Known as “The Entertainment Capital of the World” and “Sin City,” Las Vegas, Nevada, is an internationally popular resort city that offers far more beyond the gambling and vice for which it originally gained a reputation. Vegas is a mecca for shopping, entertainment, fine dining, and nightlife headlined by the best DJs in the world. But it’s also a growing mecca for families and young professionals. Despite its reputation as a vacation destination, Las Vegas attracts many residents who mover here to enjoy the state’s lack of income tax, the reasonable cost of living, and terrific growth in the retail, hospitality, and construction industries.

Las Vegas sits in a desert valley surrounded by the Apex Hills, Muddy Mountains, and Sunrise Mountains in the northeast of the valley. Although the city center is a thriving electrified urban core of hotels, casinos, shops, and restaurants, many suburban-feeling neighborhoods radiate from the hub out into the desert.

Dream up just about any experience, and you’ll be able to live it out in Las Vegas. Whether you’re counting on luck in a casino, planning a memorable restaurant celebration with loved ones and a show after dinner, test driving a high-end sports car on a track, or beating up the beat with DJ Pauly D, Las Vegas truly offers it all.

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Living in Las Vegas, NV: What to Know Before Moving to Las Vegas

Located about 270 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Las Vegas lights up the Nevada desert for its 641,700 residents. Even though Vegas is sometimes known as “Sin City,” it’s also a family-friendly playground where you can enjoy terrific experiences without ever hitting the famed Las Vegas Strip. The surrounding desert and mountains provide hiking trails that wind through the outlying areas waiting for exploration.

Pros and Cons of Living in Las Vegas

While to many, Las Vegas is still “The Entertainment Capital of the World,” for others, it’s simply home. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to be aware of when considering living in Las Vegas:

Pros: 

  • Primed for job growth, especially in the building, retail, and resort industries
  • No state income tax
  • Cultural attractions of all sorts
  • Affordable housing on par with US average
  • Sunny and warm to sizzling hot all year (a true positive for some)

Cons: 

  • A higher than average crime rate
  • Poorly rated public schools
  • Below average income per capita
  • The unemployment rate is above the US average
  • Sunny and warm to sizzling hot all year (a real negative for others)

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: The average county tax rate is 0.705 percent. For a house priced at $184,900, you’d pay $1,786 in annual property taxes.
  • Sales Tax: The combined sales tax rate in Las Vegas is 8.38 percent.
  • Income Tax: There is no state income tax in Nevada.

Housing Market

The median home value in Las Vegas was $273,200 as of September 2019, about $40,000 higher than the US median of $231,200. Thankfully, Nevada’s zero income tax helps to level out the slightly above average home costs. According to zillow.com, home prices will increase by just over 2% in 2020. The majority of residents own their homes and 41 percent rent. The average monthly rent of $1,455 is just below the US average of $1,470.

Some neighborhoods are more affordable than others. These are the ten cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas as of 2019: East Last Vegas, Umc, Sunrise, Downtown East, Cultural Corridor, Charleston Heights, Pioneer Park, Twin Lakes, Huntridge, and Downtown.

Cost of Living

Bestplaces.net determines a city’s cost of living score based on a US average of 100. If the cost is above 100, the expense is higher than the average. Below 100, it’s more affordable than the US average. The cost of living in Las Vegas is 120. The above-average cost of Housing at 137, Utilities at 102.6, and Transportation at 144 are the biggest contributors to Vegas’ above average cost of living score. Grocery 97, and Health 94.5 costs are below the US average.

The income per capita in Las Vegas is $26,388, and the median household income is $50,882. According to the Family Budget Calculator provided by the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four in Las Vegas would need to earn $6,422 per month, or $77,068 annually, to live a moderate lifestyle.

Weather & Natural Disasters

The desert climate in and around Las Vegas means you’ll have hot sizzling summers and mild winters with very little seasonal change. The hottest months are July and August with average highs of 104° and 102° and average lows of 81° and 79°. December and January are the coolest months, with average highs of 57° and 58° and average lows of 39° for both months.

