If you are looking for a true state of adventure, Nevada is the place for you. This Western state with a freewheeling spirit has long attracted hopeful entrepreneurs. From the Silver State’s early prospecting days to today’s starry-eyed tourists, cozied up to craps tables and slot machines in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada offers an outlet for America’s biggest dreamers.
The anything-goes attitude of the entertainment capital of the world is designed to attract business. As one of the largest states in the union, Nevada promises a low-regulation, tax-friendly environment to reward innovation and speculation.
But with engineering marvels like the Hoover Dam to off-limit sites of intrigue like Area 51, there is far more to Nevada than meets the eye. In the northwest region near Reno and Carson City, the state capital, you’re right next door to the pristine mountain vistas in the area around Lake Tahoe. In the south, you can experience the extreme beauty of Death Valley, one of the country’s most incredible national parks. And where, other than Vegas, can you have dinner at the Eiffel Tower and go to sleep in a pyramid, all without leaving a four-mile strip through the desert?
With all this at your fingertips, it’s easy to see why so many people move to Nevada.
Considering making a Nevada move? Let’s find out what the Silver State has in store for you.
Why People Are Moving to Nevada
Since 2010, over 440,000 people have moved to the Silver State, so called for the importance of silver to its history and economy. But unlike the days of the Silver Rush, new residents are rushing to Nevada for less speculative reasons, like retirement, health and the lifestyle Nevada affords.
One of the biggest draws to moving to Nevada is taxes: Nevada doesn’t levy a state personal, business or corporate income tax, and there are no inheritance, gift or estate taxes, either. Nevada prides itself on being a low-regulation, business-friendly, right-to-work state.
The job market in Nevada is also looking up. Since 2021, the state has added 66,600 non-farm jobs (a 4.8% bump), with the largest increase in leisure, hospitality and retail trade. That said, the unemployment rate of 4.4% is also one of the highest in the nation, and the poverty rate also exceeds national averages by 3%.
The median household income of $62,043 in Nevada is slightly less than the national average. The statewide median housing price is $290,200 — nearly $60,000 more than the U.S. median — and rents average $1,159 compared to the national average of $1,096. That said, Nevada’s cost of living(1) is slightly higher than the national average and lower than most of its neighboring states including Utah, Arizona, Oregon and California.
It should be noted, too, that crime rates are decreasing across the state of Nevada. Property crimes are down by 23%, and violent crime is down by nearly 26% — welcome news for newcomers and longstanding residents.
How much does it cost to move to the Silver State? Find out your moving cost to Nevada today.
Nevada Weather – Sunshine, Desert and … Snow
Nevada is the driest state in the union, receiving less than 11 inches of annual rain on average. But the state’s arid climate has one major upside — it’s one of the sunniest places in the country, too. Residents can expect at least 300 days of annual sunshine and mild average temperatures: 40-50°F in the north, and mid 60s°F in the south.
Another benefit of this geographical region is that Nevada sees few severe thunderstorms or tornadoes. Flooding can occur from snowmelt in the mountains, or because of rapid rainfall from cloudbursts, but both are infrequent.
Nevadans can expect very hot and dry summers, no matter which region of the state they live in — the only question, really, is how long the season will last. Residents should brace themselves for a long, hot summer in the southernmost portion of the state, where temperatures regularly exceed 100°F. Evenings are usually cool regardless of daytime highs, and temperature can plummet sharply — a 30-40°F difference is average, but far greater fluctuations have been recorded.
The northwestern region is cooler and wetter, thanks to the forests of the Sierra Nevada range surrounding Lake Tahoe. Snowfall in the mountains has measured up to 45 inches in a single day, and up to 300 inches have been recorded in a single season.
Fastest Growing Cities in Nevada
Home to 3.1 million people, Nevada is one of the largest states in the U.S. with one of the lowest population densities. The vast majority of Nevadans live in and around the metro areas surrounding Las Vegas, in the southeast portion of the state and in Reno, on the northwestern border with California.
Nevada’s economy is, not surprisingly, supported in large part by tourism and gaming. But the Silver State is investing that coin in programs and infrastructure to support development in new areas, including information technology, manufacturing and logistics, and aerospace and defense, which aptly capitalizes on Nellis Airforce Base in Las Vegas. Because Nevada adjoins major population hubs and ports on the west coast, it’s certainly well-situated for growth in these arenas as well.
