Las Vegas: A local’s FAQ

it's not California

This post is from my friend Marci from LVGurl. Thank you, Marci!

My husband and I moved to Las Vegas in January 2002. We fled the San Francisco Bay Area amid the “Dot Bomb” and all its layoffs. We obtained all the things we hoped for—an affordable house, a better cost of living, job opportunities, and ultimately a family.

Leaving California didn’t come without without strange looks, eye rolls, and thousands of questions from our friends and my husband’s family (my family was thrilled since they moved to Las Vegas when I was in college). “Are you nuts?” “Why would you ever want to leave California?” “UGH, gross. I hate Vegas.”

Over the years, Las Vegas has raised its profile and people are actually intrigued to hear more about it. Whereas it was an uncool move in the early 2000’s, living in Las Vegas now has certain cachet.

For those of you who are curious, here are a list of questions that I field on a regular basis along with my answers:

How do you live in a place that is always so hot?
If Vegas were always hot, nobody would live here. In fact, Vegas only reaches its scorching temps during June, July and August. The rest of the year it is mild. The weather isn’t any different than the Bay Area at that point. Well, except for the lack of clouds and rain. I really wish we had more cloudy days here.

Do you see a lot of shows?
We do, but not the kind you’re probably thinking of! We rarely see the big shows on The Strip, like Cirque du Soleil or magic shows. One of the greatest perks of living in Vegas is that nearly every major concert tour makes a stop here…sometimes for two nights. Collectively, we have seen U2, Smashing Pumpkins, The Rolling Stones, The Police, Tool, The Beastie Boys, Duran Duran, Morrissey, Audioslave, and Incubus, and we’ll see the Foo Fighters next month.

What do you do for fun? Do you go down to The Strip a lot?
We rarely venture down to the hot spots. We live 15 miles away, which is just far enough to feel like The Strip and all its debauchery doesn’t exist. When we first moved here, heck yeah we were down there all the time. But now we drive down there for cool dinners or to see a band play.

For fun, we exercise. A LOT. We also spend time with my family, with our friends here, and with friends when they swing into town. (There is always someone visiting Vegas!) There are some beautiful, amazing places that are close to our home: Red Rock Canyon, Mount Charleston, Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead.

Is it hard to be landlocked? Do you ever feel trapped in the middle of the desert?
The beauty of Vegas—for us—is its proximity to Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. We can hit the Southern California towns within a four- to five-hour drive or a 45-minute flight; San Francisco is a nine-hour drive, or a one-hour-and-15-minute flight. We make an effort to leave these parts whenever possible! We’ve also visited New Mexico, something we’d never have done if we were still in the Bay Area. The Las Vegas airport is really great, and with the tourist draw, we can fly all over the world from this airport. My husband flies to Europe on a semi-regular basis for work, and I joined him in Paris once.

How are the schools?
Meh, some are great, some aren’t. Like any large metropolitan city, Las Vegas schools range from excellent in the nice areas, to scary in the high-risk areas. Luckily, we are close to a great elementary school. I’m thrilled! I loved going to public school, and I’m glad my girls can do the same. Have you seen the price tag on private schools these days?

Will you ever move back to California?
If we had several million dollars…maybe. It would be great to raise our girls with the awesome, relaxed surroundings where we grew up. With all the naturally occurring vegetation, coastlines, universities, little towns…all that. But unless you’ve lived in California, you really have no idea how expensive it is…how difficult it can be to make a living. California is deep within us, and we *sorta* ache when we go back to visit. But we stay long enough, and we quickly realize how good we have it in fabulous Las Vegas.

If you would like to guest post on this website, please email me (SAJ). I have about four days open without posts before I start posting again on the 15th.

I miss you guys! I can’t wait to start blogging again!