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Las Vegas: Everything You Need to Know Before Moving There

by Team NextBurb 5 February 2021

Moving Guides By City

You might be drawn to the allure of Las Vegas’s glamorous architecture and nightlife, but the city has even more to offer, including sunny weather and affordable housing.

Read our guide to Las Vegas to learn more about moving to the Entertainment Capital of the World.

Quick facts about Las Vegas

  • Las Vegas has named itself the Entertainment Capital of the World, and no one is arguing.

    This desert city’s biggest casinos make a combined income of over $22 billion a year in an industry that single-handedly supports the local economy.
  • Vegas is best known for its casinos, flashy hotels, and crazy replicas of well-known places from all over the world, but it’s situated close to incredible mountains, canyons, and rock formations as well. We’ll cover some of the nearby outdoor activities and hikes later in the guide.
  • For all the glamor, the Las Vegas metro area is surprisingly affordable.

    There are great low-cost housing options in scenic suburbs for buyers who want to enjoy the beauty of the desert and the quick access to fun and entertainment every night of the week.

What to Know About Las Vegas

Population & History

Las Vegas, which means “the meadows” in Spanish, was named for its location near natural springs and prairies of desert grasses.

It was founded in 1905 as a town alongside the Union Pacific Railroad and quickly became a center in the West for entertainment and gaming when the state of Nevada legalized gambling in 1930s.

Since then, Vegas has become famous for its hotels, casinos, and entertainment, which have given it the nickname “Sin City.”

Today the city is characterized by its iconic neon signs, flashy fountains, and glitzy resorts. It’s the headquarters for leading names in entertainment and has recently experienced growth in the retail and transportation industries as well.

Most casinos are concentrated along the Strip, which is south of downtown in the unincorporated area of Paradise on I-15.

In recent years, Las Vegas has revitalized bars and restaurants in its downtown area along Fremont Avenue as well.

Its metro area has a population of over 2,220,000 residents and has seen rapid growth in suburban areas to the west and southeast.

An aerial view of Vegas
An aerial view of Vegas

Weather in Las Vegas

Las Vegas has long, hot summers and mild winters with occasional freezing temperatures.

The highest temperatures on record reach 117℉, but averages are slightly more tolerable at just over 100℉ in the hottest parts of the summer.

Unless you plan on going to the mountains to ski in the winter, plan on leaving the winter coats behind: the average daytime temperature for the winter months is a mild 56℉.

Located in the Mojave Desert, the area experiences arid weather and colder drops in temperature at night, but ice on the ground only occurs a couple of nights out of the year.

The dry desert air helps with the summer heat by keeping humidity levels low, but lack of general moisture in the area causes problems as well.

Vegas only receives 4 inches of rain each year, and the growing population has led to concerns around the city’s water supply in the future.

Desert sky over the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Desert sky over the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Top Attractions in Las Vegas

While Vegas casinos and resorts are decked out in splendor to outmatch almost any other United States city, there’s so much more to do in the area besides hitting the Strip for a big night out.

Some of these hotels have exclusive art collections, theme park rides, and even a zoo.

Along with some of the most beautiful outdoor experiences near the city, you’ll find unique, family-friendly opportunities to experience some of the rare finds that only Vegas has to offer.

A view of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
A view of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Places to Visit

  • Take a trip around the globe (without leaving the city!): Throughout the last fifty years, Vegas hotels have been trying to out-do each other in opulence and innovative attractions for tourists.

    The result? Intricate replicas of iconic monuments and cities from all over the world. Take a trip down the Strip to see Paris Las Vegas, a hotel with a half-sized replica of the Eiffel Tower and its own Arc de Triomphe.

    The Venetian Las Vegas takes its cue from the iconic Italian city and has its own system of canals, gondola rides, and waterside shops.

    Luxor Resort & Casino was built to reflect the splendor of ancient Egypt, its main tower made in a pyramid shape guarded by a towering Sphinx.

    The Luxor also has the strongest decorative light beam in the world, which shines up into the night sky from the top of the pyramid and can be seen by incoming planes.
  • One-of-a-kind museums: Delve into Sin CIty’s dark past at the Mob Museum, which tells the history of organized crime across the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries (and specifically of its presence in Vegas).

    The museum features interactive displays, rare film footage documenting mob activity, and information detailing law enforcement attempts to apprehend famous criminals and gangsters.

    For a slightly less sinister adventure, head to the Neon Museum, where the history of neon signs, synonymous with Vegas opulence and style, is explained amidst hundreds of iconic neon signs (a great place for an Instagram shot).
  • Visit rare wildlife: The Mirage Hotel has its own zoo, including a habitat for rare White Tigers and dolphins.

