living in las vegas
Now that you’re calling Las Vegas home, there are a number of things about life in Southern Nevada you’ll want to know more about. This section is devoted to turning you into a true “local” with information on desert living and government and community resources. We’ll also provide an insider’s look at the dynamics that create a unique and fulfilling quality of life for valley residents.
it’s a “dry heat”
The Las Vegas Valley is comprised of nearly 600 square miles. While a dry heat dominates between April and August, spring and winter seasons are typically mild and pleasant. Desert winds are sometimes prevalent and summer temperatures can reach as high as 120 degrees, but there is very little humidity. This ideal climate promotes plenty of outdoor activities ranging from golf and tennis to skiing, swimming, hiking and boating.
caring for pets in the desert
Pets need special care when adapting to and living in a desert climate. Limit the amount of time your animals spend outside during the hottest parts of day and always provide plenty of fresh water and shade. Remember your pets’ sensitive foot pads, which can easily burn on hot concrete or dirt during the hottest times of day.
Licenses are required for all dogs and cats in Clark County. Residents are limited to three adult dogs and three adult cats per household. You may have up to six dogs and cats if you obtain a special pet fancier’s license.
Both dogs and cats must be restrained by a leash. All dogs and cats must have rabies shots every two years.
culture & quality
A city with an increasingly diverse and unique quality of life, Las Vegas continues to evolve with fresh new cultural offerings that appeal to a wide range of tastes and budgets.
Las Vegas is home to 29 exceptional performing arts venues ranging from extravagant world-class performance halls to intimate community cultural arts centers.
nevada ballet theater
The internationally-recognized Nevada Ballet Theater hosts performers from across the globe in a variety of contemporary and modern performances. The theater is also home to The Academy, a comprehensive dance education institute. Call 702.243.2623.
las vegas philharmonic
The largest arts organization in the state, the Las Vegas Philharmonic presents its Masterworks and Pop Series at different venues across the valley. The company will soon make its new home at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, set to open in 2012. Call 702.258.5438.
the smith center
Designed as a world-class performing arts center and cultural complex, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts will celebrate artistic excellence, education and culture from around the world when it opens in 2012. Call 702.982.7805.
spring mountain ranch state park
Enjoy an evening under the stars at this popular outdoor Super Summer Theater. A range of classical musicals make this an excellent venue for family entertainment. Call 702.875.4141.
the bellagio gallery of fine arts
A wide range of art collections make their way through the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts, giving residents an opportunity to view world-class works and exhibits. Call 702.693.7871.
the las vegas natural history museum
A fun and educational venue fit for the whole family, downtown’s Las Vegas Natural History Museum features hands-on interactive exhibits and replicas of desert-dwelling animals. Call 702.384.3466.
A program of the Performing Arts Division of the City of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services, The Rainbow Company is a nationally-acclaimed and award-winning youth theater group. The Rainbow Company is dedicated to creating quality children’s theater productions for Las Vegas’ youngest residents. Call 702.229.6553.
With displays on the second floor of City Hall and along the breezeway connecting City Hall to the Stewart Avenue parking garage, this free gallery features an ever-changing eclectic collection of works. Admission is always free. Call 702.229.4674.
fern adair conservatory of the arts
Classes are offered in dance, music, children’s theater, gymnastics, cheerleading and aerobics. Events such as workshops, concerts and competitions are held throughout the year. Call 702.458.7575.
reed whipple cultural center
Reed Whipple Cultural Center programs include a children’s summer concert series, cultural arts classes, concerts and art exhibits. A theater, ballroom and conference room are available for rent. Call 702.229.6211.
the charleston heights arts center
Open to the public, this center is home to a variety of cultural arts programs, concert series, lectures and art exhibits. Call 702.229.6383.
the nevada conservatory theatre at unlv
A professional repertory theater housed in the Judy Bayley Theatre at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, this organization engages national and international theater professionals in all disciplines for residencies with the company. Call 702.895.3663.
