Moving to Las Vegas, NV
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This post was updated on January 6th, 2023 with most recent trends and data.
Navigation Jump Links
- Las Vegas At-a-glance
- What it’s like to live in Las Vegas
- Economy and job outlook in Las Vegas
- Real estate in Las Vegas
- The top neighborhoods in Las Vegas
- How to get around in Las Vegas
- School and education snapshot
- Weather and climate in Las Vegas
- 10 can’t miss things to do in Las Vegas
Thinking about moving to Las Vegas?
While Las Vegas is widely considered to be a great place to visit — The Las Vegas Strip is, after all, the most visited tourist attraction in the world — it hasn’t been widely considered to be a great place to live. Ironically, the attractions that draw millions of people to Las Vegas every year for vacation—the epic pool parties, yard-long cocktails and a “what happens here, stays here” mentality — are some of the same things preventing people from seriously considering calling the city home.
But as the locals will tell you, there is a lot more to Las Vegas than what most people glimpse during a weekend bachelor or bachelorette party. Vegas boasts a surprisingly large number of nearby options for nature lovers. You can go jet skiing or kayaking on Lake Mead, hiking or rock climbing in Red Rock Canyon and camping or skiing on Mt. Charleston, which are all 30 to 45 minutes away. The Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and Joshua Tree national parks are also within driving distance.
While Vegas certainly isn’t for everyone, for the open-minded person in search of a city that’s truly unique, this desert oasis can be a surprisingly wonderful place to live.
Las Vegas is More Than Elvis Impersonators and World-Class Entertainment
“Culture” probably isn’t the first word people associate with the city most known for its Elvis impersonators, smoky dive bars and tacky resort themes. This is, after all, the city that boasts the world’s largest Hooters.
Las Vegas is slowly changing, however. Art and culture-focused revitalization projects have been underway downtown and in Henderson’s Water Street District, where dread-locked artists and flannelled hipsters can often be spotted wandering the mural-lined streets.
Once upon a time, Las Vegas was known for its $5.99 all-you-can-eat buffets and dollar shrimp cocktails. While both of those things can still be found hidden in corners of Station Casinos, the Strip has, for the most part, become a foodie mecca, and a pricey one at that. In fact, Vegas’ dozen Michelin-star restaurants have earned the city the distinction of being in the top 10 of WalletHub’s Top 25 Best Foodie Cities in America. Almost every celebrity chef has a restaurant in Las Vegas: From Nobu to Guy Savoy and at one point, even rapper Flava Flav.
But outside the tourist corridor, you’ll find an abundance of affordable and delicious hole-in-the-wall eats. The fast-growing Asian population has resulted in an explosion of Asian fusion restaurants both in and outside of Chinatown. What’s more, almost every nationality of food in the world can be found here: from Cajun and Ethiopian to Mongolian, French and Vietnamese.
Even though Vegas lacks most major sports teams, there are a number of fun sporting events that roll—and ride, in the case of the National Finals Rodeo—into town each year. The top sporting events held annually in Vegas include: Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fights, the NASCAR Spring Cup series and the PGA Tour. The National Hockey League granted a franchise to Las Vegas in 2017, which means the Vegas Golden Knights are the first major sports team to represent Sin City.
Las Vegas Economy Embodies a Remarkable Resilience
Like elsewhere in the country, Las Vegas’s economy plummeted as the pandemic battered the tourism market. But even amid rising inflation and fears of a recession, Las Vegas has shown its resilience, with visitation nearly back to where it was before the start of the pandemic in 2020. A recent report says “Las Vegas welcomed more than 30 million people last year and that included a relatively weak period in the first half. This market has continued the momentum from the prior year.” Pent-up demand means visitor numbers and job growth have shot up, and housing prices are once again on the rise.
Today, more than one-fourth of adults in Las Vegas work in the leisure and hospitality industry, mixing margaritas, dealing cards and fluffing hotel pillows for the over 32 million visitors that frequent Vegas’s many restaurants, bars and casinos.
Thus, it likely comes at no surprise that of Nevada’s five largest employers, six of the top 10 are all in the gaming industry: Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio LLC, MGM Grand Hotel/Casino, Aria Resort & Casino LLC, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and The Venetian/Palazzo Casino Resort. Other major employers with headquarters in the Vegas Valley include the online shoe retailer Zappos and the air carrier Allegiant.
Unemployment rate: 5.6% (as of October 2022)
Average weekly wages for all industries: $1,288 (third quarter 2022)
A Low Cost of Living Means Vegas is An Affordable Place to Live
Population growth has been on the rise in Las Vegas for several decades, especially among 20 and 30-somethings, and will be among the fastest growing cities by 2060. The population is expected to grow from over 2.3 million in 2022 to 4.4 million (90.5 percent population jump), which puts that growth at the fifth highest of all 384 U.S. metro areas. And it’s easy to see why. The low cost of living and the variety of high-paying jobs in the service and hospitality industry make the Neon City an affordable place to live for aspiring young professionals.
Even though the cost of living in Las Vegas is 3 percent higher than the national average, valets and other resort employees are still able to live a middle-class life working an entry-level job, thanks in part to reasonable housing costs. The typical three-bedroom home in Vegas sells for $301,753, with rentals averaging $1,506 a month. Nevada is also one of seven states with no state income tax.
