Perhaps you’ve had a taste of Vegas. It’s no secret that people travel from all over the country to experience sin city, but what you learn about Vegas in that short visit is just a small sampling of what the city really has to offer.
So, if you’re moving to Nellis AFB, I first want to say congrats! Second, I want to share a few things that you should know before you make the move to this lively desert city.
17 Things to Know Before You Move to Nellis AFB
- 1. Nellis is divided in two by a civilian road.
On main side you’ll find housing, the commissary, exchange, BX, chapel, and most other things. On the other, you’ll find the hospital and additional housing.
- 2. You might move beyond the area directly around Nellis AFB.
As you migrate further out from the base, you’ll find affordable existing homes and a surge of new construction.
Look into the North Las Vegas neighborhoods of Centennial Hills, Providence, Aliante, and Skye Canyon. If you’re willing to commute 40 minutes to an hour, check out the cities of Summerlin and Henderson.
- 3. Your BAH should cover rent plus utilities.
If you choose to live off base in Vegas, you shouldn’t find yourself having to pay out of pocket for a decent home here.
- 4. You’ll want regular pest control.
Since it never freezes in Vegas, critters don’t die. Be sure to have your home treated (or ask your landlord to treat) for pests—spiders and scorpions are the most common.
- 5. There aren’t many true locals.
It seems everyone has moved here from somewhere else, and very few stay for long periods of time. That, coupled with the high volume of tourists, gives the city a very “transitional” feel. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll find yourself having some very interesting conversations with people.
- 6. You car will need more frequent maintenance.
The heat just destroys cars here. You’ll want to set reminders to have your oil and tires changed more frequently. It’s also a good idea to keep a fresh coat of wax on the exterior to help protect your clear coat.
Plus, you’ll never want to drive somewhere without a sun visor and towel (to cover the steering wheel and car seat).
- 7. The city is easy to navigate.
Roads are well marked with plenty of signs which will help you feel like a pro in no time. Just beware of the “spaghetti bowl.” It’s a tangled mess of freeways, overpasses, and underpasses. And when it’s under construction, it can be a real time waster.
- 8. Vegas is a real city.
Aside from its reputation, not everyone lives and works in a hotel or casino. Las Vegas is an actual city with lawyers, accountants, doctors, and schools.
- 9. People are friendly.
They’re not the “share your life story at the mailbox” type friendly. But, they’re the smile and wave kind of friendly that make your day just a little bit better every time you step outside the house.
- 10. Vegas is built mostly on bedrock.
This means a couple of things. First, homes don’t have basements. Many people use their garage for storage or rent a unit out in town. Second, the ground can’t absorb large amount of water. So when it does rain, the water creates forceful streams down the streets.
- 11. Grocery stores are open 24 hours.
That’s right! Here, groceries stores are open all day (and night) long. They also carry beer, wine, and wait for it...liquor.
- 12. Slot machines are everywhere.
Have some change ready, because no matter what errand you’re running, you’ll find slot machines. They’re in grocery stores, convenience marts, shopping malls, and local gaming establishments.
- 13. Alternative schooling is popular.
Many families choose to homeschool or send their children to charter schools during their time in Vegas.
- 14. Traveling is made easy here.
Not only is there plethora of fun destinations with a day’s drive (Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Mount Charleston, Death Valley, LA, Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and more), but the McCarran International Airport is an ideal travel hub right here in your backyard.
- 15. Everyone and their dog will want to come visit.
Have a guest room ready for all your friends and family who want to explore the city with you. And have the name of a hotel for your friends who suddenly come out of the woodwork upon your new move.
- 16. You’ll become either a morning person or a night owl.
Since the desert heat feels oppressive, you might find yourself running your errands and activities in the morning or after sunset.
- 17. Foodies thrive here.
The celebrity chef themed restaurants, which balance between hearty steak dinners to a surprising amount of fresh seafood flown in daily from the coast, will make a venture to the strip worth it. And for dessert, you don’t want to miss The Paris Casino’s French bakery with chocolate eclairs that will make you wonder why you didn’t treat yourself to dessert first.
Excited to make the move and find your place in this thrilling city? Once you’re all settled in, be sure to leave recommendations on Military Town Advisor for your fellow military families to help them make a smooth transition to AFB Nellis too.
By Danielle Keech