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Stunning Photos Show What Las Vegas Looked Like In The 1980s

Every decade in Las Vegas brings change. Las Vegas was suffering an identity crisis, and the economy was also struggling. A devastating fire at the original MGM Grand killed more than 80 people in 1980, and just a few months later, a fire at the Las Vegas Hilton killed eight more people. The 1980s ended the golden age of Vegas lounge entertainment.

Las Vegas retained the lions-share of casinos, but they were not as dominant as they had in the 60s and early 70s. New casinos were built off the Strip, Downtown, and in other cities like Reno. The competition became more sparkling and tough when gambling was legalized in Atlantic City in 1976. The lavish showrooms that once lured people from around the world were also fading away. Things began to change in the late 1980s with a huge investment of Golden Nugget.

Here below are some stunning vintage photos that show Las Vegas in the 1980s. Also check, how Las Vegas looked like in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s.

#1 Muhammad Ali during a training session at the Caesar’s Palace Sports Pavilion in Las Vegas, circa September 1980

#3 The Hotel-Casino ‘Barbary Coast’ in Las Vegas, 1982.

#5 Sign of a Las Vegas casino depicting a clown in 1980.

#6 Players in the slot machine room of a Las Vegas casino in 1980.

#8 Willie Nelson in a suite at Caesars Palace on June 18, 1980 in Las Vegas, Nevada

#10 American Heavyweight Boxer Larry Holmes during a training session in Las Vegas, circa 1980

#11 Exterior view of the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas in 1980.

#12 American musician and entertainer Liberace performs onstage, Las Vegas, 1980s.

#13 Bird’s eye view of a parking lot with its vehicles in Las Vegas in 1980.

#14 German singer Heino with his wife Hannelore Kramm in Las Vegas, 1980.

#16 Neon Signs touting the entertainment stars shows, Las Vegas, 1980s.

#17 American stunt driver Gary Wells in Las Vegas, 1980.

#18 American stunt driver Gary Wells jumps over the fountains outside the Caesar’s Palace casino on a motorcycle, Las Vegas, 1980.

#19 World Heavyweight Title fight between challenger Muhammad Ali and WBC Champion Larry Holmes at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas, October 1980.

#21 Gaming room in a casino in Las Vegas, October 1980.

#22 Traffic on a boulevard in Las Vegas October 2, 1980.

#23 Sunbathing lawn and pool on the outside of the Caesars Palace hotel casino in the Las Vegas, 1981.

#24 Water basin with fountains to the hotel casino Caesars Palace in the gaming paradise Las Vegas, 1981.

#27 Thomas Hearns with Playboy Bunnies, Las Vegas, 1981.

#29 Neon Lights on the strip for Morocco LA Concha Stardust in Las Vegas, 1980s.

#30 Night scene with neon sign of the casinos on the “Strip”, the main thoroughfare in Las Vegas, June 1981.

#31 Poster of Tom Jones performing at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, 1982.

#32 Del Webb’s Mint Hotel-Casino at the Las Vegas, 1980s.

#33 Flamingo Hilton neon sign in October 1980 in Las Vegas

#34 Roberto Duran and Robbie Sims boxing on June 23, 1986 in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

#35 Dunes and Hilton casino and hotel, Las Vegas, 1980.

#37 Circus of the Stars, a CBS television special in Las Vegas, 1984.

#38 Larry Holmes warming up before an early morning run in the desert outside Las Vegas, circa September 1980.

#39 Players at a roulette table in a Las Vegas casino on October 2, 1980.

#40 Alan Minter, English boxer with his wife Lorraine Bidwell, Las Vegas, 1981.

#41 French singer Mireille Mathieu on the street in Las Vegas, November 1982.

#42 Suzie Coelho, Sonny Bono and Bjorn Borg attending the 11th Annual Alan King Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic Party’ on April 23, 1982 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

#43 Mireille Mathieu with Jacki Clerico and his wife and the Moulin Rouge troupe in Las Vegas, 1982.

#44 Change of letters announcing a show on the pediment of a casino in Las Vegas, 1982.

#46 The Holiday Casino Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, 1982.

#47 Mireille Mathieu surrounded by dancers from the Moulin Rouge in Las Vegas on November 14, 1982.

#48 Nighttime view, looking east, of hotels and casinos on Fremont Street, Las Vegas, 1983.

#49 A view of a street level casino offering a cheap breakfast, dinner and shrimp cocktail on the Las Vegas Strip, 1983.

#54 Car and slot machines inside a casino in Las Vegas, 1984.

Car and slot machines inside a casino in Las Vegas, 1984.

  1. This Cadillac El Dorado didn’t come out until 1992, so this photo is not from the 80s. Look up 1992 Cadillac El Dorado, then look up 1984 Cadillac. This photo was definitely not taken anywhere near 1984.

#59 Mike Tyson before his WBC & WBA Heavyweight title fight with James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith in Las Vegas, 1987.

#61 Action from the America’s Landsailing Cup in the Ivanpah Lake near Las Vegas, 1985.

#63 Elephant of the Moulin Rouge troupe during a show in Las Vegas, 1982.

Elephant of the Moulin Rouge troupe during a show in Las Vegas, 1982.

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#64 David McCallum and Robert Vaughn filming of the TV movie “The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.” in Las Vegas, 1982

David McCallum and Robert Vaughn filming of the TV movie "The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E." in Las Vegas, 1982

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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