The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Las Vegas

Whether it’s tips on finding a place to rent or how to survive the Nevada heat, here’s everything you need to know before moving to Las Vegas.
Written by Andrew Biro
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
If you’re thinking about moving to
Las Vegas
, you’ll have a fairly average cost of living and nightlife that gives
New York City
a run for its money, but you should be prepared for sub-par public transportation. That said, if you have the right connections and land a decent-paying job, settling in Sin City might be one of the best decisions you ever make.
First settled in 1905, Las Vegas was founded by a mix of railroad workers and ranchers living along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. As time passed and the settlement grew, the town became incorporated into Clark County, where it now serves as the county seat. Aside from that, Las Vegas is known today for its fine dining, shopping, nightlife, entertainment, and gambling.
Moving is always a stressful process, and moving to Las Vegas can pose some real challenges if you’re not prepared. That’s why
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What you need to know before you move

Occupying just under 142 square miles in the desert of Nevada, Las Vegas is one of the most well-known cities in the Western United States, on par with the likes of
Los Angeles
, and
San Francisco
. Vegas is famous for its many resorts, casinos, bars, and restaurants—and what happens here is said to stay here.

1. The cost of living is remarkably average

While it might come as a surprise, the cost of living in Las Vegas is actually only slightly higher than the national average, and it is much more affordable than nearby metropolitan areas. To put things in perspective, here is the cost for a few common expenses in Las Vegas:
  • A gallon of gas: $4.50
  • Monthly groceries: $400
  • Monthly energy bill: $135
If you plan on renting and living comfortably, rather than paycheck to paycheck, you’ll need to be working full time and making at least $17.50 to $19.00 an hour, or roughly $34,000 to $36,500 a year. Unfortunately, Las Vegas only has a $9.50 minimum wage, which means it may not be a good idea to move to Sin City if you don’t already have a higher-paying job.

2. Public transport is sub-par

Generally speaking, Las Vegas’ public transport isn’t anything special—there are a few bus lines, but they largely operate for tourists.
 That said, the Las Vegas Monorail is a good way to get around the famous Las Vegas Strip, but it only spans a total distance of about 4-miles—meaning you’ll likely want a personal vehicle if you plan on venturing further afield. 

3. Las Vegas is quite literally in the desert

As the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert, the Las Vegas climate is a hot, subtropical desert—the summer season regularly sees daytime averages above 100℉ and even December averages close to 60℉.
Precipitation throughout the year is minimal, but you won’t have to deal with high humidity. Nights are much cooler than the day—a key factor driving Sin City’s bustling nightlife.

4. You’ll enjoy low taxes across the board

Transplants to Las Vegas are always happy to learn about Nevada’s non-existent income tax, but you’ll be even happier to learn that the state has the lowest taxes in the United States. 
This is in part due to the tourism industry and the city’s casinos, which generate enough revenue to fund public works and services without requiring the local government to collect taxes from locals.

5. Life happens beyond the Strip—and beyond the city limits

While it may be the most well-known part of the city, the Las Vegas Strip is by no means the extent of all life in the city, and you’ll miss a lot if you stay around there. Downtown, for example, encompasses a wide assortment of restaurants, bars, and casinos and boasts a much more relaxed atmosphere than the strip.
There’s no need to confine yourself to the city limits either—there are plenty of amazing hiking, camping, and backpacking opportunities in and around Las Vegas. Our favorites are Hualapai Canyon, Lone Mountain, and Pink Goblin Pass.

6. Las Vegas is the real “city that never sleeps”

Though New York City may claim to be the “city that never sleeps,” Las Vegas is the real deal—on any day of the week, you’ll find countless casinos, nightclubs, restaurants, and music venues in full swing to the wee hours of the morning. 
But it’s not just the clubs and bars that are open all night—many retail outlets, grocery stores, and even restaurants are open 24-hours a day, meaning you’ll be able to go about your business no matter how odd your schedule may be.

