I am going to start this discussion about the good, bad, and ugly aspects of living in Las Vegas by comparing certain features to Southern California.
Be sure to read the updates at the bottom.
In comparison to the Greater Los Angeles Area of Southern California, living in Las Vegas is like living in a small town. It’s like one of those small towns that are off by itself with miles of undeveloped natural terrain surrounding it.
I spent the majority of my life living in Southern California. It is the quintessential example of a megalopolis. There are 70 “principle” cities in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and dozens of smaller ones, that are all meshed together. In the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area, there are four (4) cities: Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, and Boulder City.
The Greater Los Angeles Area consists of five counties according to the US Census. They are Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County. As of 2005, the official estimate of the population of this five-county region was over 17.6 million.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Area consists of one county, Clark County. According to the US Census, the 2009 population estimate in this area was 1.9 million. The population increased by 38.3% between April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2009.
I live in Henderson, which is located southeast from the Strip. When I first moved to Las Vegas, I lived in Summerlin. It is on the west side of the valley near the mountains. It’s a huge master-planned community and is considered to be one of the premium neighborhoods in Las Vegas.
In comparison to Las Vegas, and even Summerlin, I have found that there is a greater sense of community in Henderson. Henderson has seven (7) recreation centers with meeting rooms, fitness equipment, pools, and more. There are 50 parks and 40 miles (and 50 more miles to be added in the future) of paved and unpaved trails (many through undeveloped natural areas) and bike paths. In the “Henderson Happenings” magazine there are usually about 100 pages listing every kind of class, workshop, and sport imaginable. The fees for these activities are very reasonable and a good number of them are free! And as with the rest of the Las Vegas Valley, there has been a large amount of new construction of homes, master-planned communities, business parks, and retail areas.
There are unique advantages to each of the new, nearly new, and established communities in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area. It all depends on your tastes.
Now let’s move on to my presentation on the good, bad, and ugly aspects of living in Las Vegas. I’ll start with the good.
The Good *****
Abundant Food, Drink, and Room Specials, & Giveaways
The hotel-casinos throughout Las Vegas continually offer a variety of food, drink, and room specials. They gear a considerable amount of their specials toward the local population. Those who don’t live in Las Vegas would not know about them unless a local friend or relative told them. Or they might learn about them during a visit here if they tuned in to a local radio or television station. A solid form of identification with your picture that proves local residency, like a driver’s license, is required to take advantage of these so-called “locals only” specials.
The hotel-casinos regularly offer gifts to locals with “players cards” who do a considerable amount of gambling on a regular basis. The gifts are often unique, seasonal, and they always have the hotel-casino’s name on them. A lot of the stuff is pretty cool and useful. But going out in public with a shirt, jacket, or hat with the hotel-casino’s name on it is not cool, in my opinion. It seems like only the newcomers and older senior men do that.
The best deals for food, drink, and room specials are NOT on the Strip. The best deals are at the hotel-casinos that are located far away from the Strip and closer to residential neighborhoods. These are known as neighborhood hotel-casinos. And they cater heavy to the local population. Here are some examples.
It is a well-known tradition that casinos will give you free drinks if you are gambling. On the Strip, you must put at least $20 in your slot machine and play at the maximum level before they will comp you a drink. And if you don’t remain active they won’t give you additional free drinks. In neighborhood hotel-casinos, there are usually no minimums in the amount or level you must play before they will offer you a free drink. I have seen exceptions at premium hotel-casinos that happened to be located in residential neighborhoods like the Red Rock Hotel & Casino. But they still are not as vigilant in enforcing this policy as casinos on the Strip.
Here’s one more simple example that exemplifies the difference. If you ask for a bottle of water at a Strip hotel-casino bar, they are going to charge you 3-5 dollars. At a neighborhood hotel-casino bar, they are going to charge you 1-2 dollars or give it to you free.
