When I moved to Las Vegas after college, my family couldn’t understand why I would want to live in a place called “Sin City”. I had no job lined up, knew virtually no one, and had never lived farther than a three-hour drive away from family. Despite their fears that I would wind up as a Vegas Showgirl (yeah, right), I knew there was something here for me in this exciting and exotic desert town. And I was right.
There’s more than one reason why Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing cities in U.S. For starters, the weather’s great. According to World Facts and Figures, Las Vegas has the 3rd highest number of sunny days per year in the country. Of course, the non-stop 100-plus degree weather during the summer is no picnic, but that is why God allowed air conditioning to be invented. And it might be hot, but it’s a dry hot, which means no bugs, no frizzy hair, and no humidity so heavy you feel like your lungs are in pressure cooker. You get used to it after a while.
There is also very little snow during the winter. Yes, Vegas does get snow, but it usually never sticks, and we only average about one freak snowstorm per year. Now I used to love snow when I was a child. Snow is fun when you get to make snow angels, build snow forts, and throw snowballs. But then adulthood arrives and for the most part you have to clear snow, shovel snow, and go to work in snow. It really starts to suck. That’s the great thing about Vegas – when it does snow, clearing my windshield off with a spatula should suffice.
Another perk to living in Vegas is that there is always something to do if you have visitors from out of town. Just ask them to choose from the myriad of entertainment options, and off you go. There is truly something in Vegas for everyone. Go to any hotel or casino in town and you’ll find everyone from blushing brides to retirees. You can catch a movie or ride a roller coaster – your choice. There’s a live show in every hotel, and some of them are free. One could spend a week just checking out all the sites on the Strip. Don’t believe me? Check out Las Vegas.com or Vegas.com for a full and current listing of everything this city has to offer.
And there’s more to Vegas than gambling. We are located near some of the largest recreational parks in the country. Want to go sailing? Head out to Lake Mead. Need a break from the heat? Mount Charleston is only an hour away. Wish to go hiking? Take a day trip out to Red Rock Canyon or the Valley of Fire. Vegas is an urban oasis nestled in a vast desert valley surrounded by majestic mountains. Everywhere I go, I have an awesome view, and I love it.
And believe it or not, Las Vegas is centrally located so that if you need to travel, it’s easy to get there. Los Angeles is only a five-hour drive, the Grand Canyon West Rim is three hours, Utah three hours. And for those wishing to fly, McCarren International Airport is conveniently located just minutes away from the Strip. Even though I live in the desert, most vacation destinations are just a short trip away.
Now some people can’t bear the thought of living in a tourist town. But I am proud to live in a city that offers this much excitement to the rest of the world. As a local, you learn which tourist spots to avoid. But there is one big advantage to having so many visitors – no state income tax. I only have to pay my dues to Uncle Sam. And I have millions of tourists to thank for that.
The second advantage of living in a tourist town is that it’s also a 24-hour town. I never truly appreciated this until I worked an overnight shift and found myself eating donuts at 7pm and hamburgers at 3am. Living in a 24-hour town means you can go shopping, find gas, or watch a movie anytime you want to. Someone’s always open, 365 days a year.
But is there a downside to living in Vegas? Of course there is – no place is perfect. Summer months aside, the thing I miss the most about living on the East Coast is the rich sense of history, museums, and culture. While Las Vegas does have a Philharmonic Orchestra, a Ballet Company, and several museums, it just can’t compare to the first time you see a Broadway Show, skate in Rockefeller Center, or visit the Museum of Modern Art. And there aren’t too many historical landmarks here, as any structure deemed “old” is likely to be demolished or imploded. While Las Vegas is over 100 years old, it’s hard to find a building over 50 years old in this town. As a history buff, I sometimes lament the lack of the city’s ties to its past. We quickly forget that beneath the glitz and glamour of the Strip is the land our pioneering ancestors toiled over.
However, there are still cultural elements in Las Vegas. They may not be on a grand scale, but they provide the needed “fix” for an East Coast girl like myself. Places like the Bellagio’s Gallery of Fine Art and the Las Vegas Natural History Museum are a few of my favorite cultural spots. And Broadway has arrived in Vegas with shows such as the Jersey Boys and the Lion King. So while it may not be the “Great White Way”, it works for me.
Now if you’re single, be slightly warned. Las Vegas is a great place to meet people and marry people, but it can be a difficult place to keep people. Because Las Vegas is a tourist destination, it is also a transient city, so you never know how long someone will be in town. There’s a very popular commercial where a group of single girls introduce themselves to various people as different TV characters throughout the night. Sometimes you don’t know if you’re meeting the same person in Vegas that you would have met if they were in their hometown. That’s why our slogan is “Whatever Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”. Sometimes you get lucky and meet the love of your life, but most of my single friends lament the lack of opportunity in the local dating scene. It doesn’t mean that it’s not there; it’s just hard to find.
But those things aside, Vegas really is a great place to live. After eleven years, I can honestly say that I made the right decision in moving here. So if you’re thinking of relocating to Vegas, come on down and check us out anytime you like. We’ll leave the lights on for you.
Garrett Stout, “News: Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in North America”, http://www.emporis.com/en/bu/nc/ne/?id=100273
World Facts and Figures, “Number of Sunny Days a Year”, http://www.worldfactsandfigures.com/weatherfacts/numbersunny_city_desc.php
National Park Service, Lake Mead, http://www.nps.gov/lame/index.htm
Zeke Quezada, “Mount Charleston, Nevada: A Day Trip from Las Vegas”, www.About.com
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/
Nevada Division of State Parks, “Valley of Fire State Park”, http://parks.nv.gov/vf.htm
McCarren International Airport, http://www.mccarran.com/
Nevada Department of Taxation, “Department of Taxation FAQ’s”, http://tax.state.nv.us/faq.htm#general
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, http://www.bellagio.com/amenities/gallery-of-fine-art.aspx
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, http://www.lvnhm.org/
Jersey Boys, http://www.palazzolasvegas.com/jerseyboys.aspx
The Lion King, http://www.mandalaybay.com/entertainment/LionKing.aspx