Fourteen years ago, I was the guy looking for information on what it was like to live in Las Vegas as we put together plans for the big move. Our first attempt, well let’s just say it didn’t go too well. We thought it was going to be easy, all the information we found made it seem like they were just giving jobs away – so our first attempt ended up turning into a vacation as took in the best the Las Vegas strip had to offer and shoved our faces full of buffet food!
But the allure of Las Vegas had us; six months later we did things the right way. We poured over information on the internet, I studied everything I could about starting a business and networking in Las Vegas, found a house on Craigslist, and drove 1750 miles to start our lives in Sin City. So if you are wondering how accurate this article is; trust me, we are real Las Vegas locals who know the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Here is what we will Cover in this Moving Guide:
If you are thinking about moving here and want a real local’s perspective of what the city is like, what to avoid, and what it really takes to be successful here in the valley, then here is what it’s really like living in Las Vegas.
Why Sin City? What is it like living in Las Vegas
Let me start off by saying; there are a couple of different cities:
- The one glamorized by the media and Hollywood – most of what you see, and what they are trying to sell you is complete bullshit!
- The one you see as a tourist – hanging out, drinking, and partying on the Strip or in Downtown Las Vegas.
- The Red-Light district, Strip Clubs, and stuff people hope stays in Vegas! While some things are overblown by the media – you can’t actually do anything you want here, some things are illegal – there is a seedy underbelly to the city. Some people come here just for it, some people get trapped in it and wish they never moved here, and some people realize that bad shit happens in every city in America, it’s just a little easier to find it here.
- And the City you see as a local – this is where it all comes together. Because here you get a little bit of everything mentioned above, combined with an actual city that is just like any other city in the country. Yes, there is a Vegas beyond the strip!
A word of warning: If you have an addictive personality, or have any sort of problems, i.e., drinking, gambling, or any other vices, this probably isn’t the city for you! But if you can control yourself, want to live in a 24/7 town where there is always something to do, then read on!
The real Las Vegas: Life beyond the Strip
Yes, we actually do hang out quite a bit on the strip. There are some locals who shun it like the plague, but that never made any sense to me. Why move to the city, and then constantly complain about the one thing that started it all and was probably the motivating factor that brought you here? Damn, California snobs!
Now that my Rant is out of the way, there is more to the city than the Strip!
There are many more benefits to living in Las Vegas than most people realize. Contrary to popular belief, there are tons of housing communities that are nowhere near the infamous Strip. There are also thousands of employment opportunities; ones that don’t involve taking off your clothes or working in the casino industry! Sin City is not all about Sin – it is actually a great place to live, explore the great outdoors, start a career, and yes, even raise a family.
Cost of Living in Vegas: Housing, Employment and Making Money
Let’s start with housing. If you are moving from a rural area like the Midwest, then you probably are not going to see a huge difference in the cost of living. But if you are moving from any urban area in the United States, then you are likely to notice a large savings in just about everything.
The median cost for a house in Las Vegas is currently at $256,300. Surrounding states like California, Colorado, and Utah have a median house cost anywhere from $392,700 to $726,000. While over the last couple of years rent prices have been on the uptick, rent for one- and two-bedroom apartments in Las Vegas are still below the National average.
In comparison to California, the costs of living including groceries and utilities are much less too, and Nevada is also one of only seven states where residents do not have to pay state income tax. Yep, we don’t penalize you for working and trying to get ahead!
Working in Las Vegas: What kind of Job are there in Vegas?
Although there are ample employment opportunities in the casinos (dealers, restaurant workers, bartenders, hotel management, showroom workers), these are not the only jobs available in Las Vegas. In fact, despite the rest of the country’s perception that we all work on the Strip, casino jobs do not even rank in the top 10 employment opportunities in Las Vegas.
The top 10 jobs in Vegas include Internists, Dentists, Chief Executives, Judges, Architectural and Engineering Managers, Physician Assistants, Physical Therapists, Family, and General Practitioners and Computer and Information Systems Managers.
Don’t get me wrong; we are not knocking anyone who wants to work in hospitality; If you do work in the casino industry, such as bartending or gambling, you have the chance to raise your income a considerable amount based on tips. And if you are an entrepreneur, then there are a lot of opportunities in the industry that you can exploit.
Jobs where you can make a difference:
There is a shortage of teachers, nurses, and therapists (occupational, speech and physical) right now, so if those careers are of interest, Las Vegas is a great place to live, and you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a job in those fields.
Culture and Things to Do for Vegas Locals
Yes, there are things to do here that don’t involve sitting at a slot machine. In fact, we have a growing art and music scene, and there are literally thousands of things you can do and see here 24/7!
Culinary Capital of the World!
Okay, so I may be stretching that a bit – I do miss the hell out of some good Chicago pizza and roast beef sandwiches, but other than that we have one of the most diverse food scenes in the country. Vegas is quickly becoming a culinary landmark, and I could seriously see us being the Culinary Capital very soon.
