From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Reno’s reputation as "The Biggest Little City in the World,” makes it a tourist hotspot. You can bet on having a good time on Reno’s main drag where the sights and sounds of the city’s casinos spill out onto the street. Whether you’re there to gamble, enjoy some world-class entertainment, or have dinner at an award-winning restaurant, you can’t go wrong in Reno.
With over 300 days of sunshine annually, Reno has plenty of appeal for outdoor adventurers as well. State parks and recreation areas, local trails, and nearby lakes are a natural fit for anyone who wants to spend some time in the Sierra Nevadas.
Whatever your reason for coming to Reno, you’re sure to agree that its reputation is well-deserved.
Washoe Lake State Park is located in a scenic valley in the shadow of the eastern Sierra Nevadas. The park’s amenities include campsites with utility hookups, several miles of multi-use trails, a boat launch, and equestrian facilities. The lake itself is stocked with bass, catfish, and perch and is a well-known spot for windsurfing. Day use and camping fees are collected at the park entrance.
Less than an hour’s drive from Reno, Lake Tahoe State Park is the perfect place for outdoor adventure. Visitors can go backcountry hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and even scuba diving. Swimming, fishing, and boating are also popular activities. The park is open for day use and overnight stays.
The Galena Creek Visitor Center and Recreation Area is operated by the Great Basin Institute, an organization that promotes conservation and environmental education. They staff the visitor center and provide activities and events for youth and adults who want to enjoy everything the park has to offer. This day use facility has several spacious picnic areas, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball courts, fishing lakes, and multi-use trails.
Tucked where the foot of the Virginia Mountain range meets the flowing Carson River, Dayton State Park is a beautiful 150-acre park located in the Nevada town of the same name. Along with its beautiful natural landscape, this area is rich with mining history, and the neighboring community was one of the first permanent settlements in the state of Nevada.
Fort Churchill State Historic Park preserves its namesake Fort Churchill, an Army outpost originally constructed back in 1861. These structures, whose remains are still standing on display today, provided shelter for early Pony Express carriers as well as brave settlers, and was an important way station for westward travelers throughout the 1800s. Today, this 3,200-acre park is both picturesque and storied, offering both outdoor recreation opportunities and ample history to dive into.
The Ranch Loop Trail is a 1.5-mile interpretive trail that runs through Bartley Ranch Regional Park. Historians, birdwatchers, and budding biologists will appreciate the panels along this trail that describe the history of the ranch and identify local flora and fauna. At the southern end of the loop, the trail joins up with the Anderson Trail that heads east into Anderson Park.
Part of an urban trail system, the Tom Cooke Trail is an easy to moderate loop of approximately 3.7 miles. The first part of the trail is a bit of an uphill climb, but then it levels off and you’re rewarded with a panoramic view that makes it well worth the effort. Hiking, running, and mountain biking is allowed on the trail and dogs can accompany their humans as long as they are kept on leash. The trailhead is located across the Truckee River from the Patagonia on White Fir Street.
Hunter Creek Trailis a 6.4-mile out-and-back trail that runs alongside the creek after which it was named. Most of the hike out to a 30-foot tall waterfall is out in the open but the last half mile or so is shaded. There are restrooms at the Michael D. Thompson Trailhead, which is located near the parking lot off Woodchuck Circle.
A five-mile hike seeing about 600 feet in elevation change, the Keystone Canyon Trail is more on the moderate side, but it’s certainly well worth the effort. From the low desert flora in the foreground to the sometimes-snow-capped peaks in the distance, this trail is so scenic, it’s no wonder it’s also frequented by mountain bikers — but do be sure to give them some clearance if they come zooming by!
Meandering through pasture valleys, over a river, and offering beautiful views along the way, Hole in the Wall Trail runs about five miles in length and sees approximately 400 feet of elevation gain — but almost all of that elevation change is up front. So while there is some climbing to do, the good news is, once you’ve done it, it’s out of the way! This trail is also open to well-behaved dogs and is frequented by mountain bikers and horseback riders.
If you’re down for a more serious adventure, try out Hunter Lake Trail — so long as you have the fitness and preparation, that is. This trail runs more than 13 miles altogether and sees over 3,000 feet in elevation gain, so it’s truly a wild ride meant only for experienced outdoorspeople. Keep in mind that this trail is also used by those driving off-road vehicles, so you may need to get out of the way post-haste!
