Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World" is located in the beautiful north-west region of the State of Nevada, right at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is the second largest tourist destination in Nevada, featuring resorts, gaming, family entertainment, outdoor activities, festivals, museums, fantastic cuisine, shows for everyone, art and culture.
Reno is steeped in a rich, diverse, and rugged history. This is where the historic Johnson-Jeffries fight happened. This is where Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable made The Misfits in 1961—the last completed film for both (Gable died in 1960, after shooting was complete but before release; Monroe died in 1962). It is where the railroad tumbles down out of the mountains from California to cross the Truckee River and begin the long journey east. It's difficult to walk the streets of Reno without seeing the history in this dynamic city.
Most Renoites consider the start of it all to be 1859, when Charles Fuller built a log bridge across the Truckee River and started charging to cross over it on the way to the Gold Rush in California or coming back to Nevada for the "Washoe Rush" in Virginia City. Fuller set up shelter for weary travelers to rest. He served meals at a price, and created an opportunity for prospectors to exchange stories and information.
The town site of Reno, named after Civil War General Jesse Reno, was established on May 13, 1868.
Since its beginning, Reno has spread across much of the Truckee Meadows. Reno and Sparks (a smaller adjacent city) now spread across this small valley separating the Sierra Nevada mountains to the West and Nevada's expansive desert areas to the East.
The profiteering characteristic of the founders may have occasionally plagued the course of Reno's subsequent generations. Some Renoites claim Nevadans are simply of a freer nature. Others think the city has repeated the steps of the goldrush era founders. Certainly, the choices made today are what will determine the true nature of the community. Regardless, Reno enjoys a pretty decent quality of life with four seasons, winter and summer fun, a major university, and plenty of other entertainment.
Reno is in Northwestern Nevada, at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and serves as the urban center for a region including nearby Carson City and the Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, and historic mining town Virginia City, home of the Comstock Lode. Along with the city of Sparks, Reno is located in the Truckee Meadows, and together they form the Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Area.
Competition in the last years of the 20th century slowed down the gambling business in Reno considerably. Given that its downtown centered around these activities for a good 50 years, the same downtown suffered. Downtown today has weathered the storm, and is improving with projects like a baseball and entertainment district and several condo projects that were completed despite economic slowdown. Growth in the area has continued due to its livability. Reno is working hard to build a different kind of city for a greater variety of tastes, and keeping that in mind will help the visitor see the town through the right kind of eyes.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Reno is at the western edge of the Great Basin, a zone stretching to Salt Lake City that does not drain to the sea - water is carried away by evaporation only. Average precipitation is approximately 7 in (180 mm) a year, with much of that occurring in the winter in the form of snow. July is the warmest month, with an average high of 91 °F (33 °C), and January is the coldest month, with an average low of 19 °F (−7 °C).
- 1 Reno Tahoe Visitor Center, 135 N Sierra St (inside Home Means Nevada. Park in garage at corner of 1st and Sierra - visitor center will validate parking). 10AM-6PM, closed for major holidays. Pick up guides, brochures and maps for the Reno, Sparks and Lake Tahoe area.
From Northern California
As Reno and the Sierra Nevada are popular weekend destinations for Northern Californians, traffic can be bad coming to Reno on Friday evening, and leaving Reno on Sunday evening, especially in the ski season.
The most direct route to Reno from Sacramento is via Interstate 80 over Donner Summit (7239 feet or 2206 m). This route sees a great deal of snowfall during the winter, and will shut down for periods of up to a day several times during a typical winter. Northern California residents also use U.S. 395 in Susanville, this highway stays at a lower elevation and has less problems of traffic and weather. Residents living in the Redding and Chico areas of California find this route safer and quicker. If you plan on crossing this or any other pass in the Sierra Nevada in the winter, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and always carry tire chains if you do not have four-wheel drive.
An alternative route is US 50 over Echo Summit (7330 feet). This route follows the American River up from the Sacramento Valley, and then drops into the Lake Tahoe Basin. From there you can continue on US 50 into Carson City, and from there head north to Reno on US 395, or continue around the lake to Incline Village and drop into Reno on the Mount Rose Highway. This route is two lanes only for much of the way, and traffic can be heavy both in the winter and the summer, and winter maintenance is not as good as on Interstate 80.
Passes across the Sierra south of US 50, aside from CA 88, are not maintained in the winter (from approximately November until May.) And when they are open they are out of the way and potentially dangerous.
From Southern California
The most direct route to Reno is via US 395. This route takes you up the Owens Valley to Bishop, past Mammoth Lakes, into Carson City and thence to Reno. The portion between Bishop and Carson City crosses three passes as high as 8,143 ft (2,482 m) that may have moderately heavy snowfall during winter storms. In that event it would be better to take U.S. 6 from Bishop over Montgomery Pass to U.S. 95 (north) which stays in much lower valleys with less snow. At Schurz beyond Walker Lake take 95(Alt) north to Fernley, then I-80 west to Reno.
