If you’re planning to move to Las Vegas, you have some great times ahead. Las Vegas is one of America’s fastest growing cities, and it isn’t just a great place to play — it’s a great place to live.
Living in Las Vegas, you’ll enjoy world class entertainment and legendary food. You’ll also enjoy a cost of living much lower than that of other major cities.
Before you pack your bags, though, you should know that Las Vegas is an entirely unique place that isn’t quite like any other place in which you’ve lived.
These are some of the things that you need to know about moving to Las Vegas.
Living in a Tourist Mecca Has Benefits and Drawbacks
The Las Vegas Job Market
Living in a city that earns most of its money from tourism has its benefits and drawbacks. A large portion of the jobs in Las Vegas either support the tourism industry directly or support the hospitality workers who serve the tourists.
You can find plenty of casino, hotel and restaurant work in Las Vegas. If you want to work in a different industry, though, you may need to do a bit of job hunting before you’ll find your ideal position.
You’d be very wise to secure a job offer — or ensure that you have a large financial cushion — before moving to Las Vegas. Average hourly wages in Las Vegas are a bit low — $20.23 compared to the average national hourly wage of $23.23 — but you’ll make up the difference by not paying a state income tax.
The People of Las Vegas
Since Las Vegas is a city full of temporary residents, you may find that locals are slow to accept you. It may be a while before people realize that you aren’t going anywhere and finally begin to open up to you.
On the other hand, living in a tourist area has plenty of benefits. If you want to interact with a wide variety of interesting people from around the world, Las Vegas may be the best city in America in which to do so.
People of all types visit Las Vegas, and you never know who you might meet. You’ll definitely learn to expect the unexpected.
No State Income Tax
If you like to save your money, you’ll love living in Las Vegas because Nevada has no state income tax. The state earns the money it needs from tourism and from its high sales tax rate of 8.25 percent.
Since Nevada has no state income tax, it’s also a great place for entrepreneurs. If you have a great business idea, you’ll never find a better place than Las Vegas for putting that idea in motion.
If you enjoy great entertainment on a budget, you’ll love living in Las Vegas. The local concert venues attract the world’s top talent. Some artists even live in Las Vegas for several months at a time and become the resident acts at local casinos and other venues.
A few of the artists scheduled to perform in Las Vegas in 2018 include Celine Dion, Cher, Santana, Elton John, Shakira, U2 and Rod Stewart. The best part is that, as a Las Vegas resident, you’ll be around to take advantage of last-minute ticket discounts as they become available.
Do you enjoy staycations? Las Vegas has an enormous inventory of hotel rooms, and those rooms don’t sell out every day. By calling around — or checking websites like Hotwire — you can often book a cheap stay at a luxury hotel when tourism is slow.
The Sands Corporation and Madison Square Garden Company are building the worlds largest music and entertainment Venue in Las Vegas. The entertaiment center will have over 17,500 seats and different seating options for a variety of different shows. The venue will have direct acess to both the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels.
Las Vegas Is Great if You Like It Hot
Las Vegas is an artificial oasis in the Mojave Desert. Receiving only about 4 inches of rain yearly, Las Vegas takes most of its water from the Lake Mead reservoir created by the Hoover Dam.
Unfortunately, Lake Mead loses more water than it gains each year and now contains less than half of the water it once held. Lake Mead is still a great Las Vegas attraction for residents to go boating and swimming during the hot summer months.
Living in Las Vegas, you’ll have to contend with water rationing as you sweat your way through 100-degree summer afternoons. Given the extreme heat and the size of the city, you definitely want to be a car owner if you’re going to move to Las Vegas.
It’s about a 40 minute drive from one end of the city to the other. Outside the Strip and downtown areas, Las Vegas is a suburban region with lots of sprawl. Walking is usually out of the question — and you should always keep some extra money in the bank for an unexpected car repair. You will not want to drive in Las Vegas if your car’s air conditioning system isn’t working.
Although Las Vegas residents have to contend with frequent water rationing, the city has made great strides in curbing its water usage. The famous Bellagio fountain, for example, doesn’t draw water from Lake Mead at all.
The water comes from an underground lake on the hotel’s property and isn’t drinkable. Grass lawns — which don’t occur naturally in the Mojave Desert — have fallen out of favor as more businesses and residents choose landscaping options that don’t require frequent watering.
Though Las Vegas has a very warm climate, it also has low humidity. If you’re sensitive to humidity and prefer drier weather, you’ll probably find the weather in Las Vegas quite comfortable most of the time except during the hottest part of summer.
Suburban Sprawl Isn’t All Bad
The Hoover Dam opened in 1936. Before then, building a city like Las Vegas in the middle of the desert wouldn’t have even been possible.
Unlike crowded cities like San Francisco, Las Vegas is a relatively new city with plenty of building space available. New commercial buildings — and new homes — are popping up all of the time.
Since plenty of living space is available, home prices have remained low even as the economy has improved. The median home value in Las Vegas is a little over $200,000. That’s impressively low considering the fact that Las Vegas is America’s 31st largest city by population.
