Moving to Nevada

From the high desert peaks of the Amargosa Mountains to the snowy slopes of Mt. Rose, Nevada is one of the most alluring, dynamic and largest states in the union. This tax-friendly oasis is home to two national parks, 110,572 square miles of largely unoccupied land and an uncountable number of casinos, from Las Vegas to Reno. 

The state is an enterprising and entrepreneurial powerhouse, which may be one reason why U.S. New and World Report ranks Nevada the sixth-best state in the nation for its economy, and first for infrastructure, much of which, unsurprisingly, revolves around the entertainment and gambling industry. 

But Nevada provides more than just diversions — it’s also a critical home for national defense. Nellis Air Force Base is one of four major military centers here, and the state’s Desert Research Institute develops innovative technology and practices for desert combat settings. 

Living up to its name, the Silver State is rich in natural resources, too. From its early prospecting days for gold, silver, copper and magnesium to its significant resources in lithium, iron, limestone and sand needed today, mining is still the dominant export industry in the state.  

Nevada also has one of the largest geothermal fields on Earth.  

Whether you move to Nevada for the dry air, the hot casino action or the cool waters of Lake Tahoe, one thing is certain: Life in the entertainment capital of the universe is never, ever dull. 

Life in Nevada

Known as one of the most tax-friendly states in the nation, Nevada has staked its reputation on being a business-first, right-to-work haven in the U.S. The state levies no personal income tax, nor does it impose business, corporate, inheritance, estate or gift taxes.  

It does have the third-highest sales and gasoline taxes in the country, though.  

The cost of living in Nevada (101.9) is above the national average but lower than nearly all its nearest neighbors, including California, Arizona, Oregon and Utah. Housing in the Silver State will cost you some serious coin — the median home value is $315,900 and rent averages over $1,200 a month.  

Nevada also departs from U.S. averages in its educational rates, which are lower, and in its poverty rates, which are higher. One of the areas that Nevada has made the greatest strides in is combatting violent crime. Incidents have fallen over 8% in the last year and have been on the decline since 2018.  

The employment rate in Nevada has made steady gains over the past 30 years, apart from serious dips following the housing crisis in 2008-2010 and the start of the pandemic in 2020. In 2022, Nevada added an average of 4,800 non-farm jobs a month, with the largest increase in construction (up 10%), manufacturing (up 7%) and the leisure/hospitality sector (up 6.4%). Despite these gains, unemployment in Nevada reached 4.9% in November 2022, over a point higher than the U.S. rate. While the state attributes this rise to the number of new people entering the workforce, the job market in the state is something of a mixed bag at the moment.  

But if you can count on anything about this state it’s this: People really want to live here.  

Nevada’s population grew 15% over the last decade, bringing its total number of residents to 3.1 million, nearly all of whom reside in one of two places — the southeast corner surrounding Las Vegas and the northwestern edge, encompassing Reno and Carson City. All other areas of the state have fewer than six residents per square mile, so if you’re not a people person, you have lots of space to escape.  

Nevada Weather 

If you love the sun and loathe humidity, this desert state is for you! No matter what the Sunshine State leads you to believe (looking at you, Florida), Nevada averages of 300 golden days of sunshine each year, making the Silver State the sunniest in the union.  

All that sun also makes Nevada the driest state in the country. On average, Nevada receives only 10.3” of rain per year. Because the state lies east of the Sierra Nevadas, the ocean air off the Pacific evaporates as it descends across the slopes, and the Rockies, likewise, block moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.  

In southeastern Nevada, a decent amount of the state’s 7.1” of annual rainfall arrives in the summer, whereas the northern reaches see more precipitation during the winter months — a lot of it as snow. While Nevada sees few thunderstorms, flooding can be a concern from melting snow, causing rivers across the state to overflow their banks.   

A true land of extremes, Nevada has seen highs of 120ºF and lows of 50ºF below zero. In general, temperatures increase as you move from the northeastern, mountainous part of the state southward, with the western and central regions being the most even keeled. Winters in the mountains are long, but summers are blissful; the opposite is generally true in the south.   

No matter where you live in Nevada, expect at least a 30-degree change in temperature from day to night, even more so in the summer months in the lowland desert area. Expect very hot summers in the south, where temperatures will regularly climb above 100ºF and nighttime temps will drop to around 70ºF. Winters in the mountain forest regions of the north can bring heavy snowfall — some areas have seen over 45” in a single day and 300” in a year.   