More than a quarter of all Nevadans make their home in Las Vegas, the largest city and metro area in the state. With a population of 646,790, Las Vegas has gained over 63,000 new residents in the last 10 years. The population density of Sin City is 160 times the state average, which may explain why growth in neighboring suburbs like Paradise (population 193,150) and Henderson (population 322,178) is also on the rise. Both are within 30 minute drive of Vegas.
Housing prices in Las Vegas are comparable to state averages. The median housing price is $279,700 and median rent is $1,153.
The city is home to many gaming and entertainment giants, including MGM Resorts International, which consistently makes the Fortune 500 list. But businesses like e-tailer Zappos and data center powerhouse Switch are revving up a new economic engine in the Desert Oasis.
Further grounding the city’s opportunities base are the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), which prides itself in offering unusually edgy programs and courses, including entertainment engineering and design, PGA Golf management and technology commercialization.
Of course, it’s never all work and no play. Nearby, Lake Mead — the first National Recreation Area in the country, offers a 1.5-million-acre respite from the Strip scene — with swimming, hiking, boating and biking.
Reno, the “Biggest Little City in the World,” has gained over 40,000 residents in the last decade, bringing its population to 268,851.
The city prides itself on being a startup-friendly, clean-energy, tech-savvy leader. But it’s also weird enough to be the “gateway to Burning Man.” Additionally, Reno is the home base of the Tesla Gigafactory, Panasonic, Microsoft Licensing and many other large corporations. Plus, it’s the flagship location of the University of Nevada system, which was founded in 1874. The university digs deep into research as far-ranging as environmental sustainability and cyberinfrastructure.
Home prices in Reno are substantially higher than both the state and national averages, with the median value sitting at $361,100. At $1,170, the average rent in Reno is more in line with state averages.
Just 30 miles south of Reno lies Carson City, the capital of Nevada. With a modest population of 58,993, Carson City has seen little growth over the last 10 years. But it remains a city of historic charm that’s brimming with arts, culture and family-friendly attractions, like the Nevada State Railroad Museum, the Kings Canyon Waterfall and the Nevada State Museum, which has recreated a silver mine and ghost town.
While the median housing price of $299,000 is high, the median rent is comparably reasonable, at $982 per month. Both Reno and Carson City share the geographic advantage of being a short drive to Lake Tahoe (more on that below).
Fun Things to Do in Nevada
In addition to gambling at Vegas’ storied casinos like the Bellagio, the Venetian and the Mirage, the city is also known for its entertainment acts.
If you’re with kids, Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil have some of the most popular and enduring performances, ones that will wow the entire family. The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, which showcases amazing (and hilarious) animal tricks, may make you wonder if you’ve been expecting too little out of Socks and Spot at home. Meanwhile, magic shows, like David Copperfield and Penn & Teller, are usually homeruns with the shorter set.
Adults have all manner of entertainment at their fingertips in Vegas. From burlesque and Chippendales to the Drag Brunch Show at Señor Frog’s. Classic acts like Earth, Wind & Fire and Donnie Osman are still going strong. Naturally, Vegas will likely never be without an Elvis tribute act; however, you can also take in a new Broadway favorite, like “Hamilton.”
In addition to Nevada’s casinos and shows, one of the state’s real treasures is the man-made wonder of Hoover Dam. The West as we know it wouldn’t exist without it. This engineering feat harnesses the water of the Colorado River to supply hydroelectric power and provide essential irrigation and drinking water to the region. Constructed during the Great Depression, it is 726 feet tall and 1,244 wide, making it the highest arch dam in the country.
Unusual Sights in Nevada
If you’ve come to Nevada to find the unusual, the state is happy to accommodate you. If you’re hoping for extraterrestrial action, Area 51 is the most popular destination you absolutely cannot visit in Nevada, so don’t even try it. Really. But you can get your intergalactic jollies by taking a road trip down the Extraterrestrial Highway (Rte. 375). And, who knows, maybe you will spot a UFO…or at least bump into Scully or Mulder. (Chances of either of those happening are slim but equal.)
