Don't get caught up in the hype or the pretty ligh
I moved to Las Vegas in October of 1997 from Florida and have hated every minute of it. I pretty much got stuck here after starting my own business getting married and having children. When I say stuck I really mean stuck. Barley made just enough to live on (most of the time) and could never save enough to move to a better place.
Las Vegas is one of the most over rated cities when it comes to living here. If you are not a gambler there is absolutely nothing to do especially if you have children. Everything on the strip is expensive, the shows, the decent restaurants, attractions all here for tourists and not something a local would even think of going to on a regular bases. $8 for a beer, $13 for a glass of wine, $18 for two margaritas, $25-$45 for a buffet per person. $70 for a ticket to see even the crappiest show on the strip and to see a decent one it will cost hundreds of dollars.
Away from the Las Vegas Strip you won't find much other than the normal stores and restaurants. There is really no culture here and finding a good restaurant that is not a national chain is impossible. They have tried to revamp the down town are and turn it into an art district but you risk your car, valuables you take with you and your life going down there. If you leave Fremont St. you will see quickly what I mean.
I see a lot of people talking about RedRock Canyon, Mt. Charleston, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead as things to do. First off during the summer the heat is just unbearable and you will spend most of your time inside and your kids will also. All of these places are great to visit one or two time but really there is nothing to do at them other than walk. Lake Mead is a swamp, dirty nasty and just disgusting. After you visit them all one or two times you will really not want to go back.
The health care system here is a disaster. My wife had to make an appointment for high blood pressure and the appointment was 3 months out. She went in and they said they needed to schedule her for some tests another 3 moths out. Then after that it was another appointment to get the results 3 moths out. She finally just bought a blood pressure tester and watched what she was eating and got it under control herself. Took my son to the eye doctor, showed up almost an hour early and 6 hours later he finally got to see the doctor. The eye doctor was suppose to be a specialist for a specific surgery he needed and when the doctor did finally look at my son he said "I guess we could do surgery on his eyes". Never went back, I ended up driving to Berkeley where the doctor scheduled the surgery the next week. Took my daughter to the doctor for a problem and the doctor came in for 30 seconds and said he was writing her a prescription and that was it, just left the room. I can tell you many nightmares about the health care system here but this would be a very long review at that point. To put it simple if you plan on living here, hope you don't ever have anything major wrong with you because this is the last place you want to be when you need real medical help. In the last 10 years no one in my family has receive good healthcare for anything we had to go to the doctor for.
The school systems are the worst. Not enough books to go around, the food is garbage, the classrooms are over crowded, fights. If you have kids and they have to go to the public schools here you will fear for their safety every day when they leave for school.
The weather temperature wise is okay most of the year. About a year after I moved here I started to miss the rain, thunderstorms, seeing lightening. I can count on my two hands the number of thunderstorms I have seen in almost 20 years here, they are that rare. Every time it rains (drizzles) here it is a big deal and I find myself going out and standing in it but unfortunately that is only during the colder seasons.
The housing here is just laughable but not really funny at all. Homes are build at so poor quality made of chicken wire and stucco. From the interstate when driving the housing developments look like graveyards with all the same tombstones. In most of the newer homes even ones that cost $200k+ the distance between them is less than 10 feet. The backyard is usually just a slab of cement with rocks and a couple of cactus. The homes are expensive here but the quality is just crap compared to a home half the price built in places like Florida and Georgia where I have lived before. I guess since there is no bad weather here they have very lax building codes and can get away with a wood 2 x 4 frame, chicken wire and stucco.
Las Vegas is a desert and eventually you get tired of seeing nothing but brown ugly desert and brown and yellow ugly home that all look alike. There is mountains in the distance but not very appealing. Went to Georgia for the first time in almost 18 years last summer and I realized I had forgotten how nice it was to see green landscapes, rolling heals, mountains, real trees, real solid built homes with real land around them. The air quality is bad here and if you leave the windows of your car or home cracked open for fresh air you will get a layer of dirt all over everything after about a day. During the summer if you wipe the sweat from your forehead you can feel the sand that has gathered on it.
Trafic is a nightmare here and the construction is never ending. The city never plans for road closures and will close lanes down on every road at the worst time leaving you no detour during rush hour. They are talking about bringing in a stadium which will bring in tens of thousands of people at the same time for sporting events. The city can't even handle the traffic it already has and if you consider they almost never finish construction on the roads as it is, it will be 20 years of construction and they will never solve the traffic problem.
Crime is much worse here than you will read about and what the staticts say. If you leave anything in your car in sight, your windows will be busted out. Your home will be broken into. My home in Las Vegas was broken into and I had to get a full security system installed but I still had to worry. If you don't have a security company that has their own responding armed agents the security system won't do you any good. The police will not even show up for an alarm unless there is a eye witness who actually sees someone breaking in and then it takes forever. The criminals know this and they break in ignore the alarms and snatching up what they can and get out. The police will take a report but never even follow up on trying to find the criminals who do it. I've had to resort to buying a large safe along with the alarm system and keeping anything of value in it looked up whenever we leave home. I moved to Henderson about a year ago which is suppose to be a better area. The day after we moved in I was unloading my car and forgot to lock it. The next morning I go out and my car had been rummaged through with the glove box contents all over the front seat. So much for living in a better area of Las Vegas.
I can go on and on but eventually no one will read past a certain point. All I can say is the quality of life living in Las Vegas if very poor. I feel so bad for my children who have had to grow up here compared to the quality of life I had growing up. I'm planning on moving us out in the next year before they grow up anymore and waist their entire childhood in this hell hole. Anyone who is planning on moving here thinking that it is a fun place to live with 24hour nightlife should think again. It will be a big waist of time and you run the risk of getting stuck here like I did, waisting the best years of your life, living a very poor quality of life.
This is not a rant but my honest opinion of what it's really like living here. Hopefully I have saved some of you from making the worst mistake of your life and changed your mind about moving here. If you truly care about the quality of your life than you will look somewhere else to live and put your roots down and save Las Vegas as a place to vacation at one day. Anyone looking for a place to blow your money and valuable years of your life away sitting at a table or machine where there is no windows than this is the city for you live.