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Las Vegas, Nevada, has a reputation for being a city of nonstop partying and gambling—and yes, there’s a reason why it’s called Sin City (a reason very much related to nonstop partying and gambling). But there’s much more to the area than what lies in the popular imagination—including a wide variety of tamer, family-friendly communities in the surrounding Las Vegas Valley.
For those considering moving to Las Vegas, we’ve gathered information and resources to help make the decision easier. We’ve also reached out to folks who live there to find out what they love about the city and what they think it could improve upon.
A Brief Overview of Las Vegas
Las Vegas was founded by ranchers and railroad workers in the early 1900s, but it was mobsters such as Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky who shaped it into the casino- and nightclub-filled town that draws millions of visitors each year.
If you’ve never been to Las Vegas, you’re at least familiar with the oft-publicized Strip, with its rows of casinos, hotels, and other forms of entertainment. But the larger metropolitan area, called Las Vegas Valley, spans 600 square miles and consists of the three largest cities in Nevada: Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson.
The (Reasonable) Cost of Living in Las Vegas
According to Numbeo, it costs a four-person family around $2,930 a month to live in Las Vegas (excluding housing). Expenses for a single person run around $825 a month (excluding housing).
When it comes to renting, apartments tend to range from $760 to $1,800, depending, of course, on which part of town you want to live in. And if you’re interested in buying a home, you’re in luck because home prices are still about 14 percent below their peak in 2006. (In other words, Las Vegas has taken longer than most cities to bounce back from the recession, so there are a lot of houses for sale at reasonable prices.)
Oh, and there’s no sales tax either.
For those who would like a more thorough review of the cost of living in Las Vegas, Expatistan is a great site that will provide you with an extensive list of expenses such as health care, groceries, clothing, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
The Las Vegas Job Market
Due to the abundance of hotels, resorts, casinos, restaurants, bars, and tourist attractions, job seekers can find plenty of opportunities within the hospitality industry.
And, according to the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, technology, global trade, health care, logistics, manufacturing, and financial services are also thriving at the moment.
Getting Around the City
Although taxis are actually still the most popular form of transportation in Las Vegas, many locals use ride-sharing options such as Uber and Lyft, or drive their own cars. But be warned: commute times average around 24 minutes.
As with any major American city, crime is a factor, but it varies based on which part of town you live in. This interactive crime map is a handy resource for determining the level of safety in particular areas.
Where to Live in Las Vegas: The Lowdown on the Best Neighborhoods for You
Living in (or around) this city that never sleeps can be exhausting, so it’s important to decide what, exactly, you’re looking for in a neighborhood. To help, we’ve compiled a list of areas that are conducive to a range of different lifestyles.
Founded in 1998 to encourage the fledgling Las Vegas arts scene, the 18b has grown beyond the original 18-block area for which it was named. Not only is there a nice mix of vintage clothing boutiques, art galleries, salons, antique stores, and restaurants, but the neighborhood also offers plenty of nice places to live.
Seven Hills is an upscale planned community located just south of Las Vegas, in Henderson, Nevada. There are around 2,500 homes and condos, as well as the Rio Secco championship-level golf course, tennis courts, playgrounds, parks, and walking paths that include beautiful views of the city. To get a sense of whether this neighborhood would fit your lifestyle and budget, take this virtual tour.
If you’re looking for quiet and seclusion, the 45-minute drive to the Mount Charleston neighborhood is totally worth it. Just ask these two, who were profiled by The Las Vegas Sun about living there. Unlike the never-ending dry heat of Las Vegas, Mount Charleston can get about 30 degrees cooler—and you can experience all four seasons there since it’s on, you know, a mountain.
The Scotch 80s
Nicolas Cage lives here, and that’s all you need to know. OK, maybe that’s not enough, but it’s a good start, right? The Scotch 80s is a gated community that has a small-town feel despite being minutes from all the glitz of the Strip. Due to its mix of old charm and new amenities, several celebrities and business moguls live in the area. It’s not for everyone, but if you can afford it, you might just find your dream home there.
Culture Beyond the Strip
Anyone can find the Strip, but for residents, or visitors who’d like to explore what else the city has to offer, here are a few less-obvious places to check out.
The Park, a new dining and entertainment district within the city, has something for everyone—even hockey fans. Vegas’s newest (and only) sports team, the Golden Knights, plays its home games at the T-Mobile Arena there.
Culture: Art and Music Suggestions
If you’re looking for some culture, The ARIA Fine Art Collection includes terrific sculptures, paintings, and large-scale installations, and The Laundry Room, Classic Jewel, Velveteen Rabbit, and The Griffin are all laid-back spots where you can find great cocktails and great live music.
And for those who would like to get away from the gaming tables and enjoy the outdoors for a while, Lake Las Vegas is just 40 minutes away, in Henderson, and Red Rock Canyon, in Summerlin, offers horseback riding, bouldering, hiking, mountain climbing, and more.
Let's Hear from the Locals
When we asked residents what they love about Las Vegas and what they think could be improved upon, Kristin David Ownby, who lived and worked in the Summerlin area from 2012 to 2015, said the people are very welcoming and that the local parks are amazing. “I miss them daily,” she said. “I also loved the weather, but it’s not for everyone.”
Ben Morse—who moved to Henderson in early 2018—offered a different take on the climate, saying that the area’s dry heat, which often reaches 110 degrees, takes a lot of getting used to.
He enjoys living in Henderson, though—particularly for the variety it offers: “The number-one thing is that you've got the Strip, which, of course, has all the entertainment, but you also have art, you've got shows, you can go to museums….”
One drawback he notes, however, is the city’s lack of public transportation. “There are buses,” Morse said, “but they're very few and far between. The cost of living is very reasonable, though.”