Looking to cool down? Then look no further than the Truckee River. Tubes and kayaks are available for rent, or just do what the locals do and swing by a Walmart to grab a tube or raft, whichever you prefer. Mayberry Park, just four miles west of downtown, is a great starting point. All that’s left to do is relax and let the flow of the river carry you into downtown Reno!
Housed in a brick building that was once the headquarters of the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway, this historic gastropub is open daily for lunch and dinner and for brunch on weekends only. Try the grilled chicken with fried chickpeas and celery root puree or the sea scallops with coconut rice and mango-strawberry salsa for a modern take on traditional American fare. The curated drink menu includes house spirits, craft beer, and creative cocktails.
Recipient of the prestigious AAA Four Diamond award, the Atlantis Steakhouse is a local favorite. This contemporary restaurant located in the Atlantis Casino serves USDA prime steaks cooked to perfection by Chef de Cuisine, Darren Stanley, and his culinary team. Served with soup, salad, and sides, the team’s mouthwatering meals are made using fresh, organic ingredients. Delectable desserts and after-dinner drinks round off the menu.
Great Full Gardens is a healthy lifestyle concept restaurant with several locations in Reno. Locally sourced meat and produce are used in the wholesome items on the menu, and they have taken dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian diets into consideration. Their Midtown location serves wine, bottled beer, and specialty drinks and has a selection of sweet (but still healthy) choices for dessert.
Campo is a neighborhood restaurant in the heart of downtown Reno. They use local ingredients from regional ranches and farms in authentic Italian dishes. Antipasti, soup, salad, pizza, pasta, and hearty entrées with signature sides are served on the dinner menu. Their regular lunch and express business lunch menus have a smaller selection of Campo favorites. You can ask to be seated inside the restaurant or outside on their patio with a view of the Truckee River.
Roxyis one of several award-winning restaurants in Eldorado at the Row, but the only one voted as the Best Place to Take a Date. The sophisticated setting, beautifully plated dishes, attentive waitstaff, and knowledgeable sommelier tick all the boxes for a romantic dinner that won’t soon be forgotten. Dinner at the Roxy is served on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights only and reservations can be made through OpenTable on Roxy’s website.
Is there anything quite as satisfying as a fresh, hot plate of homemade pasta — or honestly, any other Italian dish? La Cucina is Reno’s go-to for all things Tuscan, and has been a pillar of the community for over a decade now. Offering all your favorite, traditional Old World eats with a few innovative spins, this spot also features a noteworthy wine menu.
Another long-time favorite, Miguel’s Mexican Food at Midtown serves up your favorite south-of-the-border eats in a charming and vibrant atmosphere. Along with fajitas, tacos, and other must-haves, this spot is well known for the margaritas it serves to wash them all down with. In fact, its drinks were voted the best in northern Nevada!
If you’re in the mood for Asian, it’s hard to do better than Silver Chopsticks in Reno. Along with its huge array of Chinese cuisine, ranging from fried rice dishes to noodles to clay pot specialities and more, this spot also offers Vietnamese options, including the ever-popular pho as well as entrees served over vermicelli noodles and more.
A one-of-a-kind Indian restaurant serving up the best-quality northern Indian cuisine crafted from fresh, organic ingredients, Thali is a family-run Reno favorite offering meals that are simultaneously local and exotic. These spicy, satisfying Indian delights are crafted with ingredients sourced from community farms, including bottomless fresh veggies as well as homemade whole wheat roti and other sustainably sourced ingredients.
The Eddy is an outdoor beer garden in the heart of downtown Reno along the Truckee River. Featuring three bars with a variety of beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as some food options like tacos and pizza, they have a great happy hour and free yard games to boot. All ages are welcome during the day, and so is your pup. I definitely recommend checking it out!
A local restaurant serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, options at the Wild River include traditional and contemporary cuisine along with hand-crafted cocktails. There’s indoor seating and a dog-friendly patio with views of the Truckee River, as well as live music. There can be a wait at times, so I recommend making a reservation if you’re able to plan your visit in advance.
The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (known to locals as The Discovery) is a hands-on STEAM museum in Midtown. This interactive science center engages kids of all ages through educational programs, engaging exhibits, and special events like Family Science Nights. After your visit, stop by the Museum Store for a scientific souvenir or visit Holey Schmidt Donuts for a sweet treat and a cup of their specialty coffee.
