12 Best Things to do in Reno, Nevada (with Photos)

Although most people associate Reno with glitzy resorts and casinos, the city has much more going for it than just slot machines, poker tables and gambling games. Set at the foot of the soaring Sierra Nevada mountains, there are a wealth of great things to do in Reno with everything from spellbinding shows and sporting events to interesting museums and even outdoor activities on offer.

The second most populous city in the state after Las Vegas, Reno straddles the Truckee River and is often endearing called ‘the Biggest Little City in the World’. While its endless array of entertainment options and cultural tourist attractions have long enticed visitors to town, in recent years it has transformed into a major technology center. This has helped revitalize its delightful Riverside district which now contains countless thriving businesses, art galleries and pretty outdoor areas.

With superb skiing and snowboarding to be had in the nearby mountains and fun games, delicious dining and amazing shows to be enjoyed in its casinos, Reno certainly is well worth stopping by if you have the chance.

12. Greater Nevada Field

© dreamstime

Set just a short stroll to the southeast of the center, Greater Nevada Field is the perfect place to head if you want to watch an action-packed baseball game when in town. Home to the Reno Aces – the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks – the small but intimate stadium lies along the north bank of the Truckee River.

First opened in 2009, the ballpark has been enticing both locals and tourists alike ever since with its electrifying atmosphere and exciting games. From the stadium’s seats you can not only enjoy superb views over the immaculate field but the Sierra Nevada mountains off in the distance too.

Aside from enjoying the baseball game itself, there are several excellent eateries for you to try out with concerts, celebrations and other sporting events also regularly held at the ballpark.

11. Silver Legacy Casino

Silver Legacy Casino© dreamstime

Much more than just slot machines and card tables, Silver Legacy Casino boasts some of the best entertainment and nightlife in town. Set right in the heart of Reno, the resort’s huge tower and large white dome are instantly recognizable, particularly as the former is lit up so distinctively in green at night.

Often referred to as the ‘Emerald City’, the lavish and luxurious Victorian-themed casino opened in 1995 and still occupies the tallest building in town. Inside are over a thousand slot machines for you to play on with almost fifty table games and a poker room also on offer. Particularly impressive is the massive mining rig at the center of the casino that pays homage to Nevada’s silver mining heritage and occasionally spews out shiny coins.

Besides its unique aesthetic, its trendy bars and lounges, the casino is renowned for its stupendous shows, concerts and stand-up comedy nights that are performed by some of the biggest names in the game.

10. Reno Arch

Reno Arch© dreamstime

One of the city’s standout symbols and sights, Reno Arch has been an important part of downtown for close to a century. Now at its third location, the iconic, illuminated landmark can be found in the entertainment district, spanning the busy Virginia Street.

Originally built in 1926 to commemorate the completion of the Nevada Transcontinental Highway, it now instead acts as a popular tourist attraction and permanent downtown gateway. Emblazoned under ‘RENO’ on the wonderfully retro neon sign is the city’s slogan: ‘The Biggest Little City in the World’.

While it makes for a fine sight and photos during the day, Reno Arch looks even better at night when it is majestically lit up with thousands of colorful bulbs and flashing lights.

9. Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum

Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museumflickr/Travel Nevada

A fascinating place to visit, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum can be found just five minutes’ drive south of downtown. Home to lots of interactive exhibits and fun, hands-on activities, it offers an interesting insight into everything from art and engineering to science and technology.

Since opening in 2011, the state-of-the-art science center has proved to be very popular with locals and tourists alike. While its exhibitions on human anatomy, space exploration and local ecosystems are mainly aimed at children, adults will also appreciate the engaging activities and experiments.

Through thought-provoking puzzles and fun play zones, visitors are encouraged to invent, imagine and interact with the natural world all around them and learn more about science and technology.

8. Reno Air Races

Reno Air Races© dreamstime

Nestled just fifteen minutes’ drive to the north of the city, you can find Reno Stead Airport which is where the amazing Reno Air Races take place. Held every September, the multi-day aviation event attracts thousands and thousands of competitors and flying fans alike from all around the world.

Over the course of several days, pilots push their planes to the limit, racing across several categories and distances in their carefully maintained aircraft. In between the exhilarating events, exciting military flight demonstrations and acrobatic air shows take place with vintage planes, exhibitions and food stalls dotted about the tarmac.

Now one of the last remaining events and venues of its kind, the Reno Air Races are a wonderful place to watch ‘the world’s fastest motor sport’ which has been held in town ever since 1964.

7. Atlantis Casino

Atlantis Casinoflickr/Jim G

Located just ten minutes’ drive south of the center is the enormous, award-winning Atlantis Casino. One of the best places to dine, play and stay in the city, the tropical-themed resort has a fantastic spa for guests to enjoy with countless concerts, cabaret shows and comedy nights also being on offer.

Designed to look somewhat like the lost city of Atlantis, the luxury hotel’s three tall towers rise up dramatically against the sky with two Greco-Roman columns set atop of its Sky Terrace. The motif is continued inside its huge casino which impressively has 1,400 slot games and poker machines for you to play on with spellbinding shows taking place all the time.