For a unique cultural vibe, many Las Vegas residents head downtown once a month for First Friday. Centered within Charleston Boulevard and Main Street in the heart of the Downtown Arts District, First Friday is an ongoing monthly arts, entertainment and social event featuring an eclectic mix of events, from art exhibits to theatrical presentations, musical performances and poetry slams.
the entertainment capital of the world
Las Vegas is known across the globe for being a world-class destination. As a new resident, you now have the opportunity to live, work and play in one of the most fabulous entertainment centers in the world!
Over the past several years, Las Vegas has attracted top chefs, award-winning restaurants and international-scale shopping venues. Long known for its unique entertainment offerings on The Strip, the city is also home to a bourgeoning cultural arts scene. Diversity abounds in the form of international festivals, art exhibits and neighborhood and community events that provide something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.
celebrate the beauty of the desert
The pure, natural state of the desert quickly becomes near and dear to the hearts of residents, particularly for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking in magnificent Red Rock Canyon, snowboarding at Mount Charleston and boating or skiing in the cool waters of Lake Mead, Las Vegas residents are less than an hour away from some of the most breath-taking outdoor vistas in the country. If a short day trip is to your liking, the Grand Canyon, Valley of Fire, Zion National Park, Southern California beaches and Death Valley are just a few hours away.
neighborhood and family fun
While Las Vegas is known for its glitzy and glamorous nightlife, residents can also enjoy traditional family fun activities. Recreation centers offer a wide array of classes and learning opportunities, ranging from kids’ karate and ballet to cooking classes, yoga and pilates. Green belts and park settings are scattered throughout valley neighborhoods, with many offering walking trails, bike paths, playground equipment and basketball and tennis courts. Other parks boast water features, rock-climbing walls and lakes and ponds ripe for fishing. Golf courses abound in Las Vegas, as do site-seeing tours and shopping excursions to nearby retail outlet centers.
Las Vegas is home to more superstar chefs and restaurants than any other city in the nation. Residents and visitors can select from a diverse range of dining options that mix accommodating servers, affordable menu options and unique atmospheres to create an unparalleled dining experience. Delicacies from all cultures abound in Las Vegas with specialty food offerings including everything from Italian, Chinese, Creole, French and American regional to Mexican, Japanese, Irish, Indian and German – just to name a few! You can also enjoy your favorite franchise eateries and fast food restaurants, which abound throughout the valley – many boasting 24-hour service.
Many Las Vegas residents enjoy the opportunity to explore the city from a tourists’ perspective, visiting local attractions, walking the Strip and a enjoying a mini vacation right here in their hometown. You can take in the extraordinary fountain shows at the Bellagio and the Wynn, watch mermaids swim with the fishes in the Silverton’s giant aquarium or tour the dolphin habitat at The Mirage. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, M&M World and the Ethel M Chocolate Factory are “must see” venues; treasure hunters will enjoy browsing the valley’s numerous antique shops; foodies will have a taste for specialty food stores and fresh food farmer’s markets; while fashionistas can choose between upscale retail boutiques, resort-centered retail properties and malls or budget-friendly outlet centers and swap meets.
in touch with the past
With a “Battle Born” state motto, Las Vegas pays great respect to its wild west heritage. Las Vegas is home to the National Finals Rodeo and the annual Helldorado Days festival. The region also boasts the outlying ghost towns of Chloride and Goldfield, where gold was discovered in 1902. Residents can also celebrate the past by visiting the Clark County Museum, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and the Old Mormon Fort.
A wide and diverse range of art festivals and cultural events take place in Las Vegas throughout the year.
From heart-pounding free-fall sky dives, white water rafting and desert buggy racing to playing tennis, going kayaking or taking in a pro sports tourney, there is no shortage of sporting recreation activities in Las Vegas. If you prefer a stadium seat to an extreme sporting adventure, college sports teams, minor league baseball, a professional hockey team, professional boxing and NASCAR races are big draws for those who prefer spectator sports.
The Nevada Tennis Association (NTA) is the state’s premier tennis authority. The NTA is actively working to promote the sport of tennis and strives to bring the game to communities across the state. A variety of classes, programs and events are available for tennis players of all age and skill levels. Numerous private tennis clubs and country clubs maintain high-quality indoor and outdoor courts.