Many of the fine restaurants that can be found in the most romantic and exciting cities in the world are now opening locations in Las Vegas. Some examples include Nobu, Border Grill, Hell’s Kitchen, Mesa Grill, and Joel Robuchon. But if fine dining isn’t your thing, don’t worry we have hundreds of dive bars, happy hour spots – both regular and late-night – and off-strip restaurants that feature cuisines from around the world.
Arts and Entertainment in Las Vegas
If being a foodie is not your cup of tea, then there are plenty of other cultural delights in the City of Las Vegas.
The Bellagio Hotel has a museum of fine art that exhibits work from the likes of Warhol, Monet, and Picasso. The Bellagio also hosts the botanical gardens where works of art are created out of the plants and flowers and the theme changes depending on the season or holiday. If your artistic tastes run toward the more eclectic, then there is a downtown art district that has some fantastic galleries with local artists displaying their wares. This area also has some great funky boutiques, and the type of restaurants that are the least known but have the best food – and usually at great prices.
We recommend checking our First Friday, a monthly art festival that features local artists, music, and food.
24/7 entertainment and the Top Acts in the World!
The entertainment in Las Vegas is something that most people already know about, but it goes far beyond the showgirls with feather boas. Amazing entertainers grace the Las Vegas stages during long term residencies and for annual appearances. Lady Gaga, Barbara Streisand, Justin Bieber, Luciano Pavarotti have all performed on the strip.
And if you’re not into POP acts, don’t worry; I hate that shit too. Pretty much every band in the world comes here to play at some point throughout the year. We’ve seen more of our favorite bands here in Las Vegas than anywhere else. We even have the largest Rodeo in the world, Honky Tonks and country bars – bet you didn’t know Vegas started out as a cowboy town!
Award Shows, Broadway Acts, and Fine Art
Las Vegas has also become home to many of the top awards shows, including the ACM Awards, so you can see your favorites perform, earn accolades, or you may even run into them in the restaurants or shops.
Magicians, dancers, and comedians are also a huge draw to the showrooms. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is an architecturally beautiful building that houses Broadway style musicals, plays and other types of entertainment.
Many of the shows and activities (and even some of the hotels) offer discounts to locals to be sure to ask about that option when buying tickets online, over the phone or in person.
This is one that often shocks people; Vegas is an awesome town for adventure junkies and those who love the great outdoors!
Outdoor activities are abundant in Las Vegas. The summer months are often too hot for too much outdoor physical exertion, but there are several months where the weather is very accommodating. Hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming are very popular in the warmer months, and there is a surprisingly large amount of people who enjoy the skiing, snowboarding, and tubing that is just 30 minutes away from Las Vegas at Mt. Charleston.
Spring Mountain State Park is located in the picturesque Red Rock Canyon area. This park is perfect for hiking and picnics in the spring and fall. In the summer, the park offers the Super Summer Theater, and you can bring a blanket and see performances of plays. This summer’s offerings include Annie, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Into the Woods and Chicago. Tickets are only $15.00 per person, and you can bring in your own food.
So many things to do within 4 – 6 hours of Vegas!
Las Vegas locals also have an easy 4 to 6-hour drive to California to enjoy the beaches and amusement parks. And the best part? So many people flock to Las Vegas for vacations that you are generally traveling in the opposite direction of the gridlock traffic when you venture in and out of town.
Check out our favorite Day Trips and Getaways.
Weather and Climate in Las Vegas
There’s no getting around it, while some people love the weather, the heat can be a bit for some to take. That being said, and it probably sounds weird to someone who doesn’t live here, even on those 110 degree days it’s a dry heat, and you do get used to it pretty quickly!
We have some huge swings here in the valley; in the winter (December through Mid-February) we can get into the single digits – most of the time it hovers between 30-60 degrees, and in the summer we can get heat that exceeds 110 degrees – usually in June, July, and August.
Hottest Month: July (106 F / 41 C)
Coldest Month: January (34 F / 1 C)
What’s that? During an average year, we get under 5 inches of rain, but when it does rain, we do experience flash floods in certain parts of the valley. That being said, what the hell is rain?
Pollen and Allergies
While some people move here to get away from allergies, some people can get hard. Unfortunately, many invasive plants were planted in communities throughout the desert that never should have been here; those plants do cause problems. Mulberry is prevalent in most Las Vegas neighborhoods, and 90 percent of the allergy-suffering population is allergic to the plant.
Raising kids in Las Vegas
Locals constantly meet people who say, “I would never raise my children in Las Vegas.” Las Vegans will tell you “I would never raise my kids in South Carolina or San Diego.”
Vegas gets a bad rap as Sin City, but the truth is that there are just as many unfortunate incidents of crime that happen in other states and cities as Las Vegas. There are wonderful family communities, churches, and schools that allow for a family to live and thrive in Las Vegas.
