Travel Guide North America USA Western United States Nevada Reno



Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World" is located in the beautiful northwest region of the state of Nevada, right at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is the second largest tourist destination in Nevada, featuring resorts, gaming, family entertainment, outdoor activities, festivals, museums, fantastic cuisine, shows for everyone, art and culture.

Reno is steeped in a rich, diverse, and rugged history. This is where the historic Johnson-Jeffries fight happened. This is where Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable made The Misfits in 1961—the last completed film for both (Gable died in 1960, after shooting was complete but before release; Monroe died in 1962). It is where the railroad tumbles down out of the mountains from California to cross the Truckee River and begin the long journey east. It's difficult to walk the streets of Reno without seeing the history in this dynamic city.

Most Renoites consider the start of it all to be 1859, when Charles Fuller built a log bridge across the Truckee River and started charging to cross over it on the way to the Gold Rush in California or coming back to Nevada for the "Washoe Rush" in Virginia City. Fuller set up shelter for weary travelers to rest. He served meals at a price, and created an opportunity for prospectors to exchange stories and information.

The town site of Reno, named after Civil War General Jesse Reno, was established on May 13, 1868.

Since its beginning, Reno has spread across much of the Truckee Meadows. Reno and Sparks (a smaller adjacent city) now spread across this small valley separating the Sierra Nevada mountains to the West and Nevada's expansive desert areas to the East.

The profiteering characteristic of the founders may have occasionally plagued the course of Reno's subsequent generations. Some Renoites claim Nevadans are simply of a freer nature. Others think the city has repeated the steps of the goldrush era founders. Certainly, the choices made today are what will determine the true nature of the community. Regardless, Reno enjoys a pretty decent quality of life with four seasons, winter and summer fun, a major university, and plenty of other entertainment.

Reno is in Northwestern Nevada, at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and serves as the urban center for a region including nearby Carson City and the Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, and historic mining town Virginia City, home of the Comstock Lode. Along with the city of Sparks, Reno is located in the Truckee Meadows, and together they form the Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Area.

Competition in the last years of the 20th century slowed down the gambling business in Reno considerably. Given that its downtown centered around these activities for a good 50 years, the same downtown suffered. Downtown today has weathered the storm, and is improving with projects like a baseball and entertainment district and several condo projects that were completed despite economic slowdown. Growth in the area has continued due to its livability. Reno is working hard to build a different kind of city for a greater variety of tastes, and keeping that in mind will help the visitor see the town through the right kind of eyes.



Sights and Activities

  • Nevada Museum of Art, 160 W Liberty St, ☎ +1 775-329-3333, e-mail: W-Su 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-8PM. The Nevada Museum of Art building was designed by Will Bruder and opened in 2003. It plays host to national and international touring exhibits in addition to smaller exhibits of regional significance. It is the only accredited art museum in Nevada. $10/adult, $8/concession, $1/child.
  • Wingfield Park, 2 S Arlington Ave, ☎ +1 775-825-9255. Daily 5AM-10PM. Along the Truckee River just a few blocks from the casino core, Wingfield Park features an amphitheater with regular performances during the summer months, a kayak park open year round, and many pleasant spots to sit and watch the world go by any day of the week, at pretty much any time of the day. Home of annual events the Reno River Festival, held in May, and the Artown Festival, July 1–31.
  • Washoe County Library, 301 S Center St, ☎ +1 775-327-8300. M-Th 9AM-5:30PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Reno's library was designed by an architect who wanted to set it in a park. There was not enough land available for both a park and a library, so he brought the park inside the building. This library is an excellent example of inspired architecture from the 1960s that actually stands the test of time and is worth a visit just to see the innovative treatment of the periodicals section in the basement. Free.
  • California Ave. This area of small shops and restaurants is located a short walk from the downtown casino core and provides a pleasant setting for a meal.
  • University of Nevada, Reno. An ideal location for a pleasant stroll, the layout of the University campus was inspired by Jefferson's University of Virginia. Visitors will find a parklike setting with a variety of architectural styles, and the Fleischmann Planetarium. Guided walking tours are available by reservation at +1 775-784-4700.
  • Rancho San Rafael Park, 1595 N Sierra St, ☎ +1 775-785-4512. Daily 8AM-9PM. A few blocks west of the north end of the University, this 570-acre county park is home to the Arboretum, as well as the Wilbur D. May Museum and the Great Basin Adventure children's attraction (seasonal). This is the home of the Reno Balloon Races, held in late summer/early fall annually.
  • S Wells Ave (Bus #19 from downtown). A local neighborhood with a decidedly Latino flavor, this neighborhood features unique shopping and dining and generally winds down in early evening hours.
  • Victorian Sq. This is the center of downtown Sparks and features casinos, restaurants, a movie theater, and several redevelopment projects under construction. Home to the "Best in the West" Rib Cookoff every summer.
  • Idlewild Park, 2055 Idlewild Dr, ☎ +1 775-334-2270. 7AM-6PM. A nice stroll from downtown along Riverside Drive, Idlewild Park features Reno's Municipal Rose Garden, as well as a seasonal kiddie park, a driving range (the exercise kind, not the golf kind), a skate park, and various walking trails. Located on the south bank of the Truckee River.
  • National Automobile Museum, 10 S Lake St, ☎ +1 775-333-9300, e-mail: M-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Same day re-entry with receipt. $10/adult, $8/senior, $4/child.



