What’s It Like Actually Living in Las Vegas?



Why I Bet on the “House Odds”

The lux life of a Las Vegas local….

I’ve lived in Dallas, Texas. Passau, West Germany. New York City. New Haven, Connecticut. Chicago, Illinois. But “my soul place” is Las Vegas, Nevada. Let me count the ways….

Millions of tourists have to board a plane to enjoy the Las Vegas Strip. But I only have to drive 15 minutes. But the Strip is just one entertainment venue among many here in the valley. Every neighborhood has at least two casinos nearby. They are the nexus for casual dining, fine dining, lavish buffets, night clubs, bars, showrooms, event centers, bowling alleys, movie theaters, shopping, and oh, did I include gaming?

The problem in Las Vegas is not that there is nothing to do. It’s there is too much to do. Deciding can be daunting.

I once had an Arbitron-rated restaurant radio show; I was known as “the Eater Extraordinaire.” Las Vegas is a great town for foodies. Alright, I do miss authentic Tex-Mex and my beloved sour cream chicken enchiladas. But there is nothing else you can’t find here. The casinos on the Strip have restaurants owned by renowned world-famous chefs. (The Atelier du Joel Rubuchon is my all-time fav.) But local dives have amazing food too. And no one does buffets better than Las Vegas. (If you can only do one, make it the Bellagio.)

The same goes for shopping. You can buy a $27,00 Birkin bag at Hermes or get a discounted Dooney bag at one of two outlet malls.

Like music? Every casino has a concert venue. You can see your favorites up close and personal.  Ditto for comedy clubs. And we have eight Cirque du Soleil shows. Plus plenty of adult entertainment under the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” banner.

When it’s not 115 degrees outside (which does happen in July and August), this is a great community to be outdoors. Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon National Parks are spectacular places to hike. The desert is achingly beautiful in a strange way. The slot canyons are breathtaking! Lake Mead and Lake Powell are wonderful boating sites. The Colorado River is great for white water rafting and swimming.

The valley has really nice parks. Every neighborhood has a dog park, which is also a locus of fun activities for canine companions. (Plus the dogs only need a rabies shot every three years and there are very few ticks in a desert.)

After living in much bigger cities, Las Vegas is really a homey small town. You can really drive from one end to the other in 45 minutes if there is no traffic.

And we have a great airport. McCarran has free wifi at all the gates. This becomes a big deal when your plane has an unexpected three-hour delay.

Here’s my favorite reason for living in Vegas: No matter when on the planet I lived, no one came to visit me. Now, people show up unannounced! It’s the best place to stay connected, especially if you have grown children who live elsewhere.

This is also a great place to grow old. The dry weather helps people with arthritis and asthma. There are plenty of social services in place; Las Vegas cherishes its seniors. Many houses have casitas so the family elders can have their own space under the same roof as their children.

What about the houses?

While there are condominiums, high-rise apartments and townhomes, the majority of the populace buys traditional single-family detached homes. These typically are stucco homes with tile roofs, cinder block or iron-railing fencing and surprisingly colorful desert landscaping. No one really wants to mow their lawn (or pay for the water to keep it green) during the dog days of summer. Fruit trees do really well here. Really! The generally pleasant weather allows for a lot of backyard barbecuing and swimming (you can use your pool at least seven eight months a year unheated.)

With the current market, homes are back to their 1995 prices; some are below replacement value. Below replacement value!!!!! It’s like you are paying for the lot and three bedrooms, but the rest of the house is free. Of course, this will change soon enough.

I moved to Las Vegas in 1996 to invest in real estate.My big mistake: Not getting here earlier!

The bottom line is this is a valley surrounded by mountains on all four sides. It will literally take an act of Congress to build on the mountainsides because the Bureau of Land Management owns the land. Some day there will be no more land on which to build, like in Manhattan. So prices have to go up then given the inexorable laws of supply and demand. You just have to be patient….

If I knew when that would happen, I wouldn’t be trying to sell you real estate today. (Look for me on a beach in Aruba.) But it will happen. And this is a really fun place to wait it out.



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