To be perfectly honest, being a digital nomad in Las Vegas is almost too easy. The city is cheap, the nightlife is crazy, and the rock climbing and hiking is close by. Perhaps because I spent less time in Las Vegas than in Salt Lake City, I don’t have as much to say about being a digital nomad in Las Vegas.
Despite arriving in Las Vegas in mid-April, the temperatures were prohibitively hot for much of our stay. Almost every day hit 90 degrees. We spent a lot of time huddled in air-conditioned coffee shops.
The Best Coffee Shops for Work as a Digital Nomad in Las Vegas
As I said above, we actually didn’t spend a lot of time out and about in Las Vegas. Instead, we spent most of our time at Sambalatte and Desert Wind Coffee. These two coffee shops were both great, but have very different feels.
Sambalatte is a two-level laptop-friendly coffee shop. Their AC is turned quite high, but the atmosphere is perfect for working. Almost everyone in the shop is meeting for work or tapping away on their laptops. Space is a bit crowded with all of the seating, but by midday, every spot is taken. As the name implies, Sambalatte plays samba music and focuses on Brazilian coffee.
I personally preferred Desert Wind Coffee, an unassuming little shop tucked into a strip mall. Their seating feels more like a living room, and their coffee is amazing. They roast everything in-house, and it’s clearly a bit of a community hub. Andrew didn’t like working there quite as much because we often were the only ones working on our laptops. As I wrote this piece, the very friendly owner came up to visit with us.
You can’t really go wrong with either option, but I’ll always go for the friendly and homey option, personally.
The Best Lunch Spots for a Digital Nomad in Las Vegas
Ok, 70% of the reason that Andrew and I went to Las Vegas is because of this place called Frijoles and Frescas. We discovered this place when we were in Vegas last July for Andrew’s birthday, and it’s possibly my favorite taco joint in the US.
Let’s start with price. Frijoles and Frescas starts off at roughly $9 for a taco meal that includes a drink and a side of rice and beans. Even after a run or a day of climbing, this was plenty for us.
The tacos are rolled in both a flour and corn tortilla, giving you a great mixture of taste and texture. The salsa is fantastic, and the tacos are overflowing with both food and flavor.
Then there are the frescas. Go for the strawberry – it tastes like a liquid strawberry, tasty little seed crunches and all. The frescas are refreshing and light, and we guzzled almost one per day.
I don’t think I’m doing this place justice, but my mouth is watering as I type. This place isn’t to be missed.
The Best Off-the-strip Dinner for a Digital Nomad in Las Vegas
Andrew and I really didn’t spend much time on the strip, largely because he just bought a drone and I just bought an iPhone X, and we’re both a bit short on cash right now.
Instead, we headed to Rainbow Road and visited Bar Forte, a Spanish-Tapas-meets-Eastern-European-cuisine place. I honestly don’t know how or why we found this place, but I’m glad we did. The spices on each table can be mixed with oil for a mildly life-changing bread dip experience, all before you even order your food.
The cocktails are adventurous and fun – I got some spicy ginger-and-citrus twist on a Moscow Mule with just enough rosemary. Andrew tried a drink called the Angry Bulgarian, we think. It was a bit sweet for him, so we swapped drinks halfway through the meal. No matter, I loved both drinks. The Angry Bulgarian was full of alcohol-soaked grapes, which were a perfect “dessert.”
Then there’s the food itself. I ordered the “Calamares Rellenos en su tinta,” essentially little baby squids cooked in their own ink and served over rice. Let’s just say, I wish that tapas came in bigger serving sizes.
Andrew ordered a Bulgarian dish that I won’t even begin to attempt to spell. It was homemade bread, filled with pickled cheeses and with a soft egg on top. You mix the egg in with the cheese and just gorge yourself. We split it and couldn’t finish it. The whole meal cost us under $50 including drinks, which is pretty great for Vegas!
The Best Day Trips for a Digital Nomad in Las Vegas
Aside from Frijoles and Frescas, we came to Las Vegas for one reason: Red Rocks National Conservation Area. This rock climbing mecca is hot even this time of year, but 100% worth the sweat. The rock walls are tall, with climbs often reaching above six rope lengths. The rock is varnished black over a rich red sandstone (I think, I’m no geologist). It’s cracked and full of dishes, deep cracks, and huge jugs. We stuck to easy climbing because I’m just getting back into it, and it was still a blast.
I’m easily scared right now (and easily tired), and Andrew was ultra-patient with me as we climbed up some long, easy climbs. Bring lots of water, and don’t be afraid of turning around if you get too hot.
If you’re not into rock climbing, it’s still worth a visit. We did a few test flights of Andrew’s drone and just hiked around with Barley some, too. You can stay in your air-conditioned car on the scenic loop, but I highly recommend parking and using your own two feet. The park is dog-friendly, but watch out for the plethora of spiny plants and poisonous reptiles and insects. There is a special beauty in the desert, especially at dawn or dusk.
Head up to Mount Charleston for a cooler day trip if you visit Las Vegas in the summer. There’s plenty of hiking as well as cooler rock climbing.
If you’re really wanting an adventure, Death Valley National Park is just over two hours away. This park is also ultra-hot in the summer, but its size and grandeur are worth the drive. You can always hike up the canyons or head for higher elevation to beat a bit of the heat.
I won’t even touch the nightlife for a digital nomad in Las Vegas. We all know that the Strip is worth at least a cursory visit to see the amazing excesses of humanity. Stay longer if you’re into that sort of thing, or move along if not.
Kayla is a biologist, writer, and web designer. She’s passionate about animal behavior, the science of habits, and anything outdoors.