Events and Festivals


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.




Reno is at the western edge of the Great Basin, a zone stretching to Salt Lake City that does not drain to the sea - water is carried away by evaporation only. Average precipitation is approximately 180 mm a year, with much of that occurring in the winter in the form of snow. July is the warmest month, with an average high of 33 °C, and January is the coldest month, with an average low of -7 °C.

Avg Max7.3 °C10.9 °C13.5 °C17.6 °C22.7 °C28.4 °C33.3 °C32 °C26.4 °C20.3 °C12.1 °C7.5 °C
Avg Min-6.3 °C-4.3 °C-1.6 °C0.7 °C4.5 °C8.3 °C10.7 °C9.8 °C5.2 °C0.5 °C-2.9 °C-6.7 °C
Rainfall27.2 mm25.1 mm18 mm9.7 mm17.5 mm11.7 mm7.1 mm8.1 mm9.9 mm9.7 mm22.1 mm25.1 mm
Rain Days4.



Getting There

By Plane

Reno-Tahoe Airport near Reno offers quite a few flights, mainly with Southwest Airlines and a few other airlines. Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver are a few examples.

By Train

The California Zephyr, operated by Amtrak, travels between Chicago and Emeryville (San Francisco), stopping en route in Reno.

By Car

From California
As both Reno and the Sierra Nevada are popular weekend destinations for Northern Californians, traffic can be bad coming to Reno on Friday evening, and leaving Reno on Sunday evening, especially in the ski season.

The most direct route to Reno from Sacramento is via Interstate 80 over Donner Summit (2206 metres). This route sees a great deal of snowfall during the winter, and will shut down for periods of up to a day several times during a typical winter. Northern California residents also use U.S. 395 in Susanville, this highway stays at a lower elevation and has less problems of traffic and weather. Residents living in the Redding and Chico areas of California find this route safer and quicker. If you plan on crossing this or any other pass in the Sierra Nevada in the winter, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and always carry tire chains if you do not have four-wheel drive.

An alternative route is US 50 over Echo Summit. This route follows the American River up from the Sacramento Valley, and then drops into the Lake Tahoe Basin. From there you can continue on US 50 into Carson City, and from there head north to Reno on US 395, or continue around the lake to Incline Village and drop into Reno on the Mount Rose Highway. This route is two lanes only for much of the way, and traffic can be heavy both in the winter and the summer, and winter maintenance is not as good as on Interstate 80.

Passes across the Sierra south of US 50, aside from CA 88, are not maintained in the winter (from approximately November until May.) And when they are open they are out of the way and potentially dangerous.

