Downtown Reno with the Sierra Nevada Range in the Background
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. A destination with something to offer for everyone. The second largest tourist destination in Nevada. Featuring great resorts designed to accommodate every taste. Gaming and family entertainment, outdoor activities, festivals, museums, fantastic cuisine, shows for everyone, art and culture. All steeped in a rich, diverse, and rugged history. This is it, the gateway to the old west. This is where the historic Johnson-Jeffries fight happened. This is where Marylin Monroe and Clark Gable made "the Misfits" in 1961. 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 (Nevada). Fuller set up shelter for weary travellers 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 4 seasons, winter and summer fun, a major university, and plenty of other entertainment.
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 rainfall is approximately 7 inches 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, and January is the coldest month, with an average low of 19°F.
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.
From Northern California
As both 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.
Don't be fooled by the fact that Las Vegas and Reno are in the same state - there's about 9 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).
The California Zephyr, which runs between Emeryville and Chicago, stops once a day in both directions in Reno. The station is full service, including an indoor waiting room and checked bag service. The station is in the middle of downtown Reno, and is within walking distance of all the downtown casinos.
Amtrak California also operates a 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.
Long distance bus transit in the state is mostly only along the I-80 corridor.
Greyhound maintains a depot in Reno and buses go daily to and from Northern California and Chicago and points east.
There are buses between Reno and Carson City that are operated by NDOT and the Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission .
The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (IATA: RNO)  is served by most major domestic airlines, including Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United, and US Airways. For the lowest fares, try to avoid flying into Reno on Friday, and out of Reno on Sunday. Continental and Frontier have ceased operation in Reno. Southwest Airlines features non-stop service to Boise, Chicago(Midway), Denver, Portland, Las Vegas, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego and Salt Lake City.
The airport offers free wireless for anyone wanting to surf the internet or do some work, and a vast number of slot machines for those with other interests.
Map of Reno-Sparks Area
Map of Downtown Reno
Reno is served by two freeways: I-80 running east-west, and US 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. A list is available at RNO's website .
Note that several agencies do not have fleets within the airport property. Most notably, Enterprise's fleet is located 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 , is operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County . The busiest route, the #1 bus, was recently replaced with two new 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 which opened Oct 31st 2010) 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 free, yellow 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 28th 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 1 1/2 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, ☎ (775) 333-3333.
Whittlesea - Checker Taxi, ☎ (775) 322-2222. Radio dispatched to insure prompt service.
Yellow Cab, ☎ (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 located 30 - 60 minutes outside of town by car. Therefore, renting a car is a good idea when visiting Reno.
Nevada Museum of Art. The current 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. Located in the financial district on Liberty Street, south downtown. It is a beautiful building, architecturally.
Wingfield Park. Located 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.
Reno Central Library. 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 60s 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.
California Avenue. 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.
University of Nevada, Reno. 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 at 775-784-4700.
Rancho San Rafael Park. A few blocks west of the north end of the University, this 570-acre county park is home to the Arboretum, as well as the Wilbur D. May Museum and the Great Basin Adventure children’s attraction (seasonal). This is the home of the Reno Balloon Races, held in late summer/early fall annually.
South Wells Avenue. A local neighborhood with a decidedly Latino flavor, this neighborhood features unique shopping and dining and generally winds down in early evening hours. Served hourly by the #19 bus from downtown.
Victorian Square. This is the center of downtown Sparks and features casinos, restaurants, a movie theater, and several redevelopment projects currently under construction. Home to the “Best in the West” Rib Cookoff every summer.
Idlewild Park. A nice stroll from downtown along Riverside Drive, Idlewild Park features Reno’s Municipal Rose Garden, as well as a seasonal kiddie park, a driving range (the exercise kind, not the golf kind), a skate park, and various walking trails. Located on the south bank of the Truckee River.
No entry on Reno would be complete without an overview of the various casinos in the city. In addition to gambling, these properties provide a variety of dining and entertainment opportunities and should not be overlooked.
Silver Legacy. This is the newest hotel/casino to be constructed in Reno, and was completed in 1995. It includes a cheesy “mint press” “churning out” souvenir coins as well as numerous dining options including several lounges, an oyster bar, a steakhouse, coffeeshop, rum bar with dueling pianos, and more. Owned through a joint venture by Gary Carano of the Eldorado and Circus Circus corp. Buffet is about a 6/10 scale for quality. 4/10 scale for price ($20 pp).
