Every city has its oddball quirks and its unique cast of characters that make it what it is. But Las Vegas, with its 15,000 miles of neon lights and 40 million annual visitors, is a beast like none other. Imagine every good (and bad) night you’ve ever had in Vegas and then remember: People actually live here. This is what life is like as a Las Vegas local.
1. Your barometer of “normal” shifts dramatically and very quickly.
Things that would be appalling to see in any other city are just another Tuesday night in Vegas.
2. People who live in Vegas never go to the Strip.
It’s the equivalent of a New Yorker going to Times Square. It’s that bad. You do it because you have a friend in town who just haaaaaaaaaaaas to see it, and it’s the worst, because it’s always the worst, and you look forward to another six months passing before the next time you have to do it. (Exception: the 300,000+ people who work at/with/for a casino. See below.)
3. Las Vegas is a 24-hour town.
Just not the Strip. If you ever walked a casino floor around 4 a.m., it’s a pretty desolate scene. But once you get off the Strip, everything is 24 hours! We have 24-hour taquerias, ramen shops, bars, grocery stores, athletic clubs, pharmacies, gaming restaurants, Starbucks, smoothie shops. Do you really need a smoothie at 4 a.m.? Probably not, but the point is you can get one. Freedom!
4. You are the official ambassador to everyone else’s good time.
Which is fun. At first. But as the days and weeks and months wear on, you start to feel like, “Yo! I live here. I have a job here. On weekends, I just want to relax.” “Relaxing” is not following around a pack of “friends” I have only ever hung out with IRL once before, facilitating their bender and spending Friday and Saturday night out past sunrise, and sleeping off a hangover until Monday morning when you all go home and I have to go back to work. Glad you’re here, hope you have a swell time, I’ll be sure to “like” your Vegas pictures on Instagram, but let’s just leave it at that.
5. Every person you have ever known, met once at a party, crossed paths with through three degrees of separation, briefly interacted with on social media, or sort of maybe recognize the name of knows you live here and will hit you up to hang out. They’ll also want to get access to whatever free hookups you might have, because everyone in Vegas has access to free hookups to something.
6. Everyone here works at/with/for a casino.
Oh, not everyone. There are roughly 2 million people in the Las Vegas Valley, but more than 300,000 of those people work in the hospitality industry: They are your chefs, servers, bartenders, club hosts, hotel managers, blackjack dealers, housekeepers, valets, performers, etc. Of the remaining employable adults in the Las Vegas Valley, a sizable chunk of them work in hospitality support services (construction, health care), and the rest work for Zappos.
7. It’s hot in the summer.
You don’t even know. You can’t even comprehend heat like this. Items left in your car will actually melt.
8. But it’s lovely in the winter.
What’s that? Another 4 feet of snow and highs in the negatives? That’s a bummer. I’m at the pool.
9. There is a surprising amount of ethnic diversity.
Las Vegas is basically a suburb of California, and as such, we have large ethnic Latino and Asian populations. Which means more 24-hour taquerias and ramen shops, which is awesome.
10. Vegas is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
There are 52 peaks surrounding the Las Vegas Valley, none more than an hour away, and people climb all of them. There is also mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, skiing, horseback riding. Skip the Strip and explore the outdoors!