Funky and Eclectic Neighborhoods With Ample Affordable Housing
If The Strip is the only thing that comes to mind when you think of living in Las Vegas, you should know there’s more to the city than just casinos. Safety, walkability, and outdoor activities are all underrated qualities of Las Vegas neighborhoods. Here are the best neighborhoods in Las Vegas to suit your lifestyle:
Ample housing, great schools and wedged between two beautiful national parks sits popular Henderson. It’s great for families and close enough to the strip to access entertainment and restaurants.
For young professionals who want to enjoy hiking and biking with a killer view, Summerlin is your neighborhood. The upscale area was designed by Howard Hughes, which gives it a less suburban and more hipster vibe.
Downtown Las Vegas
Not to be confused with The Strip, DTLV (as locals call it), is experiencing a revitalization which means historical buildings are being turned into high-rise apartments and hip coffee shops. It’s also the best area for foodies.
The reason a lot of people come to Vegas IS for ample entertainment options so consider The Strip if you’ve got money to spend and want to throw it down for top-tier housing. As an added bonus: you’re guaranteed to never get bored.
The Arts District is an affordable area full of eclectic boutiques selling art, furniture, clothing and anything else you might need. It’s tucked between the DTLV and The Strip and offers families and young professionals a funky alternative to the glitzy glam that is quintessential Vegas.
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Sin City Lands Near the Top of the “Bad Driver” List
Despite Southern Nevada embracing “car culture,” traffic here is relatively mild, especially in comparison to neighboring Los Angeles, where commuters spend an average of 103 hours a year in traffic (yikes!). The commute time for drivers in Sin City is just a little over 27 minutes, which is on par with the national average. And with the exception of a three-mile stretch of freeway on the I-15, routine bumper-to-bumper traffic is uncommon.
The same cannot be said, however, of bad drivers. Frequently distracted, aggressive and even buzzed (DUI arrests remain at a shamefully high rate which contributes to Las Vegas ranked as THE worst city in the nation for drunk driving), Las Vegas drivers are so lousy, a recent report ranked Nevada as a top ‘bad driver’ state (Nevada came in at 6 out of 50).
Vegas locals recommend avoiding the “Spaghetti Bowl” during rush hour, as the point where the I-15 meets the 515 and US Routes 93 and 95 can get severely congested during peak traffic times. Watch out for distracted drivers making quick, last-minute lane changes between the Tropicana and Sahara corridor on the I-15. This area is a hot bed for rear-end collisions.
Also, avoid driving in the rain if you can help it! Flooding happens quickly here, transforming streets into raging rivers, parking garages into swimming pools and residents into dangerously incompetent drivers.
Education Rankings Show Las Vegas Has Room for Improvement
Even though Nevada is ranked toward the bottom of the least educated states, public schools in Las Vegas have an average ranking of 6/10 which puts them in the top 50 percent of all schools. Top colleges in Las Vegas include University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Nevada State College. If you want to travel a little further to attend college, the University of Nevada, Reno is the number one college in the state. They even offer The Nevada Guarantee, which is free tuition, books and fees for low-income students.
The Weather Can Get Brutally Hot But It’s a Dry Heat
People often associate Las Vegas with brutal heat, but the weather is, on the whole, relatively mild. The average annual temperature in the valley is 67 degrees, with temperatures rarely dipping below 45. While it is true that it is hot here in the summer (temperatures range on average from 90 to 104 degrees), as locals are always eager to point out, “it’s a dry heat.”
Summer average (June – Sep): 95°F high, 80°F low
Winter average (Nov – Feb): 66°F high, 39°F low
10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Las Vegas
Neon lights, endless entertainment, and world-class cuisine are just some of the reasons people flock to Las Vegas. Consider these 10 can’t miss activities when you’re compiling your “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” list of things to do:
- Caesars Palace is one of the last old-school properties remaining and it’s worth a visit for those who want to see the Colosseum.
- Las Vegas is new to professional sports but you can now watch the Golden Knights play hockey at T-Mobile Arena and the Raiders match up at Allegiant Stadium.
- Take a guided tour of the impressive Hoover Dam, which took five years and 21,000 men to build.
- Arguably the most popular (and well worth it) attraction of The Strip is catching the dancing fountains at the Bellagio.
- Take a gondola ride through The Venetian, which is an Italian-inspired hotel with larger-than-life decor.
- The Peppermill is a two-for-one activity where you can eat breakfast at the 24-hour diner and then toss a drink back in the Fireside Lounge, which is a disco throwback hotspot.
- Book a tour to wander through the Neon Museum, a house for vintage relics, architecture, and old signs that made Vegas, Vegas.
- If you had to pick just one show to see in Vegas (nearly impossible to do), catch one of the Cirque du Soleil performances that will leave you spellbound by the end.
- Get away from the glitz and go for a hike at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Lake Mead is another popular outdoor place to experience.
- Still one of the best things to do in town is the Fremont Street Experience. It’s also a thrilling entertainment zone much like The Strip but is more so considered “old-school Vegas.” Both are worth the trip!