So you're thinking about moving to Las Vegas. Bravo. Las Vegas can be an exciting place to live. There's tons of stuff to do, the cost of living is relatively low and taxes are reasonable. However, Las Vegas is unlike any other town in the country and there are many things you must know before making the big move.
Here are five things you must know before moving to Las Vegas
Las Vegas is an Extreme Town
Las Vegas is not a city for the feint of heart. Millions of tourists come to this city in the desert every year and drink like college students, stay up all night, flirt and more with random strangers and then when the weekend is over they head home to their small towns and their "normal" lives and act as if nothing happened. This is after all the city that's official motto is "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas."
Therein lies the issue. When people move to Vegas they usually spend the first month acting exactly like tourists. They discover a few local watering holes, see a Cirque du Soleil show, marvel at the wonder (and waste) of the Fountains of Bellagio and generally act like fools. And that's okay. Vegas is about excess. If you want a wholesome, small town maybe this isn't the place for you.
However, anyone who survives in this town for more than a few years learns the most important lesson a Vegas-ite can learn. When to say no. We have poker and blackjack tables, 24 hour drinking, strip clubs (but not legal prostitution, head to Pahrump for that), slot and poker machines in bars, supermarkets, 7-Elevens and the airport (the only place you can't find a slot machine are in churches and schools).
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas doesn't really apply when you live here. Find a balance and Las Vegas is a great place to live.
Las Vegas is Hot and Dry
No Duh! I hear you. It is a desert. It's freaking hot. Yet, every summer you'll see dozens of ill watered, under SPF-ed folks wandering in a dehydrated daze up and down the strip, desperately searching for... they cannot remember because they're dehydrated and their brains have stopped working properly.
The heat in Las Vegas can be brutal. Like 120 in the summer brutal. Add in the concrete and glass towers reflecting sunlight down onto the Strip and you can quickly feel like a piece of Mahi left overlong in an oven. You Must, Must, Must drink tons of water. Dehydration sucks.
I came from Orlando and her 100 degree, 95% humidity days and I was floored by the hair dryer blasts of the Las Vegas desert winds. This town is famous for its mixologists, flair bartenders and excessively proofed cocktails. If you plan of living happily in this town, you must learn to respect the heat. Did I mention drink water? For more info see my fellow About.com-er Judy Hedding's guide to surviving summer in the desert.
How To Get a Job in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is a town where you can make (and spend) a ton of money. There are bartenders of the Strip that clear $100,000 a year. Yet, save for companies like Zappos, the non tourism industry in Las Vegas is virtually non-existent. Getting these jobs is often difficult and without one, a move to Vegas will often end in a quick move back home.
So how do you get a job in Las Vegas? Step one is to head to my fellow About.com guide Alison Doyle and her amazing job search guidesite. She has tons of tips and advice to help you craft an effective resume. Once that is done it is time to check out the casinos, the creme de la creme of Las Vegas jobs. See my articles on Getting a Las Vegas Casino Job as well as the resources at Indeed.com.
Earning a good wage is essential to living happily in any town, but considering the ease of spending in Las Vegas I urge you to have a job before moving out to Nevada.
The Cost of Living is Relatively Low
The cost of living in Las Vegas hovers at around the national average, but if you are coming from a major city or a state with a high tax rate, the cost of living in Las Vegas will make you smile. Nevada has no income tax and a sales tax rate of 8.1%. This combines to make living in Las Vegas relatively cheap for those who move from California, New York, Chicago and other high tax areas. Want to know exactly where you stand? Then check out his online cost of living calculator to see how a move to Las Vegas will affect your wallet.
Las Vegas utilities are priced below the national average, while groceries in Las Vegas are priced a bit above. Knowing what economic situation you'll be in before you move to Vegas will help make it a much better place to live.
Where Should I Live?
Las Vegas is a huge city. From Summerlin to Henderson to North Vegas to Downtown, there are tons of great neighborhoods to live in Sin City. However, unless you want to be stuck taking the bus it is a town that demands you have a car. The Las Vegas Regional Transport System is good for what it does, and there are numerous options for getting around the Las Vegas Strip, but trust me you want to live a happy Las VEgas life you need a car.
Then you must decide where to live. The planned community of Summerlin is a popular area for young professionals and families. Downtown has less residential areas, but has become hip in recent years. The suburbs of Henderson and North Vegas are often cheaper for more house, but have distance and reputation issues.