Abundant Top Entertainment
Top performers from almost every genre of music, comedy, and more do shows in Las Vegas. To get the best seats and prices for these shows, you need to get your tickets as much in advance as possible.
What’s great about seeing your favorite performer or group in Las Vegas, is that the venues are smaller and more intimate than what you might find in other cities. Tickets for shows at hotel-casinos on the Strip can be pricey, however.
Older performers like classic rock groups usually play at neighborhood hotel-casinos far away from the Strip. Their shows take place in small to medium size showrooms. Ticket prices for these shows are inexpensive. Many of these groups will give you the opportunity to meet them after the show.
Abundant Excellent Restaurants
Some of the best chefs and restaurants in the world are located in Las Vegas. Some of the restaurants are the same ones you have seen or been to in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and other major cities.
Most of them are inside the major hotel-casinos on the Strip. I have found many outstanding restaurants at the nicer neighborhood hotel-casinos however.
There is also an abundance of superior standalone restaurants in the upscale neighborhoods throughout the valley.
So if you’re into fine dining, Las Vegas definitely has a huge menu of restaurants to choose from.
Abundant Excellent Hotel-Casinos
There are about 35 five and four-star hotels in the Las Vegas area. These numbers change as new hotels open and as rating evaluations occur.
I’ve stayed in some of the nicest hotels in the United States and abroad, and I have to admit that the hotels here are impressive. The architecture and design are very creative and stunning. There is a copious use of marble, art, sculptures, and water features at many hotels. The elegant amenities and spectacular pools and spas cannot be found in this abundance anywhere in the world, as far as I know.
As a local, there’s no need to fly or drive for five hours to enjoy a vacation at a fine resort hotel. There are enough choices here to last you 25 years! And once you reach the 25th year, there will likely be more new hotels to choose from.
Abundant New Master Planned Communities
During most of 2000-2007, Las Vegas was the fastest growing region in the United States. This created the need for new housing, which led to a construction boom. The result is a large number of new and nearly new master-planned communities.
All the master-planned communities that I’ve seen are beautifully landscaped and full of amenities like parks, community centers, and retail areas.
According to my online research, there 36 new, nearly new, and established master-planned communities in the Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson areas.
Abundant New Schools, Parks, Recreation Centers, & Libraries
With the explosion of new master-planned communities, came a plethora of new schools, parks, recreation centers, and libraries. To my knowledge, Henderson has the most recreation centers with seven (7).
There are parks of many different sizes. There are tiny parks in many of the individual builder housing tracks. There are medium size parks with a few select amenities. And there are large regional parks that have fields and courts for all the popular sports. Some of them have pools and fenced dog areas as well.
Many State & National Parks Nearby
There are adjoining state and national parks in the Red Rock Canyon and Spring Mountain areas. They are located just 30 minutes from downtown Las Vegas. From Summerlin, you can be inside the border of these parks within a few minutes.
In addition, there is many more state and national parks within a one to two-hour drive.
Miles of New & Attractive Freeways
With the rapid increase in population and the growing number of residential communities, new roads, bridges, and freeways were needed. So there are miles of new freeways, freeway expansions, and new bridges.
The new freeways, and particularly the bridges and the on/off ramps, are attractive, well lit, and efficient.
Moderate Traffic Most of the Time
I have never been in a prolonged traffic jam except during rush hour near downtown Las Vegas or on the Strip on a weekend.
Most of my drives around town have been rather pleasant. Coming from Southern California, this is a HUGE improvement.
I have to hand it to the city planners in the good job that they have done in this area.
Good Weather – Most of the Time
The climate in Las Vegas is a subtropical arid climate. There are about 300 sunny days a year and 4.2 inches of rain, which on average occurs on 29 days per year.
The summer months are very hot and mostly dry with average daytime highs of 94 to 104 °F (34 to 40 °C). However, the humidity is very low and often under 10%.