From Las Vegas
Don't be fooled by the fact that Las Vegas and Reno are in the same state - there are about 8 hours of driving time separating them. Take US 95 north to Fallon, US 50 west to Fernley, and Interstate 80 west to Reno. If you're not a fan of desert landscapes, boredom is a serious risk on this trip. Winter weather will generally not be a large problem on this trip, but don't count on being able to find food or fuel outside the major towns (Beatty, Tonopah, Hawthorne, Fallon, and Fernley)
During the summer the heat along US 95 can be hard on you and on your vehicle. A much more comfortable alternative to cooking in your car is to drive during the night. Many of the dark stretches between the small towns along US 95 reveal numerous shooting stars and other astral phenomena that you might miss during the baking sun. Keep in mind that driving at night can be dangerous due to the visibility limitations from the hills and the mountains. Be sure to have a lot of rest before undertaking this trip.
From the East
The most traveled route to Reno from the east is Interstate 80. Interstate 80 follows the old Emigrant trail along the Humboldt river for most of the way across Nevada, and thus the grades are generally easy. However, it does this at the expense of swinging well north of the direct route to Reno. US 50 ("The Loneliest Highway in America") is more direct, but it crosses several large mountain ranges and thus has some tight curves, steep grades and a few switchbacks. Don't count on finding food or fuel along US 50 outside of the major towns (Ely, Eureka, Austin, Fallon and Fernley).
Amtrak serves Reno via its California Zephyr service between Emeryville and Chicago, and stops once a day in both directions. 1 Reno Station is in the middle of downtown Reno, on 280 N Center St, and is within walking distance of all the downtown casinos. The station is full service, including an indoor waiting room and checked bag service. Amtrak California also operates shuttle buses between Reno and Sacramento which connects to the Capitol Corridor, serving Northern California, and the San Joaquins, serving the Central Valley and points south, rail routes.
Intercity buses stop at 2 RTC Centennial Plaza Transit Center at 1421 Victorian Ave in Sparks; the airport; the downtown Amtrak station at 280 N Center St or another location. See the below listings as to where they are:
- 3 Flixbus, (bus stop) Silver Legacy Casino along 5th Ave (Stop under pedestrian bridge. If road is closed, alternative stop is diagonally across at the Circus Circus garage at 145 W 5th Ave), ☏ +1 855 626-8585. Connects Las Vegas to Sacramento, San Francisco, Stockton and Southern California.
- Greyhound Lines, (bus stop) 280 N Center St (at Reno Amtrak Station), ☏ +1 775-332-2950. Travels primarily on Interstate 80 between Sacramento, Reno, Lovelock, Winnemucca, Elko, Battle Mountain, Wendover & Salt Lake City. Passengers transfer in Sacramento, Oakland or Salt Lake City to get to additional destinations. They also have additional stops in Sparks and Carson City. Check schedules.
- Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe (RTC Washoe) Intercity, (north end of route) 4th St Station. Operates commuter buses between downtown Reno (along S Virginia) and Carson City.
- Eastern Sierra Transit, (bus stops) Reno-Tahoe International Airport and Centennial Plaza Transit Center in Sparks, ☏ +1 760-872-1901, toll-free: +1-800-922-1930. Goes south along US Hwy 395 towards Lone Pine, CA via Carson City, Mammoth Lake, Big Pine, Independence and Bishop. Buses operate on limited schedules from M-F. Check schedules closely before using this option.
- Sage Stage, (bus stops) Door 'D' at Reno-Tahoe International Airport and Amtrak/Greyhound Depot @ 280 N Center St, ☏ +1 530-233-6410. Goes north on US Hwy 395 to Alturas, CA via Susanville, Madeline & Likely in Modoc County, CA (Shasta Cascades Region). From Alturas there are onward buses to Redding, CA and Klamath Falls, OR on two other routes. From Reno they only operate once on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays on space limited basis. Reserve and check schedules closely before using this option.
- Megabus. Megabus runs routes to Reno from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
- See also: Air travel in the United States
- 4 Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO IATA) (5 miles southeast of downtown off of I-580/US Hwy 395 at Exit #65). The major airport for commercial flights serving Reno, Carson City and Lake Tahoe.
The following airlines serve Reno (some distant cities are seasonal and/or weekly):
- Concourse B:
- Delta/Delta Connection (Gates B8 & B10): (Minneapolis-St Paul, Seattle and Salt Lake City, Atlanta (Seasonal))
- JetBlue (Gates B4 & B6): (Long Beach & New York JFK)
- Southwest (Gates B1-11 odd numbered): (Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix & San Diego. Seasonally from Chicago-Midway)
- Concourse C:
- Alaska Airlines/Horizon (Gates C4 & C6): (Boise, Portland, Orange County, Seattle, San Jose CA)
- Allegiant' (Gate C11): (Los Angeles & Las Vegas)
- American Airlines (Gates C7-10 and C12): (Chicago O'Hare, Dallas Ft Worth & Phoenix)
- Volaris (Gates C2) (Guadalajara)
- United Airlines/United Express (Gates C1-5 odd numbered): (Denver, Los Angeles & San Francisco. Seasonally from Houston)
The only non-stop international flight offered is from Guadalajara, Mexico by Volaris. Additional international connections are made in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas-Ft Worth, Minneapolis, New York JFK or Chicago O'Hare depending on the airline you choose.
