I'm thinking of moving to Las Vegas...[more inside]
May 23, 2005 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm a 25 year old recent law school graduate (female) who is thinking of moving to Las Vegas....

I've lived in a medium-sized Midwestern city my entire life, but want to get out. I'm single, so I'm wondering what the singles scene is like in Vegas. I'm pretty laid back, like to drink and dance, and have no interest whatsoever in gambling. I'm very into outdoors activities and I love live music. Do you know anyone who has moved to Vegas? What is it like for outsiders? Is it easy to meet people? What is the city really like (apart from the Strip)?
posted by elquien to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've spent a total of about 45 minutes in Vegas, so I have little first-hand insight. The retired parents of an acquaintance, though, tell me that once you get used to the casino-subsidized $4.95 prime rib buffet dinners, every other city in the country seems ridiculously expensive, and consequently, it's hard to convince yourself to move away.
posted by willpie at 1:17 PM on May 23, 2005

One of my bestest friends in the whole wide world got a job there in sales and lived there for most of the past year. She's now very happy back in California.

There were three or four things that struck her. First, if you're a women's-lib type --at all--, don't exect that viewpoint to be acknowledeged by many people. If you're sensitive to being called 'sweetheart' by every older man and many younger men in that city, you will have a serious problem there.

Outside of the strip, it's quite your normal city. In fact, you'll quickly find that there are casinos and buffets and restaurants for tourists, and then there are casinos and buffets and restaurants for locals that are half the price of ones for tourists. (When my family and I visit, we eat at the PF Changs that's a cab ride away from the strip instead of the one on the strip, and save something like $20 off the check and never wait for a table.)

The cost of living is pretty low if you live at a basic level, and it isn't really company-town-ish because not EVERYONE works for the casinos or in casino-related business, but if you like living at a luxury level it's pretty expensive. You'd be best off doing your botique shopping elsewhere, for example.
posted by SpecialK at 1:44 PM on May 23, 2005

Oh, and my friend said that dating absolutely sucked there. The hot guys in the clubs were NEVER local and they were all there to get drunk and laid. The only time she dated there was when a friend brought three or four of her male college friends from San Louis Obispo to Las Vegas for a month.
posted by SpecialK at 1:46 PM on May 23, 2005

Just to play Devil's advocate, it sounds like Denver might fit for you as well. I was there several months on business - it's very laid back, lots of live music and social goings-on. And you're right by the Rockies so it's got a strong nature loving community and plenty of outdoor activities.

If you want warmer weather, how about Austin? It's pretty much the same thing as denver, but in Texas. No state income tax there.
posted by Dallasfilm at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2005

I grew up in Henderson, in the Vegas valley. In my experience, the city is rather suburban, and even more so these days than when I was a kid (late 80s). Unless you're filthy rich, you will either be living in an older house or apartment "in town", or you will be in a newer house or apartment that's part of an outlying residential area. The residential areas usually have some opportunities for shopping and eating out, but chain stores and restaurants are the rule there. The big differences between Vegas and other cities: slot machines are everywhere, locals are more likely to avoid the downtown area due to crowding and tourists, and there are more 24-hour businesses.

I would say that the easiest way to meet people would be to frequent small bars (there are many) and locals' casinos (the small ones that are well off the strip) or take classes (UNLV is nice, and there are several community colleges). That is to say, it's very much like any other city, but keep in mind that you won't meet many locals on the strip. This kind of limits the fun you'll have with the club scene, at least until you find some friends to take along with you. Most parts of Vegas are pretty friendly toward outsiders, since most of the people probably moved there themselves within the last ten years or so.

If you like outdoors activities, check out Red Rock, Valley of Fire, and Mt. Charleston. Lake Mead is terrible, mostly due to overcrowding and cost, but you might check it out if you really enjoy boating in the presence of fifty thousand other boats.

I hate to say it, because it shatters the mystique, but I think that Albuquerque has a much cooler downtown scene than Vegas, these days. Vegas is very much a tourist's town, so most of the entertainment is overblown and touristy.
posted by vorfeed at 2:06 PM on May 23, 2005

Yeah, from your description, it sounds like Austin might be a good fit. Lots of friendly people, live music, dancing, singles, pool, neighbourhood bars, plus not as many casino-types.
posted by fionab at 2:07 PM on May 23, 2005

Also if you are a law school graduate, and looking to pass the bar exam and practice law, take a look at the requirements for the bar in different states.
posted by matildaben at 2:11 PM on May 23, 2005

My wife is also from Henderson. She enjoyed growing up there. We live in Salt Lake and I'm not a big fan of Vegas. For me, the first morning I wake up hungover in Vegas, I'm ready to get out of town. It is wicked hot there most of the year so outdoor activities are next to impossible about 6 months out of the year.

I think most of the club scene in Vegas is dominated by tourists. The whole town is geared to tourism, so, it seems like locals seem mostly to hang out in smaller bars.

Basically, before you move there, I would go there for about a week and not set foot on the strip or in a casino. Because once you live there for a couple of months, that will be the last place you want to go. If you can find stuff to do besides the strip that you think will keep you interested, go for it. Another caveat. The housing market in LV is off the hook right now, so finding a cheap starter house to buy could be very challenging.
posted by trbrts at 2:34 PM on May 23, 2005

The weather is extreme, "arts and culture" very contrived and only surface-deep at best, and much of the non-strip city is either dangerous or gated. The nightlife is good if you're young and hot and into that kind of superficial one-night-stand kind of scene. It's a great place to work if you're in the service industry (bartender, stripper).

I'd say avoid it.
posted by maniactown at 8:42 PM on May 23, 2005

I've been here about a year, and I have to say it is not all that I had hoped it would be. If you don't like to gamble, then I would suggest a college town for the music or arts scene. I know several people that are trying to improve things out here, but a lot of people don't stay long enough to get involved, and most of it is pretty contrived, as maniactown mentioned. There is a lot of outdoors stuff to see in or around Las Vegas, but it does get very hot here in the summer time. The one really nice thing is you can drink whenever you want to.
posted by HSWilson at 12:16 AM on May 24, 2005

I faced the decision between moving to Reno vs Vegas three years ago and was glad that I chose the former. Reno is a medium size city with lots of good live music and is proximal to alot of great outdoor activity, including of course, Lake Tahoe.
posted by deepest at 7:28 AM on May 24, 2005

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