The Nevada Test Site
The Nevada Test Site
Over 1,000 Tests from 1951 to 1991

Las Vegas Nuclear Tourism

Atomic Bomb Spectators


Updated July 2024
Posted February 2024

Nuclear Tourism in "Atomic City, USA"
Just 65 miles from the Nevada Testing Site, the mushroom clouds that rose into the sky from a nuclear test could easily be seen in Las Vegas. The day after the very first test took place in January 1951, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce swung into action.

It didn't take long before nearly every business and entrepreneur in Las Vegas came up with ways to attract tourists - and their dollars - to see an atomic blast:

  • Casinos held rooftop watch parties, where guests could eat and drink as they awaited the bright flash of the latest test.
  • Bars across the city served patrons the Atomic Cocktail.
  • Hair salons created the Atomic Hairdo, piling the customer's hair atop her head to resemble a mushroom cloud.
  • Beauty contests were held at the Sands casino to crown "Miss Atomic Bomb."
  • In April 1956, The New Frontier Hotel advertised a two-week booking of "America's only atomic-powered singer," Elvis Presley.
  • For just $3.00 a person, visitors could be bussed outside town to "Witness the power of the Atomic Bomb," where they could see "Genuine atoms split to smithereens."
When atmospheric testing at the Nevada Testing Site ended in 1962, so too did Las Vegas' reign as "Atomic City, USA." But for more than a decade, the famous Vegas strip was lit up, not just by neon, but also by the blinding flash of light from the detonation of nuclear weapons.

BENNY BENION:The best thing to happen to Vegas was the Atomic Bomb.

- Benny Binion, owner, the Horseshoe Club casino

Las Vegas Mushroom Clouds
Mushroom Clouds View
  • Atop a building, downtown Las Vegas residents and visitors could see mushroom clouds resulting from nuclear weapons tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles away.

Las Vegas Witness Atomic Bomb Power
See Genuine Atoms Split to Smithereens
Take a bus to the outskirts of Las Vegas Nevada to see American military science at its finest. Viewers shall be placed in a tower safe from harms way as American scientists produce an atomic explosion from a safe distance.
  • Location: Nye County, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas