How to Live Like Locals

My wife and I just moved here and want a quick Las Vegas baptism. Where are a few places to go and things to do to really make us feel like we’re locals?

Ah, another dreamer seeking lower taxes and better weather! First things first: You must realign your Las Vegas identity from “tourist” to “resident.” Touching down and sin-binging for 72 hours may be a great escape valve when you’re visiting, but it’s no way to live here—and those who try burn out fast. Got it? Good. Now you’re ready to go native!

At the top of your to-do list is securing a Nevada driver’s license and local phone number (if possible, strong-arm someone at the phone company for a number with a 702 area code). Your house has a vast lawn and deep pool, right? Excellent. Now gorge at a cheap buffet. Cheer at a UNLV basketball game. (If you don’t know the history of the Hardway Eight, at least memorize a couple of names from the Rebels’ 1990 national championship team.) Picnic at Tule Springs … er, Floyd Lamb Park. Drop a couple of bucks into the poker machine while buying milk at the grocery store (just a couple). Hike, bike, boat, climb, ski and/or go for a joy ride at Mount Charleston, Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon. Whatever you drive and wherever you go, valet the car. Buy gas with casino chips (oh, wait; you can’t do that anymore …).

Helldorado parade

Helldorado parade

Do the Helldorado Days parade, the Greek Food Festival and Boulder City’s Art in the Park. See a naughty stage show with your significant other and a Super Summer Theatre show with the whole family. Smoke indoors! Learn about your new home at the Nevada State Museum, the Springs Preserve, the Neon Museum, the Mob Museum and Boulder … er, Hoover Dam. Eat a sit-down meal at 3 a.m., then buy package liquor at 4 a.m. On a Sunday. Legally. Dine somewhere that’s been around longer than The Mirage. Pick a classic watering hole (the Dispensary is a good archetype) and make friends.

Drive to the corner of Sahara Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard, and come to peace with the fact that it was all dirt west of there just 30 years ago. Refrain from telling everyone how long you’ve been here; we know it’s been less than three years, but we don’t want to hear it. Complain about everyone who relocates here after you did.

And, finally, practice this simple line (best said with a snooty inflection): “Oh, I live here. I never go to the Strip.” Welcome home, local!