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Moving to Las Vegas: Everything You Need to Know [Guide]

By: Justin Chaplin
August 26, 2019

Living in Las Vegas, Nevada - Is it for me?

Ready to find out if "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas" is really true? Head to one of the fastest-growing cities in the country with endless nightlife options, world-class food, and a relatively low cost of living in Las Vegas, Nevada for a fresh start.

With a population of nearly 642,000 million, moving to Las Vegas comes with plenty of perks. There’s tons of interesting people to meet, no state income tax, and an entrepreneurial spirit in a city where anything can happen. “Sin City” is famous for towering casinos and over-the-top stage shows, but also boasts a growing tech hub with companies like Zappos calling Downtown Las Vegas it’s home. 

The weather is something special too, with a subtropical desert climate featuring hot summers and moderate winters. It may take some adjusting getting used to those hot summer months. Locals escape the heat by taking in a Broadway-caliber stage shows, testing their luck at the casinos, and taking a dip in one of the many elegant resort pools. The rest of the year brings cooler afternoons and nights with access to the great outdoors at your Las Vegas doorstep.

Ready to roll the dice on moving to Las Vegas? Before packing up and moving to Sin City, there’s a lot to know. 

Moving to Las Vegas: Quick Facts

Unlike many rapidly-growing cities with world-class amenities, residents enjoy a lower cost of living in Las Vegas than most similar-sized cities. That can put more money in your pocket to choose the best Las Vegas neighborhood and indulge in the infamous nightlife scene. Here’s what the cost of living in Las Vegas looks like and areas where you can save. 

  • Cost of Living Index - According to the Best Places Cost of Living Index, living in Las Vegas ranks of 120 based on a U.S. average of 100. This means that Las Vegas’ cost of living is slightly over the national average. Most big cities tend to be well over the national average.
  • Child Care - Depending on the ages of your children and whether you need daycare, nannies, or after school care; Las Vegas residents spend an average of $885.25 per month for one child in preschool or private kindergarten.
  • Medical Expenses - A typical doctor's visit in Las Vegas is roughly 3% higher than the national average, with an expected cost of $113.70. Meanwhile, a trip to the dentist runs $97.68 and an optometrist visit $106.54. 
  • Living Wage - The Living Wage calculator shows a minimum living wage of $11.32 per hour for one adult. Whereas, $25.12 for two adults and two children is required to live in Las Vegas.
  • Median Rent Prices - Las Vegas’ median rents run $957 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,186 for a two-bedroom apartment. Look into finding a roommate to cut down the living expenses. 
  • Median Annual Salary -  The median household income in Las Vegas is $51,115.
  • Utility Costs - Las Vegas renters can expect to pay $148.78 monthly for electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage based on a 915 sq ft apartment in Las Vegas. 
  • Grocery Shopping Costs - Depending on your age and location within Las Vegas, annual groceries for a typical diet run $3,579.60 per year for one adult.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

7 Things to Know Before Moving to Las Vegas

Before packing your bags and making Sin City home, there are some things you need to know. Vegas isn’t just a hub for lively casinos and lavish nightclubs. Here are some crucial things to know before moving to Vegas.

1. Locals Don’t Flock to The Strip

Unlike the rest of Las Vegas, The Strip is expensive with few reasonable self-parking options. However, moving to Las Vegas means everyone you’ve ever met will suddenly want to visit you in your new home. Save your trips to The Strip for when you want to mesmerize your out-of-town guests with the dazzling casinos and shows like Cirque du Soleil.

2. The NFL is Setting Up Shop in Vegas

Tourists get so caught up in the bright lights of “the entertainment capital of the world.” Nobody really notices the growing sports scene in Las Vegas. In 2020, the Raiders will kick-off Vegas’ first NFL season and stand alongside the city’s other pro sports teams. The Knights are a recent expansion team in the NHL, and went to the Stanley Cup in their first season. Needless to say, Vegas residents are now crazed Knights fans.

You can also check out the Las Vegas Aces WNBA Team, Triple-A Baseball games, and NBA Summer League every July.  