Eldorado. Connected to Silver Legacy via skywalks, the Eldorado is a pink neon masterpiece featuring a variety of dining options including the world cuisine Tivoli Gardens café, The Brew Brothers brewpub (with live music on Friday and Saturday nights), a steakhouse, seafood restaurant, La Strada Italian Restaurant, and more. Buffet is one of the better values in Reno, 8/10 scale for quality and hotness, 8/10 scale for price ($13 pp).
Circus Circus. Also connected to Silver Legacy is the Circus Circus. While this casino does not come highly recommended for its dining options, its Circus acts and midway arcade are great attractions for families so if you’re traveling with children, they should not be missed.
Reno Nugget. Not to be confused with John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, the Reno Nugget is a tiny casino on Virginia Street and features a great bar with strong drinks as well as a classic “greasy spoon” diner serving up the famous “Awful Awful” burger, which is a rather large burger served with a monstrous basket of seasoned fries.
Harrah’s Reno. Reno is the birthplace of Harrah’s, and the Reno location features all the usual amenities to be found at Harrah’s properties, and also includes a martini bar and an Asian noodle restaurant. Harrah's Steakhouse is reportedly quite a highbrow affair. Good buffet at 8/10, price is about $15.
Club Cal*Neva. The last downtown casino to be covered here, this property features affordable gambling of all types and a variety of cheap dining options. This is the classic “Reno-style” casino and should not be missed, especially for those who like to gamble.
Atlantis. This tropical themed casino resort features a variety of dining options including a pizza café with a real Italian pizza oven, a good buffet, and steakhouse. Located across the street from the convention center, south of downtown. Well served by the #1 bus. Buffet is one of the best in Reno in price vs quality. ($ 13)
Peppermill. 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 all the dining and entertainment options you would expect. South of downtown, well served by the #1 bus.
Grand Sierra Resort. This is Reno’s largest hotel/casino, located just up Terminal Way from the airport. It features a set of high-end luxury condos (starting at $245k and up to $1.1M) which can be rented separately from the hotel through Reno Luxury Resort or Indy's Hotel Condos at Grand Sierra Resort. The Hotel features a pool and nightclub that was operated by Nikki Beach, and many decently appointed standard guest rooms. You will find a whole host of dining options including a Charlie Palmer Steak, Dolce Enoteca e Ristorante, and a shoppiing mall, movie theater, seasonal swimming pool, video arcade, bowling alley and more. Well served by the #14 bus, though driving or taking a cab is recommended.
John Ascuaga’s Nugget. 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 upscale Basque-themed Restaurante Orozko, Trader Dick's Polynesian restaurant, The Steakhouse Grill, John's Oyster Bar, the newly remodeled Rotisserie Buffet, Gabe's Pub & Deli, and Starbucks Coffee. Also regular live, weekly music performances from local and national touring acts. Buffet is good at 7/10 but price is average at $13.
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.
Reno National Championship Air Races, Reno-Stead Airport, ☎ 775-972-6663, . September 14 - 18, 2011. 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.Note: The Reno-Stead Airport is a small regional airport located about 10 miles north of Reno. This airport has nothing to do with the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, the main commercial airport for the Reno-Tahoe area.
The Great Reno Balloon Race, Rancho San Rafael Park, . September 9-11, 2011.
Hot August Nights, Throughout Reno, . August 9th through August 14th, 2011.
Street Vibrations, ☎ 800-FOR-RENO, . September 21-25, 2011.
Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off, Victorian Square, Sparks, . Labor Day Weekend.
Reno Rodeo, ☎ 1-800-225-2277, . June 16-25, 2011.
Reno is Artown, . June 30 - July 31, 2011. Highlights:
Artown Opening Night Perla Batalla Wingfield Park June 30
Pink Martini with March Fourth Marching Band Robert Z. Hawkins Ampitheater July 4
Pops on the River Wingfield Park July 16
Doc Severinsen and the San Miguel Five Robert Z. Hawkins Ampitheater July 17
Open Door: India.Arie and Idan Raichel Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater July 19
Coeur D’Alene Art Auction Silver Legacy Resort Casino Grand Exposition Hall July 22 – 23
Stephen Petronio’s UNDERLAND Grand Sierra Resort July 30
Artown Closing Night: Playing For Change Wingfield Park July 31
World Music Series Wednesdays Wingfield Park
Discover The Arts Weekdays throughout July
Nevada State Fair, 1350 North Wells Ave., . On March 8th, 2011, The Board of Directors for the Nevada State Fair came to a difficult decision. Sadly, for the first time since the fair's 1874 opening, there will not be a Nevada State Fair in 2011, ending a 136 year run that established the Nevada State Fair as the longest running event in 'The Silver State'.
