Moving to Las Vegas, NV

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. 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 City Essential Resources

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Moving to Las Vegas Checklist

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Living

Population growth has been on the rise in Las Vegas for several decades, especially among 20 and 30-somethings, 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. While it’s mostly a myth that a casino valet can earn six figures parking cars (the “after tips wage” is thought to be more in the $60-70,000 range), valets and other resort employees are still able to live a middle-class life working an entry-level job, thanks in part to low housing costs. The typical two-bedroom home in Vegas sells for $135,000, with rentals averaging a low $795 a month. Nevada is also one of seven states with no state income tax. Read our guide to top Las Vegas neighborhoods, then consult our list of best Las Vegas realtors to help make your search easy.

Traffic

Despite Southern Nevada embracing “car culture,” traffic here is relatively mild, especially in comparison to neighboring Los Angeles, where commuters spend an average of 90 hours a year in traffic (yikes!). The commute time for drivers in Sin City is just 25 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), Las Vegas drivers are so lousy, bankrate.com ranked Nevada as a top ‘bad driver’ state (Nevada came in at 11 out of 50).

Beat the commute: 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.

Weather

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.”

Economy

Like elsewhere in the country, Las Vegas’s economy plummeted in the years following the 2008 recession. Construction on new resorts and housing developments were abruptly abandoned in various stages of completion, leaving behind a depressing eyesore of metal beams and cement stumps in their wake. In 2015, however, Las Vegas finally started to show signs of life again. Visitor numbers and job growth have shot up, and housing prices are once again on the rise.

Today, more than one-third of adults in Las Vegas work in the tourism industry, mixing margaritas, dealing cards and fluffing hotel pillows for the over 40 million visitors that patron Vegas’s many restaurants, bars and casinos. Thus, it likely comes at no surprise that Southern Nevada’s five largest employers are all in the gaming industry: MGM Resorts International (which employs approximately 54,250 people), Caesars Entertainment Corp., Station Casinos LLC, Wynn Resorts and Boyd Gaming Corp. Other major employers with headquarters in the Vegas Valley include the online shoe retailer Zappos and the air carrier Allegiant.

Unemployment rate: 6.3% (as of November 2015)
Average weekly wages for all industries: $853 (first quarter 2015)

 

More about Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas, NV Arts and Entertainment

Discovery Children's Museum

Discovery Children's Museum, Promenade Place, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Natural History Museum

Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV, United States

The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum, Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV, United States

The Neon Museum

The Neon Museum, Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Museums

Considering that 100 years ago, Las Vegas was little than a dusty pit-stop for the Union Pacific Railroad, the fact that it has several popular art and history museums at all is impressive.

Discovery Children's Museum
Natural History Museum
The Mob Museum
The Neon Museum

Atomic Liquors

Atomic Liquors, Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Park on Fremont

Park on Fremont, Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Gold Spike

Gold Spike, Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Town Square

Town Square Las Vegas, South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV, United States

The Strip

Las Vegas Strip, South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Nightlife

More people—millennials in particular—are coming to Vegas not to play the slots, but to see their favorite DJs perform, attend a music festival or to rub shoulders with celebrities at some of the world’s most decadent clubs.

Atomic Liquors
Park on Fremont
Gold Spike
Town Square
The Strip
Outdoor Recreation

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 area also within driving distance.

Food

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 America’s most expensive city for dining out. 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.

Sports

If there is one major area that Sin City is lacking, it’s professional sports. While Las Vegas is home to a minor league baseball team, a popular university basketball team (Go Rebels!), and even a female “lingerie football” league (the athletes compete in bikinis), Vegas lacks anything close to a major sports team. This is surprising, considering Clark County has a population of almost two million, which puts Vegas on par with other mid-size cities like Cleveland, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, all of which have popular pro sports teams.

Events

There are, however, 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. There is also hope that the National Hockey League will start a franchise in Las Vegas in 2017.

Culture

“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.

Moving to Las Vegas, NV?

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