3. Downtown Las Vegas is Full of History

The Strip and Downtown Las Vegas are two very different areas, and the latter is full of rich history. The newly revitalized area of Downtown Vegas features updated amenities and an influx of newcomers looking to launch their careers. Also known as "Old Las Vegas," Downtown was once the hottest spot for gambling in the 1950s. The illustrious nightlife scene later moved down to The Strip as mega-sized luxury casinos took shape. Tap into the magic of Downtown's history and see its modern charm with a stroll through the Fremont Street Experience

4. Las Vegas Boasts Unique Culture Centers

Living in Las Vegas comes with its own arts and culture scene that competes with the best cities in the world. And it's not just the stage shows you'll find at Casinos. Las Vegas also offers festivals, concerts, and lively community events. Locals can also take their pick of galleries like the Chamber Gallery, Charleston Heights Arts Gallery, Grand Gallery, and others. The city even hosts artists opportunities for public art projects and its own Las Vegas Arts Commission.

5. Hanging Out in a Shipping Container is a Local Favorite 

When it comes to living in Las Vegas, hanging-out on The Strip isn’t where it’s at. Instead, locals gather at a network of shipping containers to find everything they need. The open-air-shopping center at Downtown Container Park is a favorite gathering spot to eat, drink, play and shop. Located on the southeast corner of Fremont and Seventh street, the park's 30 shipping containers and 41 cubes sprawl across 19,000 square-feet.  

6. You Can Explore the Outdoors (Even in Summer) 

There's no way around it: Las Vegas is seriously hot with summer temperatures soaring upwards past 100-degrees. Locals plan their day accordingly and take advantage of relatively cool mornings and evenings any chance they get. During cooler months, hike at the nearby Red Rock Canyon or try horseback riding with Cowboy Trail Rides. If you’re a golfer, book an early tee time on one of the city's courses. Try out the Desert Pines Golf Club, Downtowner or Las Vegas National Golf Course. 

7. Locals Do It All 24/7

New York City may hold the title as the “City that Never Sleeps,” but Las Vegas isn’t far behind. In a city with around-the-clock gambling and entertainment, Vegas residents need access to 24/7 amenities. Locals grocery shop, work-out, and get errands done at all hours of the day and night. With so many residents working odd hours for hospitality jobs, this helps keep work-life balance in check. And if you just don’t have time to plan a wedding, you can do that 24-hours a day at the famous Little White Chapel drive-through.

Las Vegas’ Job Market

With 42 million tourists flooding Las Vegas annually, it's no wonder tourism, gaming, and food service are some of the top industries. The unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average, but Las Vegas still enjoys a robust job market and economy.

Job hunters moving to Las Vegas have their pick of casino and hospitality businesses to choose from. Choose from the Wynn, Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Circus Circus Hotel & Resort, The Venetian and endless other options. But the city is also home to a growing tech and start-up hub. Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh has paved the way, setting up shop in the revitalized Downtown. 

Getting Around Las Vegas

The Las Vegas metro area may feature a jam-packed Strip and Downtown, but also sprawls across several neighborhoods and suburbs. This makes having a car pretty much mandatory. Las Vegas’ walk score is a mere 41, with a transit score of 34, and a bike score of 44.  

Of course, there are always exceptions to the “must-have” car rule. For example, if you choose to live Downtown near work and are open to taking the city’s share of taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts, you could get by just fine. And the good news is that despite Las Vegas’ reputation as a driving city, it’s traffic pales in comparison to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Beyond Downtown Vegas, there are other walkable, publication transportation friendly neighborhoods. You can make use of options like the Monorail, buses, trams, and shuttles connecting the city via RTC

Photo by Juliana Malta on Unsplash

Best Neighborhoods in Las Vegas

One of the best parts about living in the city is the affordable cost of living. This depends on the neighborhood you choose to call home. Take your pick from bustling Downtown apartments to a quieter, slower-paced lifestyle in Hendersen. Here’s a round-up of what to expect from some of the best neighborhoods in Las Vegas.