To travel from the airport to downtown:
- Taxi. $17+ 15% tip.
- RTC #19. Service only on weekdays. Takes 25min to travel from the airport to downtown (4th St station). The bus stop is at the north end of the center curb, outside of Baggage Claim. Follow the directional signs posted. $2 one way (or $5 for a day pass if requiring to transfer buses).
- Shuttles. There are additional local (door to door and hotel shuttle) and long distance shuttles to Lake Tahoe.
Reno is served by two freeways: I-80 running east-west, and US 580 (previously 395), running north-south. Circling the valley of the Truckee Meadows is the McCarran Blvd ring road. The primary business artery is Virginia Street, which runs north-south through downtown Reno. Major east-west routes include Moana Lane, Plumb Lane, Mill Street, Second Street, Fourth Street, and Sixth Street. Major routes running north-south in Reno include Keystone Avenue, Lakeside Drive, Wells Avenue, and Kietzke Lane.
Nearly all national car rental agencies serve the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Note that several agencies do not have fleets within the airport property. Most notably, Enterprise's fleet is 1 mile away from the terminal. However, the terminal includes an Enterprise service counter, they offer free shuttle service during business hours, and taxi vouchers and a pickup hotline for drop-offs after hours.
Reno's transit system, called RTC RIDE [dead link], is operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County [dead link]. The busiest route, the #1 bus, has been replaced with two services, RTC RAPID, a priority express bus making limited stops, and RTC CONNECT, the local. RAPID runs 15 minutes or better headways most of the day through Downtown Reno (a good place to start is the RTC 4th Street Station at 4th and Lake) and down South Virginia Street (the major north-south street) to Meadowood Mall. RTC RAPID should serve any tourist well for most shopping, dining, and gambling needs.
Other routes to know about are the #11, which runs between downtown Reno and downtown Sparks, and the Sierra Spirit circulator bus (7AM – 7PM), which connects various downtown destinations along the Virginia Street corridor down to the Truckee River to the south and the University of Nevada, Reno, to the north. In downtown Reno, all buses stop at or near the RTC 4th Street Station at 4th and Lake St, where you can also find The Bus Book.
Fares may be paid on the bus by cash (exact change) or by pass. All RTC RIDE passes are available from the Pass Vending Machines (as of March 28, 2011 all day passes are $4 at the station, if you buy them on the bus they are $5. One trip fare is $2, but asking for a transfer allows travel on any bus in any direction for 1½ hrs from the time of purchase. All major casinos have a bus stop for easy access), available at RTC 4th Street Station and Meadowood Mall, and may be purchased with cash, coin, debit or credit cards (cash only if purchased on the bus).
Reno's taxis are plentiful, efficient, and comfortable. At the airport, downtown or near any major casino they should be very easy to come by, in other places expect to call to arrange pick-up. Don't drink and drive.
- Reno-Sparks Cab Co, ☏ +1 775-333-3333.
- Whittlesea - Checker Taxi, ☏ +1 775-322-2222. Radio-dispatched to insure prompt service.
- Yellow Cab, ☏ +1 775-355-5555.
Reno is an interesting city, with plenty to see and do day and night; many attractions which should be considered "must-see" are 30–60 minutes outside of town by car. Therefore, renting a car is a good idea when visiting Reno.
- 1 Nevada Museum of Art, 160 W Liberty St (free parking), ☏ +1 775-329-3333, [email protected]. Tu-Su 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-8PM. The Nevada Museum of Art building was designed by Will Bruder and opened in 2003. It plays host to national and international touring exhibits in addition to smaller exhibits of regional significance. It is the only accredited art museum in Nevada. . $15/adult, $13/concession, $3/child.
- 2 Wingfield Park, 2 S Arlington Ave, ☏ +1 775-825-9255. Daily 5AM-10PM. Along the Truckee River just a few blocks from the casino core, Wingfield Park features an amphitheater with regular performances during the summer months, a kayak park open year round, and many pleasant spots to sit and watch the world go by any day of the week, at pretty much any time of the day. Home of annual events the Reno River Festival, held in May, and the Artown Festival, July 1–31.
- 3 California Ave. This area of small shops and restaurants is located a short walk from the downtown casino core and provides a pleasant setting for a meal.
- 4 University of Nevada, Reno, ☏ +1 775-784-4700. An ideal location for a pleasant stroll, the layout of the University campus was inspired by Jefferson's University of Virginia. Visitors will find a parklike setting with a variety of architectural styles, and the Fleischmann Planetarium. Guided walking tours are available by reservation.
