If Las Vegas is the first thing you think of when Nevada comes to mind, you’re not alone. But the state has a lot more to offer, including must-see destinations like Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon and Lake Tahoe. The Silver State is also home to cool communities packed with restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, and no matter the season, outdoor adventurers have plenty to experience (mountain biking, fishing and skiing, to name just a few activities).
Thinking a move to Nevada might be in your future, but not sure if you have the necessary funds? Below you’ll find the five most affordable cities in the state, but please keep in mind: These cities aren’t necessarily just the cheapest places in Nevada. Instead, we looked at the average cost of living, as well as key components such as transportation, housing, dining options and utilities. From this, we looked for cities that offer a nice balance between affordability and quality of life. Check ‘em out:
Many people are surprised to learn that a substantial portion of the Las Vegas Strip is actually in Paradise. That’s right – most of the Strip’s famous attractions, like Caesar’s Palace and Wynn Las Vegas, are part of the unincorporated town of Paradise.
Even if fancy hotels, casinos and Cirque de Soleil shows don’t interest you, you’ll still find plenty to do in and around Paradise. For example, the town is home to Sunset Regional Park, an outdoor haven with several miles of walking paths, playgrounds, sports fields and amenities, a splash pad and much more. Residents also have quick access to Clark County Wetlands Park, which covers nearly 3,000 acres and offers opportunities for hiking, cycling and horseback riding.
Paradise’s many advantages come at an affordable rate. The median household income is $45,390 and the median home price is $151,900 (well below the state average).
Located just outside Las Vegas, Henderson is a popular retreat for those seeking an escape from Sin City’s hustle and bustle, but who want proximity to its exciting attractions. Basically, you get the best of both worlds in Henderson, and its place on our 100 Best Places to Live list represents that.
The city lays claim to seven gorgeous golf courses, and residents are just minutes from Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Henderson is also home to can’t-miss shopping centers, including The District at Green Valley Ranch, Galleria at Sunset and MonteLago Village, making it a perfect place for a little retail therapy.
Good news: You can probably afford to live here (and even enjoy a little shopping). The median household income in Henderson is $63,830, higher than the national average, which makes the median home price, $207,500, pretty reasonable.
In Reno, nicknamed “The Biggest Little City in the World,” residents' high quality of life doesn’t come with a high price tag. We like it so much that we've thrice named it one of the 100 Best Place to Live in America, and it scored a spot on our list of the 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs.
Reno’s median household income is $46,489, and its median home value is $200,800 – not bad, especially considering all it has to offer. Residents can try their luck at the city’s array of casinos, including Peppermill Casino, Eldorado Resort Casino and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, and many locals enjoy shopping and dining in the Reno Riverwalk District. Another popular attraction is the National Automobile Museum, where visitors can see more than 200 vehicles.
Prefer outdoor activities? Baseball fans can catch games at the Reno Aces Ballpark, while skiers can hit the slopes at the nearby Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, a 25-minute drive from Reno.
Located less than 4 miles away from Reno at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Sparks draws outdoor enthusiasts with its many hiking, cycling, camping and climbing opportunities. The city also has 50 parks and the Sparks Marina, which includes 80 acres of water perfect for swimming, boating, fishing and scuba diving.
In addition, Sparks hosts several fun events each year, giving the community a tight-knit feel. Its annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is America’s largest free-entry barbecue festival, while the Sparks Hometowne Christmas Celebration, a 30-year tradition, gets locals in the holiday spirit with a parade, tree lighting ceremony, live music and more.
Fortunately, living in Sparks is a feasible option for most people. The city’s median household income is $53,481, and its median home price is $176,500.
1. Carson City
Carson City, Nevada’s capital, has a relaxed college-town vibe that appeals to people of all ages (including retirees, which is why we included it on our 2015 Top 10 Best Places to Retire list). The community is home to Western Nevada College, and it’s a short drive from Sierra Nevada College, giving residents easy access to educational programming, art-focused events and more.
One of Carson City’s biggest draws is its proximity to Lake Tahoe, where locals enjoy the great outdoors during all four seasons, with activities like paddle boarding, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, hiking and camping. The Carson City area also includes the Divine Nine – nine world-class golf courses, many designed by some of the sport’s most famous architects.
Already packing your bags? Lucky for you, living in Carson City won’t break the bank; the city’s median household income is $50,108, and its median home value is $188,000.