The winters in Las Vegas are short and generally mild, with daytime highs near 60 °F (16 °C) and nighttime lows around 40 °F (4 °C). The surrounding mountains get snow during the winter but it’s rare in the Las Vegas Valley itself.
In 2008, we got several inches of snow on Christmas night and on and off for several days after that. The snow melted away quickly and it did not cause any significant problems on the roads. For a person who has lived a few blocks from the beach in California and Hawaii most of his life, the snow was exciting and beautiful!
When I first moved to Las Vegas, I hated the hot summers. People would often say to me, “You’ll get used to it.” Or “It’s a dry heat, so it doesn’t feel as hot.” Initially, I just blew them off thinking they were just trying to make themselves feel better about moving here. After about a year or so, I came to realize that they were right.
You do get used to it. Your body does adjust to the heat. You do adjust your schedule to where you do your shopping and other activities in the early morning. And heat with low humidity is not nearly as repressive as heat with high humidity. Amazingly, the low humidity also makes the lower winter temperatures feel less cold.
Las Vegas does feel cooler and more comfortable than areas I’ve lived in like Waikiki and Kihei (Maui) in Hawaii where the humidity is high. And the most pleasing difference is that you do not sweat!
In addition, I discovered a number of benefits that were also mentioned to me, but I chose to ignore them as bogus. During the hottest times of the summer, it is great to be able to go outside at any time during the night or early morning with just short pants and a tank top and be very comfortable. The most pleasurable benefit is the ability to go swimming in the pool during the day, night, or early morning and not feel cold when you get in or out of the water.
This led me to start doing laps in the community pool where I live at 4:00 am. I start with a few minutes in the hot tub. Then I do 40 laps in the pool. And I finish with a meditative session in the hot tub as the sun begins to rise. The peacefulness, the invigoration from the swim, and the beauty of the sunrise make for an inspiring experience.
Outstanding Home Purchasing Opportunities
Due to the high unemployment and home foreclosure rates of 2008-2010 the opportunities for buying new and pre-owned homes has never been better.
High unemployment and home foreclose rates have driven prices down dramatically. The nice neighborhoods and master-planned communities stay well maintained, but they contain hundreds of vacant homes. This presents a tremendous opportunity to get a terrific buy on a nice home in a quality neighborhood at an incredibly low price comparatively.
For example, you can get a three bedroom two bath new or nearly new single-family home in a nice neighborhood for one-quarter to one half LESS than what you’d pay for an older home in an older neighborhood in Southern California.
Outstanding Opportunities for New & Relocating Companies
The economic crisis has been especially hard on the hotel and gaming industry in Las Vegas. This has led to massive layoffs. The situation was made worst when new mega hotel-casino projects like City Center reached completion right at the height of the economic downturn.
These economic challenges have led government representatives to realize that the region can no longer rely solely on the gaming, hotel, and convention industries for economic stability. This startling realization has motivated government officials to seek out ways to build infrastructure and create incentives to attract companies to the area. I would imagine that they would be eager to make special deals with companies of significant size especially if they would create jobs for locals by coming here. Large companies could probably write their own contracts.
Most of what is needed for company relocation is already here. There is plenty of housing available and countless vacate buildings in business parks. In addition, Nevada has no corporate income tax, no state income taxes, and no personal income taxes. It is also one of the least expensive states to form and maintain a corporation.
The bottom-line is that Las Vegas is an outstanding opportunity for companies who are considering relocation to reduce costs and/or provide a higher standard of living for owners, management, and employees.
The traditions of the Las Vegas gaming industry have led many retail businesses to stay open 24 hours a day. This practice has extended to all areas of the region beyond the Strip. It’s not uncommon to find many restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, and large department stores like Super Walmart open 24-7.
This provides great flexibility and convenience. And it you’re in your 20’s and 30’s it provides the conditions for a lot of all-night adventures.
