Things to do in Reno, NV

Get Your Bearings in Reno

By Christina Nellemann
Reno Expert

See & Do

Things to See

When staying in the downtown area, get out of the immediate downtown area to find Reno attractions. Take a photo of the Reno Arch and then move on down to the Reno Arts District and the Truckee River. The downtown area over the years has fallen apart in some areas and has flourished in others. The river area is full of restaurants, shopping, bars, parks and people-watching. Take in a Reno Aces game or watch the kayakers on the river. Visit the Automobile Museum or take a walk to Idlewild Park. You will be surprised as how much nature the area has to offer.  


The downtown strip area at night unless you are in a group.

Where to Stay

When people come to Reno, they mostly stay in the convenient downtown hotels like the Eldorado, the Silver Legacy and Harrah's Reno. The other large casino resorts like the Grand Sierra Resort, the Atlantis and the Peppermill are farther away from downtown, but are closer to the airport and special events like Hot August Nights and Street Vibrations.


The small motels off the main strip.

Hot Tips:

The downtown area is small and it's easy to walk around.

What to Eat

For such a small city, the Reno restaurant scene is varied and interesting. Many restaurants pride themselves on serving locally raised meat and vegetables and the local breweries are fast becoming some of the most popular places in town. Restaurants like the 4th Street Bistro, LuLou's and La Strada at the Eldorado bring a Reno twist to gourmet food.

Be Sure to Sample:

The famous Awful Awful Burger and the area's popular AYCE sushi.

Places to Party

Reno has has a multitude of bars and dance clubs. For an excuse to dress up, visit the upscale Roxy's at the Eldorado. If you like live music, try the Knitting Factory downtown or enjoy some Irish tunes or trivia night at Ceol Irish Pub. If you want to enjoy some classic Reno and meet locals, go to the Sierra Taphouse which is located right on the Truckee River and is a great place to be during the summer.

Hot Tips:

Nearly every month, Reno has either a wine walk or a beer crawl. For just a few dollars, you can get a glass or cup and wander from bar to bar until you can't wander anymore.

Explore Further

Where to Shop

The best places to go shopping in Reno are some of the fun and funky local shops that dot the areas just south of downtown. This area is called Midtowna and is a great place to shop for vintage clothes, antiques and handmade items. Reno does have large malls like the Summit and Legends at the Sparks Marina, but supporting local shops like Junkee Clothing Exchange, the Craft wine and beer shop and Sundance Books are what Reno locals try to do.

Best Local Souvenir:

The local store, Reno eNVy has cool T-shirts featuring trailer trash art and a spin on the city's name.



Reno Neighborhoods

Things to do in Reno

Reno is known for...

Five of Reno's most unique features and characteristics.

1. Artown:

Each July, Reno hosts a month-long arts festival that features over 400 events, most of them free. Nationally and internationally known artists, musicians, musical groups, dancers and theater troupes come to Reno just for the event and thousands of visitors come from all over to watch shows, paint, dance, create art and celebrate this world renowned event. In the past, Artown has presented performances from Yo-Yo Ma, Joan Baez, Pink Martini, Marcel Marceau and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

2. The Awful Awful Burger:

This half pound of fresh beef, lettuce, tomato, onion and special sauce with an onion bun and a basket of fries has put Reno and the Little Nugget on the foodie map. The infamous burger was featured on the Travel Channel's "Food Wars"...and it won! Visitors to Reno and this this hole-in-the-wall diner come just to sink their teeth into this heaven on a plate. Other versions of the burger can be enjoyed at Rosie's Cafe at the Nugget in Sparks or at the Wolf Den near the University of Nevada, Reno.

3. The Reno Arch:

The Biggest Little City in the World's most famous landmark is the Reno Arch, located downtown on Virginia Street. The famous lighted arch went up in 1926 to celebrate the completion of the Transcontinental Highway. In 1929, the famous motto was decided in a contest put on by the city. The latest arch was put up in 1987 and in 2009 was fitted with highly energy efficient 2.5 watt LED bulbs. The old incandescent bulbs were given away to spectators to commemorate the event. The Old Reno Arch from 1964 is now up by the National Automobile Museum on Lake Street. The Reno Arch is one of the most photographed structures in the world.

4. Fun Events:

Thousands of visitors visit the Reno area each year for nationally known events such as Artown, the Great Reno Balloon Race, Burning Man, the Reno Air Races, Hot August Nights, Street Vibrations and the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cookoff. Other fun events include the Truckee River Festival where kayakers and other paddlers compete at the Whitewater Park which is located on the Truckee River in downtown Reno, the Camel and Outhouse Races in Virginia City, and the Reno Aces games at the brand new Aces stadium downtown.

5. Beautiful Scenery:

Most visitors to the Reno area are surprised to see how beautiful the location is. Reno is surrounded by mountains: on one side is the Tahoe Range which is full of alpine lakes, pine trees, rivers and wildflower meadows; the other side is the Virginia Range which has high desert plants and trees like sagebrush and piñion pine and access to the low Nevada desert and wetlands. Most days in Reno are sunny the sky is blue, blue, blue.