What are the best things to do in Reno?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Becky Bosshart

There’s plenty to do in the biggest little city in the world. From playing the slots to taking a hike — here are out Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the five best things to see and do in Reno:

1. Visit downtown. Reno’s downtown core has been rebuilt and refreshed over the past decade. Stay at one of the many resorts that are convenient to the downtown area, such as the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, and stroll along the Truckee River, where you can float on tubes in the warmer months, or rent a kayak (Truckee River Whitewater Park). Try to fit in a visit to the Nevada Museum of Art, which features four levels of art with an affordable entrance fee (most days $10) in a beautiful contemporary building that uses both light and space well. You’ll find a comfortable mix of local, regional and international art. Also a good stop for those on an art excursion is Bruka Theatre, which hosts the best community theater in town (with comfortable couches as seating), and is loved by locals.
2. See the Great Reno Balloon Race. Time your visit for the first weekend in September and you’ll find the sky full of hot air balloons, this is the Great Reno Balloon Race. You can rise early and experience dawn patrol with thousands of others. Walk amongst the inflating balloons at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, where you may suddenly find yourself assisting with a lift off. The park is a 15-minute walk from downtown and easily reached by public transportation.
3. Hit the tables. If gaming is your thing, here are plenty of casinos in Reno where you can play. Just keep in mind that most of Reno’s casinos were built and renovated in the 1970s and 1980s—you won’t find the modern glamor of Las Vegas. We recommend The Nugget downtown, where you can also try a famous Awful Awful, the culinary joy of many a college student and late night card player. The tasty all-night burger joint is hidden in a tiny corner of the casino. Nab a counter seat with your giant burger and fries and you’ll have plenty of fun people watching.
4. Grab a seat in the stadium. Sports fans will enjoy a game at the Reno Aces Ballpark, newly constructed (opened spring 2009) and within walking distance of the casino parking garages. The park is small – this is a minor league team – but there’s not a bad seat in the stadium, and it gives off a comfortable small-town vibe. It’s also part of the Freight House District, a year-round entertainment complex with retail, dining and nightlife.
5. Take a hike. Reno is a popular home for outdoor enthusiasts – even in the heart of the city you’ll find plenty of locations for a brisk hike. If you want to stay near the river, we recommend Mayberry Park. If you hoping for a western experience and are passing through Reno’s horse country, visit Bartley Ranch.

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