Are your kids bouncing off the walls? Bring them to Reno’s Urban Air Adventure Park where they can bounce on the trampolines instead. At this indoor trampoline park, they can finesse their flips, practice their parkour, and show off their stunts. The basic admission package includes use of the DropZone, APEX, and ProZone Performance trampolines. Their Deluxe Attractions pass upgrades your experience with access to the trampolines, the Tubes Playground, the Battle Beam, and the Warrior Course. For an admission to the attractions included in the Deluxe pass as well as the Sky Rider, the Ropes Course, and the Climbing Wall ask for the Ultimate Attractions pass.
The Sierra Nevada Zoological Society cares for more than 40 animal species at this small, not-for-profit animal park. Small children will especially love the petting zoo where they can feed deer, goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, and even miniature cows. The park is open year-round and your admission fee goes to help feed the animals and provide for their care.
Gaze up into the night sky at the Fleischmann Planetarium at the University of Nevada, Reno and you’re sure to be starstruck. The center is only open until 4:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, but you can explore the exhibit hall, admire the art, and see a show in the Star Theater until 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The center also hosts after-hours programs, classes, workshops, and science nights.
Reno is known for its casinos and Eldorado at the Row is one of the best. The historic casino opened in 1973 and has been expanded and improved over the years to include a variety of dining and entertainment options. You’ll find a wide variety of table games and slot machines on the casino floor. We’re willing to bet you’ll have a fun night when you go for gold at the Eldorado.
The Reno Philharmonic is a professional orchestra that plays concerts throughout the year at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts and in Wingfield Park on summer evenings as part of their Pops on the River series. Tickets can be purchased over the phone, on their website, or at the box office located inside the McKinley Arts & Culture Center on Riverside Drive.
There’s no better date night than movie night, and Reno’s Century Theaters Riverside 12 does it right. Screening all the most-wanted big box office hits as well as select indie films and throwbacks, this spot is also known for its tasty popcorn and selections of beer, wine, and frozen cocktails.
Greater Nevada Field is home to the Reno Aces, a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The stadium boasts the latest technology, state-of-the-art amenities, and capacity for over 9,000 local and out-of-town fans. You can buy tickets for the games by phone, at the ticket office, or on the Minor League Baseball website.
The climbing wall at BaseCamp at the Whitney Peak Hotel has the distinction of being the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall. If you’re not ready to tackle the wall, start small with the Basecamp boulders. The boulders were designed by Vertical Solutions, a world-class climbing gym company to give beginners a safe, yet challenging introduction to rock climbing. The Big Wall is located on the exterior of the hotel and is divided into two pitches that total 164 feet. Level up your climbing skills with classes taught by experience instructors or just gear up and give it go. Reservations can be made on the BaseCamp website.
Start your engines and head over to the National Automobile Museum, where you’ll find over 200 classic cars including historic roadsters, celebrity-owned coupes, and even vehicles that played a part in popular movies. Regularly scheduled programs and events educate audiences about the history of the cars and their owners. In addition to the cars, the museum has displays of automobile-related art and artifacts.
Hosting a vast array of both permanent collections and temporary exhibits, the Nevada Museum of Art is a world-class gallery, highlighting diverse examples from across the globe and timeline. Better yet, general admission tickets start at just $10, and discounts are available for select demographics.
Along with being one of the most affordable ways to get out on the town, the RIverside Farmers’ Market is also easily one of the most wholesome adventures you can have in Reno. Explore both raw ingredients and packaged food items from local growers and vendors, as well as arts and crafts, local honey, and a generally festive community atmosphere. Plus: support local!
The Truckee River Walk follows the river between Lake Street and Ralston Street. As you walk along the paved path, you’ll pass by some of the art pieces funded by the City of Reno Arts & Culture Commission. Don’t miss the sculptures in Bicentennial Park, the contour models and the BELIEVE sign in City Plaza, and the painted utility boxes scattered throughout the area.
Art Spot Reno has put together a map of the murals in Midtown. This self-guided tour will take you past more than eighty public works of art painted by amateur and professional artists. To see all of the murals will take you nearly two hours, but it’s worth it for the ‘Gram.
Along with all the larger state-operated parks listed above, Reno is lucky to offer many community and regional parks as well. Each has its own specific benefits and attractions — for instance, Damonte Ranch Park is known for its exciting playground for the little ones, while Rock Park offers riverside access and views. But all of them are free and open to the public: your tax dollars at work! Use them!
