Las Vegas Local Life

10 Things I've Learned Living in Las Vegas For 18 Years

When you’ve lived in Las Vegas as long as I have, you realize the degree of change that’s happened on The Strip in the last 20 years isn’t exactly the norm for a major city. While I haven’t had too many people ask me if I live in a hotel or attend raves every weekend, people who don’t live here still have a particular idea of what it’s like to make Las Vegas home.

Since I’ve lived in Las Vegas for 18 years, I know this city from the perspective of both a child and an adult. I’ve also seen this city both pre- and post-recession, and here are some of the things I’ve learned living in this town.

Locals Don’t Visit The Strip Much

This is not a Las Vegas local / Shutterstock

It’s true, especially now that MGM properties charges for parking. We tend to avoid Las Vegas Boulevard, unless friends are in town or something free is happening.

Outside The Strip, Everything is NOT Open 24 Hours a Day

When venturing outside the strip, make sure to check business hours / Shutterstock

Most people identify Las Vegas as a 24-hour town, but if you live outside the city proper this isn’t true. In Henderson and Summerlin, restaurants and shopping malls close around 9 p.m. Just about the only thing you can do after 10 p.m. in Las Vegas is go to a nightclub or bar.

Downtown and the Arts District Are Local Hangouts

Mural in Downtown Vegas / Shutterstock

Although tourists do visit Downtown Las Vegas and the Arts District, these areas are the best local hangouts. In fact, there’s an entire community living and working downtown and identifying it as a lifestyle separate from living anywhere else in the Valley. Which brings me to my next point.

Las Vegas has a Small-Town Vibe

Check out the Fremont East District in Las Vegas / Shutterstock

Reno calls itself “the biggest little city in the world,” but this title should really belong to Las Vegas. For some reason or another, no matter how new the acquaintance, chances are you’ve already met them through social media or mutual friends. It’s said that everyone’s connected by six degrees of separation, but it really should be three in Las Vegas. This makes it possible to make close friends in Las Vegas, despite what people say.

You Might Not Know Your Neighbors Right Away

Make the first move and introduce yourself to your neighbors / homes in Clark County / Shutterstock

Las Vegas may have a small-town vibe, but this phenomenon doesn’t extend to your neighbors. Expect to live in one place for at least five years before your neighbors bother remembering your name.

Everyone Isn’t Moving All the Time

Despite popular belief, Las Vegas does actually have locals / Shutterstock

Although it may seem like no one stays in Las Vegas for more than six months or a year, plenty of locals are longtime residents here. 

Hospitality Isn’t the Only Industry in Town

Amazon Web Services at the NAB convention in Vegas / Shutterstock

The economy does revolve around the hospitality industry, but there are other jobs outside of industry life. Currently, tech and education are booming in Las Vegas.

You’ll Notice Creative Billboards for Lawyers

Vegas is fun and quirky billboards / Photo by Don't Dump Rabbits / CC0

From the commercials on TV to the billboards on the highway, lawyers are creative about advertising in Las Vegas. Some attorneys are so famous that their jingles are ubiquitous, at least in Las Vegas.

You’ll Notice a Certain Nude Billboard on The Strip

Vegas is also home to some not so family-friendly billboards / Photo by Herman Luyken / CC0

For some reason or another, the nudity industry in Las Vegas is too cheap to take a new photo of the scantily-clad women on their billboard. With hairstyles from the 1990s and poor photo quality, this billboard will not die. I would know; I’ve seen this billboard since I was about 10 years old. If you’re a local, you know exactly which billboard this is.

Henderson is Not the Only Suburb

The suburb of Dayton, Nevada

When you first see Las Vegas from an airplane window, it’s hard to miss the tract housing and planned areas of town. Yes, most of the houses around here tend to be stucco. Homeowners’ associations strictly enforce what color people can paint their homes, and desert landscaping is the new norm. But some master-planned communities like Anthem and Green Valley Ranch feel homey with plenty of recreational facilities, green spaces, and walking trails.


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