If the last year has you yearning for a change of scenery, but the kind of scenery that changes from moment to moment, a weekend in Reno, Nevada may be just what you need. If all you know about Reno is gambling, let me introduce you to the real Reno, which goes way beyond the casinos.
With its proximity to the desert, lakes, rivers, and mountains, Reno is a great hub for trying out an array of activities, finding a new adventure, or doing nothing at all. In other words, it can accommodate what you need at the moment. How many places have you been able to say that about?
So, whether you know what you want to do or you just want to go with the flow when the mood hits you, it’s okay. No matter your travel style, the Biggest Little City in the World (as Reno is called) has you covered!
Things to do on a Weekend in Reno
Do you still need some convincing? Here are 15 Reno attractions broken down by traveler type:
The Active Traveler: Take a Hike
Reno area hiking trails are perfect for any fitness level. Many of them reward hikers with amazing views and spectacular scenery — like a waterfall in the high desert that is not a mirage! Check out the Hunter Creek trail for that tantalizing sight. Or, try the Tom Cooke Trail which runs right next to the Truckee River. It is also open to mountain biking, horseback riding, and trail running. Oxbow Nature Study Area is perfect for an easy hike that makes you feel like you’re miles from civilization despite being located just outside of downtown Reno.
The Active Traveler: Hit the Slopes at Mt. Rose
With a base elevation of 8,260 feet, skiers enjoy superior snow conditions throughout the season at Mt. Rose. The convenience is hard to beat as well. Located only 30 minutes from Reno, skiers can be on the slopes sooner rather than later thanks to its location and slope-side parking. The ski resort covers 1,200 acres including three terrain parks and is in the heart of the Toiyabe National Forest.
The Active Traveler: Explore the Truckee River Walk
The Truckee River Walks winds through some of Reno’s loveliest downtown spots, revealing many surprises as you go, including an eclectic mix of artwork. Pedestrian bridges stretch over the waterway. There are often people fishing from the rocky banks. Kayakers and revelers on floaties are a common sight in the summertime. There are many shopping and dining options along the path, as well as leafy green places to enjoy a picnic. On a hot summer evening, you may even be lucky enough to catch a concert at Wingfield Park.
The Active Traveler: Enjoy a Unique Climbing Experience
Did you know that Reno is the home of the tallest outdoor climbing wall in the US? This being Reno, such a distinctive attraction of course had to have a distinctive location. It’s in full view of the historic Reno arch, making it the most Instagrammable climbing experience around! This 164-foot stretch of wall is located on the east side of the Whitney Peak Hotel. To date, the youngest climber is four years old and the oldest is 94 making it an activity that is fun for all ages.
The Sporting Traveler: Catch a Game at Greater Nevada Field
Located on the banks of the Truckee River, this beautiful ballpark is home to the Tripe-A baseball team the Reno Aces. There’s an array of options for enjoying a game too, including two party areas with picnic tables and benches! If you have never enjoyed a Minor League Baseball game now is your chance to change that — it is such fun for the whole family.
For the Sporting Traveler: Hit the Links
With 300 days of sunshine and more than 40 golf courses, golfers can hit the links year-round in Reno. Nevada’s oldest course, the Washoe County Golf Course, was established in 1934. The Lakeridge and Wolf Run Golf Courses offer an experience that is intertwined with the natural terrain and landscape. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, there’s a course and an experience waiting for you in Reno!
The Resort Traveler: The Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
If you like the idea of keeping all your fun in one location, then the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino is the place for you! From a stellar pool scene and spa to a nightclub and movie theater, this award-winning resort provides everything you need or want in one convenient location!
Experience an array of upscale dining experiences in the resort’s restaurant row, test your skills at the driving range, in the arcade, or on the go-kart track, or simply do nothing at all. Should you decide to get out and about, the GSR (as the locals refer to it) is ideally positioned to explore the region.
The Art Loving Traveler: Check out the Murals of Midtown
The streets and alleyways of Midtown are home to more than 80 murals painted by local, national, and international artists. Many depict local and state history, others center on more personal stories or social issues.
The Art Loving Traveler: The Nevada Art Museum
The only accredited art museum in the state of Nevada, the award-winning Nevada Art Museum features a wonderful selection of contemporary and traditional art, sculptures, interactive exhibits, and a rooftop space with a sweeping view of Reno and its surrounding mountains. The outside area of the museum has several permanent exhibits including several pieces from the nearby Burning Man festival.
The Traveling History Buff: National Automotive Museum
You needn’t be a car enthusiast to enjoy the National Automotive Museum. Many of the vehicles in this 100,000 square-foot museum are one-of-a-kind and rare. The cars are grouped in street settings appropriate to their time. The museum houses one of the largest collections of antique cars in the world including some that were originally part of the Harrah collection. There’s also a Cadillac that belonged to Elvis Presley, a gold Delorean, and a copper Rolls Royce.
The Traveling History Buff: Visit Virginia City
You’ll swear that time travel is possible the moment you step onto the wooden plank sidewalks of this city that looks straight out of the Wild West. Established in 1859, Virginia City is located about 30 minutes from Reno. Among the memorable sights are Bucket of Blood Saloon, the Piper Opera House, the old town cemetery, and the Fourth Ward School.
The Traveling History Buff: Hot August Nights
The largest classic car event in the country, Hot August Nights pays tribute to the automobiles and music of the ’50s, 60s, and ’70s. More than 5,000 vehicles from the golden era of design are showcased with events throughout Reno and Sparks. Restored hot rods and sexy muscle cars give car enthusiasts a first-hand experience of popular decades gone by.
The Adventurous Traveler: The Great Reno Hot Air Balloon Race
One of the most magical Reno events is to watch the hot air balloons light up the predawn sky over Rancho San Rafael Regional Park during the Great Reno Hot Air Balloon Race. It may not feel that way during the 4 am trek out to the park but, it is well worth it to catch the rhythmic lift off of the Dawn Patrol. After that is the mass ascension of over 80 balloons.
The Adventurous Traveler: The Reno River Festival
The Reno River Festival draws more than 40,000 outdoor enthusiasts to downtown Reno’s Wingfield Park and the Reno Riverwalk. This free two-day event is a unique mix of wet and wild fun, including whitewater competitions, live music, food, a craft beer village and lots of interactive summer and outdoor experiences.
The Adventurous Traveler: Street Vibrations Fall Motorcycle Festival
As more than 50,000 motorcycle riders rumble through town, you’ll understand where the Street Vibrations Fall Motorcycle Festival gets its name. Considered one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the nation, this free event will have you in awe of the variety of motorcycles. You’ll see everything from choppers to cruisers to street bikes.
As you can see, there is plenty to do on a weekend in Reno — so much that you may need to return — or just stay longer! So no matter what your interests, I think you will find something to excite you on a weekend getaway to the Biggest Little City.