- 5 Rancho San Rafael Park, 1595 N Sierra St, ☏ +1 775-785-4512. Daily 8AM-9PM. A few blocks west of the north end of the University, this 570-acre county park is home to an arboretum, as well as the Wilbur D. May Museum, a fishing pond and a large off-leash dog area. This is the home of the Reno Balloon Races, held in late summer/early fall annually. The northern half of the park connects to trail networks in the hills.
- 6 S Wells Ave (Bus #19 from downtown). A local neighborhood with a decidedly Latino flavor, this neighborhood features unique shopping and dining and generally winds down in early evening hours.
- 7 Victorian Sq. This is the center of downtown Sparks and features casinos, restaurants, a movie theater, and several redevelopment projects under construction. Home to the "Best in the West" Rib Cookoff every summer.
- 8 Idlewild Park, 2055 Idlewild Dr, ☏ +1 775-334-2417. A nice stroll from downtown along Riverside Drive, Idlewild Park features Reno's Municipal Rose Garden, as well as playgrounds, exercise equipment, a skate park, a swimming pool and various walking trails. On friday evenings in the summer there are dozens of food trucks. Located on the south bank of the Truckee River.
- 9 National Automobile Museum, 10 S Lake St, ☏ +1 775-333-9300, [email protected]. Daily 9 AM - 5 PM. You’ll see more than 200 eye-popping cars with authentic street scenes and sounds. The facades bring displays to life; a hardware store here, a movie theatre there which accompany artifacts from each era. Same day re-entry with receipt. $15/adult, $13/senior, $10/youth or military, children under 6 free.
- 10 Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (The Discovery), 490 S Center St, ☏ +1 775 786-1000. Children's museum with two stories of interactive exhibits. $13 Adult, $12 Senior, $11 Kid 1-17, Kids under 1 free.
- 1 Nevada Wolf Pack, Lawlor Events Center, 15th and Virginia, ☏ +1 775-348-PACK (7225) (select option 2). M–F 10AM–5PM. University of Nevada sports, competing in five men's sports, 10 women's sports, and one coed sport (rifle shooting), mostly in the Mountain West Conference. As with most major universities, the most widely followed sports are football and men's basketball. The Wolf Pack's rivalry with its sister campus in Las Vegas, UNLV, is especially intense. The main athletics venues are on campus, with the most notable being Mackay Stadium (football) and the Lawlor Events Center (basketball); the latter also houses the main ticket office for all Wolf Pack sports.
- 2 Reno Aces, 250 Evans Ave, ☏ +1 775-334-7000. Minor League Baseball in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, one of two U.S.-based leagues that are a step below Major League Baseball. The Aces are the top farm team for the Arizona Diamondbacks. $14–39.
- Reno Rodeo, 1350 N Wells Ave, ☏ +1 775-329-3877. mid-June. 10-day rodeo competition with championship events on the final day.
Tourism is the main focus of Reno, and a number of yearly tourism events are held in the Reno-Sparks area, mostly during the summer months.
- 3 Reno National Championship Air Races, Reno-Stead Airport, ☏ +1 775-972-6663. mid-September. Held every September just north of Reno, the National Championship Air Races have become an institution for northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. Each year, the event draws 200,000 visitors to the Reno-Stead Airport, attracting more than 86,000 unique fans. The event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations. The Reno-Stead Airport is a small regional airport about 10 miles north of Reno, not the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, the main commercial airport for the area. 2023 will be the final year this event is held in the area.
- 4 The Great Reno Balloon Race, Rancho San Rafael Park. pre-dawn to midday. Three day hot air balloon event over Labor Day weekend. You can see the balloons from all over town once they are up in the air, but if you would like a good spot to see them inflate and take off up close you will need to get to the park before 5am. Parking can be a challenge due to closed roads; be prepared to walk several blocks uphill. Free, parking on site $25-50.
- Hot August Nights, Throughout Reno. early August. Classic car show with free outdoor rock concerts.
- Street Vibrations, toll-free: +1 775-329-7469. Twice-yearly motorcycle rally in June and September.
- 11 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off, Victorian Square, Sparks. Labor Day Weekend.
- Reno is Artown, ☏ +1 775-322-1538, [email protected]. Artown brings distinguished artists from around the world to Reno each July for music, arts and theater performances throughout the Reno area. Mostly free.
- Reno River Festival, toll-free: +1-800-FOR-RENO (367-7366). mid-May.
If you win...
Chances are that, if you win it big in Reno and you are not a U.S. citizen your winnings will be subject to a 30% withholding tax from the US Internal Revenue Service. That $10,000 slot winning can dwindle quite quickly if that is taken off the top. Not to worry, though, you can reclaim your gambling winnings tax through a 1042-S form. You should get this from the casino so don't lose it... it is your starting ticket to getting your gambling winnings back.
