Living in Las Vegas

January 15th, 2010

“The night before I left Las Vegas, I walked out in the desert to look at the moon. There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high.” – Norman Mailer

So you’ve just visited, or maybe you’re looking at one of the jobs we’ve got listed at Jet Set, and you wonder… how is life on a daily basis out there in Las Vegas, what is it like to actually live in the city? As most tourists rarely travel beyond the gilded embrace of the Strip, it’s a valid question. Let me tell you about our town.

If you come from back east, or another continent, chances are that your house has been around longer. While Las Vegas was originally founded (and soon abandoned) in the 1850s by Mormon missionaries, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that folks started moving in — first with the railroad, then the building of Hoover Dam, legalized gambling, and the military. These days, the oldest homes, mostly in the heart of downtown, tend to be from the 1940’s, while the majority of dwellings hail from the building booms of the last several decades.

Fun Fact: Remnants of the Old Mormon Fort still exist, you can visit it at Heritage Park, located in Cashman Field just north of the Strip.

Right then, so there’s your quick history lesson. What about Las Vegas now? What does Las Vegas have to offer you?

Let’s begin with a big one: there’s no state income tax in Nevada. Right off the bat you’ve given yourself a raise. Not a bad start, eh?

It’s also a good time to get a house, cheap. Yeah okay, that’s the case in a lot of places, but it’s especially true here. We had ourselves a serious housing bubble and the industry went bananas on home construction for a few years, and as a result there are some great finds to be had. There are also plenty of nice apartments, and local rent is very reasonable.

Despite the summer heat, we’ve got a fantastic outdoor scene. There’s year-round hiking in Mount Charleston, and Red Rock and Valley of Fire are beautiful in the spring and fall. Both the Las Vegas Ski Resort and Lake Mead are less than 45 minutes away, and Zion and Brian Head are within a three hour drive.

Fun Fact: There is a WWII-era bomber viewable locally by those with enough dedication to reach it. A B-29 was ditched in 1948, and still sits at the bottom of Lake Mead.

Thanks to the casino industry, we’ve found ourselves with some spectacular shows and concerts. Several Broadway productions have played for a time, or call Las Vegas home. Cirque du Soleil is a Las Vegas staple. The local music scene is strong, and national acts are always passing through.

We’re one of the best cities in the country to find someplace good to eat, with a huge variety of both celebrity chef and mom ‘n pop establishments in the valley. A lot of the high end restaurants are within the resorts, but there are plenty of stunning eateries off-Strip, too.

Las Vegas has a burgeoning art scene. We’ve got a lot of galleries (including a new one founded by our own Brett Sperry), and some amazing local collections. A chunk of downtown has become known as the 18b Arts District, and every month it transforms into a lively night-time art festival known as First Friday.

You’ll find sports here, too. There’s the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with NASCAR, touring events, and local opportunities for drag racing and autocross. Our ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Wranglers, is one of the strongest in the league, and UNLV’s Division I teams always put on a good show.

For the particularly geek-friendly, we’ve got Tim Arnold’s Pinball Hall of Fame, a huge (and playable) collection of pinball and arcade machines, the Atomic Testing Museum, the Hoover Dam internals Tour, CineVegas (one of the fastest growing film festivals in the world) and one of the best comic book shops on this side of the country. Additionally, CES, DICE Summit, Defcon, Classic Gaming Expo, and the Evo Championships all take in Las Vegas.

Fun Fact: It’s pronounced Nevada.

I’ve just skimmed the surface, but that should be enough to keep ya covered for a bit, so let’s call this post done. Wanna know anything else about living in Las Vegas? Ask away!


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