With all this weather drama, you might be wondering when the best time to move to Nevada is (or if there is even one). Spring and fall are generally mild across the state, with temperatures staying above freezing and below scorching from April through June and September through November. 

Best Cities to Live in Nevada 

Las Vegas 

Of the 3,177,772 residents in Nevada, 2,265,461 live in Clark County, where Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Mesquite are located. That’s nearly three quarters of the population in the state!  

The population of Sin City — now 646,790 — is on the rise, gaining over 63,000 people in the last 10 years.  

With a median home value of $279,700 and rent averaging $1,153, housing in Las Vegas is priced slightly above national averages. The population density in this area is 160 times the state average. Meanwhile, business in the Desert Oasis is booming. It’s no surprise that many of the largest businesses support the entertainment industry, like Scientific Games, which provides services, technology and products for lotteries and sports betting.  

But the city has also attracted diverse industries in air transportation, e-tail, and software and data and technology. Relative newcomer Textbroker provides online content marketing services, and the country’s zippiest source for shoes and clothes — Zappos — lives up to its promise “to live and deliver WOW” from its home base in Vegas.  

But the biggest game in town are the games themselves. MGM Resorts International still runs the table in this town, consistently making the Fortune 500 list.  

However, let’s not forget about higher education in this bustling region. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University give this sometimes-chaotic metropolis an earthly ground. They also provide an essential, highly educated workforce for important industries like aviation, aerospace and defense.  

Henderson 

Nearby Henderson (pop. 322,178), the second-largest city in the state. It’s seeing a population boom of its own, gaining nearly 65,000 people in the last decade.  

But you’ll have to shell out more to live in this suburb 20 miles south of Vegas: The median home value in Henderson is $365,900, while rent averages $1,456 per month.  

The city offers all the conveniences and amenities of suburban life, with more glam than you might find outside more traditional cities — there are good shopping centers, eight golf courses and the M Resort Casino. Henderson also borders the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, a 48,000-acre nature preserve that has Native American petroglyphs and miles of hiking trails.  

Other fun spots for families include the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, the Lion Habitat Ranch and the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden, which not only has over 300 species of spiky succulents — it’s also home to an artisan chocolate factory. You certainly won’t have to twist any arms to get them to visit this garden! 

Reno 

In northwestern Nevada, you’ll find the “Biggest Little City in the World”. Reno has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade, and the city of 268,851 has gained 40,000 new residents since 2010.  

The city is something of Vegas’ nerdy neighbor — gambling still reigns here, but the University of Nevada’s flagship also is here (having opened long before any of Vegas’ casinos). As such, the vibe of the city is far more creative and offbeat than its southeastern cousin.  

Housing here is steep, though: The median home value tops $390,000 and rent averages over $1,200 per month.  

Reno is both start-up and people-friendly city. It is taking very proactive steps to combat climate change. Its carbon emissions are already far below national averages, and nearly a quarter of their electricity is generated by renewable sources, including solar, geothermal, biomass, wind and hydroelectric sources.  

This “little” city is also home to big businesses — the Tesla Gigafactory, Microsoft and Panasonic all have bases here. Ranked one of the best places to live by Livability, Reno is increasingly favored by remote workers as a compromise to even higher-priced and higher-stress cities in the West. 

Carson City 

Nevada’s capital, Carson City, lies just 30 miles south of Reno, but it’s a world away in character.  

The 58,993 residents haven’t welcomed too many newcomers in the last decade, but that hasn’t diminished the town’s historic charm one bit.  

You’ll find housing in the capital to be more affordable than in much of the state, with the median housing price ringing in at $299,000 and the median rent at $982.  

Carson City is much more family-oriented than Reno or Las Vegas — cultural attractions like the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada and the Nevada State Museum offer fun and interactive experiences of history, science and the arts.  

Naturally, one of the biggest draws for residents of Reno and Carson City is nearby Lake Tahoe, a glorious, natural playground with 365 days a year of outdoor fun.  

Find out your moving cost to a Nevada city today.  

Unique Experiences in the Silver State

National Parks 

Some of the greatest attractions in Nevada are outside the big cities. Two of those are national parks.  

Great Basin National Park, located in the eastern central portion of the state, is a designated Dark Sky Park, and there are few places in the U.S. better for viewing twinkling night skies.  

But what visitors really come here for are the caverns. Your family can take a guided tour of the Lehman Caves and see top spots like the elaborately decorated Gothic Palace and the famous Parachute Shield formations. These giant, drippy clusters of calcite known as speleothems form dramatic columns that are part icing sugar, part concrete and part bridal gown.  