From Las Vegas
Don't be fooled by the fact that Las Vegas and Reno are in the same state - there are about 8 hours of driving time separating them. Take US 95 north to Fallon, US 50 west to Fernley, and Interstate 80 west to Reno. If you're not a fan of desert landscapes, boredom is a serious risk on this trip. Winter weather will generally not be a large problem on this trip, but don't count on being able to find food or fuel outside the major towns (Beatty, Tonopah, Hawthorne, Fallon, and Fernley)

During the summer the heat along US 95 can be hard on you and on your vehicle. A much more comfortable alternative to cooking in your car is to drive during the night. Many of the dark stretches between the small towns along US 95 reveal numerous shooting stars and other astral phenomena that you might miss during the baking sun. Keep in mind that driving at night can be dangerous due to the visibility limitations from the hills and the mountains. Be sure to have a lot of rest before undertaking this trip.

From the east
The most traveled route to Reno from the east is Interstate 80. Interstate 80 follows the old Emigrant trail along the Humboldt river for most of the way across Nevada, and thus the grades are generally easy. However, it does this at the expense of swinging well north of the direct route to Reno. US 50 ("The Loneliest Highway in America") is more direct, but it crosses several large mountain ranges and thus has some tight curves, steep grades and a few switchbacks. Don't count on finding food or fuel along US 50 outside of the major towns (Ely, Eureka, Austin, Fallon and Fernley).

By Bus

The major long distances buses (Greyhound & Megabus) travel along I-80 between San Francisco and Salt Lake City. There are other county operate buses that offer limited services along the US Hwy 395 corridor to Alturas to the north and to Bishop, CA to the south.



Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

Reno's transit system, called RTC RIDE, is operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. The busiest route, the #1 bus, was recently replaced with two new services, RTC RAPID, a priority express bus making limited stops, and RTC CONNECT, the local. RAPID runs 15 minutes or better headways most of the day through Downtown Reno (a good place to start is the RTC 4th Street Station at 4th and Lake which opened Oct 31st 2010) and down South Virginia Street (the major north-south street) to Meadowood Mall. RTC RAPID should serve any tourist well for most shopping, dining, and gambling needs.

Other routes to know about are the #11, which runs between downtown Reno and downtown Sparks, and the Sierra Spirit circulator bus (7AM – 7PM), which connects various downtown destinations along the Virginia Street corridor down to the Truckee River to the south and the University of Nevada, Reno, to the north. In downtown Reno, all buses stop at or near the RTC 4th Street Station at 4th and Lake St, where you can also find The Bus Book.

Fares may be paid on the bus by cash (exact change) or by pass. All RTC RIDE passes are available from the Pass Vending Machines (as of March 28, 2011 all day passes are $4 at the Station, if you buy them on the bus they are $5. One trip fare is $2, but asking for a transfer allows travel on any bus in any direction for 1 1/2 hrs from the time of purchase. All major casinos have a bus stop for easy access.), available at RTC 4th Street Station and Meadowood Mall, and may be purchased with cash, coin, debit or credit cards (cash only if purchased on the bus).




  • Peg's Glorified Ham 'n' Eggs, 420 S Sierra St (downtown), ☎ +1 775-329-2600. Daily 6:30AM-2PM. Peg's is always busy for brunch, but well worth the wait. A local favorite. There are actually five of these in Reno, the other four at 196 Lemmon Dr (North Reno), 6300 Mae Anne Ave (West Reno), 720 S Meadows Pkwy (South Reno), and 1495 E Prater Way (Sparks). The downtown location is the original. $8-15.
  • Jim Kelley's Nugget Diner, 233 North Virginia St (in the back of the Nugget casino), ☎ +1 775-356-3300. Always open. Home of the Awful Awful (Awful big and Awful good), one of the best burgers in the state.
  • JJ's Pie Company, 555 West 5th St, ☎ +1 775-786-5555. Sports, beer, pizza, and subs.
  • Blue Moon Pizza, 6135 Lakeside Dr, ☎ +1 775-825-1120.
  • Pirate's Pizza, 180 West Peckham Lane #1100 (in the Reno Town Mall), ☎ +1 775-828-0900. Daily 11:30AM-9PM.
  • Louis' Basque Corner, 301 East 4th St, ☎ +1 775-323-7203.
  • Santa Fe Hotel, 235 North Lake St, ☎ +1 775-323-1891. Family-style basque food.
  • Silver Peak Brewery, 124 Wonder St (corner of Wonder and Holcomb Avenue), ☎ +1 775-324-1864.
  • Island Buffet, 2707 S Virginia St (at the Peppermill Casino), ☎ +1 775-826-2121. Comes up high on a google search for "Best breakfast in Reno", and is really fantastic.
  • Beto's Taqueria, 575 W 5th St, ☎ +1 775-324-0632.
  • El Adobe Cafe, 55 W Arroyo St (right off S Virginia), ☎ +1 775-327-4422. Su-Th 10AM-8PM, F Sa 10AM-10PM. Sit-down Mexican food. Family owned and operated. $11-15 ish.
  • Miguel's, 1415 S Virginia St (original), 13901 S Virginia St (South Reno) (corner of Virginia and Mt. Rose), ☎ +1 775-322-2722 (original), +1 775-851-0500 (South Reno). Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. Mexican restaurant that's been here forever (actually since 1959). Also family owned and operated. about $10.
  • Dish Cafe, 885 Mill St, ☎ +1 775-348-8264.