The Las Vegas 51s Triple-A baseball team is affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. The team is the longest-enduring franchise in the history of professional minor league sports in Southern Nevada. Owned and operated by Mandalay Properties, the Las Vegas 51s play at Cashman Field in downtown Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Wranglers Professional Hockey Team is part of the National Conference western division of the ECHL, the leading professional development league for the American and National Hockey Leagues. The team hosts pro games, a youth mini-camp, a kids’ club and special promotions at various events.
The Las Vegas Locomotives are a team of the UFL, which provides professional-level football during the fall season.
The Las Vegas Showgirlz is a professional women’s tackle football team that was formed in the summer of 2005 by CEO and Head Coach Dion A. Lee. The franchise was recently voted into the Women’s Professional Football League.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is home to a well-known basketball team, The Runnin’ Rebels, and a football team, the UNLV Rebels. The university also boasts women’s basketball and volleyball teams. College games bring in sports fans from across the valley to cheer on the home team.
A temperate year-round climate makes Las Vegas one of the best golf destinations in the nation. Since the 1950s, all of the major pro tours, including PGA, LPGA and the SPGA, have held annual tournaments in Las Vegas. The city has more than 60 courses within or around its city limits. Home to a number of championship golf courses designed by well-known names in the golfing world, residents can choose between picturesque neighborhood and community courses and upscale private golf venues.
stadiums & arenas
Five exceptional stadiums and arenas provide the Las Vegas community some of the top venues for world-class entertainment. Over the past 25 years, these facilities have played host to a number of exciting and diverse events, including the National Finals Rodeo, Barnum & Bailey’s Circus, World Championship boxing, monster truck finals, UNLV athletic events, presidential town hall meetings, NBA games, music festivals and conventions.
The Orleans Arena hosts everything from professional sporting events to family-friendly entertainment venues. The Orleans Arena is also home to the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team.
The Thomas & Mack Center, located on the campus of UNLV, is a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment facility. The center was named for two prominent Las Vegas bankers, E. Parry Thomas and Jerome Mack, who established the original land foundation and donated $500,000 for feasibility studies and the initial architectural renderings.
Named after a Las Vegas hotel owner and gaming pioneer, Sam Boyd Stadium has evolved over the years from 15,000 to 32,000 and on to 40,000 seats. Sam Boyd Stadium is home to the UNLV Rebel Football team, the Las Vegas Bowl, AMA Supercross Series Finals and the Monster Jam World Finals.
A contribution from Cox Communications enabled UNLV to build this high-tech facility to provide corporate, convention and meeting planners a new alternative in Las Vegas. This 3,000-seat venue houses UNLV’s volleyball and women’s basketball programs and also features a practice facility for the UNLV men’s basketball program. The Cox Pavilion’s 23,000 square feet is also used for academic functions, concerts, keynote addresses, trade shows and parties.
Located in Downtown Las Vegas, Cashman Center was built in 1983 on land donated by James “Big Jim” Cashman, a Las Vegas community leader and Southern Nevada pioneer. The stadium, which seats more 9,000, is part of the 50-acre, $26 million Cashman Field Center complex which also includes a 100,000-square-foot convention center with 16 meeting rooms and a 1,954-seat theater. Cashman Field is home to the Las Vegas 51s baseball team.
parks & trails
A wide variety of green belts, parks and trail systems are scattered throughout Southern Nevada. From skate parks and community parks with picnic tables and benches to multi-acre areas with water features, sports courts and massive playgrounds, Las Vegas has it all! Developers and municipalities across the valley frequently incorporate a number of open spaces into neighborhood designs to create a greater quality of life for residents. Listed below is a sampling of what’s available valley-wide.
Las Vegas is home to more than 70 public parks. The city’s Department of Leisure Services maintains the parks as well as community centers, golf courses, hiking trails, senior citizen programs and cultural facilities. For more information, call 702.229.6397 or visitlasvegasnevada.gov/information.