Casinos are Reno's most common visitor attraction and no entry to Reno would be complete without an overview of them. In addition to gambling, these properties provide a variety of dining and entertainment opportunities and should not be overlooked.
If you see billboards or other advertisements for The Row, that refers to the trio of Circus Circus, Eldorado and the Silver Legacy. All three are Caesars Entertainment properties and connected with walkways so you can go through all three without setting foot outside.
- 5 Circus Circus, 500 North Sierra Street, ☏ +1 775-329-0711, toll-free: +1-800-648-5010, [email protected]. The circus acts and midway arcade are great attractions for families so if you're traveling with children, they should not be missed.
- 6 Club Cal*Neva, 38 East Second St, ☏ +1-775-323-1046, toll-free: +1-877-777-7303. This property features affordable gambling of all types and a variety of cheap dining options. This is the classic "Reno-style" casino and should not be missed, especially for those who like to gamble.
- 7 Eldorado, 345 N Virginia St, ☏ +1 775-786-5700, toll-free: +1-800-879-8879, [email protected]. The Eldorado is a pink neon masterpiece featuring a variety of dining options including the Brew Brothers brewpub (with live music on Friday and Saturday nights), a steakhouse, a sushi bar, La Strada Italian Restaurant, and more.
- 8 Silver Legacy, 407 North Virginia St, toll-free: +1-800-687-8733. This hotel/casino was completed in 1995 and is the tallest building in Reno. It includes a cheesy "mint press" "churning out" souvenir coins as well as numerous dining options including several lounges, a steakhouse, coffeeshop, rum bar with dueling pianos, and more. Other features include a concert venue with frequent shows and a comedy club open Thursday through Sunday.
- 9 Atlantis, 3800 S. Virginia St (across the street from the convention center, south of downtown), ☏ +1 775-825-4700, toll-free: +1-800-723-6500. This tropical-themed casino resort features a variety of dining options including an oyster bar, one of the last traditional casino buffets in town, and a steakhouse. Well served by the #1 bus. Other amenities include a pool, a spa and an arcade.
- 10 Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 East Second St, toll-free: +1-800-501-2651. This is Reno's largest hotel/casino and the closest to the airport. The Hotel features nightclub with a pool and many decently appointed standard guest rooms. You will find a whole host of dining options including a Charlie Palmer Steak, Chickie and Pete's sports bar, and a buffet (Thursday through Sunday only). In addition the resort features the outdoor Grand Adventure Land (go karts, mini golf and a giant swing), a discount movie theater, an arcade, a bowling alley and a driving range. Well served by the #14 bus, though driving or taking a cab is recommended.
- 11 Nugget Casino Resort, 1100 Nugget Avenue, ☏ +1 775-356-3300, toll-free: +1-800-648-1177, [email protected]. This is a big hotel-casino/resort located in Sparks' Victorian Square only minutes from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. It features a great coffee shop, Rosie's Café, as well as The Steakhouse Grill, John's Oyster Bar, and Starbucks Coffee. Also regular live, weekly music performances from local and national touring acts.
- 12 Peppermill, 2707 South Virginia Street, ☏ +1 775-826-2121, toll-free: +1-866-821-9996. If you've been to Vegas and seen the Peppermill on The Strip, you might just have to do a double-take when viewing Reno's Peppermill. This is a large, well-appointed hotel/casino, with numerous dining options and a full-featured spa. Also South of downtown, well served by the #1 bus.
The granite faces around the Reno area offer fantastic rock climbing locations for experienced climbers, such as Donner Pass and Big Chief near Lake Tahoe. For those who are less experienced, or just want to stay indoors, there are also three climbing gyms in Reno that offer good training and a fun time.
- 13 Basecamp, 255 N Virginia St, ☏ +1 775-398-5443. Open climb daily 6AM–10PM. This gym is part of the Whitney Peak hotel, but is open to anyone and is the only one in downtown. Basecamp has a small fitness center, 7,000 square feet of bouldering walls inside, and top rope walls on the outside of the building. Two of these top rope routes actually go up the whole side of the Whitney Peak building, making it the Guinness Book of World Records "World's Tallest Artificial Climbing Wall" at 164 feet. $17 for adults, $12 for kids (14 and under), seniors (55 and over), students, and active members of the military, EMT, fire, police, and sheriff's department, etc. $50 for the big wall.
- 14 Mesa Rim, 970 Harvard Way, ☏ +1 775-507-4255. Open climb M–F 6AM-10PM, Sa Su 8AM–8PM. This is the newest and largest climbing gym in Reno. The place has bouldering, top rope, and lead walls, plus a fitness center and a yoga studio. $19 day pass, $16 for students, fire and rescue, military, EMT, and police.
