Many people are drawn in by the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas. The city can be a one-of-a-kind place to live – but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. If you’re wondering if it might be right for you, here are some of the pros and cons of living in Las Vegas that you need to consider.
Living in Las Vegas: The Pros
Las Vegas is a world-renowned entertainment destination. Aside from gambling at casinos, there’s a myriad of shows, attractions, and events that would keep anyone busy. Plus, many of today’s leading acts do stints in Las Vegas, either cruising through as part of a larger tour or settling in for a while at one of the casinos.
Ultimately, Las Vegas has standup comedy, magic shows, concerts, musical theatre, circuses, and more, including both adult-oriented and family-friendly options. Additionally, many conventions cross through the city, giving you even more options.
Exceptional Dining Options
If you’re a foodie, Las Vegas is an excellent place to live. The number of restaurants in the city is staggering, and nearly any kind of cuisine imaginable is represented in some shape or form. Whether you prefer a formal French dining experience or an informal burger joint, there’s something for you.
Plus, some Las Vegas restaurants were previously awarded Michelin Stars. That means some of the dining options are exceptional in a global sense, offering experiences you won’t typically find elsewhere.
Reasonable Cost of Living
While it would be easy to assume that living in Las Vegas comes with an incredibly high cost of living, that isn’t necessarily the case. Instead, it comes out to about 4% above the national average. When you consider that Seattle is 53% above the national average and Miami is 17% higher, it shows just how affordable Las Vegas can be by comparison.
When it comes to renting apartments, the prices in Las Vegas aren’t outlandish. Usually, a one-bedroom runs $1,005 per month, while a two-bedroom costs $1,216. Considering that the national averages are closer to $1,129 and $1,295 per month, respectively, that makes Las Vegas competitive.
In a similar vein to the point above, taxes in Las Vegas are typically low. First, Nevada doesn’t have a state income tax, which can result in a significant savings. There also aren’t any state business or corporate income taxes, something current or aspiring business owners often appreciate.
When it comes to sales taxes, the rate in Las Vegas – which is located in Clark County – is 8.375%. Generally, that’s considered a moderate rate even when compared to states with state income taxes, let alone one without them.
Even property taxes are fairly low in Las Vegas. However, they are higher than some other parts of the state, so keep that in mind.
Sitting in the Mojave Desert in southern Nevada, Las Vegas is often a city that’s perpetually experiencing summer weather. The average highs dip below 60°F just two months out of the year and are only under 70°F four months out of the year. Plus, the city gets a ton of bright, sunny days, with more than 300 days of sunshine typically.
While Las Vegas is a bustling city, it’s also positioned in the middle of the desert. As a result, there are plenty of wide-open spaces to explore just a bit beyond the city limits. Plus, it’s close to Lake Mead, the Colorado River, Mount Charleston, the Valley of Fire, and the Grand Canyon.
Whether you like hiking, swimming, bouldering, dirt biking, horseback riding, or nearly anything else, you can do it without having to venture far from Las Vegas. Plus, the landscape is absolutely breathtaking, making every trip out feel special.
Fly Nearly Anywhere
As an incredibly popular tourist destination, Las Vegas makes arriving in the city easier thanks to McCarran International Airport. It’s actually the seventh busiest airport in the country and features plenty of domestic and international flight options.
While it may seem like the nearby airport mainly benefits tourists, it’s a boon for locals, too. Whether you want to head out of the state or country for a vacation, to visit family, or for work, finding a suitable flight is usually a breeze. Plus, flights in and out of Las Vegas are often incredibly affordable since nearly every airline heads there, creating ample competition, which often translates into lower prices.
Traffic Isn’t as Bad as Other Major Cities
While Las Vegas has its fair share of traffic, it benefits from the fact that the city is newer overall. The roadways were designed with a high number of visitors in mind, so traffic flows through Las Vegas better than in many other larger cities that are far older.
Overall, when compared to other major cities in the United States, Las Vegas is 26th when it comes to having the worst traffic. While that isn’t great, it means Las Vegas is far easier to navigate than many people would expect, particularly when you consider the impact of tourists.
Plenty of Nearby 55+ Communities
If you’re thinking about retiring in Las Vegas, you won’t have any trouble finding 55+ communities. Those are a solid option for ensuring you’re close to critical amenities and part of a community that shares a similar mindset. Plus, there are options at nearly any price point, and housing in many of them is less expensive than a comparable home outside of a 55+ community.
Generally speaking, golfing and sunny weather go hand in hand. Since Las Vegas gets so much sunshine and a constant flow of tourists, there are dozens of golf courses in the immediate area. Whether you’re new to the game and want an easy course or want to try something championship-level, there’s an option for you.