Brews & Blues Festival, Eldorado Hotel & Casino, ☎ 1-800-879-8879, . June 27, 2009.
Reno River Festival, ☎ 1-800-FOR-RENO, . May 6-8, 2011.
Virgina Street - Casinos
People enjoying the Truckee River
Casinos are Reno's most common visitor attraction.
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 exists 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.
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.
Reno is within two hours of an incredible number of ski resorts. Here is a short list.
Mt Rose Mount Rose Highway. This resort is at elevation 8200 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.
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.
Sugar Bowl I-80 to just above Donner Lake. Two base areas with a little village in between and an extensive network of terrain.
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.
Squaw Valley I-80 West to Truckee, then Highway 89 South. This legendary resort is home of the legendary KT22 and hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Reno offers a kayak park at Wingfield Park. Equipment rentals and outdoor adventures can be booked nearby.
Exploring the Truckee River Arts District  will give you firsthand experience of Downtown Reno's recent 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 - situated directly in the urban setting of downtown Reno . Kayak and raft rentals from Tahoe Whitewater Tours (800.442.7238) are conveniently 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 both 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.
One thing Renoites know is food! Check out some of these great spots:
Peg’s Glorified Ham ’n’ Eggs, 420 S. Sierra St., ☎ 329-2600.
Pneumatic Diner, 501 West 1st Street (in the upstairs of the Truckee River Lodge), ☎ 786-8888. M-Su ???-Midnight.
Jim Kelley's Nugget Diner, 233 North Virginia Street (in the back of the Nugget casino), ☎ 356-3300. Always open. Home of the Awful Awful, one of the best burgers in the state.
JJ's Pie Company, 555 West 5th Street, ☎ 786-5555.
Blue Moon Pizza, 6135 Lakeside Drive, ☎ 825-1120.
Pirate's Pizza, 180 West Peckham Lane #1100 (in the Reno Town Mall), ☎ 828-0900, . 11:30 - 9:00.
Louis Basque Corner, 301 East 4th Street, ☎ 323-7203.
Santa Fe Hotel, 235 North Lake Street, ☎ 323-1891.
Foley's Irish Pub, 2780 South Virginia Street, ☎ 829-8500.
Silver Peak Brewery, 124 Wonder Street (corner of Wonder and Holcomb Avenue), ☎ 324-1864, .
Ristorante Placido, 121 Vesta Street (corner of Vesta and Holcomb Avenue), ☎ 329-1110.
Island Buffet, 2707 S Virginia St (at the Peppermill Casino), ☎ 826-2121, . Comes up high on a google search for "Best breakfast in Reno", and is really fantastic.
Beto Mexican Food, 575 W 5th St Reno, NV 89503-4420, ☎ (775) 324-0632.
Reno Jazz Club, 302 East 4th Street, 322-5011.
Zephyr Lounge, 1074 South Virginia Street, 324-9853.
Flowing Tide Pub
10580 North McCarran Boulevard, 747-7707 (High Tide)
Comfort Inn & Suites Reno Airport, 1250 East Plumb Lane, Reno, NV, 89502, ☎ 775-682-4444 (fax: 775-682-4445), . The Comfort Inn & Suites at the Reno - Tahoe International is conveniently located one quarter mile from the Reno Airport.
Vagabond Inn Executive Reno, 3131 S. Virginia Street, Reno NV, 89502, ☎ 775-825-7134, . The Vagabond Inn Executive Reno is located near the Reno Sparks Convention Center, Reno Tahoe Airport, Peppermill Casino, Atlantis Casino and Mount Rose Ski Resort.
In addition, most major Reno casinos are hotel/casino resorts. See above for a link to a list of casino resorts.
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 three 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.
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 (the author prefers 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 Highway 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.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!