Population US Origin Diversity & Enthusiasm
During the population and building boom of 2000-2007, people came here from all over the United States. Although a large portion of new residents came from California, a significant number came from New York in particular but also from many other eastern and Midwestern states. Because of this influx, Las Vegas has become a kind of melting pot within a melting pot.
What is unique about the creation of Las Vegas’ melting pot is that most of the people who moved here were not coming from other countries around the world but from within the United States itself. So there are no huge cultural differences that separate, isolate, or pigeonhole people. The result is that everyone easily gets along and shares a common enthusiasm about starting a new life. And they do these things on a massive scale due to the massive number of people who moved here. You do not ever get any negative vibes related to being the new person or family in town because there are such a large number of people who recently moved here. It’s really quite refreshing and inspiring.
I’ll never forget the first time I went to a Walmart. The Walmart greeter at the entrance looked at me with the most genuine and contagious smile that I’d ever seen one of these employees express as he welcomed me into the store. I stopped and asked him for the location of a particular item and he enthusiastically gave me directions. He was a tall older man in his 70’s and I could tell from his accent that he was definitely from the New York City area. From the way he carried himself, you might think that he had once been the mayor of New York City. He was a delight!
The Bad ****
High Home Foreclosure Rates
Las Vegas currently (’07-’10) has the highest home foreclosure rate in the United States. This was not only brought on by the national and worldwide economic downturn but also by the massive new home construction and population boom. Risky mortgages also played a central role but that was a recurring factor across the US.
As I mentioned earlier, the enormous number of foreclosures has created conditions that are ideal for home buyers and investors. That’s the silver lining in this bad situation.
Las Vegas currently (’09-’10) has the highest unemployment rate in the United States as well. The lion’s share of these unemployment figures comes from the hotel and gaming industry. And a large portion of those numbers is made up of low wage unskilled workers.
There are also thousands of skilled professionals who are looking for work because they were laid off or they recently moved to Las Vegas from another state or country. For companies looking at relocating to Las Vegas, there would be no shortage of workers of any skill level.
Due to the lack of jobs, more people are currently (’09-’10) moving out of Las Vegas than are moving in and this trend is growing. The good news is that when the economy turns around, and it will, there will be a bountiful number of jobs for those who stick it out. A positive turnaround in Las Vegas is certain if you consider the amount of money that has been invested by the government, individuals, and groups from around the world.
Poor School System
Compared to other school districts nationally, the Clark County School District ranks near the bottom, as I recall. Two factors caused this as I see it.
1. The city’s original foundation was not built on creating an infrastructure geared toward strong family life and higher education. It was built to support a gaming and hotel industry. Sin City wasn’t built for children.
2. There is a large immigrant population that was brought in to fill the 10’s of thousands of low wage unskilled labor positions at the hotels and casinos. They, along with their children, often do not speak fluent English, if at all. In addition, the educational progress that the children brought with them from their native countries is often well below U.S. standards. These two issues put the children of these immigrants at a significant disadvantage. It also creates a huge challenge for the school district and local students who must share classes with kids who are behind them academically and have limited or zero English-speaking skills. This creates conditions that put strains on the local and immigrant students and the school district that can carry throughout their public school education.
The new, nearly new, and upscale neighbors are in a different situation. They have many new schools that are not faced with the same conditions as described above. Being new or well-funded, they are well equipped and well staffed. There are also a relatively high number of private schools available in these areas.
Economics, focus, opportunity, and language barriers and NOT ethnicity cause the sharp differences among schools within the district.
Government and school district officials are making serious efforts to make improvements. Recently they hired (11/10) a new superintendent after an exhaustive search. So I expect things to improve at a rapid pace especially as the economy gets better.
Heavy Saturation of Slot Machines & Bars
There are slot machines, video poker machines, slots — or whatever you want to call them — everywhere! According to the Avant Guide Institute, there are 197,144 slot machines in Las Vegas.