The spa at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino offers services and treatments that will have you looking and feeling your best. Choose from signature massages, relaxing facials, refreshing body wraps, makeup applications, and professional nail and hair services. The spa gives a generous 25% discount on their products and services to residents of Reno.
This luxurious oasis was rated one of the top spas in the United States by the readers of USA Today. The spa has a full range of treatments and services, hot and cold plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas, and high-tech resonance therapy experiences designed to relax and rejuvenate.
This Sandhill Road spa is a 5-time winner for Reno’s Favorite Local Spa. Open 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Dolce Vita is part day spa, part med spa, and part wellness facility. Traditional spa services include skin care, massages, and body treatments, hair removal, and lash lifts. The med spa offers non-invasive anti-aging and skin rejuvenation procedures, laser hair removal, and fat reduction programs and treatments in consultation with a wellness coach.
A luxurious and indulgent oasis tucked away Inside The Summit hotel, Spavia Reno has earned its reputation as one of the best spas of its type in town. Offering everything from massage in a wide range of modalities to skin care, hair removal, body treatments, and so much more, you could easily make a whole day of it at this self-care destination.
Sometimes, you just need a bit of a new look. L’essence Day Spa & Salon is Reno’s local Aveda salon, offering a full range of hair cutting, coloring, and styling services, as well as massage, skin care, extensions and special hair conditioning services. Better yet, it’s all done with naturally-based and plant-derived ingredients, making your treatment as good for Mother Earth as it is for you.
The Studio has a full schedule of yoga classes for all ages and abilities as well as special events and workshops. Licensed aestheticians and massage therapists offer add-on services for the studio’s clients. After hours, the space transforms into a late night tea and elixir lounge complete with music, dance, and acroyoga.
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this full-service athletic club is locally owned and operated. With state-of-the-art equipment, innovative programs, and professional instructors, Sports West stands out as one of the best gyms in Reno. The facility has a saltwater lap pool, racquetball courts, cycling and pilates studios, and even a sports spa! The services they offer include personal training sessions, group classes, fitness assessments, and nutritional guidance.
Whether you’re new to yoga or you’re an advanced practitioner, the classes at Yoga Pod will increase your flexibility, build your strength, and help you to become more mindful. Their studio on Virginia Street is a colorful, welcoming space that’s open 7 days a week.
A quintessential fitness center experience since 1981, American Iron Gym is no-frills — and after all, fitness is like that, too. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it just has to get the job done. Choose from a wide range of cardio machinery, strength-training equipment and more, all with the support of a gym community that’s been grinding for literal decades.
A good yoga studio should feel more like a worship space than a fitness center, and Reno’s Temple Yoga location lives up to that. Along with giving you the chance to challenge and strengthen your body, this spot also offers a nourishing and loving yoga environment that will help you find the practice best suited to your body and needs.
Drive just over an hour outside of Reno and you’ll end up at the southern tip of Lake Tahoe, an area of stunning natural beauty. From biking to brew pubs, Tahoe South has something for everyone. Outdoor adventurers will love the miles of multi-use trails, opportunities for fishing and boating, and challenging ski runs. Those who prefer to spend their time in the great indoors can browse through the shops for the perfect souvenir, sip on a cup of coffee at a local café, or destress at a day spa. Whatever you decide to do with your time in Tahoe South, you’ll return to Reno feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Located 20 miles southeast of Reno is Virginia City, an old mining town that’s been preserved as a living history museum. Fans of the TV series Bonanza will recognize Virginia City as the place where the Cartwrights picked up supplies or enjoyed a night out on the town. Explore the city on foot or hop aboard an old-time trolley for a 20-minute tour of its historic landmarks. Ride the rails out to Gold Hill, visit some of the mines where men made their fortunes, or mosey into a museum to learn more about the history of Virginia City and the surrounding area. Want to do it all? Stop by the Virginia City Visitor Center and pick up a Comstock Adventure Pass on your way into town.
For some the best fishing in northwestern Nevada, head northeast out of Reno along State Route 445. Pyramid Lake is home to 5 species of fish: tui chubs, cui-ui, Tahoe suckers, Sacramento perch, and world-record sized Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. You can launch your boat at Pelican Point on the west side of the lake or fish off any of the designated beaches.
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Reno that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Reno? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.