One Year of Living in Las Vegas

It has been one year since we packed up the South Dakota house and moved to Las Vegas.  It has been quite an adjustment.  If we had moved from Atlanta to Las Vegas there would not have been the same shock.  Four and a half years in South Dakota made Las Vegas an interesting transition.  Here are the positives and the negatives:

The Positives:

  • I am a night person.  It is great to live somewhere that I can eat, play poker, get a beer, shop or really do anything at any hour of the day.  The 24 hour lifestyle is easily the best thing about Las Vegas.
  • There is no traffic here, especially for a city of its size.  Sure, if you drive down Las Vegas Blvd at night it sucks and there is some traffic in the I-15 corridor but for a city of its size there is little traffic.  The main roads are all six lanes and most of the traffic lights work efficiently.  Traffic tilts me bad.  After living in Atlanta for so long, and finally getting away, I never want to live somewhere with traffic like that again.
  • It is nice to be back living somewhere that has great food.  While it is not as good as I expected, it is far better than it was in South Dakota.  Unfortunately, I still have not found good Chinese or Thai food.
  • The winters here are a nice relief from South Dakota.  While I sometimes miss the snow, and miss driving the neighborhood snowplow, it is nice to not be snowed in several times a year.  It is also nice to not have it get any colder than about 20 degrees in the winter.  I will be happy if I never see -20 ever again.  I also like it being 60 in January and looking up and seeing snow on the mountains that surround the city.
  • It is nice to have friends and family visit.  Since Rapid City, SD only has five destinations by air, it was not easy for people to visit.  I have seen several friends I would have never seen without living in Las Vegas.
  • It is nice to have all of the parks in Summerlin.  Walking trails, playgrounds, sports fields, pools and much more are available in the parks.  It is nothing like being surrounded by the Black Hills National Forest like we were before, but the parks are still nice to have.
  • Believe it or not, the schools here are great.  I know that is not the case as you get closer towards the strip, but the schools in Summerlin have been excellent so far.  Our kids are happy and learning.
  • Outside of the extortionate car license tag taxes, there are virtually no taxes.  Property taxes are very low, there is no state income tax and no tax on groceries.  The tourism and gambling pays most of the taxes.
  • Las Vegas is an entertainment capital.  It is hard to not have something to do here.  If you are really bored, you can bet on a sporting event and have something to watch on TV.
  • It is extremely cheap to live in Las Vegas.  A positive of the bad economy is the competition among the businesses.  The bad economy also helped us buy a house for half of what it went for five years ago, and helped me get a steal of a deal on my office.
  • When I want to play a poker tournament it is nice to not have to plan ahead and waste money on travel expenses to play tournaments.  I can pick and choose what I want to play and when I want to play it.
  • My industry is essentially based in Las Vegas which is part of why we moved.  It is great for meeting people in the industry and the networking associated with that.
  • Everything is just minutes away.  You take that for granted until you live somewhere that the grocery store is 15 miles away.

The Negatives:

  • The summer was absolutely miserable.  At first it was not, but it seemed the more days that were over 100 the more I could not stand it.  I am not sure I can handle another 90 days of 100 degrees next summer.  The long summer is by far the worst thing about living here, and after living in the Black Hills where many summer days would not break 60 degrees it was a shocker.  I will need to go see my South Dakota friends during the peak of summer next year.
  • I was taken by surprise by a crime spree in our neighborhood.  On the day of online poker’s Black Friday there were five break ins in our neighborhood within 24 hours.  Overall though, we are in a low crime area.
  • After living somewhere that people were as friendly as could be and making friends easily, Las Vegas is the complete opposite.  People are nice, but a lot of it is fake.  This is a city to get lost in the shuffle, not make new friends.
  • The economy here is rough.  There are no jobs.  The number of people begging on off ramps seems to get worse and worse very day.  The city is starting to look a little run down due to the lack of new construction, lack of new cars on the roads, abandoned construction projects and the lack of money to remodel existing buildings.
  • The positive of the housing market helping us to get a great deal on our house has also worked against us as we have lost about 7% of the value of our house in a year.  That seems to be about on par with the rest of the country though.
  • California drivers!  When I see a California license plate I have to keep my eye on them, they make Atlanta drivers seem safe and courteous.
  • It is still hard to get used to living on .11 acres.  In South Dakota we had .79 acres.  It makes loud neighbors especially annoying.  There is no reason to have a big lot in Las Vegas though, what are you going to do with all of that rock and sand?
  • I hate the fake oasis in the desert.  Who had the brilliant idea that Las Vegas needed palm trees?  It is nice to go back to the Black Hills and see the natural beauty.

I miss the people in South Dakota a lot but overall I think this was a great decision to move.  Hopefully it stays that way and I can get my business off the ground.  I will always have South Dakota and Atlanta as places to vacation.  It is nice to get away from here from time to time.  It is funny to think that when I am on a plane headed to Las Vegas most of the plane is starting their vacation when mine is just ending.

If you have never seen the Ten Worst Things About Living in Las Vegas it is worth a read.  It is funny, and some of it is unfortunately true.

2 thoughts on “One Year of Living in Las Vegas

  1. You’re complaining about a 7% equity loss in your home, in Vegas? Next time your at a cash game mention that and see what kind of responses you get. You also didn’t mention something that is near the top of my list of good thing about Vegas; Allegiant Air. I have family in Rapid City and they have ridiculously cheap rates. I’ve been able to get a lot of tickets for $40 or less going each way. One time I was able to get in at $20 each way! Prices haven’t been that low for a while, but I don’t think I ever paid more than $60 each way. Of course if you don’t have any connection to the small towns that Allegiant flies to then it’s not much of a benefit.

    • The -7% is a negative but as I said, about on par with the country. Where I grew up in Atlanta that number is about -25% though. Where I lived here before, outside of Rapid City, SD it is up. If you lose money, even on paper, that is a negative, even if most other people are in the same boat.

      As for Allegiant, I use them to fly to Rapid City to go back and see old friends and I think it is a huge positive for the city. Dozens of small towns that would otherwise not have a direct flight to Las Vegas do. Their fares are a bit deceiving though. For example, they charge $15 a ticket to use their website and even more to call them. The only way to get the price they advertise is to drive to the airport. Also, the only Rapid City fares I have seen as cheap as you saw are wrapped around the rodeo in December. Unless you stayed in Rapid City for 2 weeks you would have to pay over $100 to come back. Right now the cheapest they get for a weekend visit is $59 each way before junk.

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