Living in Las Vegas: The Cons
Tourists are often viewed as a catch-22 by locals in Las Vegas. While the influx of spending and tourist-related industries play a big role in the economy, tourists can also bring some drawbacks. Slews of visitors may clog up roads or make your favorite restaurants and entertainment venues harder to access. Additionally, Las Vegas isn’t necessarily a family-oriented destination. Instead, it attracts many visitors who want to gamble and party, some of which can get quite rowdy.
Along the Las Vegas Strip, tourists are also on the move day and night. Essentially, the city doesn’t sleep, and if you’re near to the noise, it’s possible you’ll have trouble getting enough shuteye, too.
While the bright lights of Las Vegas are fun for nearly anyone, the party atmosphere can wear a bit thin after a while. You can only spend so much time gambling, heading to clubs, or perusing attractions on the strip before it starts to lose its luster.
Plus, some of the events and activities are disruptive to daily life. Conventions can make traffic even harder to manage, for example, which is a major burden to those living in the area.
While the overall cost of living in Las Vegas isn’t far above the national average and rent prices are manageable, buying a house can get spendy. The average home value in Las Vegas is $447,597, which is more than $90,000 above the national average of $355,852.
Now, that’s still far below what you’d find in some other major cities. However, if you aren’t prepared for the prices, it can be a shock.
Tougher Job Market
Overall, the biggest industry in Las Vegas is tourism and hospitality. While that sector creates ample opportunities in that niche, finding a job in Las Vegas can be surprisingly tricky overall.
In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate (as of June 2022) sat at 5.7%. While that isn’t overwhelmingly high, during that same month, the national average was a mere 3.6%, which shows that the job market in Las Vegas is tighter.
Additionally, if you aren’t interested in one of the booming sectors – such as hospitality, food service, tourism, and construction – there are potentially more job seekers than available positions. As a result, you may hit an unexpected obstacle when looking for work.
Lower-Quality Public Education
While Nevada doesn’t have the worst public schools in the nation, it definitively ranks in the bottom half and has for quite some time. As of 2022, Nevada was in 39th place overall. Additionally, the state was 48th when it came to student-teacher ratios, 47th for safety, and 47th for spending.
It is important to note that individual districts and schools may perform better in those categories than the overall state score reflects. Still, if you have children and are worried about education quality, it’s wise to research the local schools to ensure you live in an area with the best available performance.
While long-lasting sunny, warm weather is appealing to many, Las Vegas’ desert climate means the summers can get scorching. During July – the hottest month of the year usually – high temps average out at 105°F, and the average low is 81°F. Plus, high temperatures average at or above 100°F in June and August, too, and it isn’t uncommon to high three digits in May or September on occasion.
Plus, there isn’t much rain or cloud cover during the year. While some may appreciate hotter temps and nearly perpetual blue skies, it isn’t going to resonate with everyone.
Lower Sense of Community
While Las Vegas indisputably has its own vibe, it isn’t generally conducive to a sense of community. In some cases, this is because most of the people in the area don’t actually stay for long, giving relationships an inherent temporary or transient nature.
Plus, a significant number of people you encounter near the strip aren’t locals but tourists. Often, that leads locals to keep to themselves more often than not, even if they aren’t in a distinctly touristy area. For some people, that can make it hard to forge new friendships or maintain long-term connections.
Questionable Public Transit
While Las Vegas does have a large public transit system, its quality is questionable at best. In most cases, relying on it to get around isn’t the smartest move. The routes aren’t always particularly efficient, which leads to longer commute times. Plus, during the height of tourist season, you can’t guarantee that there’s enough space to board or, at least, feel comfortable while in transit.
As a result, nearly everyone who lives in the area has their own vehicle. For some, this may not be a problem. However, since Nevada gas prices can exceed the national average by more than $1 per gallon, it may not be cost-effective for everyone.
When a city is bright like Las Vegas, the light makes seeing the stars at night practically impossible. Las Vegas is considered the brightest city on Earth due to all of the lights emanating from casinos, businesses, street lamps, and more. With all of that light, starlight doesn’t stand a chance. If stargazing is one of your favorite activities, you have to get some distance between you and the city to make that an option.
A Lack of Green
Depending on where you’re from, the never-ending beige and tan landscape near Las Vegas might be off-putting. While there are palm trees and other desert-friendly plants, you aren’t going to see swaths of green grass, towering cedars, lush oaks, or similar types of greenery often.
Now, you can head out of the city and get to greener landscapes, so it is possible to get a reprieve. However, if you prefer your green escapes a bit closer, Las Vegas might not be for you.
Is Living in Las Vegas Right for You?
Ultimately, whether Las Vegas is a good fit for you depends on your priorities, needs, and preferred lifestyle. The low cost of living, easy access to entertainment, exceptional dining options, and similar benefits may make it worthwhile. However, if you don’t like the heat, prefer greener landscapes, or want a tight-knit community with excellent schools, you may be better off heading elsewhere.