  • LEX Nightclub, 2500 East Second St (At Grand Sierra Resort and Casino), ☎ +1 775-789-5399, e-mail: Daily 9PM - 4AM. LEX Nightclub – an unprecedented nightlife venue – is the premier nightclub in northern Nevada, rivaling the country's top nightlife venues in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. At an impressive 25,000 square feet, LEX features three full bars, 33 VIP tables and a bevy of deluxe amenities to create the experience of a lifetime. The more than $16 million nightclub also features nine intricate skylights, a $2 million lighting system and an adult indoor pool partially covered by a glass dance floor, creating the illusion of dancing on water.
  • Flowing Tide Pub. Locations on 10580 North McCarran Boulevard and 465 South Meadows Parkway.
  • Reno Jazz Club, 302 East 4th St, ☎ +1 775-322-5011.
  • Se7en Teahouse and Bar, 100 N Arlington Ave (First & Arlington).
  • Sierra Tap House, 253 W 1st St (On Truckee Riverwalk), ☎ +1 775-322-7678.
  • The Depot, 325 E 4th St, ☎ +1 775-737-4330. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-9PM. Craft brewery/distillery and restaurant with 6 different beers 4 kinds of spirits.
  • The Z Bar, 1074 South Virginia St, ☎ +1 775-348-1723.
  • 1145 Seminary Ave (Seminary & 11th ("Life Lounge")), ☎ +1 775-220-8485.
  • Great Basin Brewery, 5525 S. Virginia St., ☎ +1 775-284-7711. Su M 11AM-9PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-10PM (Reno location opens Su at 9:30AM). Brewery, distillery and restaurant.




  • Days Inn, 701 East 7th St, ☎ +1 775-786-4070.
  • Motel 6 Reno - Livestock Events Center, 866 N Wells Ave, ☎ +1 775-786-9852, fax: +1 775-786-3162.
  • Motel 6 Reno - Virginia Plumb, 1901 S Virginia St, ☎ +1 775-827-0255, fax: +1 775-827-4728.
  • Motel 6 Reno West, 1400 Stardust St, ☎ +1 775-747-7390, fax: +1 775-747-4527.
  • Best Western Airport Plaza Hotel, 1981 Terminal Way, ☎ +1 775-348-6370, toll-free: +1-800-648-3525, fax: +1 775-348-9722.
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Reno Airport, 1250 East Plumb Ln, ☎ +1 775-682-4444, fax: +1 775-682-4445. The Comfort Inn & Suites at the Reno - Tahoe International is conveniently located one quarter mile from the Reno Airport.
  • Courtyard Reno, 6855 South Virginia St, ☎ +1 775-851-8300, fax: +1 775-851-8311.
  • Residence Inn Reno, 9845 Gateway Dr, ☎ +1 775-853-8800, fax: +1 775-853-8805.
  • Vagabond Inn Executive Reno, 3131 S. Virginia St, ☎ +1 775-825-7134, fax: +1 775-825-3096. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)



Keep Connected


There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.


See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.


The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 39.530368
  • Longitude: -119.81439

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This is version 22. Last edited at 9:47 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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