My fiance has lived in Las Vegas for her entire existence (26 years), and I moved here just over 4 years ago from Savannah, GA.
Summerlin is a great community. Home prices are currently dropping in Vegas across the board, and Summerlin offers one of the cleanest, well-organized and well-planned communities in the nation. If owning a home, be prepared to pay a Master Plan fee and possibly additional assoc fees.
To be honest, there isn't much that I care for in Vegas.
Weather (strong point):
The weather is absolutely fantastic in the fall and spring, with a mild winter in between, but the summer can be brutally hot. Temperatures often exceed 115 degrees in July, and can reach over 170 inside a vehicle. The desert wind does not help the situation; instead of a cooling affect that you'll get in humid locations, the wind here during summer feels like a hair dryer. All in all, the great off-summer temperatures really offset the 3 or 4 months of summer heat.
Terrain (strong point):
Las Vegas sits in a flat basin that is surrounded mostly by small mountains. Vegas is only 45 minutes away from a larger mountain chain (Lee Canyon & Mt. Charleston) that receives snowfall in the winter months. A small ski resort Northwest of Vegas is typically open for at least 2 months during winter.
If you aren't a party animal like me, you'll probably find a lot of entertainment in the various rock canyons around Vegas. Red Rock Canyon & Valley of Fire are two of the more popular destinations, and the Colorado River is about an hour outside of Vegas. There are plenty of activities outside of the City to keep nature-lovers occupied.
City Travel (terrible):
The road system here is similar to a grid, and is quite easy to navigate, especially in the Summerlin (west) area. Prepare yourself for an endless amount of road construction on the freeways/highways/interstates that run through Vegas, though.
Las Vegas, like most large cities, has it's fair share of ruthless drivers. There are accidents daily, and driving-related fatalities are very common. Be prepared to see an ambulance everytime you travel via freeways.
Crime (weak point):
Crime, especially motor vehicle theft and robbery, is rampant here. The crime rate for Summerlin, however, is very good in comparison. Location is key in Vegas; if you can't afford to live in the areas that are away from the strip and center of town, you have a much higher chance to become a victim. I was unsuccessfully robbed at gunpoint at a drive-through ATM in my second year here. The nice area where my fiance grew up is now a dump, with dozens of murders in the area since 2000.
Drug use is also rampant here. Meth is currently a major epidemic.
Employment (borderline marginal/weak point):
They say there's a job for everyone in Vegas, and that may be true, but the job might not necessarily be the right one for you. It's easy to find a job in Health Care and construction-related positions, but everything else is fairly competitive. Wages in Vegas are average to maybe just below-average.
Cost of Living (weak point):
Gas prices are very high here, similar to prices in California. Currently, as of 5/15/07, premium is about 3.40/gal. The housing market is saturated with listings at the moment, and home prices are dropping. However, it is no longer an easy task to afford a home in Las Vegas, as there is still a "sell-high" mentality here.
There are no state taxes here, which is great, and sales tax is an average 7.5?r so. Property taxes are very cheap here as well.
Clark County has one of the worst public school systems in the nation. Location, once again, is key here. Generally, the further away you get from the center of town, the better the living conditions, hospitals & schools.
I would not recommend raising a family here. That's not to say your children will definitely turn out to be criminals, but there's simply better places in the US for education, crime ?drug use, property values, etc.
What I Like About Vegas:
Despite my negative opinion about Vegas, there really is something here for just about anyone. Restaurant and store diversity here is absolutely killer, and seemingly always close-by. The planned communities are beautiful and relatively safe. The casinos are exciting from time to time, wildlife is abundant, Lake Mead offers some limited enjoyment, and the ocean is only 4 hours away.
Feel free to ask me more specific questions. Hope this helps!
Answered By: Danny - 5/15/2007