You’ll need to sleep somewhere in Nevada, and that might as well be at “America’s Scariest Motel.” At the Clown Motel in Tonopah, all your worst clown nightmares can come to life and tuck you in at night. Maybe sleep with one eye painted open? If clowns are too tame, perhaps actual ghosts will tempt you to visit Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, which offers (you guessed it) RIP tours with tales of “malevolent hauntings” and immersive, paranormal fun like seeing the Devil’s Rocking Chair (from “The Conjuring 3”) and terrifying “Peggy the Doll.” After these two stops, you’ll be able to persuasively weigh in on one of humanity’s deepest quandaries: which is creepier, dolls or clowns?
If, after all this, you just need some fresh air, but not just any fresh air, head to Fly Ranch (home of Burning Man) to see Fly Geyser, a six-foot-tall, prismatic rock that could be the geologic wonderchild of a Mario Bros. mushroom and a Bob Ross painting… if that mushroom also spouted boiling water. Burning Man, of course, is the most Nevada thing you can do in Nevada. The weeklong, annual festival in Black Rock City bills itself as a crucible of creativity, and usually delivers in the extreme. Between the art, the music and the people-watching, you’ll see things at Burning Man you won’t see anywhere else (and maybe can’t handle seeing ever again).
Places to Have Fun in Nevada
On the tamer (but not lamer) side, don’t miss the spectacular water show at the Fountains of Bellagio in Vegas; there are free viewings every 15-30 minutes.
At the Neon Museum, you can take a fun and historical romp through bygone signage. For those interested in Vegas’ more notorious history, a visit to the Mob Museum will be entertaining (and maybe eye-opening). A perennial favorite, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum continues to astound and confound guests with its eerily lifelike replicas of celebrities. Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum showcases some of the best fake gore in the U.S. — its proprietor is a special effects expert who has worked extensively in TV and film.
At the Shark Reef Aquarium in Mandalay Bay, you can see a column of jellyfish and even feed the sharks. But keep those hands out of the water, unless you want to become part of a Vegas buffet. Not to be overlooked, the Discovery Museum in Reno is a perfect place for kids to learn through play, with interactive exhibits in science and art.
But why stay grounded? See Las Vegas from the air. A helicopter tour will give you a prismatic view of the city’s lightshow.
You can also get an aerial view of the city at several bars and restaurants. For an elegant evening, try the Waldorf Astoria’s Skybar. If you are looking for a real shot of adrenaline (maybe alongside one of liquid courage), head to the Strat Hotel, Casino and Skypod. See the city from this 360° rotating bar and observation deck, and then jump off of it (In a bungee harness, of course). There are also two thrilling rides on site. The Big Shot catapults you — and 15 perfect strangers — 160 feet in the air to the 1,081-foot-tall tower and back down again. Or, you can just spin in the Insanity, a 3G swing set hinged 64 feet off the edge of the building. Some advice: It may be best to save the drinks until after the rides.
Outdoor Places to Go to in Nevada
Lake Tahoe — the second-deepest lake in the country — comprises several unique communities around its 72-mile-long shoreline through California and Nevada. In the northeast quadrant, Incline Village is known for its upscale ski resorts and spas. Skiing is stellar in the region, but during the summer months, the lake provides unparalleled mountain views for swimmers, kayakers and nature lovers. Beach access points abound, but there are several key points of interest. Bonsai Rock is a picturesque spot where an outsize boulder has — against all odds — sprouted several shapely tree specimens, sculpted not by human hands and shears but by the elements.
If you’ve ever imagined what it would feel like to walk around in a giant drip sandcastle, Cathedral Gorge State Park will make your childhood dreams come true. At this magnificent spot in southeastern Nevada, usual formations of tawny, bentonite clay rise majestically out of the earth. All thanks to prehistoric volcanic explosions, followed by millions of years of erosion. You can hike, bike, camp and ride horses here.
Thanks to the Gold Rush bust, ghost towns are practically a Nevada state passion, and Rhyolite is one of the most popular. You won’t want to miss Tom Kelley’s three-room “bottle house,” which was built using 50,000 beer bottles mortared into the exterior walls.