Although the surrounding mountains will get occasional dustings, snow in Las Vegas is almost non-existent, and rainfall is minimal. The average annual rainfall is 4.17 inches, with the most rain occurring during January and February – to the tune of .55 and .75 inches, respectively. It will probably be handier to use an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun, rather than the rain.

Even though it doesn’t often rain in Las Vegas, when it does, it can happen all at once. Sudden deluges can lead to flooding. Flash-floods, drought, and earthquakes are the most common natural disaster threats. Stay prepared and become familiar with the City of Las Vegas site for planning for emergencies. Be sure to download their handy app.

Economy & Job Market

Las Vegas has roared back from the recession. Over the last year, the local job market increased by 3.5 percent. However, the unemployment rate is 5 percent, which 1.1 percent higher than the US average of 3.9 percent. Projections anticipate future job growth of 39 percent over the next ten years, which outpaces the US average of 33.5 percent.

The tourism, gaming, and convention industries power the Las Vegas economy. Top employers are MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Station Casinos, Wynn Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming Corp, Las Vegas Sands Corp, The Valley Health System, McDonald’s Greater Las Vegas Operator Association, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Southwest Medical Associates/UnitedHealthcare.

If you need help finding work in Las Vegas, you can consult Nevada JobConnect or any number of on-line job boards.

Traffic and Transportation

Pretty much everything in Las Vegas is done at a grander scale than elsewhere in the US, except when it comes to traffic. The average one-way commute time in Las Vegas is 25.4 minutes, which is just a few minutes less than the US average of 26.4 minutes. The majority of commuters, 78 percent, drive themselves to work. Ten percent carpool to work, 3.5 percent work from home, and 4 percent take mass transit. Speaking of mass transit, RTC Transit provides bus service throughout Las Vegas and surrounding areas. There’s also the Strip & Downtown Express, which is a rapid transit link between the Strip, downtown, and the Las Vegas Convention Center.

I-15, I-515, and US 95 lead out of the city in four directions, and I-15 and I-515/US Route 95 cross in downtown. I-15 is the major freeway that connects Las Vegas with Los Angeles. The majority of the streets are laid out on a grid system, except for Las Vegas Blvd, Boulder Highway, and Rancho Drive.

You’re going to want a car if you live in Las Vegas. The city is spread out and has a below-average walk score of 41. It’s slightly more bikeable, with a score of 44, and the transit score is 34.

What to Do

There’s truly something for everyone in Las Vegas. Just on The Strip, you can dine out at restaurants powered by the best chefs in the world, see a Cirque du Soleil show, hit the jackpot on a slot machine, and party until the sun comes up at night clubs headlined by the most popular DJs on the planet. You can also have the opposite experience and explore the mountains that surround Las Vegas.

Staying outside of the hullabaloo, you can enjoy a picnic next to the water at Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs or even go fishing with a license. There’s fun for the whole family at Sunset Park, where you can play volleyball, tennis, softball, disc golf, basketball, and more. There’s even a dog park for your furry friends. Just a quick drive south of the city gives you access to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which is twice the size of the state of Rhode Island. There you can enjoy staying in a houseboat, water skiing, tubing, and fishing. Of course, you can also check out the man-made marvel known as the Hoover Dam.

People come from far and wide to enjoy Las Vegas and its attractions. You can take a ride on the High Roller Ferris Wheel to enjoy views of the entire city or watch dancing water at the Fountains of Bellagio. Other great views of The Strip and city include the Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck at Paris Las Vegas and the Stratosphere Tower. Downtown has the Fremont Street Experience, with its light show on the covered roof as you walk from casino to casino. Downtown is also home to Downtown Container Park, a complex of repurposed shipping containers that’s home to nearly 40 shops, restaurants, and bars.