Downtown Vegas

Downtown Las Vegas is trending with revitalized energy and restoration. High-rise apartments with all the modern amenities you could want abound in Downtown Las Vegas

Walk out your front door and find restaurants, the open-air Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, the Container Park, and the fabulous Slotzilla Zip-line. Downtown is also an ideal place to live for urban walkers who want to hop over to their jobs at one of the area businesses. If you are looking to live in the most lively area, this is it. You'll never run out of things to do.

Rancho Oakey

Situated just a few minutes from The Strip, Rancho Oakey brushes up alongside museums, restaurants and nightlife options. It’s an ideal neighborhood for those moving to Las Vegas for the action but want an alternative to Downtown. It’s also possible to get away from the bustle and head to the neighboring Springs Preserve for 180-acres of botanical gardens, museums, and outdoor exhibits.

Peccole Ranch

For proximity to Las Vegas' cosmopolitan amenities with a green touch, consider looking into Las Vegas’ Peccole Ranch. Locals still find the amenities they want like swimming pools and on-site parking, but with more wiggle room in their budget than Downtown Las Vegas. Peccole Ranch also gets bonus points for consistently being referred to as one of the best neighborhoods in the city for young professionals.

The Section Seven

The residential neighborhood of The Section Seven welcomes a mix of residents looking for proximity to city living. You’ll find plenty of single-family residences and apartments within proximity to local favorite restaurants like Apache Taco Shop and Aly. You can also find affordable apartments in The Section Seven area complete with modern amenities. This neighborhood captures urban living at its best.

Summerlin

Situated just west of the Section Seven, the upscale and tight-knit community of Summerlin also offers a quiet reprieve from the city. Newcomers moving to Las Vegas enjoy the 400-acre shopping center with an impressive roster of retail options and restaurants. For upscale living options in Summerlin, Mira Villas features apartments with lush landscape, swimming pools, and updated appliances. This neighborhood is great for young families looking to set up roots.

Henderson

Consistently named as one of the best places to live in Nevada, nearby Henderson offers a suburban feel just a short drive to Las Vegas. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, Henderson offers over 80 miles of trails for walking, biking, hiking, horseback riding, and outdoor fun. Henderson locals also have their choice of single-family homes, townhomes, and upscale apartments. In many of them, you'll find wonderful mountain views. Although you’re looking at a short commute into the Vegas, you have more options for outdoor recreation around Henderson.

Image by esudroff from Pixabay

Things to do in Las Vegas

Living in Las Vegas comes with the advantage of 24/7 fun. Of course, you have the casino gaming, stage shows, and nightclubs at the palm of your hand.

Beyond The Strip, you can also find fine dining options and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors and local arts scene. There’s not much you can’t find around Las Vegas, so pick and choose your favorites to create your own go-to list.

Embrace the Nightlife

Your big night out on the town in any other city probably looks pretty sleepy compared to Las Vegas. Sin City is known for its high-energy, over-the-top indulgent entertainment and nightlife scene from casinos to clubs. Pub crawls are shrugged off in favor of club crawls in Vegas. Try Jewel at Aria Resort & Casino, Hakkasan at MGM Grand, Chateau Nightclub or Voodoo Rooftop Nightclub and dance and drink into the late-night hours.

Pool clubs are also a fun daytime pastime around Vegas. Locals and tourists sip on cocktails and cool off from the desert heat. For a day of pool partying, try Moorea Beach Club at Mandalay Bay or the Tank Pool at the Golden Nugget.

Bars and lounges are also trendy places to see and be seen in Las Vegas. Make a night of hopping around The Strip and beyond at Chandelier, Park on Fremont, Skyfall, Beer Park, and Rosina.

Go Museum Hopping

Although you can find esteemed and upscale museums like the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, the city is also home to unusual “only in Vegas” style destinations.

Learn about the history of the mafia at The Mob Museum and line-up for your very own mug shot. Try the Neon Museum to see more about the history of Vegas' signage, or Zak Bagans Haunted Museum for a look at the paranormal. The National Atomic Testing Museum is a unique place where you can learn about the history of the atomic bomb.

Explore the Great Outdoors

Living in Las Vegas comes hand-in-hand with long, hot summers with mild seasons in between. However, you can still savor the great outdoors despite Vegas’ subtropical desert climate. Make the most of early morning or evening hours during the summer, or embrace warm weather the rest of the year. 

