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Have you wondered about the pros and cons of living in Las Vegas?
Las Vegas is known for its vibrant nightlife, endless entertainment, and diverse food options.
The city can be a great place to start a new chapter in life, especially for young professionals and families who want to be somewhere that’s both affordable and near an international airport.
But before making any decisions on relocating, one has to consider both the pros and cons of living in Las Vegas.
I’ve lived in 18 countries in the last ten years, so I know exactly what to look for in a new city.
Here are the most important advantages and disadvantages of living in Las Vegas.
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1. Pro: No State Income Tax
There are only nine states in America without a state income tax, and Nevada is one of them.
If you are willing to work in Las Vegas, your take-home salary will be slightly higher than most states in the US.
You will still need to budget for federal income tax and state/local sales tax. The average state sales tax in Nevada is 8.23%.
2. Con: Desert Climate
Las Vegas is right in the middle of the Mojave desert, which means that the weather will be very dry for most of the year, and summer heat continues well into September and October.
This dry weather causes dust storms and a higher chance of air pollution in the city.
It also means the landscape has very little vegetation and almost no wooded areas. There is little to see past red rocks and rock formations. Any green is usually artificial grass or fake trees.
3. Pro: Live Shows and Events
Among the bright lights and vibrant energy of Las Vegas are an array of exciting shows you can see live!
Some shows perform regularly, like Cirque De Soleil, Blue Man Group, and Chris Angel’s “Mindfreak,” and seasonal shows like Americal Ninja Warrior.
Las Vegas also features on almost every major artist’s tour schedule. No matter what genre you are into, you’ll be able to find a few concerts with your favorite artist throughout the year.
Some of the most famous music festivals include the iHeartRadio Festival, Exodus EDM Festival, and the Life is Beautiful Music and Arts Festival.
4. Con: Hot Summers
Summers in Las Vegas are scorching, with temperatures varying from 34°C to 40°C. (93-104ºF). This heat is not humid, which makes it slightly more bearable, but it is still challenging to enjoy the outdoors during the summer months.
Rain is also very infrequent. Las Vegas receives less than 10.1 cm (4.2 in) inches of rain annually.
5. Pro: Mild Winters
While the summers can come with blistering heat, the winter months in Las Vegas are very mild. Snow is extremely rare, and residents enjoy average temperatures of 10-12ºC (50-56ºF) from November to February.
These months are the best time to enjoy the outdoors.
If you are from a northern state in the US or Canada, where winters can be extremely cold, this could be one of the most convincing reasons to consider moving to Las Vegas.
6. Con: Traffic
Driving could be the biggest challenge if you’re new to the city. Las Vegas ranks 23rd for cities with the worst congestion in the United States.
Tourists and visitors crowd the city of Las Vegas, causing serious traffic problems for residents. Everyone is up late in Vegas and residents often work odd hours throughout the day and night, so there are no “dead hours” on the road.
But the traffic is still heaviest during traditional rush hour (7-9 am & 4-6 pm), as well as on weekends.
A lot of tourists visit Las Vegas by car from nearby cities (LA, San Diego, Phoenix), so there could be an influx of traffic during a major sporting event or holiday weekend.
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7. Pro: Vibrant Nightlife
Las Vegas is known for its party atmosphere and exciting nightlife. If you are a night owl who likes to go out with friends, this place is perfect for you.
Almost every night of the year, you can find a world-famous DJ playing or a well-known comedian headlining at a Las Vegas nightclub. Some of the best nightclubs in Vegas are:
- Hakkasan Nightclub – MGM Grand.
- Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub
- Marquee Nightclub
- Zouk Nightclub
There is often a cover charge of $20-60 to get into these premier nightclubs, so if it is something you envision as a part of your life, make sure to budget accordingly.
Many restaurants and shops are open 24/7, and there are plenty of late-night dining options after a night out!
8. Con: Poor Education System
The education system in Las Vegas is struggling. A new national report ranks Las Vegas city 2nd worst for school quality among the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, only behind Honolulu.