You’ll never see anything quite like them above ground. Hiking in the park is excellent. Great Basin even has trails designed for families with small children, creek-side trails designated for fishing, wheelchair accessible trails, and strenuous trails for experience hikers.  

Two things not to miss would be Nevada’s only glacier and ancient bristlecone pines, which can live for more than 4,500 years! 

If you are ready to get hot, dry and low, head to Death Valley National Park.  Just one corner of this extraordinary park edges its way into the state in an area known as the Nevada Triangle.  

There are singing sands, snowy peaks and the Devil’s Hole, a 500-foot-deep, hillside cavern where endangered pupfish live. One of the best vistas is at Grapevine Peak, which rises 8,705 out of the depths in the Amargosa Range along the California state border.  

But you don’t just visit Death Valley for the peaks … you come for the low points, too. At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin (located in California) is the lowest point on the continent and one of the most unusual, too. Composed primarily of salt, the vast, crystallized expanse looks like the last place on earth … and if you try to hike across it during the summer, it just might be yours. The world record high — 134 F — was set at the park’s aptly named Furnace Creek 1913.  

State Parks 

The Nevada State Park system is a great way to experience the beaches and the mountain trails with your family. At Sand Harbor State Park, you can rent sailing kayaks for an afternoon on the water or pedal your way along the stunning Tahoe East Shore Trail to Incline Village, stopping for a refreshing pint at Alibi Ale Works or a slice of Azzara’s famous Lasagne al Forno. 

Perhaps the most famous of Nevada’s outdoor attractions is the Burning Man Festival. This anarchic annual in the Black Rock Desert brings together artists, thinkers and doers from around the globe, who share a radical, creative vision for humanity.  

Each summer, they create a new temporary metropolis, bound by a collective ethos (and a theme), comprising art installations, performances and otherwise indescribably immersive gatherings. There is nothing else like it on planet Earth. 

Lake Tahoe 

Lake Tahoe is Nevada’s premier destination for outdoor recreation. Areas surrounding the lake on both sides of the state border are well-developed with great food and accommodations — some areas are modest and low-key, and others are fancy. 

No matter the season, you’ll find plenty of things to do here (we counted at least one million), from hiking and biking to golfing and tennis to snow tubing and scuba diving. The lake is also a bastion for the arts, so you can expect some high-quality performances, like the Shakespeare Festival, as well as a cool gallery scene.  

But what else can you do in Las Vegas with the kids? Thankfully, there are lots of good answers to this question. 

Kid-Friendly Activities 

First, take everyone to the Adventuredome at Circus Circus, which lives up to its name in every imaginable way. It’s like several theme parks’ worth of fun all packed into one casino hotel. It’s hard to know where the bigger gamble is — sliding up to the craps table or into your seat in the Sling Shot, where you will be rocketed skyward, pulling a cool 4 Gs.  

While Circus Circus has been around the block since the 60s, the oldest casino-hotel in town is the Golden Gate Casino, its history dating back to the early 1900s. (Room and board cost only $1 a day!). 

Other classics are the Luxor Hotel & Casino, which is shaped like an Egyptian Pyramid; the magical fountains of the Bellagio; and the Eiffel Tower, which has a magnifique French restaurant and one of the best views of the city.   

Another beloved favorite is Madame Tussauds. More than just a wax museum, this is a place where, with a liiiittle suspension of disbelief, you can shake hips with Elvis, put a ring on it with Beyoncé and web-sling with Spider-Man. Its new 4D Marvel Universe experience makes you a hero in your own right.  

If you’re looking for a less virtual experience, visit the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay with more than 2,000 aquatic creatures. You can even sign up to feed the animals — if you dare.  

In Reno, the Discovery Museum will light a fire under your Bunsen burners. This hands-on museum is the place to learn about animals, engineering, ecology and the arts. Or maybe your family will enjoy puzzling their way through Mindbender Mansion, finding secret passwords and solving brainteasers. Of course, the real mind-bending action happens in the new Sun, Earth, Universe exhibit, where you can listen to the Apollo 11 lunar landing, learn about the possibility of life on other planets and even design your own spaceship.  

Once you’ve gotten down to the scientific basics, you’re ready to see the Hoover Dam, one of the world’s major engineering marvels. It took 16,000 workers to create the structure that now provides hydroelectric power from water diverted from the Colorado River and into Lake Mead, a body of water created by the dam. Kids and adults alike will marvel at the awesomeness of the structure and the 360° view from the observation deck. 

