The Smith Center The Smith Center. Photo by Krystal Ramirez

The Native’s Ways to Thrive in 2017

2016 was a rough year, with so many cultural icons falling and the sociopolitical landscape seemingly hell-bent on proving chaos theory. But take a look at the calendar and you’ll notice something wonderful: We all survived it. Welcome to 2017.

Aside from what happens in the world at large, life is lived locally. Las Vegans have dug in our heels and bounced back so many times that our Wild West resiliency is almost cliché. Those of us who have been here for the long haul often rely on tested techniques for thriving in our hyperkinetic landscape. Read on for the inside scoop:

Get out of town: Swapping scenery refreshes perspective, something critical to being a healthy Las Vegan. A week in Iceland is dreamy, but too many locals have never stepped foot in Red Rock Canyon or on Mount Charleston. Day trips to Zion and Flagstaff are easy, and even the beach is within reach.

Get out of your neighborhood: Once, Las Vegans traveled across the Valley for a cup of coffee and conversation; now they won’t leave their hood to see the best eye surgeon. Exploring beyond your burb helps you feel like you’re part of something bigger. It may reignite a sense of civic pride or fire up your desire to help change things. Either way, it’s better than stagnating in isolation.

Smile: Our city’s transient nature tends to teach locals to be cold and detached, which is a self-propagating social disease. Smiling goes a long way toward fixing that problem. It also reportedly reduces the risk of heart disease.

Visit the Strip: Snobbily avoiding the Strip is a Nouveau Locals mistake. Why shun a multibillion-dollar infrastructure built to please? Sure, it can be expensive. Yes, traffic can be daunting. Paying for parking? Who does that? But you can mitigate those factors and have the time of your life. It’s energizing to see all that money being made by all that fun being had.

Spend time with friends: Some of the best people you know are just a text message away. Don’t let the frequently frantic Las Vegas lifestyle (especially in the service industry) keep you from connecting with old friends and making new ones. It’s what makes a place a home.

Get cultured: From the Mob Museum to the Neon Museum, from Symphony Park to the Springs Preserve, Las Vegas is growing culturally. Much of it is in or near Downtown, where an independent record store, a bookshop and vintage stores share streets with cultural institutions. This isn’t an argument that Las Vegas is like New York, but rather that it has become a better Las Vegas. Make 2017 the year to experience it.

Have your own tips for thriving in 2017? Send them to