    The hotel offers an interactive dolphin experience for kids, and families can see big cats on the prowl and tour a beautiful jungle-inspired garden and restaurant, all without leaving the hotel.

    The Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel has a habitat for flamingos, where a dazzling flock of Chilean flamingos can be spotted along with other wild birds and fish in an idyllic green space that provides a break from the buzz of the busy city.
  • Cheering on the game: Vegas is home to three professional sports teams: the NFL Las Vegas Raiders which relocated in 2020 from Oakland, California, the NHL Vegas Golden Knights, and WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.

    The Raiders play at Allegiant Stadium, which finished just in time for their 2020 season. NASCAR races also bring tourists to Vegas yearly at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Tourists take a gondola ride in Venice Las Vegas
Tourists take a gondola ride in Venice, Las Vegas

To Eat:

There’s no shortage of decadent, eclectic food in this city. Whether in swanky hotel restaurants, at hole-in-the-wall spots in Chinatown, or tucked in between the bars in the Arts District, Vegas delivers spectacular food from all over the world. Here are some of the highlights:

Over-the-top eats: If you order as much for the esthetics as for the taste, then Las Vegas is your culinary oyster.

Truffles N Bacon serves a massive, cheese-drenched burger that weighs in at ten pounds with toppings including tater tots, ranch, jalapenos, and anything else that ever sounded good on a burger.

For a more balanced presentation, order the High Roller from Café Hollywood. This mini Ferris wheel fits on your table, each car with a mini portion of the restaurant’s most famous appetizers.

All-American: You can find classic American favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at any price point across the city.

For breakfast, go to Hash House A Go Go for Midwest-inspired dishes: chicken and waffles, french toast, or biscuits and gravy, all piled high and served piping hot.

Johnny C’s Diner is the perfect place for a juicy burger or Cuban sandwich along with classic American diner decor.

For a spectacular evening, step into the Prohibition-era ambiance of the Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio Hotel, which serves upscale seafood and steak with hand-crafted cocktails to accompany jazz music, dancers, and whatever world-class live entertainment has been booked for the night.

New take: Vegas chefs are renowned for their innovative global culinary trends and twists on well-loved classics.

Every Grain takes inspiration from local farm-to-table dishes and Taiwanese food, serving familiar meats like breaded fried chicken with rare rice and spicy roasted vegetables.

Edo Gastro Tapas and Wine brings a Spanish charm to Mediterranean classics and refreshing cocktails.

Need something on the go? Jaburritos has a location in the Linq Hotel that serves sushi cupcakes, bite-sized and impeccably decorated.

Outdoor Experiences in and around Las Vegas

Most of the attention in Vegas goes to its opulent hotels and casinos, but the city is also surrounded by incredible canyons, rock formations, and mountains.

Fifteen miles west of the Strip, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area has sandstone mountains and incredible red rock formations, which can be toured by bike or on foot.

Ice Box Canyon and Calico Hills are two moderate trails with spectacular views of the mountains and the desert sky for hikers of all ages and levels.

Thirty minutes south of the city, hikers can walk a 2-mile trail to Petroglyph Canyon, where archeologists have cataloged over 1,500 distinct styles of ancient drawn images and characters on rock faces.

For a day on the water, drive another 30 minutes east of the city to visit Lake Mead for boat rentals, swimming, and opportunities for beach-side picnicking.

A view from the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
A view from the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Living in Las Vegas

Top employers in Las Vegas

It comes as no surprise that Vegas serves as the headquarters for many major American entertainment companies and hotels.

MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands are only a few of the entertainment giants that serve as the top employers for the city.

Vegas also serves as headquarters for two giants in the retail industry: World Market, which has a huge Vegas showroom and shopping center, and Zappos.com, an Amazon subsidiary.

Budget airline Allegiant Air also has its headquarters and primary hub in Las Vegas.

Working from home in Las Vegas

Las Vegas offers a great variety of coworking spaces for freelancers, startups, and anyone who needs a break from the office. With plans starting at $150/month,

Bloom Vegas is a space for working women that’s curated for open workspaces and designated desks.

For a socially engaging environment, check out Oasis at Gold Spike, a space that turns into a nightclub after work hours.

For a budget-friendly option, The Coop has versatile monthly plans starting at $25 but doesn’t cut back on the amenities: locally brewed coffee, an open kitchen, and high-speed internet.

For wireless back at the home office, the Vegas area offers speeds up to 1 Gbps from providers including CenturyLink (from $40/month), Cox (from $40/month), and HughesNet up to 25 Mbps from $60/month.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Las Vegas is only slightly higher than the overall national average, which may come as a surprise considering the city’s love of all things glamorous.

