Best Things to Do in Reno

10Best attractions & activities in Reno and beyond

For a smaller city, Reno is still chock full of things to do–both inside and outside. From rafting through downtown to checking out the local art scene just ask any local or refer to 10Best on where to find the city's best activities.

For the kids, check out The Discovery. This fun and interactive museum celebrates the state of Nevada and has various science and art exhibits and experiences including a two-story cloud climber. Both adults and children can enjoy the National Automobile Museum where a huge collection of classic and unusual cars and for traditional and contemporary art visit the award-winning Nevada Museum of Art near Downtown.

If the weather is nice, Reno has a great selection of parks and outdoor areas including Rancho San Rafael Park where the Reno Balloon Races are held each year and Idlewild Park located next to the Truckee River. The river itself is a great place to hang out. The Riverwalk and the Truckee River Whitewater Park is a wonderful place during the summer when the Artown Festival is heating up. Also, don't forget the famous Reno Arch. It is located in the middle of Downtown and is one of the most photographed locations in the U.S. Just south of Downtown is the hip Midtown with a wide selection of restaurants, bars, and shops.


Greater Nevada Field
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

The Greater Nevada Field is a baseball stadium in downtown Reno, Nevada, and the home of the Triple-A Reno Aces and the Reno 1868 soccer team. The ballpark is located next to the Truckee River and is the centerpiece of the Reno redevelopment effort, named the Freight House District. The Reno Aces Ballpark features all the amenities you would expect in a major league park: luxury suites, restaurants, food, several beer gardens, picnic table seating, a grassy area to stretch out on, and a play area complete with bouncy castle and jungle gyms. There are giveaways and audience-participatory fun at every game, and it's a great way to spend the evening downtown. A parking lot is available across the street or you can park at any of the casino hotels downtown.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Greater Nevada Field is a great place to not only see various ball games, but it is within walkable distance to the Downtown casinos.

Christina's expert tip: When there are no scheduled games, the field has special events such as movie night, Halloween and Christmas events, and Nitro Circus featuring BMX and skate daredevils.

Read more about Greater Nevada Field →

University of Nevada, Reno
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

The University of Nevada is central to the city of Reno. Over 30,000 students call UNR their alma mater and there are events and things to do all over campus. UNR is home to the Wolf Pack baseball, football and basketball teams and all UNR games are open to the public and full of fun and excitement. The campus has several restaurants, coffee shops and museums. The Keck museum in the Mackay School of Mines is a historic rock and gem museum. There are public green spaces, a large quad and many parks. The Mathewson/IGT Knowledge Center is the largest library/knowledge center in the state of Nevada and features thousands of books, computer labs, a coffee shop and public spaces.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The University of Nevada's lush grounds, lakes and fountains are wonderful in the summer and fall.

Christina's expert tip: UNR is also home to the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center and the John and Geraldine Lilley Museum with works from regional Native American artists.

Read more about University of Nevada, Reno →

Virginia City
Virginia City
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

Located about 30 minutes from Reno, this historic town was once the world's richest city thanks to the largest gold vein ever mined, the Comstock Lode. Little has changed since those mid-1800s days, and C Street, the main thoroughfare, still looks much as it did decades ago. Among the top sights are the old town cemetery, Bucket of Blood Saloon, The Castle (the only structure untouched by the fire of 1875), Fourth Ward School, Ponderosa Saloon, and Piper Opera House. The best way to tour the city is to start at the base of the hill on C Street and work your way upward. This route also affords absolutely stunning views of the surrounding mountains. VC is a must-see for anyone interested in Wild West history.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Virginia City is a fun mix of Wild West and contemporary food and bar fun.

Christina's expert tip: The drive to Virginia City from Reno on Highway 341 has excellent views of Reno, Sparks and the area's mountain ranges.

Read more about Virginia City →

Playa Art Park
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

As host city to Burning Man, much of this desert event's art makes its way into the city center. While Reno has Burning Man art scattered throughout town (see The Art Spot Reno website), one place to see many revolving pieces at one time is at the Reno Playa Park across the street from the Circus Circus and the Silver Legacy in Downtown. This free plaza displays large sculptures, lighted works, murals, and recycled art from various Burning Man years. Check out the Ichthyosaur Puppet by Jerry Snyder or the Garden of Eden by Kate Raudenbush. The plaza usually has about 10-15 pieces to view at one time.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Reno Playa Art Park has an evolving selection of playa art throughout the year.

Christina's expert tip: The Playa Art Park is free, but donations for the exhibits and artists are encouraged.