You’ll, of course, find thousands of square feet devoted to slot machines in the casinos. But you will also find them in every grocery, drug, and convenience store. I’m sure there are many other locations that I didn’t notice simply because they are so prevalent.
There are typically at least four or more bars in each hotel-casino. In the mega hotel-casinos, there can be as many as a dozen or more.
There is also an abundance of independent bars, with slots of course, and small neighborhood casinos through the valley.
The casino noise created my slot machines and recorded music is exciting when you first come to Las Vegas. But when you live here, it becomes a serious irritate because you can’t get away from it.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of great food deals in Las Vegas. Most of them are offered in the hotel-casino cafés (coffee shops) and buffets. These restaurants are usually next to the casino where all the slot machines are located. So as you are trying to enjoy a meal and have a conversation, you’ll have to contend with the slot machine noise and the loud recorded music that is always playing in every area of the casino. The music is often classic rock, which I like, but not during a meal with friends.
Cigarette & Cigar Smoke
Where there is gambling, there are always a high number of smokers. And the smoke often finds its way into nearby restaurants where you may be trying to enjoy a meal.
The nice restaurants are usually far enough away and designed in a way where smoke from the casino doesn’t infiltrate their space.
When you are walking through a casino, it’s impossible not to notice and often be physically affected by all the cigarette and cigar smoke. The newer casinos have done a better job of reducing the amount of secondhand smoke by installing more advanced ventilation systems.
Limited Cultural Infrastructure
Being that Las Vegas was built on the gaming and hotel industries, there wasn’t much emphasis placed on investing in cultural facilities like museums, concert halls, symphony orchestras, art exhibits, and the like. That has since changed quite a bit but it will take many years to catch up with what you’d expect to find in most major cities.
The Henderson Symphony Orchestra started in 1987 and the Las Vegas Philharmonic launched in 1998.
Some areas included these features as part of their plan during the building boom (2000-2007). For example, Henderson has two (2) amphitheaters that offer a variety of cultural arts entertainment. The Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, which opened in 2007, includes desert botanical gardens, museum galleries, and indoor and outdoor theaters.
Update: 3-10-12 – The Smith Center for the Performing Arts opened today. The Smith Center is a world-class state-of-art facility. It’s a game changer for Las Vegas and it raises its cultural infrastructure by leaps and bounds. It is located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas’ new urban development Symphony Park.
Hot Weather during Peak Summer
For those who haven’t gotten used to hot dry temperatures of 94 to 104 °F, and to sometimes near or over 110 °F, the heat can be hard to handle.
Even with an extremely difficult convert like me, once it goes over 110 °F, which it rarely does, it’s quite a challenge for me to deal with it if I have business to attend to outdoors. But in the late evening and early morning, as I described earlier, the warm outside temperatures can be delightful. This is especially true when it has been really hot the day before.
Location of Movie Theaters
Almost all the nice multi-screen movie theaters are strategically located inside of neighbor hotel-casinos. Although these facilities are often very nice and conveniently located next to food courts, you are forced to walk through the casino to get there. If you have children with you, a casino with all its noise and smoke is not an ideal environment for them.
The Ugly ***
High Crime Rate
According to a November 22, 2010, Las Vegas Sun (newspaper) report about a study conducted by the CQ Press, Las Vegas is nation’s 76th most dangerous city out of 400 U.S. cities with a population of at least 75,000. The good news is that this is down nine spots from last year.
These statistics explain why Las Vegas has such a Wild West feel to it. You don’t hear much about violent crimes in the nicer areas, but you still know that it’s out there in rough neighborhoods closer to the Strip.
Dangerous crime is very low in the nicer, newer, and more upscale neighborhoods and master-planned communities. Even so, these areas have been plagued with a relatively high number of home break-ins and burglaries. I am not aware of any home invasion burglaries in these neighborhoods. Break-ins usually occur when no one is at home and in vacant homes, which are prevalent due to the high foreclosure rates.