This is a big disadvantage for young kids growing up in Las Vegas. Families or people who plan on having kids in the future often have second thoughts about moving to Vegas because of the schools.
People moving to look for a district with higher-quality public schools should consider moving next door to Henderson, NV (just 15 miles from Las Vegas).
9. Pro: Diverse food options
Las Vegas is known for its diverse food options, with a wide variety of cuisines available from all over the world. You will find delicious Mexican restaurants, Chinese food, Japanese ramen, and fancy Italian restaurants on every block of the city.
Las Vegas has a large number of food trucks, which offer a diverse range of street food from all over the world. One of the best times to experience the food trucks is at the Great American Foodie Fest held every April, where 50 world-renowned food trucks come for a weekend of endless samples, eating contests, and prizes.
There are also a lot of options for people with dietary restrictions at all restaurants, whether you are vegan, vegetarian, paleo, Keto, gluten-free, or dairy-free.
10. Con: Limited Job Opportunities & Low Wages
It is generally easy to get a job in Las Vegas, but you will be limited to the tourism, food, or construction industries.
If you work in tech, medicine, or marketing it may be more challenging to find a job compared to other cities in America.
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11. Pro: Lots of Hiking and outdoor activities
Las Vegas has a variety of hiking trails available for visitors and residents to enjoy. The city is surrounded by scenic nature walks to more adventurous and strenuous mountain climbs.
Some popular hiking areas around Las Vegas include:
- Red Rock Canyon
- Valley of Fire State Park
- Mount Charleston
- Lake Mead national recreation area
- Boulder City
Other outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, and scenic drives are available around the city.
12. Con: Gambling
Las Vegas is most prominently known for gambling and casinos. The city has been popularized by countless movies as a gambling city and it’s true. Las Vegas is actually home to 15 of the 25 largest casinos in the world.
Most of these casinos are located on “The Strip”, which is the main street for tourists and full of eclectic and obscure hotels.
While gambling is considered one of the top things to do in Vegas, there is also an inherent risk to gambling, and roughly 6% of Nevada residents struggle with gambling addiction to some degree.
13. Pro: Lots of Sightseeing Options
One of the most significant benefits of living in Las Vegas is being close to many sightseeing options. There are lots of cool things to do within the city, but also fun destinations just outside of the city that are great for spending a weekend with friends and/or family.
Some popular places to visit for Las Vegas residents are:
- The Hoover Dam
- Red Rock Canyon
- Niche Museums (Neon Museum, Mob Museum, Natural History Museum)
- Fremont Street Mall
- Shark Reef Aquarium @ Mandalay Bay
- The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
A lot of these attractions are a big reason that tourists visit Las Vegas. When you are a resident of the city, you can wait until the off-peak season and see some of the most beautiful landmarks and interesting museums without crowds!
14. Con: Crime Rates
Las Vegas has a high crime rate and is due to the city’s large population and high tourist traffic, which can make it a target for criminal activity, especially pickpocketing. The crime rate is 30.3 per 1000 individuals, which is notably higher than the national average.
Drug trafficking is also a significant problem in Las Vegas that contributes to high rates of violent crime and property crime.
The most prominent areas in the city for crime are Downtown (The Strip), Fremont Street, and North Las Vegas.
Some of the safest neighborhoods to live in in Las Vegas are Summerlin South, Tule Springs, and Spring Valley.
15. Pro: Affordable Cost of Living
The cost of living in Las Vegas is generally affordable compared to other major cities in the United States. Grocery and transportation costs are also relatively low.
The average cost of living in Las Vegas for a single person is 2,205 USD a month and about 4,152 USD a month for a family of four.
16. Con: High Price of Utilities
The cost of utilities in Las Vegas, such as electricity and water, is relatively high compared to other major cities. Residents are even charged a fee of $9 for every 1000 gallons they use over the permitted limit for the area.
The main reason is the desert climate, which means there is limited access to a potable water supply.