- 15 Rocksport, 1901 Silverada Blvd, ☏ +1 775-352-7673, [email protected]. Open climb M–F 10AM–10PM, Sa Su 10AM–8PM. The first climbing gym in Reno, this place boasts 7,500 square feet of terrain, 35 foot top rope and lead walls, and bouldering walls. All indoor, very family friendly. $17 for adults, $12 for kids (under 14), seniors (over 61), students, and military.
Reno offers a kayak park at Wingfield Park. Equipment rentals and outdoor adventures can be booked nearby.
The open desert terrain that surrounds much of Reno, especially to the Northwest, offers some fantastic mountain biking. Peavine mountain has many networks of trails that are a biker's paradise, most of it singletrack, and most of it technical. Many cyclists start near Rancho San Rafael Park to access the Peavine trails. Be careful, however, as there are often gun-happy residents shooting away, not always sober, farther out in the government lands; also be sure to bring plenty of water, as the desert heat can be quite oppressive. Find more information in books such as Mountain Biking Reno & Carson City: Best Trails by R.W. Miskimins. Nearby areas, like Lake Tahoe offer even more for the mountain biker, such as Tahoe's famous Flume Trail.
There is a rather good bike trail along the Truckee River which extends from the eastern fringes of Sparks to the western limits of Reno and beyond. The section inside city limits is fun and easy for bikers of any skill level, but is actually only a section of the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway which—when completed—will run from Lake Tahoe all the way to Pyramid Lake: 116 miles in total. Another paved and mostly flat bike trail runs alongside Veterans Parkway in the southeast.
Reno and its surrounding areas have thousands of miles of hiking trails, ranging from park strolls to mountain wilderness treks. Washoe county maintains a Truckee Meadows Trails guide, though this is not comprehensive for all trails in the region.
- Evans Canyon and the "N". Begins in the northern half of Rancho San Rafael Park. For a moderate hike, the Evans Creek trail runs in a loop on both sides of the eponymous canyon creek. There is also "the N", a massive whitewash painted landmark set into the side of a hill on the north end of the park. Two trails lead up to the N: a longer but easier route from the side, or a harder straight ascent from the base of the hill.
- 16 Mt. Rose Trail. Hiking to the peak and back is over ten miles and takes a large portion of the day but rewards you with some very impressive panoramic views on a clear day. For a shorter excursion, the waterfall around halfway up makes a good turn-around point. Very good area for wildflower viewing.
Reno is within two hours of an incredible number of ski resorts. Here is a short list.
- 17 Alpine Meadows, 2600 Alpine Meadows Rd, CA.
- 18 Mt Rose, Mount Rose Highway. The closest ski resort to Reno. This resort is at elevation 8,200 ft (2,500 m) and has a great layout and an impressive array of terrain for its no more than 1500 of rise off the base. Good powder here.
- 19 Heavenly (The Mountains above the Carson Valley, up Highway 207). Lake Views on one side (you're literally skiing above the casinos at the south end of the lake) and the desert valleys and pow pow on the other side. Huge amount of terrain and claims to have the West's largest snowmaking system for those dry years.
- 20 Sugar Bowl (I-80 to just above Donner Lake). Two base areas with a little village in between and an extensive network of terrain.
- 21 Diamond Peak (Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe). Ski right above Lake Tahoe on a well laid-out network of runs. They have carpetloader lifts, so be prepared for a strange boarding experience. Small resort, family-friendly.
- 22 Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley), 1960 Olympic Vly Rd, Olympic Valley, CA (I-80 West to Truckee, then Highway 89 South), ☏ +1 800-403-0206. This legendary resort is home of the legendary KT22 and hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Reno is the closest major city to Black Rock City and the corresponding Burning Man festival. Many burners pass through Reno on the way to Black Rock City, and many Reno businesses cater to burners by stocking extra water and camping supplies during the Burning Man week. Some hotels offer Burning Man discounts for travellers staying overnight in Reno.
Exploring the Truckee River Arts District will give you firsthand experience of Downtown Reno's 21st-century urban renaissance. There are two main shopping and dining hubs in the district:
- The "Riverwalk" area. The North end of Reno's Riverwalk District meanders along Reno 's beautiful Truckee River. Most of the retail activity on this end is situated along First Street between Lake St. (east) and Arlington St. (west). This end of the district has galleries, coffee shops, great dining including a brewery and a French restaurant and even a movie theater. Reno 's renowned Truckee River Whitewater Park runs directly through this area offering visitors even more adventurous outdoor activities in the urban setting of downtown Reno. Kayak and raft rentals from Tahoe Whitewater Tours (☏ +1-800-442-7238) are available at Wingfield Park, located at the 1st and Arlington Street area.
- The "CalAve" area. CalAve is the section of the Truckee River Arts District that runs along California Avenue. This area forms the southernmost border of the district and is quickly becoming Reno 's pre-eminent neighborhood retail, restaurant, entertainment and business district. CalAve is a must-see with highlights such as the Chocolate Bar - a trendy place to sip alcoholic and nonalcoholic chocolate drinks while sampling addictive confections like their Chili-Infused Truffles. Enjoy a slice of Blue Moon's famous gourmet pizza or enjoy wine, cheeses and other lunch specialties at the Cheese Board. The retail options on CalAve will satisfy the serious shopper offering a variety of upscale clothing, shoe and home decor shops.