Take your pick of outdoor recreation, starting with an escape from the desert. The lush green landscape at the nearby Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs provides a tranquil place to cool off and take a stroll. 

Lorenzi Park features its own pond in a desert oasis, and Centennial Hills Park offers tranquility in the city with a pond and water features for the kids. For a quick escape that embraces the desert landscape, head to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Take a walk along rugged red rock formations and desert vegetation to escape the 24/7 Vegas bustle. 

Take a Day Trip

It’s easy to forget the rest of Nevada isn’t a maze of glowing casinos rising from the red rock canyons. Yet there’s a whole world outside of Las Vegas explore. For a quick day trip to escape the bustle of living in Las Vegas, cool off at the Hoover Dam. This spot is just a 40-minute drive from the city. Go on a kayaking tour down the Colorado River for a relaxing escape. 

Think you've seen and done it all after moving to Las Vegas? You probably haven't ventured out to the Valley of Fire State Park, boasting 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops. Situated 50-miles northeast of Vegas, the Valley of Fire is the state's oldest and largest state park. Swing by to check out ancient trees, bold red rocks, and incredible sandstone formations.

If you’re craving the cool touch of the snow after moving to Las Vegas, you can find it less than 40-miles outside the city near Mount Charleston in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. Get your ski and snowboard gear ready and spend a snow-capped getaway.

And if you’re looking for an extended day trip or overnight, drive the 4-hours to the Grand Canyon. Take in the sights and check this majestic attraction off your bucket list. 

Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

Family-friendly Activities

Despite its nightlife appearances and the well-earned nickname of “Sin City,” moving to Las Vegas also brings plenty of family-friendly activities. There's even a kid-friendly attraction inside the casino Circus Circus. The massive indoor Adventuredome features theme park rides, arcade games, and mini-golf. Come and browse the scene for free, or pony-up and purchase an all-day ride pass.

Your family can also test their adventurous spirit at the SlotZilla Zipline and Zoomline at the Fremont Street Experience and get a thrill at the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay.

For something lower key, take a gondola ride at the Venetian or see the outdoor animal habitat at The Flamingo Hotel. Satisfy your family's sweet tooth at M&M's World or enrich your kids’ love of learning through interactive exhibits at the popular Discovery Children's Museum

Little nature lovers delight at the whimsical Botanical Garden at Bellagio Hotel, and high-flying thrill-seekers plot their next adventure from the High Roller observation wheel soaring above Las Vegas.

There’s lots to see and do for kids around the city, and fortunately the saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” doesn’t apply to the littlest locals.

Jaleo By Jan Mark Holzer

Las Vegas’ Food Scene

Living in Las Vegas offers a taste of the indulgent, decadent food scene at hotels and casinos with its culinary influence spilling over into local restaurants. The city also has no trouble attracting celebrity chefs moving to Las Vegas for the hospitality scene and reasonable cost of living.

The restaurant landscape in Las Vegas is continuously changing, making it fun to venture out and try your luck at some of the best spots in the city. Savor the northern Italian fare at Vetri Cucina or Bobby Flay's Shark at the Palms. Try the mouthwatering Vietnamese dishes at The Black Sheep, fresh sushi at Yui Edomae, and delicious Spanish cuisine at Jaleo. Herbs & Rye is perfect for Prohibition-era style cocktails, and Jean Georges at Aria is a must-taste for steaks.

In a town where it seems like everyone is out into the morning hours, brunch at BLT Steak or Sterling Brunch can help refuel your day. But if you think you’ve run out of places to try in Vegas, just keep eating. You’re bound to find something new around every corner and on every casino floor.

Final Thoughts: Moving to Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is a unique, metropolitan city where you can gamble with the high-rollers, hike nearby majestic canyons and land a job in the hospitality industry or growing start-up scene. It’s also the kind of city where you can rub shoulders with Elvis impersonators or get married in a wedding chapel opened 24-hours a day. It’s a one-of-a-kind place, which is why more and more people are making the city home. There’s something for everyone in Las Vegas, with a neighborhood to match your wishlist of preferences.

Moving to Las Vegas and ready to start a brand new chapter in your life?

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