Going to College in Vegas
As a city that is growing rapidly, the opportunities for building a business, getting a good education and living a modest lifestyle are very high. Speaking of education, UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas) is ranked as one of the best universities for veterans by The Military Times.
The university’s hotel college was named number one for its hospitality and leisure management program. And U.S. News and World Report have UNLV ranked as the second most ethnically diverse college.
Top Colleges in Las Vegas:
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas: UNLV is one of the top public research universities, and offers over 390 majors, minors, and certificates.
- Nevada State College: Nevada State College is a comprehensive four-year college with a commitment to educating 4,900+ students for success in the real world. They offer a selection of more than 50 majors and minors.
- College of Southern Nevada: CSN is the largest and most ethnically diverse community college in Nevada. CSN is a fully accredited institution offering over 180 degrees and certificates in more than 70 academic programs—with 24 degrees and certificates available entirely online.
- William F. Harrah College of Hospitality: Just blocks away from the strip, on the campus of UNLV, is one of the top hospitality schools in the world, the Harrah College of Hospitality. They are known specifically for their Gaming Management, Meeting & Events Management, Restaurant Management, and PGA Golf Management programs.
The bad side of living in Sin City
So many “pros” to living in Las Vegas but there must be some “cons,” right? Well, I told you I wasn’t going to bullshit you so yes there are cons – and ex-cons to be exact.
There are nine prisons in Nevada, not including local jails and detention centers. Las Vegas does have easier access to some vices than other cities. Gambling, alcohol, drugs, and prostitution are all issues that plague some residents. Homelessness is also an issue in Las Vegas, especially in North Las Vegas and in the older downtown areas.
These are not things that are only found in Las Vegas, of course. However, sin city does have an abundance of people who are looking for these types of distractions. The working environment in Las Vegas can also be somewhat of a downfall.
While the casinos, bars, restaurants, and stores provide lots of work opportunities, many of them are open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Employees can work shifts at all hours of the day and night and on weekends and holidays. The 24-hour nature of the city is a plus when it comes to the convenience of going where you want at any time, but it can be a burden when it comes to working hours.
It does get hot as hell!
The final “con” to living in Las Vegas is quite simply, the HEAT. People with allergies and some older people move to Las Vegas specifically for the warm and dry environment, but the truth is that during the summer months, it can be downright impossible to leave the house. The heat is unbearable and difficult for people with some health problems, those that take certain medications and small children.
No one can live without air conditioning in their homes or cars, and no one leaves the house without a bottle of water and a can of sunscreen. Many residents will say they could not survive without a pool. In the summer months, a pool that is not heated can get as high as 95 degrees just from the sun shining down on it. That brings up one more plus, no need to spend the money to heat your pool. And with the housing costs being so reasonable, adding the cost of a pool to your home will not break the bank.
Winter is sometimes non-existent in Las Vegas, so if you are someone who enjoys a white Christmas, then you are in the wrong place. The average low temperatures in Las Vegas is 58 degrees in January and December, and those are the coldest months. There is a running joke that there are no seasons in Las Vegas because spring and fall have very similar temperatures, winter is not very cold, and summer is incredibly hot. So, no changing of the leaves or snowmen in your future if you live in Las Vegas.
Moving to Las Vegas
Utilities and Essential Services
Southwest Gas – Start or Move Service – 877-860-6020
Nevada Energy – New Customer Guide – (702) 402-5555
Republic Services – (702) 735-5151
Las Vegas Valley Water District – 702-870-4194
Las Vegas Cable Companies
- Cox Cable – New Service, Cox Move Service – 702-463-7904
- Century Link – Prism TV – 1-877-916-7369
- Dish – 1-800-333-3474
- Xfinity – (Comcast) – 1-800-934-6489
- DIRECTV – 855-493-3473
Phone and Internet Services
- Cox – New Service, Move Service – 702-463-7904
- AT&T – 1-800-288-8783
- Xfinity – (Comcast) – 1-800-934-6489
- Century Link – 1-877-916-7369?
Forwarding through USPS (United States Postal Services)
So do you make the move?
Overall, there are more good reasons to live in Las Vegas than there are bad reasons to stay away. If you are looking for a city that can be great for singles or families and provides some excitement when you want a night out on the town, Las Vegas is the city for you.
When I moved here, it took a little bit to figure out where to go and how to make the most of the city. That was one of the main reasons I started this site; we wanted to be a resource for Las Vegas locals and those moving to the city. If you are looking to meet new people, network with the right people to advance your business or career, or simply want to know what is going on in town, please check out our events calendar. From business networking events and conventions to what bands are playing, what festivals are in town, and what family-friendly events are happening, it’s all there!
We want you to feel welcome, and we want you to make the most out of living in one of the best places to live in the world.