Since moving to Las Vegas six years ago, I have received a surprising amount of email seeking my counsel on one topic:
Moving to Las Vegas.
Like myself, there are countless people who have considered moving to the Vegas Valley, but most of them have seemed quite tentative about actually pulling the trigger.
I don't blame them. When it comes to this town, it is very hard to separate fact from fiction. During my own move, I had a hard time finding people that would shoot me straight.
There were only two camps of Las Vegans during my own move, and those two factions were:
- People who hated Las Vegas and told me that I was insane to move there.
- People who pretended to love Las Vegas and told me that I was insane if I didn't buy 5 houses and rent out 4 of them to get rich quick.
There really was no in-between, and it was a problem.
Now, I've crapped on Las Vegas quite a bit in the past, oh ... six years ... but living in the town is certainly not all bad.
There are definitely some compelling reasons to move to the city. There are absolutely some things to love about living on Dirt Island.
Therefore, in the interest of closing out the month on a positive note (something I doubt I will ever repeat), allow me to present the ten best reasons to move to, and indeed Live in Las Vegas.
If you enjoy gambling, I don't suppose there is any better place to live in the world than Las Vegas.
Sure, gambling on The Strip has declined, but there are still plenty of locals casinos that offer decent odds, and they comp very well too. I've eaten more free meals than I can count courtesy of locals joints like the Suncoast and Palms (yes, the Palms is very locals-friendly), and the casinos have generally treated me quite well.
It's nice to be able to bet on the Super Bowl and NBA Playoffs on a whim, and it's great to be able to satisfy a video poker jones at will.
With the exception of the lottery, if a wager exists, it can be placed in Las Vegas.
This is the largest benefit of living in the city.
This will be what I miss about Las Vegas more than anything else.
When people think about "Las Vegas Entertainment", their minds quickly wander to Cirque Shows or lounge acts like Wayne Newton, but this is really a gross simplification of what the town offers.
Since I've lived here, I've seen Velvet Revolver three times in three different venues ... Planet Hollywood, Mandalay Bay, and Hard Rock. I've seen Pearl Jam at the MGM Grand, "Guns N' Roses" at the Joint, Foo Fighters at the Joint, The Smashing Pumpkins at Pearl, The Black Crowes at Pearl, Chris Cornell at the House of Blues and Pearl, Alice in Chains at the Joint and Mandalay, and Prince at the Rio.
At smaller venues, I've seen Collective Soul, Soul Asylum, Morris Day and the Time -- and the artists listed here are just the ones that quickly spring to mind.
When it comes to bands that have put out a few records on major labels, Las Vegas may very well be the live music capital of the world.
When you add this to Cirque Shows, T&A Shows, Comedy Shows, Magic Shows, Lounge Shows, Conventions ... you have one aspect of Las Vegas that actually lives up to its hype.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, Las Vegas really just might be the Entertainment Capital of the World.
From small dive eateries to five-star restaurants, Vegas offers a surprisingly large amount of dining options for an isolated desert city. For the most part, whatever food you happen to crave ... chances are very high that you can find it.
Personally, I am a buffet freak, and Las Vegas has the best buffets in the world. The Wynn, Bellagio, Paris ... I've sustained myself in these places, and I am going to miss having quick and easy access to them.
4) Housing Costs
Las Vegas is far and away the cheapest "major" city I have ever lived in.
Some of this savings is offset by utility costs (you must run the A/C constantly for 4 months out of the year), but it's rare to be able to find houses for under $150,000 and rents for under $1,300 in the center of a major city. Even though categorizing Vegas as a "major" city might be somewhat specious, it's still a metropolitan area of 2 million people, and it's certainly not small.
If you have a nest egg, and you want it to last, you can make this happen more easily in Vegas than most other large towns.
5) The Weather
I hate it, but most people claim to like it.
At only 4 inches of rain per year, Las Vegas is the driest large city in the USA. Runner up is Phoenix, which gets twice as much rain. Las Vegas is also the sunniest city in the USA.
Constant sun, lack of humidity, and (usual) lack of snow appeals to a large percentage of the population.
Compared to the rest of the world, Las Vegas hotels are absolute bargains. Hell, they're practically free. I've rented rooms during off-peak times on numerous occasions, and I've been able to enjoy exceptional accommodations, top-notch views, and the world's best pools for very, very little money.
This quality/value ratio is still only available in Las Vegas, and remains the town's largest appeal.
If you live in Las Vegas, you don't need to fly in every few months just to enjoy the amenities of the resort corridor, and given the state of air travel in the USA ... this is huge benefit.
If you play your cards right, and figure out when and where to get the best deals, you really can be a perpetual tourist on the Las Vegas Strip simply by moving within 20 miles of Las Vegas Boulevard.
I certainly did.
7) If You Live Here, They Will Come
When you live in Las Vegas, you will save a large amount of time and money on travel because you will rarely have to visit family and friends.
Because they are thrilled to come to you.
This also applies to business associates who are more than willing to fly in to meet with you so that they can write it off as a business expense.
I was able to cut my own travel by 90% by moving to Las Vegas ... chances are, you will be able to do the same.
8) Uh, the Uh
I tried. Goddammit, I tried.
I'm not joking.
I sat here for about two hours looking at my word processor, and I really just can't think of anything that isn't completely sarcastic.
For instance, I had the following:
8) Top-Notch Schools
Las Vegas has an almost laser-like commitment to education, and it imports the finest 18-year-old Filipino natives with 6 weeks of conversational English to educate your kids.
9) Ease of Suicide
Jumping from the Stratosphere, Shopping at Costco, walking into the Wynn and introducing yourself as "Jamie" ... we offer more creative ways to off yourself than any other city in the world.
10) Committed Local Government
With a highly-educated electorate (courtesy of our top-notch schools), Las Vegas is home to the most committed and effective public servants in the United States, and with a new City Hall on the way, our commitment to excellence on the legislative front is only expected to increase.
I decided not to include the above entries though.
Because I'm honestly trying to make real, useful, practical, and informative lists.
This one, however, was simply impossible.
I'm sorry guys, but there are not 10 good reasons to move to Las Vegas. If there were, I wouldn't have moved.
You can probably guess which list is coming next.