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Reno often gets overshadowed by the bright lights and flashy glamour of Las Vegas, but this unique city is a top destination in Nevada and has a lot to offer too in terms of nightlife, outdoor recreation, and family fun. With the nickname “Biggest Little City in the World,” you know you’re in for something special when you plan a trip to Reno! Here are the best ways to get to know this part of Nevada on a trip with family or friends.
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Reno is always really fun place to go out and enjoy the nightlife scene. It’s a bit more laid back and affordable compared to Vegas, but there are still plenty of casinos, bars, and live performances to keep you entertained night after night. In addition to the gambling establishments, Reno is packed with sports bars, cocktail bars, lounges, and dance clubs. Some popular spots include Faces NV, the Bluebird Nightclub, and LEX Nightclub. If you’re looking to dance, EDGE Nightclub in the Peppermill and Aura Ultra Lounge in the Silver Legacy Resort & Casino are also fun spots to check out.
During the daytime, Reno’s Riverwalk is definitely the place to be. This beautiful outdoor area is a lovely place to take a casual stroll and stop at restaurants and galleries along the way. The Riverwalk extends from Arlington Avenue to Lake Street and particularly has a lot to see and do on the southern end at CalAve. This is an ideal place to visit in Reno with kids, to get some exercise, or just to get a break from the nightlife scene. One of the most fun ways to experience the Riverwalk is to join the Wine Walk event on the third Saturday of each month from 2-5pm. Start your Wine Walk at one of the participating businesses, pay for your wristband along with a wine glass and a map, and then sample wine at the rest of the participating businesses throughout the afternoon!
Reno is one of the most popular places in the country to try your luck and casino-hop on a night out on the town. Whether you enjoy poker, blackjack, slot machines, or just walking around casinos to people-watch, there are endless opportunities for these pursuits in Reno. One popular casino here is the Eldorado Resort Casino, which has over a dozen restaurants and bars, a great buffet, and frequent concert performances. Other top casinos in Reno to check out are the Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa, the Peppermill Reno, and the Silver Legacy Resort & Casino.
What many people don’t realize about Reno is that it also has an outdoorsy side and is a wonderful place to take a hike. With vast desert landscapes and wide-open spaces, some top hiking destinations in the area are the Hole in the Wall, East Keystone Trailhead, and the Tom Cooke Trail. The Tom Cooke Trail, for example, is by the Truckee River and great for mountain biking and hiking with your leashed dog. Meanwhile, the Oxbow Nature Study Area Trail offers a beginner-friendly hike, the Hunter Creek Trail offers great views that overlook downtown Reno, and the Hidden Valley County Park Trail has some serious elevation gains to get your heart pumping.
Another interesting place to check out while you’re in Reno is the National Automobile Museum, which is a top attraction in Nevada. There are hundreds of cars here, including classic cars and race cars, as well as exhibits about the history of the automobile industry. Many of the cars here came from the personal collection of casino pioneer Bill Harrah, and highlights are the car from James Dean’s “Rebel Without a Cause” and the Thomas Flyer that won the around-the-world race in 1908.
In addition to hiking, the Reno area is also a great place for cycling, especially along the paved Truckee River Bike Path. This accessible path extends from Chrissie Caughlin Park to downtown Reno and also onto the neighboring city of Sparks. You’ll get views of the city, wetlands, and river along this 12-mile route and have plenty of options to stop explore along the way. Meanwhile, Rancho San Rafael Park and Idlewild Park have excellent biking opportunities as well. If you’re looking for something more rugged, check out the Peavine Trail System and the North Valleys Regional park – both north of downtown. These trail systems have routes to suit beginners through advanced mountain bikers.
Reno is home to an awesome craft beer scene, and there are some excellent places in town to enjoy a pint or flight here. One favorite spot in the region is Great Basin Brewing, which is dog-friendly and has a great outdoor space to sit outside and enjoy tasty beers. Stop by for “Tightwad Tuesdays” when most pints of beer are on special all day. Other highly recommended breweries to check out during your stay in Reno are Stoneyhead Brewing, Lead Dog Brewing, and the Depot, which is both a brewery and a craft distillery.
Reno is home to many fun festivals throughout the year, but an iconic local favorite is the Great Reno Balloon Race. This September festival draws in spectators from all over the region each year to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park for the multi-day event. Here you can see over 100 hot air balloons take to the skies and race each other to the Truckee Meadows south of downtown Reno. This is the world’s largest free hot air balloon event, and its history dates back to 1982 when just 20 balloons went up into the sky. Today, this is a beloved community tradition that features glow shows beginning at 5am, dawn patrol for balloons that are able to fly in the dark, and the impressive mass ascension launch. The event also has vendors selling souvenirs and food, tethered rides for the public, and a tissue paper balloon launch that gets local students involved.