Read more about Playa Art Park →

National Automobile Museum
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

Even if classic cars are not your passion this 100,000-square-foot museum is still a great place to view some of the most beautiful and unusual cars you will ever see. The museum houses one of the largest collections of antique automobiles to be found anywhere and it has been voted one of the top ten automobile museums in the country and one of the best 16 museums in the world. The cars are grouped by age in street settings appropriate to their time. These real-life backdrops include everything from Burma Shave signs to old gas pumps. See the cars that were originally a part of the Harrah collection including a Cadillac that belonged to Elvis Presley, a gold Delorean, the car belonging to Alice Ramsey (the first woman to drive across the U.S.) and the Thomas Flyer. There is also a copper Rolls Royce, a Phantom Corsair and s few horseless carriages.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The National Automobile Museum's exhibit layout with its vintage streets and buildings is fun to wander through.

Christina's expert tip: The museum's 1936 silver Mercedes Benz is one of only three vehicles of its kind made in the world and they are all in Reno.

Read more about National Automobile Museum →

The Discovery is a celebration of the nature, science and weather of the Silver State. Both adults and children can visit a Native American tule house, learn about the early Pioneers, work on their own farm or ranch and study archeology. They can also climb around on a three-story-tall cloud climbing structure, get wet while learning about local water resources, or build structures and art while learning more about Leonardo Da Vinci. Older children can visit the Under the Stars exhibit where they can go fishing, go on a camping trip and meet Northern Nevada's wildlife. There is also an area for babies and toddlers with a treehouse and slide, a mine elevator and tunnel and a place for nursing mothers.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Discovery has wonderful, educational exhibits for both children and adults.

Christina's expert tip: The museum is very popular on the weekends, get to the museum just before they open for a parking space.

Read more about The Discovery →

Midtown District
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

The Midtown District of Reno has already been featured in several national publications as an example of urban resurgence. This once-neglected part of Reno just south of Downtown has a new life and a variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and art studios. From the Mountain Music Parlor where you can hear and participate in musical jams to the foodie restaurants of Midtown Eats, Laughing Planet, and Great Full Gardens, you can spend a whole day just walking around this funky part of town. Visit Junkee or the NeverEnder for great gifts and The Melting Pot for unusual costumes and Burning Man gear.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Midtown is a walkable part of Reno that features public art, restaurants, bars and funky shops.

Christina's expert tip: Every Wednesday and Friday Reno Food Tours offers a food and art tour of Midtown for only $68 per adult.

Read more about Midtown District →

Truckee River Whitewater Park
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

The Truckee River Whitewater Park is right in the middle of downtown Reno, just a few blocks from the casinos. It is 2,600 feet long with class 2 and 3 rapids for kayakers, canoes and boats. It is easily accessible from the shore and from the nearby Wingfield Park. There are five drop pools and 7,000 tons of smooth rocks to sit on along the river. Boaters and tubers can start anywhere along the park and go through several rapids, drops and marked tracks. Whitewater Park is a great place to hang out during the summer where there are weekend concerts and events including Artown. The pools are full of tubers during the hottest months and many of them can start up the river at Mayberry Park in Verdi.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Truckee River Whitewater Park is a great place to both kayak and go river tubing

Christina's expert tip: There are shallower areas in the water for children to play, but this is still a river and they must be able to swim.

Read more about Truckee River Whitewater Park →

Nevada Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

This award-winning museum is located in the CalAve District and features permanent and traveling exhibits from various artists. This excellent museum is small, but packs in a wonderful selection of contemporary and traditional art, sculptures interactive exhibits, shows, and a rooftop sculpture deck with a view of all of Reno and the surrounding mountains. The outside area of the museum has several permanent exhibits including several pieces from the nearby Burning Man festival. Current and past exhibitions have included: To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum, Leo Villareal: Animating Light, Explorer, Naturalist, Artist John James Audubon and The Birds of America and the Baroque World of Fernando Botero.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Nevada Museum of Art regularly features internationally recognized artists such as Georgia O'Keefe and Frida Kahlo.

Christina's expert tip: Every third Saturday admission to the museum is free.

Read more about Nevada Museum of Art →

Riverwalk and Arts District
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

The Reno Arts District and the Reno Riverwalk are centrally located on the Truckee River and just steps from Downtown. This area is home to great restaurants and bars, an outdoor beer garden, shopping areas, and a walkway along the Truckee River. The central point of the area is Wingfield Park, which is located on an island in the middle of the river. Various events such as the annual tree lighting and July's Artown are held here. There are an amphitheater and access to the river as well as a few swimming holes. Also along this area are several bars and coffee shops including Cafe Capello and the popular Sierra Tap House. Popular restaurants include the excellent Beaujolais Bistro, the Wild River Grille and Campo.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Riverwalk and Arts District area is full of restaurants, bars, shops, public art and a beer garden.

Christina's expert tip: The very popular Wine Walk is held every third Saturday on the Riverwalk. Pay only $20 to sample wine at dozens of local shops and restaurants.

Read more about Riverwalk and Arts District →


Meet Christina Nellemann

Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors...  More About Christina