7. It’s a truly multicultural city

Occupying the ancestral lands of the Pueblo and Paiute Nations, “discovered” by Spanish explorers, and settled by white railroad workers, Las Vegas has always been a city steeped in numerous cultural histories
You’ll find transplants from all over the world living in Sin City alongside people who’ve been here before the United States was founded—so don’t be afraid to learn a smattering of Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, or Korean while you’re in town.
Pro Tip Las Vegas has a thriving Asian-American population and is home to both a Chinatown and Koreatown, along with countless restaurants and markets catering to Southeast Asian cuisine—now more than ever is a great time to show them support with your patronage.

Finding a place to live in Las Vegas

Unfortunately, rent isn’t exactly cheap in Las Vegas—even if you aren’t located in the city center. That said, rent has been on a slow decline recently and a one-bedroom apartment will cost somewhere around $950 a month while a two-bedroom averages closer to $1,250 a month.
Of course, buying a house is also an option—townhomes and condos in Las Vegas are currently selling for roughly $260,000, and the typical single-family home is priced at approximately $430,000. The city is currently experiencing a severe uptick in home selling prices, so now might not be the best time to buy—in fact, home values have increased over 33% in the last year.
If you do end up renting, it’s a good idea to make a budget beforehand and figure out how much rent you can realistically afford. Once you’ve done that, you can start adding in other factors— entertainment, social life, household items, etc.—to determine which neighborhood in Las Vegas is going to be best for you.
If you’re unfamiliar with the neighborhoods in Las Vegas, here’s a brief rundown:
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: East Las Vegas, Huntridge, Cultural Corridor, Sunrise
  • Historic neighborhoods: Beverly Green, Berkeley Square, Alta Rancho, Huntridge
  • Neighborhoods with the highest crime: West Las Vegas, Charleston Heights, Rancho Charleston
  • Best neighborhoods for families: Sun City Summerlin, Tule Springs, Centennial Hills, Sheep Mountain
If you think you’ve found the neighborhood that’s right for you, see if you can spend a few nights in the area to better gauge whether the day-to-day life and local culture is a good fit.

Moving to Las Vegas checklist

Once you’ve narrowed down where in Las Vegas you want to live and have found a place to call home, you’ll need to get ready for the move. Use the following checklists as rough guidelines to make the moving process as easy as possible, starting from the first box you pack to your first night in the city.

Before you move

Before you start the moving process, be sure to:
  • Tell your landlord, employer, utility company, and insurance provider that you’ll be moving
  • Pack up your belongings and store or donate what you don’t need (remember: you can always ask your friends for help!)
  • Contact a highly rated and respected moving company to make your move easier—or rent a U-Haul if you plan to move everything yourself
  • If you’re moving a considerable distance and decide to keep your vehicle, consider shipping it to Las Vegas
  • If you plan on flying, book your tickets well in advance

After you get there

You’re not done yet! Even after you move into your new place, there are still a few things you may need to do—and a few things we recommend—before you settle into life in Las Vegas:
  • If you transported or moved with your car from out of state, make sure to get it registered in Las Vegas and update your insurance policy
  • And while we’re talking about insurance—don’t forget to purchase renters or
    homeowners insurance
    to protect yourself and your belongings
  • Be sure to update your mailing address, healthcare information, and voter registration
  • Don’t spend all your time at home! It’s always a good idea to check out the local coffee shops, restaurants, parks, and nightlife once you move to a new area—and don’t forget to make friends!

How to save on home, auto, and renters insurance in Las Vegas

Whether you end up living in Charleston Heights or Summerlin, you’ll want to make sure your assets are protected by an affordable insurance policy.
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The amount of money necessary to move to Las Vegas largely depends on the distance you’re moving, whether you’re hiring a moving company or renting a U-Haul, and whether you’re renting or owning a home. You’ll likely need somewhere between $2000 and $4000 for your move.
It depends! If you’ve got a steadily paying job or are moving from somewhere with a much higher cost of living, moving to Las Vegas can definitely be a worthwhile endeavor—but if you aren’t making close to or over $34,000 a year, living comfortably in Sin City can be a real challenge. Fortunately, Las Vegas has many job opportunities across many different fields, making it a great environment for young professionals and the like.
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