Vegas even has some very fun and interesting museums. The Mob Museum features a fish tank designed by the TV show Tanked, while The Neon Museum is home to many of the iconic signs from old Las Vegas. Car enthusiasts will enjoy the amazing automobiles at Counts Kustoms and Shelby American, Inc.

The city is home to the NHL’s Golden Knights and WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. The NFL’s Raiders will also call Las Vegas home in 2020. Baseball fans can go check out the Oakland Athletics affiliate Las Vegas Aviators. Fans of college sports can enjoy the teams of the UNLV Rebels.

Schools and Universities

Clark County School District serves Las Vegas students and is the fifth most populous school district in the US. Overall, the quality scores for Las Vegas schools are on the lower side, but there are a few gems throughout the city. Walter Bracken Elementary School, John W Bonner Elementary School, Charles & Phyllis Frias Elementary School, and Judy & John L Goolsby Elementary School are all rated 10/10 by greatschools.org. Palo Verde High School and Arbor View High School both are rated 8/10.

University of Nevada – Las Vegas and Nevada State College are both four-year universities located in Las Vegas. Additionally, the College of Southern Nevada is the third largest community college in the US by enrollment.

Crime

Crime is rated on a scale of 100 by bestplaces.net. Las Vegas has a violent crime score of 40.9/100, which is nearly double the US average of 22.7/100. Property crime has a score of 43.4/100, which is also above the US average of 35.4.

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Best Neighborhoods in Las Vegas, NV

Niche.com rates Las Vegas as the #29 “Most Diverse City in America’, and the #35 ‘Best Cities to Retire in America.’ As diverse as Las Vegas is, so too are its neighborhoods. Here are some of the most highly rated:

Sun City Summerlin

Sun City Summerlin, an age-restricted community of about 12,542 residents, is about a twenty-minute drive northwest of downtown Las Vegas and is rated #1 “Best Neighborhood’ in Las Vegas and Nevada. Households must have at least one owner or occupant who is at least 55 years of age, and no permanent occupants under the age of 19.

This community features three golf courses designed by professional golfer Billy Casper and golf course architect Greg Nash. Residents can also enjoy any one of the five pools, tennis, and racquetball courts. You’ll likely see many residents getting around in their personal golf carts.

The terracotta-roofed homes that line the neighborhood’s streets have a median home value of $228,717, while the median rent is $1,124. Locals enjoy My Mother’s House Italian restaurant for dinners and Omelet House Summerlin for breakfast and brunch.

Kyle Canyon

A 30-minute drive from downtown, this neighborhood is close to the beauty and nature of the mountains that surround Las Vegas. The 14,557 residents live in modern, single-family homes that line the streets of Kyle Canyon. Many homes have pools for staying cool in the blistering summer months.

The median home value in the neighborhood is $238,073, while the median rent price is $963. It’s a younger crowd in the Kyle Canyon neighborhood with a median age of 30, below the Las Vegas average of 37.

Residents can get a good steak or sit at the bar and sip a cocktail while getting in a bit of gambling at FireRock. Locals also frequent Leticia’s Mexican Cocina for their south-of-the-border food fix and Grand China III for Chinese food.

James Bilbray Elementary School is rated 9/10, and Arbor View High School has a 9/10 rating.

Tule Springs

Tule Springs is about a 25-minute drive northwest of downtown. The distance from the Vegas hubbub makes it easy to forget you’re actually in Las Vegas until you see slot machines when you stop at the gas station.

With a population of 19,044, the homes in Tule Springs center around Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs. The median home value is $253,160, while the median rent price is $1,305. Residents with a fishing permit can pack a cooler full of beers or pick up a caffeinated boost at Frankly Good Coffee before spending a day casting their line. Locals can also grab some sweet treats at Dee’s Donuts 4 or Tsp Baking Company.

Families with school-aged children will be happy to know that Thomas O’Roarke Elementary School and James Bilbray Elementary School are both rated 9/10. Ralph Cadwallader Middle School is unrated, and Arbor View High School has a 9/10 rating.