The city of North Las Vegas has more than 30 parks and facilities that range in size from less than an acre to 160 acres. Park amenities often include playground equipment, picnic areas, barbecue grills, swimming pools, horseshoe pits and shuffleboard. For more information, call the city of North Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Department at 702.633.1171 or visitcityofnorthlasvegas.com.
Henderson’s Parks and Recreation Department maintains nearly 50 public parks. The department is one of only a handful of agencies in the country with accreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Gold Medal for Excellence in Parks and Recreation Administration. With an award-winning sports program, the city maintains ball fields, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and miles of trails as well as multi-purpose recreation facilities. Contact the department at 702.267.4000 or visit cityofhenderson.com/parks.
Boulder City’s Recreation Department is responsible for nearly 20 parks in addition to a recreation center, swimming pool, ball fields, tennis courts, a hiking trail and the Reflections Center, a landscaped area composed of seven sculptures that change annually. For more information, call 702.293.9256 or visit bcnv.org.
Clark County’s Department of Parks and Community Services maintains 75 parks and facilities including dog parks, rural parks, a sport shooting park and a wetlands park. The county also maintains 15 special interest facilities that include a horse park, BMX track, a radio-controlled airfield, radio-controlled car track and Sunset Park Lake. Open year-round for fishing, the lake is a popular destination for those who enjoy remote control boating.
In addition to the parks and recreation system, Clark County also maintains after-school activities, teen and youth programs and aquatics facilities. The county provides an arts education program, camps and campsites, museums, community centers, special events and exhibits and community outreach services. Additional offerings include a folk art program, opportunities for artists, neighborhood services, sports programs and a desert garden. For information on the department’s services and facilities, call 702.455.8200, or visit co.clark.nv.us.
The Nevada Division of State Parks maintains 24 state parks and recreational areas throughout Nevada. Those located in Southern Nevada include Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area, Floyd Lamb State Park, Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park and Valley of Fire State Park. State parks offer opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, swimming, boating and nature study. Many of these parks also offer shower facilities and a chance to visit some of the area’s historic sites. For park information, visitparks.nv.gov. Other attractions within the park system include:
The tallest peak in the Las Vegas area is found at Mt. Charleston. Recreational areas for camping, hiking and snow sports can be found in the Kyle and Lee canyon recreational areas.
The largest man-made lake in the Western Hemisphere, amenities at Lake Mead include camping, boating, skiing, fishing and swimming.
A popular tourist spot, Hoover Dam is considered one of the engineering wonders of the world. Above and below ground tours are available.
For more information on state parks and recreational areas in the Southern Nevada region, call 702.486.5126.
Las Vegas’ scenic outdoor landscape makes cycling an exceptionally pleasurable leisure activity. Favorite locations to visit include the picturesque Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire. Whether you prefer a bicycle, mountain bike, scooter or motorcycle, you’ll enjoy a biker’s paradise in Southern Nevada – and you won’t be alone! Each year, Las Vegas hosts the Las Vegas BikeFest™, a heavily attended weekend event. You can also find a wealth of full-service specialty bicycle and motorcycle shops throughout the valley.
From kayak and canoe trips in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area to sail boats and cruise ships in the Las Vegas Boat Harbor, there is no shortage of water-faring activities in Southern Nevada. Lake Mead’s Hemenway Harbor offers a variety of services for boating enthusiasts, providing rentals of power boats and sailboats, Jet Ski, wind surfer, water ski and parasailing equipment. The Lake Mead Resort and Marina offers fishing, patio boats and house boats for rent. If you prefer to let someone else do the sailing while you enjoy the scenery, Lake Mead Cruises takes passengers on sight-seeing and evening dinner and dance cruises aboard the Desert Princess.
The Nevada Boating Access Guide, a complimentary booklet published by the Nevada Division of Wildlife, provides information about boating safety and directs water-lovers to the majority of Nevada’s boating access areas and launch facilities. Request your copy through the Nevada Division of Wildlife at P.O. Box 10678, Reno, NV, 89520.
