If you don’t go to Las Vegas, you go to Reno. Known as the Biggest Little City in the World, this glittering desert city sits at the foot of the looming Sierra Nevada mountain range, which makes a pretty spectacular backdrop to the brightly lit array of high-rise buildings.
Reno knows how to pull out all the aces for visitors, offering up excellent outdoor activities, family-friendly entertainment, top notch dining and drinking, museums, concerts, nightlife and, of course, more casinos than you can shake a stick at.
Put the gambling chips to the back of your mind for a minute and make the National Automobile Museum your first stop in Reno. This fascinating and perhaps surprisingly well-curated museum will impress even those who aren’t raving mad about cars. Explore the evolution of automobiles over a century, with the vehicles on display positioned in recreated streetscapes to set the tone for your journey. Remember that sleek and sexy 1949 Mercury that James Dean drove in Rebel Without a Cause? It’s waiting for you at the museum.
Another museum in Reno worth visiting is the Wilbur D. May Center. This unique museum, which is set inside a ranch-style building, preserves the fascinating collections of Wilbur D. May, a former Reno resident, world-traveller and adventurer. Discover his exotic treasures, artefacts and taxidermy from all over the world before taking a stroll through the quaint botanical gardens.
And finally, on to the casinos. The Reno casinos, which are known for their colourful themes and whimsical architecture, are sightseeing destinations in themselves. Notable mentions include the family-friendly Circus Circus, Peppermill, Eldorado, Silver Legacy and the mythical underwater city themed Atlantis Casino. Is it any wonder this place knows how to do casinos like a pro? It is, after all, the birthplace of the Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation.
Eat and Drink
You can restaurant, bistro, buffet, and bar hop to your heart’s content around all of Reno’s casinos, but to experience the urban riverside flair of this fascinating city, head to the Riverwalk District. Stroll along the Truckee River and pop into any of the restaurants, bars, coffee houses and taverns that take your fancy. There’s plenty of international cuisine to choose from including French, Italian and Japanese, along with local specialties.
When it’s time to kick back with a drink, a great range of cocktail bars, English-style pubs, sports bars and wine bars are all on offer for an evening of fun. Adjacent to downtown Reno is midtown, where you’ll find great eateries and nightlife. Take a walk down South Virginia Street to get started.
Where to Stay
Most of the city’s flashy casinos have up-market resorts on-site so, if you fancy an adrenalin-pumping all-in-1 entertainment and accommodation option, simply take your pick. If that’s all a bit too dazzling for the senses, the Riverwalk District delivers a range of hotels that place you close to the walking trails of the Truckee River, restaurants and coffee houses.
The Truckee River Arts District, which spans the Riverwalk District and California Avenue (or CalAve to the locals), is great for a spot of retail therapy. Enjoy an afternoon of boutique shopping and gallery browsing before taking in a show at one of the theatres.
The West Street Market in downtown Reno is a local hotspot for shopping, eating and entertainment all rolled into one, while The Summit shopping mall on South Virginia Street is a 1-stop-shop for fashion, beauty, homewares and technology, with a movie cinema thrown in for good measure.
Reno Like a Local
Join the Reno locals and head down to Aces Ballpark to catch a game of baseball. Feel the buzz of a stadium game and soak up the vibrant atmosphere and entertainment as the much-loved home team, the Triple-A Reno Aces, are cheered on by crowds of locals. The ballpark is located downtown near the Truckee River and is within easy walking distance from the downtown casinos and hotels.