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Neon Biggest Little City sign at night in Reno, Nevada

Reasons to Visit Reno

Big fun in the biggest little city!

Really, try Reno

I know, it seems like everyone thinks Reno is the “poor unfortunate” of the Nevada landscape – but for my reality it’s a funky alternative to the loud glam atmosphere of Las Vegas. Reno is chill and offers so much more than mega corporate facades. Everything is smaller. The food landscape is excellent and not overrun with “celebrity” offerings. The entertainment, while not typically Adele-type headliners, exists organically with a constant barrage of unique events. Nature replaces the neon. And the best part – it’s CHEAP compared to Las Vegas. Here’s why I think it’s worth a look:

Events

I have been lucky be in Reno when great events were happening that I didn’t even realize were a thing.  I happened to be traveling there on separate trips during the Italian Festival, the Chicken Wing Festival and Rodeo. During these events the main drag (Virginia Street) is closed to vehicular traffic in favor of food trucks, booths, games and entertainment stages.

I have also been there for several of the city’s monthly Pub Crawls…Themes like: Superhero, Zombie and Santa Claus Pub Crawls make the city come alive on a Saturday night with thousands participating. It’s crazy to hang out amidst 3000 people wandering around in Zombie or Santa cosplay.

July is Artown month where every day of the month has an activity, show, performance, exhibition, or experience celebrating art.  Reno has the special event calendar down better than most places and offers something unique nearly every week of the year.

Hotels

There are several casino hotels in Reno. Some downtown, others dotted around the city. Nowhere is far away from anywhere else, so location is not a real concern here. If a casino resort isn’t your thing there are standard chain hotels available and local spaces like Whitney Peak downtown with a climbing wall that goes up the front face of the building. The pools are simple, no day club scenes that cost hundreds to enjoy. The room product is basic but comfortable with upgrades to suites available at reasonable rates. The Atlantis Reno is my favorite hotel, mostly because of their spa but also for their food selection.

Food Scene

It’s 80% local here, chains are available but why eat at a place you can eat at home? For breakfast, slide into Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs or head over to Two Chicks. Good lunches are everywhere: Beefy’s has a great burger but only 8 seats in the place so be prepared to get it to go. My guilty pleasure must have is Jimboy’s Taco’s, a regional chain that started in Sacramento. I’m gonna get clapback on this choice, but there is just something about Jimboy’s orange grease parmesan dusted ground beef tacos that just brings out my inner glutton. Dinner is the wildcard since you can find plenty of great non-corporate choices at the hotels like La Strada at Eldorado Reno or Bisto Napa at Atlantis. In town look at Smith and River or get adventurous at Louis’ Basque Corner. Pro-Tip: For those party weekends, you may need a little pre-dawn PHM (pre-hangover mitigation meal), hit up the Top Deck at the Club Cal Neva downtown – all the usual greasy spoon choices at crazy good prices!

What to do

Besides all the events going on, the outdoor sporting activities are diverse in both winter and summer. If you love the hiking, biking, kayaking, tubing, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating this is the right place. Day trips to Carson City, Virginia City and Tahoe are 30 minutes to an hour’s drive. Virginia City is a trip of its own, somewhat touristy, but with let-loose vibe. Buildings are kept pretty close to their original state in the 1800’s during its boomtown phase. If you are around in October, be sure to look up the date of the World Championship Outhouse Races, worth a trip up the hill to see this event!

Gambling

Well because it’s Nevada we have to talk about gambling.  You certainly don’t have to partake, but it’s there and it’s cheaper than Las Vegas. Table game minimums are still reasonable, all the games you are used to are available whether it be slots, video poker or tables. And comps seem to flow a little easier in Reno.  For those not understanding “comps” – when you gamble, you get a certain amount of value back in complimentary things like free food, discounted or free rooms and access to special events like slot tournaments.

Don’t dis Reno before you try it – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Take the money you save in lodging and food and spend it on more fun!

  • Truckee River in downtown

    Downtown Truckee River

  • Herd of Virginia Range Wild Mustang Horses in the snow

    Wild Horses

  • Outhouse Races in Virginia City, Nevada

    Outhouse Races in Virginia City

  • Neon Clown sign from Circus Circus Reno, Nevada

    Downtown Casino

Done