Electricity is expensive due to the limited resources available in the area for production, with an average price of $150-200 per month.
17. Pro: Diverse Culture
Las Vegas is one of the most diverse areas of the country. The city is very close to becoming a majority-minority city, meaning non-white residents outnumber white residents.
This leads to a celebration of various cultural festivals throughout the year, including Mardi Gras, the Las Vegas PRIDE festival, and the Juneteeth Festival.
There is also a lot of opportunity in Las Vegas for minority-owned small businesses to be successful in industries like food, merchandise, entertainment, and tourism.
18. Con: Gas Prices
Another reason you could find it more difficult to budget in Las Vegas is the rising gas prices, which are now the fourth highest in the USA.
One way to avoid this is by using public transportation, which is surprisingly efficient in Las Vegas. The RTC public bus system has routes throughout downtown, and the double-decker air-conditioned buses are an affordable and safe way to get around the city.
There are also public shuttles to and from the airport with zero surge pricing for residents who travel often.
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19. Pro: Housing options
You will be pleased to know that the housing market in Las Vegas is favorable for buyers and very affordable (especially if you are used to California home prices)
There is a wide range of housing options, from apartments and condos to single-family homes in the suburbs.
The wealthiest areas of Las Vegas such as Summerlin, Henderson, and Centennial Hills tend to have higher-quality housing options.
But one of the best tips for living in Las Vegas is to look into less established communities for affordable housing. Two of the best neighborhoods are Twin Lakes and Rancho Oakey.
Wrap-Up: Pros and Cons of Living in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is an exciting place to live in the US, with 24/7 entertainment, lots of outdoor recreation available, and diverse restaurants and festivals to visit.
The are some obvious downsides to living in Las Vegas, like extreme summer heat, higher crime rates, and a big gambling scene.
But despite some difficulties, living in Las Vegas has plenty of benefits that would make it an affordable and enjoyable city.
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Living in the USA Guides
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Living Abroad Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy expat travel insurance?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing!
🌎 What is the best country to live in as an expat?
It depends – the best country to live in as an expat will depend on your unique needs. I developed this free quiz to help you figure out where is right for you!
📍 How do I pick a country to live abroad?
It depends – picking a country to live in is hard. That’s why I developed this $7 course to share all of the steps I’ve taken when deciding to move to 20+ different countries, and how I handle homesickness when I get there.
Ultimately, making the choice of where to move is going to be hard. But the hardest thing is deciding to move abroad at all!
💼 How do I get a job as an expat?
You can find work abroad via local job boards or temp agencies. My favourite way to work is remotely, so I always look for jobs on FlexJobs.com when I live abroad. They hire for 100% remote roles only.
If you’re looking to teach English abroad, Premier TEFL has the best online course to get you great work!
💰 How do I open a bank account abroad?
Wise.com offers free global accounts, and the cheapest money transfers. Since it can be a headache to open bank accounts in different countries (it took me 2 months in the UK!), Wise.com is a great solution.
I actually use it as my primary bank now worldwide due to the multi-currency debit card. (Read more)
👯♀️ How do you make friends abroad?
Meetup.com – Meet likeminded people who share a similar hobby with Meetup! It’s free to join, but some activities may cost money, like if you go to a cafe and get a coffee.
🙀 I don’t speak the language. Can I still live abroad?
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💻 Do I need a VPN?
Yes! – VPNs allow you to access more of the internet. From US Netflix in the UK to social media sites banned in Asia. It’s a really helpful and cheap thing to ensure your online activities aren’t restricted.
🧳 What’s the best luggage for living abroad?
🏡 How do I tell my friends and family I want to live abroad?
Take this $7 course and learn the exact script I used to tell my family I was moving abroad … and then when I did it again. I even include tips for prepping your family, and for how to handle family who aren’t supportive.
✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?
🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?
Or stay for free with Trusted Housesitters!
🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?
To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.
🚗 What’s the best site to find tours?
To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.