Nevada is home to two national parks and several other national monuments and trails. At Tule Springs Fossil Beds, you can trek back in time to see relics from the Ice Age. Grand Basin National Park offers the underworldly experience of spelunking in Lehman Caves. But the park isn’t just for the subterranean adventurer. Mountaineers can tackle the strenuous, 8.6-mile trek to the Wheeler Peak summit, which crests at over 13,000 feet. The park is also a prime habitat for ancient bristlecone pines, some of which have stood for millennia. For those seeking truly otherworldly views, there are ranger-led astronomy tours, thanks to Grand Basin’s designation as an International Dark Sky Park.
And speaking of other worlds, one of the most unique landscapes on Earth is found at Death Valley National Park, which nudges its right elbow into the western edge of Nevada. It holds the global title for being the hottest place on earth, with temperatures regularly exceeding 120 F. At 282 feet below sea level, it is also the driest and lowest place in the U.S. From the salt-encrusted basins to the “singing sands” to the wildflower superblooms, Death Valley is a place of extreme beauty and wonder.
Want to explore more national parks in the region? Check out our National Parks of the Southwest guide for inspiration.
What to Eat in Nevada
Nevada may be rightfully known for its decadent casino buffets, but there’s more to the Silver State than all-you-can-eat establishments. Las Vegas, in particular, has drawn top chefs from around the world, who are creating innovative cuisine at all price ranges, both on and off the strip.
Fine dining establishments like Wing Lei (at Wynn) and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (at MGM Grand) have both earned Michelin stars. Bacchanal Buffet (at Caesars Palace) is a feast for the eyes and the palate — nine distinct kitchens prepare hundreds of impossibly good dishes in a 25,000-square-foot establishment that has redefined the buffet forever.
If you are after a truly old-school Vegas experience, look no further than the Golden Steer, where you can get a 24-ounce “Longhorn” New York strip and a slice of Vegas history. The restaurant opened in 1958 and welcomed several Hollywood regulars, like Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra. For dessert, it still does tableside flambé service for bananas Foster and cherries jubilee.
Further off the Strip, Lotus of Siam delivers big-time on northern Thai flavor, from crispy soft-shelled crab to Isaan sausage to jackfruit. You’ll find mouth-watering Venezuelan fare at Viva las Arepas, where pillowy dough encases savory fried pork rinds and yucca root or wood-fired beef.
Looking for a frozen treat? Hit Lov-It Frozen Custard. This 40-year-old ice cream stand just off the Strip won numerous awards — and has been given a key to the city. Its most popular sundae is the Western (hot fudge, caramel and pecans), but the shop also offers unusual (and site-specific) flavors like sin-a-buns, Champagne cherry and even licorice.
Farther north, in Carson City, the local favorite Villa Basque Café is best known for its house-made chorizo, which you’ll find in everything from omelets to salads and stews. Thanks to the Gold Rush, which attracted a lot of immigrants from the Basque region of France and Spain, there are a number of delicious Basque establishments across the state.
In Reno, Liberty Food & Wine Exchange showcases the harvest of northern Nevada farms through a fun and festive lens — try the fried egg calzone or the banana cream pie French toast.
Just off I-80 in Elko, at the B.J. Bull Bakery, you’ll find an old-time miner’s favorite — freshly baked pasties. (Pasties rhymes with past. C’mon, we’re not in Vegas anymore.) These hot and humble pies can be filled with beef and cabbage, chicken and rice, or even sausage and eggs.
You won’t feel like a genuine Silver Stater until you’ve wet your whistle at one of Nevada’s Sagebrush saloons. There’s Jigg’s Bar (helmed by Tigg the cat), the Happy Burro and — one of the oldest in the state — the Genoa Bar and Saloon, where time truly stands still.
How to Move to Nevada
Ready to move to Nevada? Get a moving quote from United Van Lines.
Whether you’re moving cross country or across the street, United Van Lines offers full-service moving packages to make the process easy and hassle-free. Our professional movers can handle your packing and unpacking, car shipping, storage needs, debris pick up and more.
If you’re moving long-distance, United Van Lines’ interstate movers can help you move to Nevada from anywhere in the United States. Our Nevada movers can also provide local moving services under their own businesses and brands if you’re moving within the state of Nevada. Whether you want to do it yourself or want us to take care of everything, United Van Lines has a wealth of moving resources for you.
Check out the MyUnited Moving Portal to get started.
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