The sheriff and police departments seem to be taking aggressive actions to change things. Recently they arrested a group of people who they believe were responsible for a large portion of the break-ins and burglaries in the nicer neighborhoods. There has also been a very visible ongoing campaign to recruit, hire, and train new officers.
Part of the problem, as I see it, is caused by two factors. 1. They failed to add enough new officers and infrastructure to match the rate of population growth. 2. The economic downturn of 2008-2010 and the resulting high unemployment rate has driven crime rates up!
I have to admit that I like the Wild West feel to this town. It adds a bit of hot spicy seasoning to the mix. It reminds me of what an old western town may have been like just prior to it becoming fully tamed and civilized.
Poor Social Statistical Indicators
As might be expected, Las Vegas has high rates of alcohol, drug, & gambling abuse and addiction. And it is no surprise that it also has high rates of divorce and suicide.
I run across these statistics on the news feed at Yahoo.com that I occasionally scan. Unfortunately, Las Vegas is often at or near the top or the bottom, depending on which is worst, in these categories.
Again, I believe these circumstances are concentrated mostly in the older, poorer, and rougher neighborhoods where people are often suffering the most.
The Strip’s Artificial and Circus-like Atmosphere
As I described in the first section, there are many magnificent hotels on the Strip. Unfortunately, in my opinion, their propensity toward trying to imitate famous cities, landmarks, movie themes, and even trees, shrubs, flowers, and grass detracts from the beauty they hold in their own right.
When I walk inside a beautiful hotel-casino and I am greeted by a garden of palm trees, shrubs, and flowers, I am delighted. When I discover, after close examination, that a good number of them are fake or freeze-dried, I feel disappointed and somewhat deceived.
There are flashing billboards and signs full of lights “everywhere” that contribute to the circus-like atmosphere. When you see these lights for the first time, it’s very exciting! But after you’ve seen them a dozen times and then spent an hour on the Strip seeing them again, the flashing lights begin to wear on your visual senses.
Then there are the street callers (town criers). Human billboards as I like to call them. Smaller casinos and other business venues whose entrances are right on sidewalk often have provocatively dressed women, and men, who call out to the multitudes of people walking by with food, drink, gambling, or souvenir special offers. There are also occasions when I’ve seen men wearing one of those ridiculous looking sandwich billboards. I can’t think of a more humiliating job.
The worst ones are the lines of people who pass out leaflets. The leaflets are typically for escort services, massages, strip clubs, and other sleazy offers. They work in groups of 3 to 8 and stand near each other in a line along the sidewalk. As you walk by, each of them tries to get you to take one of their leaflets. If you firmly show through your body language that you are NOT interested, they will usually give up and leave you alone. Being verbally abusive to them only adds to an already unpleasant situation, and it’s classless.
Many casinos and other businesses blast music on to the sidewalk to attract attention and draw customers in. In areas where they are concentrated together, the music can be very annoying.
If you put all these factors together, you end up with a make-believe circus-like atmosphere. It reminds of being at a traveling carnival event. As you might expect, I rarely go to Strip, which is true for many locals.
Poor Reputation and Image
With a nickname like Sin City, it’s no wonder that Las Vegas has the reputation and image that it does. Its early mafia connection doesn’t help either. Add to those well-known things like strip clubs, hookers, free-flowing alcohol, and gambling 24/7, and you’re faced with a huge challenge to change its image into something more respectable. This hasn’t stopped hotel-casino owners and government officials from trying to change the reputation and image of Las Vegas to attract more visitors including guests with children in tow and young adults.
They have done this by building theme-based hotel-casinos that appeal to a broader audience. They have also added features and amenities that are enticing to young adults and children of their guests.
