Reno, the “Biggest Little City in the World” is located in the north-west region of the State of Nevada, right at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The second-largest tourist destination in Nevada, features resorts, gaming, family entertainment, outdoor activities, festivals, museums, fantastic cuisine, shows for everyone, art and culture. Home to over 20 casinos, Reno does offer a wide range of things to do–especially around the Truckee River and in the Arts District and Midtown District.
Also Read: A Travel Guide to the Wonders of Las Vegas
How To Get There
The Reno-Tahoe International Airport is located five miles southeast of downtown and is a major airport for commercial flights serving Reno, Carson City and Lake Tahoe.
Amtrak’s California Zephyr running between Emeryville and Chicago will stop once a day at Reno in both directions. The station gives full service, including an indoor waiting room and checked bag service. As the station is in the middle of downtown Reno, it is within walking distance from all the downtown casinos.
Note: During February and March, get your ticket for the Reno Fun Train. Departing from several Bay Area locations, the train lets you get the party started before you even arrive in Reno!
The scenic drive to Reno from the Bay Area takes less than half a day and makes for a perfect weekend getaway. You can either choose the most direct route along Interstate 80 or opt for a picturesque detour along Highway 50. Both options will give you plenty of photo ops and opportunities for adventure.
There are plenty of bus and shuttle options to Reno, Tahoe and stops in between. Greyhound Lines maintains a depot in Reno and buses go daily to and from Northern California. Amtrak California also operates a shuttle bus 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. Many Reno hotels also offer complimentary shuttles from the airport to their properties.
How To Get Around
You can take a car around Reno or even rent one! Nearly all national car rental agencies serve the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. A list is available at RNO’s website as well.
Reno’s transit system, called RTC RIDE, is operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. Fares may be paid on the bus by cash (exact change) or bypass. All RTC RIDE passes are available from the Pass Vending Machines, 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 abundant and efficient. 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.
Things To See In Reno
This 350-foot deep lake is the second-largest terminus lake in North America and features a variety of interesting rock formations.
Nevada Museum of Art
Located in downtown Reno, Nevada Nevada Museum of Art building was designed by Will Bruder and opened in 2003. It was established in 1931 and features everything from contemporary art to ancient artefacts.
Sitting on 38 acres 25 miles north of Reno, Animal Ark is a wildlife sanctuary. This education centre was established in 1981 to provide a safe habitat for abandoned, injured, and wild animals that could not be rehabilitated and released into their usual habitats.
Reno’s beautiful Truckee River flows north-easterly and is 121 miles long. It is the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe and drains part of the high Sierra Nevada, emptying into Pyramid Lake in the Great Basin. Downtown Reno’s updated Riverwalk area – located along the Truckee River between Arlington Avenue and Lake Street – draws art lovers and gourmands alike with its collection of galleries and restaurants.
National Automobile Museum
Irrespective of our age, if you are a car aficionado, a visit to the National Automobile Museum is a MUST! Home to over 200 glorious old cars, the entire history of the automobile is on display here. The collection includes including classic cars, sports cars and race cars, the oldest of them being from the late 19th and 20th centuries.
Shared with California, this lake features crystal clear cold water and is ringed by the forested slopes of snowy Sierra Peaks. Lake Tahoe sits only about 40 miles south of “The Biggest Little City” and is best known an as a skiing destination and an excellent summer getaway thanks to its sprawling beaches, ample boating and fishing opportunities and well-maintained hiking trails.
Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum
The Nevada Discovery Museum is a playground, hands-on science centre, and kids’ museum in downtown Reno. Explore everything from science and technology to engineering, art and math, with the Museum’s interactive permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions across its 67,000 square feet.
Best Time to Visit
Average temperatures in Reno vary drastically. But, your visit can easily depend on what you wish to do here. If the goal of your visit is gaming, then any time of the year is fine. But obviously, if you want to ski in Reno, then the best months are November through May. If you are for the very warmest time to visit Reno, the hottest months are July, August, and then June. Also, if you enjoy the glamour and crowds, May through October are the best months for you. Tourists are unlikely to visit Reno in November. Those willing to visit at these times will likely find it the least expensive month. Regardless of what season you decide to go, it’s better to visit Reno during the week. As throughout the year, during weekends, the hotels raise their prices and fill to the brim with weekend gamblers and visitors from Lake Tahoe.
Note– The busiest month in Reno is July, followed by June and August. Prices for hotels and flights will be most costly during these months.
What To Eat
Much like Vegas, Reno boasts plenty of all-you-can-eat buffets and upscale steakhouses, but it also offers some unique local eateries serving farm-fresh dishes. Reno also has a delicious (and growing) dining scene. You can find everything from rustic Italian to gourmet soups. But, if you need a break from casino dining, you can try Campo, an Italian eatery best known for its wood-fired pizzas and tasty pasta dishes. Or, if you’re into something that’s healthy and light, head to Great Full Gardens. It features a menu of healthy dishes, many that are gluten-free or vegan.
For foodies, there’s another area to explore: the Midtown District. Thanks to the work of small business owners, this neighbourhood underwent a renewal that welcomed in new restaurants, a microbrewery and a sophisticated speakeasy, among other lounges, eateries and coffee shops.