- 1 Meadowood Mall, 5000 Meadowood Mall Cir, ☏ +1 775-827-8450. Anchored by Macy's, JC Penny and Dick's Sporting Goods. Also features a Round One arcade and Cheesecake Factory.
- 2 The Summit, 13925 S Virginia St, ☏ +1 775-853-7800. Includes an Apple Store, Dillards, Pottery Barn and a movie theater.
One thing Renoites know is food! Check out some of these great spots:
- 1 Peg's Glorified Ham 'n' Eggs, 420 S Sierra St (downtown), ☏ +1 775-329-2600. Daily 6:30AM-2PM. Peg's is always busy for brunch, but well worth the wait. A local favorite. There are actually five of these in Reno, the other four at 196 Lemmon Dr (North Reno), 6300 Mae Anne Ave (West Reno), 720 S Meadows Pkwy (South Reno), and 1495 E Prater Way (Sparks). The downtown location is the original. $10-17.
- 2 JJ's Pie Company, 555 W 5th St, ☏ +1 775-786-5555. Sports, beer, pizza, and subs.
- 3 Smiling with Hope Pizza, 6135 Lakeside Dr, ☏ +1 775-825-1070.
- 4 Louis' Basque Corner, 301 East 4th St, ☏ +1 775-323-7203.
- 5 Beto's Taqueria, 575 W 5th St, ☏ +1 775-324-0632.
- 6 El Adobe Cafe, 55 W Arroyo St (right off S Virginia), ☏ +1 775-327-4422. Su-Th 10AM-8PM, F Sa 10AM-10PM. Sit-down Mexican food. Family owned and operated. $11-15 ish.
- 7 Miguel's (original), 1415 S Virginia St, ☏ +1 775-322-2722. Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. Mexican restaurant that's been here forever (actually since 1959). Also family owned and operated. about $10.
- 8 Miguel's (South Reno), 13901 S Virginia St, ☏ +1 775-851-0500. Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. Mexican restaurant that's been here forever (actually since 1959). Also family owned and operated. about $10.
- 9 Toucan Charlie's, 3800 S Virginia St (Inside Atlantis), ☏ +1 775-824-4433. M-F 11am - 3pm, 4:30 pm - 9 pm; Sa-Su 9am - 3pm, 4:30pm - 9pm. All casino buffets in the area closed during COVID restrictions and most did not reopen. Of the remaining buffets, this is by far the best. $33-53, lower for children and club members.
- 1 LEX Nightclub, 2500 East Second St (At Grand Sierra Resort and Casino), ☏ +1 775-789-5399, [email protected]. Daily 9PM - 4AM. LEX features three full bars, 33 VIP tables and deluxe amenities. The nightclub also features nine intricate skylights, a $2 million lighting system and an adult indoor pool partially covered by a glass dance floor, creating the illusion of dancing on water.
- 2 Flowing Tide Pub. Locations on 10580 North McCarran Boulevard and 465 South Meadows Parkway.
- 3 Sierra Tap House, 253 W 1st St (On Truckee Riverwalk), ☏ +1 775-322-7678.
- 4 The Depot, 325 E 4th St, ☏ +1 775-737-4330. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-9PM. Craft brewery/distillery and restaurant with 6 different beers 4 kinds of spirits.
- 5 The Z Bar, 1074 South Virginia St, ☏ +1 775-348-1723.
- 6 Great Basin Brewery, 5525 S. Virginia St., ☏ +1 775-284-7711. Su M 11AM-9PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-10PM (Reno location opens Su at 9:30AM). Brewery, distillery and restaurant.
Most visitors to Reno stay at one of the hotel/casino resorts. See above for a list of casino resorts. There are however many options for those that don't want to stay at a casino.
- 1 Motel 6 Reno - Livestock Events Center, 866 N Wells Ave, ☏ +1 775-786-9852, fax: +1 775-786-3162.
- 2 Best Western Airport Plaza Hotel, 1981 Terminal Way, ☏ +1 775-348-6370, toll-free: +1-800-648-3525, fax: +1 775-348-9722.
- 3 Comfort Inn & Suites Reno Airport, 1250 East Plumb Ln, ☏ +1 775-682-4444, fax: +1 775-682-4445. The Comfort Inn & Suites at the Reno - Tahoe International is conveniently located one quarter mile from the Reno Airport.
- 4 Courtyard Reno, 6855 South Virginia St, ☏ +1 775-851-8300, fax: +1 775-851-8311.
- 5 Residence Inn Reno, 9845 Gateway Dr, ☏ +1 775-853-8800, fax: +1 775-853-8805.