Black Canyon/Willow Beach River Adventures offers participants the opportunity to leisurely enjoy and share in the history, desert wildlife and beauty of the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. Day trips begin at the launch base of the Hoover Dam and end on the Arizona side of the river at Willow Beach. Participants are treated to a guided tour and have the opportunity to swim and take photos. Day trips allow visitors to marvel in the beauty of the Grand Canyon. If you’re a bit more adventurous, numerous tour operators offer white water rafting excursions.
Southern Nevada offers visitors the opportunity to engage in riding tours that highlight many of the region’s most historical and visually-pleasing locations. Many riding companies offer private tours, dining opportunities and customizable packages. The Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area is the most popular destination for horseback riding. A truly unique geologic feature, Red Rock Canyon represents some of the best illustrations of the Mojave Desert. Many horseback riding tour companies offer rides through the area.
Bowling is a favorite pastime among residents of Las Vegas. A number of well-known bowling competitions are held throughout the area and many of the nation’s top bowlers call the Las Vegas Valley home. You’ll find both neighborhood bowling centers and resort-based facilities. Most are available for open play, league use and private parties.
Las Vegas is a camping and RV-lovers paradise. Numerous campgrounds and RV parks offer avid campers the opportunity to “rough it.” Many campgrounds have sites with features such as fire rings, barbecue grills, bathrooms and utilities. One of the most popular camping destinations, Toiyabe National Forest, offers campers 160 picnic areas and 150 campsites in seven campground and RV parks. RV travelers are becoming one of the biggest groups of tourists in the nation. With dozens of RV parks spread across the area, Las Vegas is equipped to handle the growth. Area RV parks include Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort and Lake Mead RV Village.
In addition to the glitz and glamour of The Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find there are countless family attractions valley-wide.
This mini-raceway provides children and adults alike with hours of racing fun. From go kart bumping to sprint kart racing to actual time trials in Grand Prix Cars, Las Vegas Gran Prix is a racecar enthusiast’s dream.
Laser Quest combines the classic games of “tag” and “hide-and-seek” with a high-tech twist. Donning the most sophisticated laser tag equipment available, the game is played in a large, multi-level arena featuring specialty lighting, swirling fog and heart-pounding music.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is NASCAR’s home in Nevada. One of the most complete racing complexes in the world, its 1,600 acres include road courses, a three-eighths mile oval, a dirt track and a state-of-the-art drag racing facility. The Speedway is home to the NASCAR Cup Series, among other racing events.
The Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park (a.k.a. Las Vegas Zoo) is managed by the Nevada Zoological Foundation. The three-acre park is located just 15 minutes northwest of the Las Vegas Strip. The zoo exhibits more than 150 species of plants and animals. As the only zoo in Las Vegas and the only year-round zoo in Nevada, the staff works hard to educate and entertain the public.
Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary offers a safe haven for animals of all kind. Visitors can see birds of many species, including quail, ducks, ostriches and parrots as well as turtles, goats and burros. Located near Floyd Lamb State Park, the Nature Sanctuary is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
The Springs Preserve is a 180-acre cultural institution designed to commemorate Las Vegas’ dynamic history and to provide a vision for a sustainable future. The Preserve features museums, galleries, outdoor concerts and events, colorful botanical gardens and an interpretive trail system that meanders through a scenic wetland habitat. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, the Preserve is located approximately three miles west of downtown Las Vegas. The Preserve is known as the birthplace of Las Vegas and represents one of the richest and most unique cultural and biological resources in Southern Nevada.
Las Vegas is home to a number of sports, cultural and recreational programs for area youth. Thousands of volunteers donate their time and energy to activities designed for young people, including Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA, Boys Town Nevada and the Alliance for Youth Service.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas consists of 10 club facilities, one school site and two extension programs. During the school year, clubs provide homework help and tutoring services. Clubs also provide young people with opportunities to participate in character development groups. Specialized initiatives are targeted especially toward at-risk youth.
The YMCA provides the community with fun, relevant programs designed to help visitors grow in spirit, mind and body. The YMCA offers youth and adult health and wellness and life learning classes. The organization also conducts a number of youth programs including day camps, youth leagues, swimming lessons and a large variety of adult and senior classes.