls, but they seem a little thirsty. Not their fault, but the 26-foot versions weren’t big enough?

The whole idea of the display was to compete with the Las Vegas sign on The Strip, an impossible goal.

This welcome display, and the nearby arch, were conceived after a knock-off “Welcome to Downtown” sign nearby was destroyed by a truck in 2016.

Beyond the showgirls, the display features dice, chips and a roulette wheel.

Fun fact: Casino chips are made from the same material as kitty litter.

It also features a logo for the City of Las Vegas that was abandoned because people were presumably confused about its use when there was a perfectly boring official seal in existence at the same time.

The City paid $20,000 for this logo, it’s damn well going to get some use out of it.

We love the abandoned logo, mainly because it has Googie stars, and the Googie stars are our favorite part of the downtown welcome display.

The Googie style of architecture was also known as Populuxe. “Populuxe stars” just sounds odd.

With the unveiling of the new showgirls, the City also took the opportunity to spruce up the site. There’s fresh paint on the dice and chips, and the logo element of the display has been fortified. Early on, visitors would climb on the sign, and damaged it, inspiring us to make this phoney billboard.

downtown gateway Vegas
This is why we can’t have nice things.

Originally, the background of the display (looking north) was a static billboard for Downtown Grand.

Now, the billboard is digital and runs multiple ads, including ads for cannabis dispensaries. So, if you time it just right, you can ensure your visit to downtown includes memories of weed.

It’s legal, don’t be all judgy.

The welcome display gets a decent amount of foot traffic, despite the weird location. It’s unclear if those stopping for a photo op are allowed to park in the adjoining Denny’s parking lot. The signs say “no.”

A photo op at this display is still safer than trying to get a selfie with the nearby arch, as you have to stand in the middle of a busy street to capture the best angle.

Stick to the showgirls.

Selfie tip: When posing with showgirls, it’s tradition to “bevel.” That’s a showgirl pose where one leg (in the back) is straight while the other (in front) is bent at the knee. Oh, just look at the photo, already.

Jubilee showgirls
This is how you can tell a real showgirl from a busker on Fremont Street or The Strip.

Oh, and another tip: The “showgirl” buskers on Fremont at The Strip can’t legally charge you for taking a photo with them. They can only accept tips and tips are voluntary. This tip was literally a “tip.” You’re welcome.

At this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “Gosh, this has been a lot of fascinating information crammed into a simple story about two showgirls being replaced downtown.”

Well, you are correct, that’s how we roll.

Also, you should be aware nobody has used the word “gosh” since 1982.

We hope to not bump into you downtown at the revamped welcome display. Because we’ll be in our car. It’s 140 degrees in Las Vegas, and we aren’t getting out to take more photos, that’s for damn sure.