In the early 1980’s, I was not aware of any nightclubs with dancing at the major hotels or anywhere else on or near the Strip. In those days, I was flying to Las Vegas, Reno, and South Lake Tahoe on business every month. And I was at an age where I was very interested in nightclubbing. So I knew what was going on. I remember being amazed when I was told that there were no nightclubs. Today there are one or more state-of-the-art nightclubs in the major hotel-casinos. There are also events like “Rehab” at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino pool on Sundays during the day!
Even with these changes and improvements, Las Vegas still has a way to go to eliminate the stigmas of the past. I don’t think its Sin City image will ever be completely erased, but I think it has a good shot at transforming its reputation. And Las Vegas has already made huge strides in this regard.
Abundant Litter in Certain Areas
Walk or drive just a half a block away from the Strip and you’ll often find a hideous amount of litter along the street and sidewalks in some areas. I would imagine that the massive crowds on the Strip who are dropping empty food and drink containers and unwanted leaflets, promotional cards, fliers, and tourist booklets create a lot of this litter. The fact that the Las Vegas Valley gets a lot of high winds also contributes significantly to this problem.
What I can’t figure out is why the city, hotels, and businesses don’t do a better job in maintaining these areas. Especially since these litter filled areas are so close to their billion-dollar money machine, the Strip.
Abundant Lost Souls
Las Vegas tends to attract a lot of people who are down on their luck and looking for a quick way to turn things around. Many of these people are simply lost souls who come to Las Vegas to place their last bet on life, so to speak. These people are the ones who end up living in the seedy parts of town. Some of them end up homeless and on the streets.
On this topic, I am not talking about the tens of thousands of people who move here to buy or rent a home, find a job, start a business, relocate a company, or retire. These people, for the most part, come with the resources (financial and/or emotional), and outlook to create a better life for themselves. These people typically end up in the nicer neighborhoods.
Most people who live in Las Vegas rarely if ever encounter these lost souls, but if you do, it’s hard not to feel compassion for them.
When you live in Las Vegas, the possibility of seeing these kind people comes with the territory. The reaction that you are left with if you see one of them gives you a powerful jolt of gratitude, however.
You probably noticed that there was a lot more good than bad and ugly issues that I presented. When I started writing this article, I had no idea that it would come out so lopsided. I knew that I had come to appreciate many aspects of living in Las Vegas, but I wasn’t sure how many I’d identify or how I’d deal with the bad and ugly parts. I guess I can say that Las Vegas and now Henderson, has become my home.
When you live in Las Vegas, the amount of good, bad, ugly aspects depends on the way you look at things. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
12-15-11 – Forbes.com (Forbes magazine) ranked Henderson second on their list of America’s safest cities. This was despite the fact that Las Vegas ranked 9th a few months earlier (10-03-11) on their list of American’s most dangerous cities.
Tamara Madensen, a criminology professor at the University of Nevada, provides several possible explanations in the article. Here’s one of them. She says, “The number of people who visit the Strip and downtown Las Vegas each year,” over 35 million, “make it difficult to estimate the real ‘risk’ of crime for individuals living in Las Vegas. Tourist numbers are rarely factored into risk analyses.”
Due to an opportunity working out to have a brand new home in exactly the location I wanted, I moved back to Summerlin after living in Henderson for about four years. Although I enjoyed my time in Henderson, I’m pleased to be back in Summerlin.
Unlike Henderson, Summerlin has beautiful (west) views of the Spring Mountains, 10-15 minute drive to Federal and State parks, and it has a much more prestigious feel. Although Summerlin does not have the sense of community that Henderson does, it now has a new (Oct 2014) shopping, dining, entertainment, and business district called “Downtown Summerlin” (215 & Sahara) that certainly contributes to that feeling.
I have a personal prediction regarding Summerlin that I’ve never read or heard in the news. I believe it will break away from Las Vegas someday and become a city of its own.
One other thing I should mention at this point. I’ve come to love the Las Vegas Valley and Nevada. For a number of reasons, I don’t see myself moving back to Southern California. 🙂