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Known as the ‘Biggest Little City in the World’, Reno, Nevada is often forgotten in the immense and dazzling shadow of Las Vegas. It’s a shame, considering how much Reno has to offer. Like Vegas, the city is famous for its casinos, but due to its close proximity to Lake Tahoe and several other ski resorts, is also a great destination for outdoor recreation.
National Automobile Museum
Situated in the heart of Reno, the National Automobile Museum is a must-visit for auto aficionados of all ages. Home to over 200 cars, the oldest dating back to the 19th century, the entire history of the automobile is on display here. The collection includes a multitiude of machines, including classic cars, sports cars and race cars. The most famous specimens are probably the Thomas Flyer, which won the 1908 around-the-world race, and the 1949 Mercury Series 9CM, driven by actor James Dean in the movie Rebel Without a Cause.
National Automobile Museum, 10 Lake St, Reno, NV, USA, +1 775-333-9300
Nevada Museum of Art
Although the building is unmistakably modern, the Nevada Museum of Art was established in 1931, making it the oldest cultural center in the entire state. The current museum stands at the end of the Truckee River Walk. Exhibits feature everything from contemporary art to ancient artifacts, including works inspired by nature in the museum’s Center for Art + Entertainment. While the permanent collections tend not to feature well-known artists, the museum is known for the quality of its traveling exhibits.
Nevada Museum of Art, 160 W Liberty St, Reno, NV, USA, +1 775-329-3333
Located on the outskirts of Reno, Lake Tahoe is easily one of the most stunning and popular vacation destinations in the entire United States. Boasting soaring cliffs that drop off into crystalline waters, this lake is one of the largest and deepest in the country. While a popular skiing destination during the winter months at nearby Squaw Valley and Heavenly Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe is a popular area for water sports and house boating in the summer. Rumor has it that the best views of the lake are on the California side, from Emerald Bay State Park, but it’s honestly spectacular whichever way you look at it.
Lake Tahoe, Reno Nevada
Truckee River Walk
Situated along the Truckee River, Reno’s recently remodeled River Walk area is the perfect way to spend a warm afternoon. A multitude of restaurants and galleries line the southern end of the walk, which natives of Reno refer to as CalAve, and will delight foodies and art aficionados alike. Another fun way to explore this area of the city is to take a Wine Walk, which for around $20 per person includes wine tastings at several different galleries and restaurants in the area.
Truckee River Walk, 135 N Sierra St, Reno, NV, USA
Eldorado Resort & Casino
Besides offering accommodation for visitors to Reno, the Eldorado Resort plays host to a host of activities guaranteed to keep guests and locals alike entertained. Head down to the resort’s casino, which features over 1,300 slot machines and tables to play games, including poker, baccarat and blackjack. Sports lovers can check out the Race & Sports Book, which specializes in sports betting. For those who don’t want to gamble, the Eldorado Resort has several nightlife venues and occasionally hosts concerts.
Eldorado Resort Casino, 345 N Virginia St, Reno, NV, USA, +1 775-786-5700
Fleischmann Planetarium & Science Center
Located on the University of Nevada campus, the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center is a great way to spend the afternoon (and save a little bit of money after all that gambling!). The museum features films, educational and hands-on exhibits, as well as a stargazing show. In general, it’s a great place to bring the kids, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, when the planetarium holds extended hours.
Fleischmann Planetarium, 1664 N Virginia St, Reno, NV, USA, +1 775-784-4812
Reno Aces Ballpark
Right in the heart of downtown, the Reno Aces Ballpark, home to the Triple-A Reno Aces, is a must-visit for anyone who loves a good old-fashioned baseball game. The ballpark itself sits next to the Truckee River and forms the centerpiece of the ongoing redevelopment of the Freight House District. Amenities include restaurants, beer gardens, a kids’ play area and luxury suites. It’s the perfect way to spend an evening in the city.
Reno Aces Ballpark, 250 Evans Ave, Reno, NV, USA, +1 775-334-4700
Reno Air Races
While it only happens once a year in September, the Reno Air Races, known officially as the National Championship Air Races, are definitely worth the wait. The races take place at the Reno Stead Airport just north of downtown. Considered the fastest motor sport in the world, air racing is a high adrenaline activity that consistently dazzles audiences time and time again. The multiple-day event also includes demonstrations by stunt pilots, shopping, a variety of food vendors and exhibits.
Reno Air Races, 5805 Alpha Ave, Reno, NV, USA, +1 775-677-4860
Mt. Rose Ski Resort
The only mountain to offer views of both Lake Tahoe and Reno, and being the closest resort to the Reno-Tahoe Airport, Mt. Rose Ski Resort is the ultimate skiing destination within city limits. With 1,200 plus acres of slopes and 1,800 vertical feet of skiable terrain, it’s easy to spend an entire day on the mountain and not ski in the same place twice. Luckily, the season can last up to six months; so finding time to ski outside the major holidays is easy.
Mt. Rose Ski Resort, 22222 Mt Rose Hwy, Reno, NV, USA, +1 775-849-0704
Wilbur D. May Center
Located in the Rancho San Rafael Park, the Wilbur D. May Center is a small, local museum that is definitely worth a visit when passing through the state. The museum features the antiques and artifacts collected by Wilbur May, son of a department store founder, who traveled continuously until his death in 1982. The center also includes an art gallery that regularly displays works from local and regional artists, a Fair Trade gift shop, several traveling exhibits and a 12-acre arboretum that showcases several different native landscapes and gardening styles.
Wilbur D. May Center, 1595 N Sierra St, Reno, NV, USA, +1 775-785-5961