10 Best Neon Signs in Los Angeles

Sign to the Earl Carroll Theater, now on display at Universal CityWalk in Universal City
Sign to the Earl Carroll Theater, now on display at Universal CityWalk in Universal City
Flickr/thomashawk

There's something beautiful about a flickering motel light, all arrows, "vacancy" and red sizzle. Neon signs are hypnotic, fantastical creations -- and L.A. is a great city to go hunting for the more weird and wonderful specimens. You could look at them as institutional street art at its best, always anchored to their businesses, yet with a life of their own at night that completely transforms the cityscape.

Historic neon is hidden all around the city. On June 25, MONA, L.A.'s own Museum of Neon Art is hosting a party to celebrate its 30-year anniversary before its relocation to Glendale. In light of (sorry, it was just too easy) this anniversary of all things neon, we compiled our own list of top ten neon signs in the City of Angels.

10. The Mint

The Mint, on 6010 West Pico Boulevard in Fairfax
The Mint, on 6010 West Pico Boulevard in Fairfax
Flickr/thomashawk

What can I say? The Mint's sign has a quiet kind of perfection about it. The bar and music venue has been around since 1937 -- so their sign must be doing something right. Art deco trim? Check. Spare green and white lettering? Check. A blue 'Blues' sign, in 1930s jazz font. They hit it spot on. It's spare, even mysterious -- and it makes you want a drink.

9. The Good Luck Bar

Good Luck Bar, on 1514 Hillhurst Avenue, in Los Feliz
Good Luck Bar, on 1514 Hillhurst Avenue, in Los Feliz
Flickr/clearlight

Watering holes and neon are a perfect pair, it seems. Good Luck Bar's sign scintillates -- it's delicately dimmed down for effect. The arrow almost looks like beaten, glistening gold from afar. On an otherwise dark block, this sign is a perfectly crafted beacon at night.

8. The Half Moon Motel

The Half Moon Motel, on 3958 Sepulveda Blvd in Culver City
The Half Moon Motel, on 3958 Sepulveda Blvd in Culver City
Flickr/clearlight

Part seedy, part dream-like. The slanted letters that spell out 'Motel' really make it; as if the sign were slowly escaping into outer space. And it has just the right amount of playfulness -- it's not overcompensating for dirty sheets.


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