Housing and gas prices are on the higher end of monthly expenses, while utilities, healthcare, and the cost of food are relatively low. The median price to buy a two-bedroom home is $199,395; the average price of rent per month is $1,237.

Nevada is a great place to be for low state taxes. It’s one of the few states in the country without an income tax, and its property taxes are low at 0.53%.

Sales tax is a little higher than average at 8.38%.

An aerial view of the Strip
An aerial view of the Strip

Transportation & Commute

You’ll definitely want a car to navigate Vegas’s sprawling suburban metro area and get out of the city to enjoy nature and nearby national parks, but the RTC (Regional Transportation Commission) does provide a bus route in and around Las Vegas with routes to most nearby suburbs like Henderson, Enterprise, Summerlin, and Summerlin South.

It also provides direct transport between downtown Vegas, the Strip (which is technically in unincorporated Paradise, south of the city), and McCarran International Airport. Fares are charged in two-hour increments and can be used on any line throughout the metro area.

Las Vegas and surrounding areas are served by McCarran International Airport (LAS), which is a 13-minute drive or 50-minute train ride south of the downtown area.

The airport offers several direct flights to European destinations including London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt, as well as to cities in Canada and Mexico and most major cities in the country.

McCarran serves as a regional hub for Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines.

Best Places to Live in Las Vegas

One of many golf clubhouses throughout Vegas neighborhoods
One of many golf clubhouses throughout the Vegas neighborhoods

Best neighborhoods for families with kids

  • Henderson: For a city with beautiful, sprawling public parks and a great school system, check out Henderson, which is consistently ranked as one of the best suburbs of Las Vegas.

    Located just 22 minutes southeast of downtown Vegas, Henderson was built near the historic Hoover Dam and has its own resorts and shopping districts to enjoy. The median home price here is $332,093.
  • Enterprise: This suburb is a great, family-friendly place with a strong community and top-rated schools.

    Enterprise is 26 minutes south of Vegas and has several casinos and a beautiful public park with views of the valley and miles of bike trails.

    The median home price in Enterprise is $341,361.
  • Boulder City: Located southwest of the beautiful Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is Boulder City, a small, quiet community with low crime and excellent schools.

    Boulder City is close to Lake Mead and offers residents a more rural lifestyle while living only 30 minutes from Las Vegas.

    The median home price in Boulder City is $340,846.

Best neighborhoods for young professionals

  • Winchester: Living in Winchester will keep you right close to the action.

    Only a ten-minute drive from downtown Vegas and a 13-minute drive to the Strip, this neighborhood has its own nightlife and restaurant scene as well. It’s also affordable, with a median home price of $242,346.

    When you’re not out on the town, you’ll find plenty of local Mexican restaurants and opportunities to golf at the Las Vegas Country Club.
  • Whitney: This suburb is the perfect place to be for access to the Strip and nearby opportunities to get outdoors into the beautiful Mojave Desert.

    Whitney is a 22-minute drive from hotels and dining in Las Vegas and borders the Clark County Wetlands Park, a network of trails through a wildlife habitat.

    The median home price in Whitney is $251,750.
  • Sunrise Manor: A sprawling suburb with an affordable median home price of $228,831, Sunrise Manor has beautiful parks with picnic areas and trails, as well as its own share of swanky casinos and restaurants.

    Sunrise Manor is only 21 minutes northwest of downtown Las Vegas.

Higher Education

There are several accredited public universities that provide higher education in the Las Vegas metro area.

The largest is the University of Nevada Las Vegas, which enrolls nearly 29,000 students and has an additional campus in the city of Reno.

Nevada State College is in the suburb of Henderson and enrolls 4,000 students.

Crime in Las Vegas

Crime in Las Vegas is only slightly higher than the national average (not bad, considering that it’s nicknamed Sin City).

The northern side of the city is generally regarded as having a higher crime rate than the southeast and southwestern areas, but crime data differs between neighborhoods.

Keeping a watch over your belongings and remain aware of your surroundings are always good, especially in touristy areas where pickpocketing is more common in a city where many visitors carry cash.

Are you considering Las Vegas as your next home?

Las Vegas has a lot more to offer than the glamorous Strip and downtown areas: this city has an affordable housing market, warm and pleasant weather year-round, and opportunities to explore the outdoors and cutting-edge restaurant scene with family and friends.

Whether you’re relocating for work or looking for a new sunny home, Vegas has more than enough to offer everyone.

Here at Nextburb, we’re committed to providing you with the facts you need to know about any area you’re considering as a future home.

Discover the best places to live in the United States to find out more about neighborhoods to live in, school ratings, crime data, and real estate options.

We’ll provide you with recommendations based on your lifestyle and budget preferences to help you discover where you want to go.

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