Renting a two-bedroom apartment in Las Vegas costs an average of less than $1,000 per month. Another benefit of the suburban sprawl is that away from the Strip, Las Vegas isn’t particularly crowded.
For a city of Vegas’s size, the traffic isn’t bad. You’ll have no trouble finding free parking almost anywhere you go — but you may want to arrive early so you can nab a parking spot in the shade.
Living in Las Vegas Is Affordable
Since Las Vegas has no shortage of space — and plenty of money flowing in from the tourism industry — living in Las Vegas is surprisingly affordable compared to what you’d experience in other major cities.
As we’ve already mentioned, home prices are low — and there’s no state income tax. What we haven’t mentioned is that the cost of electricity in Las Vegas is well below the national average.
Property taxes are also reasonable. When you consider job offers before moving to Las Vegas, take the low cost of living into account. While the average wages in Las Vegas tend to be lower than in some other areas of the country, you’ll also have a lot of that money still in your pocket after you’ve paid your bills.
Las Vegas Is Great for Night Owls
You probably already know that moving to Las Vegas will expose you to plenty of casinos and clubs. If you’re young and love to party, Las Vegas is the place with the best nightlife — but Vegas is much more than just the “City of Sin.”
The fact that the city never truly sleeps means that you can do almost anything — do the grocery shopping, order delivery food, buy a new appliance for your kitchen, you name it — 24 hours a day.
If you live in a small town and hate the fact that you can never find food late at night because all of the restaurants are closed, you’ll love living in Las Vegas. Being out and about at night also means that you’ll be escaping the daytime heat.
Las Vegas Isn’t Only Gambling and Shows
If you’ve visited Las Vegas before, you already know that the City of Sin is a great place for catching a show or losing your shirt at the blackjack tables.
If you actually want to live in Las Vegas, though, you’ll probably tire of the neon pretty quickly. Despite what you may have experienced as a tourist, Las Vegas actually boasts plenty of activities that can expose you to culture or help you get in touch with nature.
In the city, you’ll find a great art museum and a museum of natural history. You’ll find a museum dedicated to the history of organized crime. You’ll even find a pinball museum.
A short drive away, you’ll find boating and fishing at Lake Mead and plenty of hiking trails for every skill level at Red Rock Canyon.
Although you may occasionally feel landlocked living in Las Vegas, the ocean is a relatively short drive away. If you feel like taking a day trip, Las Vegas is about:
- Two hours from Death Valley National Park
- Four hours from Grand Canyon National Park
- Four hours from Los Angeles
- Five hours from Phoenix
- Five hours from Tijuana, Mexico
- Seven hours from Yosemite National Park
- Seven hours from Reno
- Eight hours from San Francisco
Want to travel a little further? No problem. With more than 22.6 million passengers boarding each year, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is America’s 8th busiest airport.
You can find a flight from McCarran to just about any destination you can imagine — and with all of those flights departing every day, you can find a seat for well below the retail price if you play your cards right.
It Pays to Explore the Rest of the City
Las Vegas is much more than the Strip and downtown areas — and you’ll need to leave those areas and explore the rest of the city if you want to find the best restaurants and other local businesses.
Remember that most of the businesses on the Strip cater to tourists. They use bright lights and neon signs to draw people in, but what’s underneath may not have a lot of substance.
Get out and explore if you want to discover the best of Las Vegas.
Downtown Las Vegas Is Better Than Ever
Back in the 1950s, downtown Las Vegas was a pretty happening place. When all of the action moved to the Strip, though, the area fell into disrepair.
In 2012, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh poured $350 million of his own money into revitalizing downtown Las Vegas. The goal of the project was to create a haven for new businesses.
Today, with attractions like the Las Vegas Container Park providing homes for businesses of all types, the future of downtown Las Vegas is looking brighter than ever.
Las Vegas Has Great Opportunities for Higher Education
If you’d like to get a degree and further your career after moving to Las Vegas, you don’t need to go far to study at a great school. Las Vegas is home to the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the College of Southern Nevada.
Between the two schools, you’ll have several hundred different degree programs from which to choose. Las Vegas is also a great place to live if you enjoy watching college sports.
The CSN Coyotes baseball team routinely wins division and regional championships and took home a national championship in 2003.
The UNLV Rebels basketball team has appeared in the Final Four four times and won a national championship in 1990.
Las Vegas Has the World’s Greatest Buffets
When you live in a world-famous tourist destination, you know that you’ve going to find plenty of great food of every ethnic type. When TV personality Anthony Bourdain heaped praise upon Thai restaurant Lotus of Siam in 2014, the eatery quickly became one of the hottest destinations in town.
If you want to experience top-quality food in Las Vegas without spending a bundle of money or waiting in line for an hour, though, you have to check out the buffets. It’s possible to find a very good dinner buffet in Las Vegas for under $10 per person.
Hotels and casinos often lose money on their buffets because earning money from food sales isn’t their goal — they want people to play the games.
Our advice? Skip the games, eat the food and go home. The house always wins — unless you don’t play.
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