Add in its innumerable table games and screen-filled sections that show sports competitions and racing events and it is no wonder that Atlantis Casino is one of the highest rated resorts in Reno.

6. Nevada Museum of Art

Nevada Museum of Artflickr/PunkToad

If instead of casinos it is a bit of culture that you are after, then you’ll certainly want to check out the excellent Nevada Museum of Art. Set in between downtown and midtown, it contains an astounding array of artworks with everything from paintings and photos to drawings and sculptures on show.

One of the oldest and most important museums in the state, it first opened to the public in 1931 with its impressive and extensive collection having delighted visitors ever since. Now set in a striking modern building, its gorgeous galleries primarily focus on natural, built and virtual environments and how humans interact with them.

In addition to its 2,000 or so artworks and interesting exhibitions, the museum also has two outdoor sculpture gardens to amble around with divine views over the nearby mountains to be enjoyed from its rooftop patio.

5. Mt. Rose Ski Resort

Mt. Rose Ski Resort© dreamstime

While numerous ski resorts lie within driving distance of Reno, the nearest is Mount Rose which is nestled amidst the soaring Sierra Nevada mountains. In less than half an hour you can find yourself shooting down the highest slopes in the area which feel a world away from the bright lights and slot machine sounds of the city center.

Located within Toiyabe National Forest, the superb ski resort first opened in 1953 and now has over sixty trails and three terrain parks for visitors to enjoy. Despite its name, its soft, powdery slopes are actually located on Slide Mountain which towers to a huge height of 2,955 meters in total.

Aside from skiing and snowboarding amidst its stupendous scenery, you can also stay in the resort’s lovely lodge with phenomenal views on offer wherever you go.

4. Peppermill Casino

Peppermill Casino© dreamstime

One of the most popular places in Reno to relax, dine and enjoy some nightlife in town is the award-winning Peppermill Casino which lies ten minutes’ drive south of downtown. With everything from pools and a spa to countless restaurants, bars and even nightclubs on offer; the luxury resort really is one of the best places to stay and play when in Reno.

Since being founded in 1971, the Tuscan-themed hotel has been enlarged and renovated numerous times with it now boasting the largest poker room in the city. Voted the ‘Best in Reno’, its stylish and elegant casino has an almost endless array of slot machines and table games for guests to enjoy with races and sports matches being shown around the clock.

With so many exquisite Italian-style restaurants, alluring lounges and luxury suites that combine old-world sophistication with modern amenities, Peppermill Casino is definitely not to be missed.

3. Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe© dreamstime

Lying just under an hour’s drive southwest of the city you can find the stunning landscapes, scenery and nature of Lake Tahoe: the largest alpine lake in North America. Surrounded by the scenic Sierra Nevada mountains, it offers up all kinds of fun outdoor activities with small cities and towns lining its shores.

Straddling the California-Nevada state line, the lake’s dark blue waters stretch endlessly away into the distance, hemmed in on all sides by beautiful beaches, lush forests and snowy mountains. Aside from basking in its beauty, you can also take sightseeing cruises which take you past popular spots such as the incredible Emerald Bay and Scandinavian-style Vikingsholm Castle.

In addition, fabulous hiking and mountain biking can be enjoyed along its shores with epic skiing and snowboarding to be had in the nearby mountains. With wonderful water sports and camping also on offer, Lake Tahoe makes for a great holiday or day-trip destination whatever time of year it is.

2. National Automobile Museum

National Automobile Museum© dreamstime

Home to a huge array of shiny cars, carriages and celebrity vehicles, the National Automobile Museum has long been one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Set on the south bank of the Truckee River, its huge collection is a treat to peruse with amazing makes and models wherever you look.

Founded in 1989, the museum’s four galleries now contain over 200 cars and vintage vehicles with the earliest dating to the 1890s. Impressively enough, the classic cars are displayed along authentic looking streetscapes in front of faux shop fronts and era-appropriate artifacts.

Besides unique models by Bugatti, Ferrari and Porsche, you can also see Cadillacs and Corvettes owned by famous celebs such as Elvis Presley, John Wayne and John F. Kennedy. With interesting exhibits and automobile art also on show, the museum is certainly well worth visiting if you have the chance.

1. Reno’s Riverwalk

Reno's Riverwalk© dreamstime

The main place to shop, dine and go out in the city, Reno’s Riverwalk is a delightful area to explore that has a wealth of things for you to see and do. Set alongside both banks of the scenic Truckee River, it is home to countless shops and restaurants with art galleries, museums and historic sites also dotted about.

Much revitalised in recent years, the district now acts as the beating heart of the city, enticing locals and tourists alike with its extensive array of unique boutiques, excellent restaurants and cultural attractions. Aside from its innumerable cafes and bars, there are also brilliant art and automobile museums for you to check out and some interesting architecture on show.

To top it all off, the area has pretty paths and parks for you to stroll about next to the Truckee River with its fantastic theaters and galleries making for a pleasant change from Reno’s glitzy casinos.

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