Live Entertainment 

Vegas is still a major destination for live performances, from the artistic daredevilry of the Circque du Soleil, which now has five shows running in town, to the mind-blowing magic of David Copperfield and the multi-sensory wonders of the Blue Man Group. The world’s biggest music stars all play here, too, of course — in one month you can catch Kool & the Gang, the Black Crowes and Katy Perry.  

Hidden Gems 

If you’re moving to Nevada, there are a few things you can’t see anywhere else (which sometimes is a good thing).  

The world probably only needs one Bedeviled Puppet Room, right? You can see this oddity at Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum. Then there’s Coffinwood, a private residence that’s also home to the Church of the Coffin. Can you get hitched at Coffinwood? Yes, ma’am. Till death do you part.  

If there’s one thing the world needs that Nevada provides, it’s the Erotic Heritage Museum — you really cannot fully appreciate this kind of collection without a proper understanding of their historical context, right? Then there’s the Neon Museum, where the brightest type in lights dims in iconic glory on 2.64 acres of desert.  

And speaking of art and neon, one of the hidden treasures of Vegas is an installation by famed light artist James Turrell. “Akhob,” which is strangely located inside a Louis Vuitton store, will briefly transform your universe with an otherworldly, heliotropic glow.   

Nevada Local Eats 

Nevada’s food scene stands in the long shadow of its casinos, which sometimes obscure how rich and diverse the culinary depths of the state are. On and off the Strip, you’ll find exceptionally good food from all over the globe, whether you’re after sushi, street tacos or Gordon Ramsay’s famous sticky toffee pudding.   

If you live in the state of Nevada, you must dine at one casino buffet in your lifetime (though, if you go back for seconds, we’ll count that as two). If you’re anywhere near the Las Vegas strip, this will be the easiest and most delicious challenge of your life. Just be sure to wear something stretchy.  

One of the classics is the Circus Buffet, where the food is family-friendly to palates and wallets alike. Bacchanal Buffet, on the other hand, is a divine exhibition of culinary arts at Caesar’s Palace. You only have 90 minutes to spend in this buffet of the gods, and you’ll savor every second. 

If you’re looking for something considerably more Vegas in your Vegas buffet, head straight to the Drag Brunch at Seńor Frogs. While you’re tossing back drinks from the bottomless bar, the fiercest queens will treat you to a royal show. You may never be satisfied with an ordinary omelet bar again.   

Another type of establishment that the Silver State isn’t short on is the steakhouse. If you’ve come here in search of classic Vegas, turn your wheels toward the Golden Steer. Purportedly a favorite haunt of legends like Joe DiMaggio and Natalie Wood, the menu — and the dress code — still reinforce the best of traditions, like oysters Rockefeller, prime rib and escargots du Bourgogne, the house specialty.  

Off the Strip, treat everyone to the not-so-soft-serve at Luv-It Frozen Custard, which has been scooping the best in frozen treats since 1973. The chocolate and vanilla set need not apply here — Luv-it out-flavors its competitors, cones down, with scoops of Sin-A-Buns, black licorice and root beer float, and sundaes like the Cherry Yum Yum, made with pie topping and crushed Oreos.  

A salute to the Silver’s State’s mining history, the B.J. Bull Bakery rolls out some of the tastiest pasties in the state. What this no-frills, all-filling establishment lacks in style it makes up for in substance. Each of its hardy pies is loaded with flavor, from the classic beef and cabbage pasty to the newfangled Bulldog, which is stuffed with a Nathan’s hotdog, onion and pepperoncini relish. You can visit it in the remote, northeastern town of Elko. 

Thanks to the longstanding immigrant population from the Basque region of France and Spain, Nevadans can easily find some of the culture’s most tempting dishes across the state. In Carson City, get a taste at Villa Basque Café, which combines Basque, Mexican and American favorites, from enchiladas to lamb stew. The café’s chorizo is so popular, it’s sold in the gift store.  

Ready to Move to Nevada? Let Mayflower Get You There

When you’re ready to move to Nevada, Mayflower will guide you Every Step of the Way®. The Mayflower Move Portal will keep your move to Nevada streamlined and stress-free. 

If you’re moving cross country, Mayflower’s long-distance moving services provide custom, full-service moving packages — including a personal moving coordinator — to move you to Nevada from anywhere in the U.S.  

If you’re moving within the state of Nevada, Mayflower’s Nevada movers, who perform local moves under their brands and businesses, can help you move locally in Nevada. 

If you’re moving to Nevada by yourself, Mayflower is here to help! We can provide you with essential moving tips, checklists, and DIY resources. 

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