- 6 Whitney Peak Hotel, 255 N Virginia St, ☏ +1 775 398-5400, [email protected]. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A good choice for the traveler that wants to be downtown but not in a casino. Right next to the Reno Arch. Non-smoking.
- 2 Washoe County Library, 301 S Center St, ☏ +1 775-327-8300. M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa-Su 10AM-2PM. Reno's library was designed by an architect who wanted to set it in a park. There was not enough land available for both a park and a library, so he brought the park inside the building. This library is an excellent example of inspired architecture from the 1960s that actually stands the test of time and is worth a visit just to see the innovative treatment of the periodicals section in the basement. Free.
Regionally, Reno features a variety of attractions which are hard to beat. These attractions are best experienced during the spring, summer, and early fall, as wintertime in the area renders most of them closed. Reno gets cold in the winter, so if you're visiting in the winter, look to ski resorts to entertain you during the day.
- There are several world-class ski areas within a one-hour drive of Reno, including Squaw Valley (home of the 1960 Winter Olympics), Heavenly and Alpine Meadows.
- The eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park is 150 miles south (on US395 to California 120; allow at least 3 hours), and is generally much less crowded than the western entrances. Excellent dayhiking and backpacking are found around Tuolomne Meadows and Dana Pass before descending into more crowded Yosemite Valley. However, beware of this entrance if you suffer from altitude sickness - the elevation of the park gate is nearly 10,000 feet.
- Washoe Valley: Bower's Mansion & Davis Creek Park. Washoe Valley is a very picturesque valley located about 30 minutes south of Reno by car (US-395) and features two great regional parks which should not be missed: Bower's Mansion and Davis Creek Park. Davis Creek park features the creek of the same name and a great pond for winter ice skating (conditions permitting) as well as fantastic access to the Sierra Nevada mountains (it sits at the base) Features campsites and showers. Bower's Mansion is a park with a swimming pool open in the summertime and the mansion which is the park's namesake. Tours of the mansion are available throughout the day in the summertime and well worth it – telling a story of the enrichment and eventual tragic downfall of a family which struck it rich on the Comstock Lode. Washoe Valley is also home to Washoe Lake State Park. In years when the lake is full, this park features a boat landing and some of the best windsurfing to be found, plus campsites, and some fantastic scenery.
- Virginia City. The home of the Comstock Lode, this was once the largest city between Denver and San Francisco. It is a historic landmark district and can be accessed from Reno via Geiger Grade (Hwy 341, east from Mt Rose Junction south of town) or Mound House just east of Carson City (also via Hwy 341) If you are not comfortable with mountain driving it may be worth your time to go through Carson City. Worth it to have a drink at one of its storied saloons (a popular one is Bucket of Blood, others abound), to wander its historic C Street, wander through its cemetery, and if you're a train buff, to ride the V&T tourist train (and learn more about the ongoing efforts to recreate the original route of this historic short-line railroad).
- Carson City. From its founding this town was intended to be Nevada's capital city. The historic Carson City mint is now home to the Nevada State Museum, with exhibits dealing with everything from prehistoric native life to the Old West mining boom to the current day. The State Capitol Complex is an ideal location for a stroll and a look inside the political history and workings of the state, especially in springtimes of odd-numbered years, when the Legislature is in session. A tour of historic homes and the personalities behind them can be taken by following the blue lines on the sidewalks, beginning from downtown. The Brewery Arts Center features theater, live music, and visual arts offerings throughout the week.
- Lake Tahoe. Shared with California, this alpine lake features crystal clear cold water, and a variety of attractions including the MS Dixie paddlewheel trawler, Vikingsholm Castle, and the South Lake Tahoe/Stateline casino and tourist center. Other notable things to see and do include the picturesque California town of King's Beach, in addition to beaches and parks at Crystal Bay, Zephyr Cove, and more. 45 minutes from Reno via Hwy 431, the Mount Rose Highway; with a less treacherous drive through Carson City via Highway 50 West taking an hour and a half.
- Pyramid Lake. The second largest terminus lake in North America, this desert lake features a variety of interesting rock formations and is home to endangered but large Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. A high holy site to the native Paiute Indians, it is contained entirely within the Paiute Reservation. Fishing, boating and swimming are available, though caution is advised for the latter two (random windstorms and undercurrents belie the relatively placid appearance the lake usually assumes). Roughly an hour north of town, on Pyramid Highway, SR 428.
- U.S. Route 50 eastward across Nevada, nicknamed the Loneliest Road in America crosses semi-desert mountains and valleys and passes through historic mining towns Austin, Eureka and Ely, then at the Utah line, the entrance to Great Basin National Park.
|Routes through Reno|
|Sacramento ← Truckee ←||W E||→ Winnemucca → Salt Lake City|
|Sacramento ← Truckee ←||W E||→ Sparks → Salt Lake City|
|Alturas ← Susanville ← ends ←||N S||→ Carson City → to Bishop|