Summerlin North

This large neighborhood of 48,606 residents is just over a 15-minute drive from downtown Las Vegas. Summerlin North makes up one-third of the Summerlin master-planned community and happens to be one of the most affluent areas of Las Vegas.

The median home value is $328,923, and the median rent is $1,364. The homes are large and modern and often have nice yards and plenty of space. There are many parks in the area for the whole family and your furry friends to enjoy, plus nine golf courses if you’re itching to hit the links.

If you have a hankering for Thai food, don’t miss Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen, which is rated 4.5 stars on Yelp. Additionally, Egg Works is a popular breakfast and brunch spot to enjoy with the whole family.

This neighborhood also has highly rated schools with John W Bonner Elementary School ranking 10/10, and Palo Verde High School ranked 9/10.

The Lakes

According to niche.com, The Lakes ranks as the #1 ‘Best Neighborhood in Las Vegas for Young Professionals’ and the #1 ‘Most Diverse Neighborhood in Las Vegas.’ With these high rankings come higher than average median home prices and median rent prices of $305,152 and $1,111, respectively. The Lakes offers its 29,173 residents a dense suburban vibe while being just under a 20-minute drive southwest of downtown.

Residents can enjoy the trendy new Honey Salt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (rated 4-stars on Yelp) or even order from home—they deliver! Or if margaritas and Mexican food are more your speed, you can enjoy Nacho Daddy, which offers some solid happy hour deals to boot. Families with kids can enjoy Old Spanish Trails Park which has a nice playground and plenty of shade.

The Lakes students attend Clarence Piggott Elementary School, 7/10; Walter Johnson Junior High School; and Palo Verde High School, 9/10.

Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park, a 15-minute drive west of downtown, is a quieter, suburban oasis in Las Vegas. The 14,970 residents enjoy the walking trails throughout the neighborhood. The area may feel further than 15 minutes from the city center when you spend a day with family at the Pioneer Park playground under the large shade canopy.

Pioneer Park is an affordable neighborhood with a median home price of $142,775 and a median rent price of $946, both priced below the Las Vegas averages.

Locals can enjoy a sushi fix at Yummy Grill & Sushi, rated 4-stars on Yelp; Casa Don Juan, 4-stars on Yelp, for a Mexican food fix; or Cinnamon’s for breakfast and brunch.

Students attend Edythe & Lloyd Katz Elementary School, rated 4/10, and Cimarron-Memorial High School, 3/10.

Centennial Hills

This neighborhood, about a half-hour drive northwest of downtown, is one of the more recently developed master-planned communities in Las Vegas. Centennial Hills has 45,680 residents and contains single-family homes, townhouses, and ranch style properties. The median home price is $216,567, and the median rent is $1,123, but some properties are over $3,000,000.

Centennial Hills Park is a massive 120-acres and features ramps, dog runs, picnic areas, beach volleyball courts, water play areas, and open space for all sorts of other fun activities. Locals can get fresh sushi from Umami, rated 4.5 stars on Yelp, or a great steak at Bob Taylor’s Ranch House.

School-aged kids attend Sandra L Thompson Elementary, 8/10; Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas- Centennial Hills, 9/10 and serves K-12; and Arbor View High School, 9/10.

Angel Park Lindell

Angel Park Lindell is the #8 ‘Best Neighborhood in Las Vegas,’ according to areavibes.com. One of the more affordable of the top-10 rated neighborhoods, the median home price is $153,210 and rent is $1,119.

Angel Park Lindell, with about 13,650 residents, is a 15-minute drive west of downtown. Locals enjoy Echo & Rig, a 4.5-star rated steakhouse on Yelp. Other local favorites include The Bagel Café, 4-stars on Yelp, and Leoné Café, 4.5-stars on Yelp.

Walter Jacobson Elementary School and Helen M Smith Elementary School both have a 7/10 rating, and Palos Verde High School has a 9/10.

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Andy Shore

I believe in customer-first content that creates engaged readers. I've spun my addiction to pop culture, food, and travel, into... Read More