What are the best things to do in Reno?

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.

  • On August 16, 2012
    Becky Bosshart answered the question: Becky Bosshart

    What are the best things to do with kids in Reno?

    Reno is a family-friendly destination, so you’ll have no problem finding plenty of outdoor activities for energetic children. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best things to do with kids in Reno.
     
    1. Float down the river. Your first stop should be to the Truckee River, where you can float in the warmer months or join a kayak excursion (Truckee River Whitewater Park). The downtown river walk is also fun for children.
     
    2. See hot air balloons. The most popular annual event in Reno for children is the Great Reno Balloon Race. Time your visit to the first weekend of September and you’ll find the sky full of hot air balloons. You can rise early (you will see plenty of other strollers) and walk amongst the inflating balloons at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park for dawn patrol.
     
    3. Book it to a ballgame. Most kids love baseball, hotdogs and cheering. Grab tickets for 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.
     
    4. Put on your walking shoes. Hike with the kids near the river at Mayberry Park or Idlewild (downtown). If you want to have a western experience, passing through Reno’s horse country in the middle of the city, visit Bartley Ranch.
     
    5. Ice skate. The Rink on the River is a fun downtown activity during winter, operating daily during the season (weather and ice conditions permitting), with evening hours on weekends.
  • On August 16, 2012
    Becky Bosshart answered the question: Becky Bosshart

    What are the best things to do in Reno?

    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 downtown resorts 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.
  • On July 31, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to eat in Reno?

    Local foodies agree: Reno has some outstanding restaurants, but you have to look hard to find them. Read on for Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best places to eat in Reno.
     
    1. The 4th St. Bistro. This romantic fine dining location known for its market fresh and locally sourced ingredients. But because of its creative menu and reputation, it can get crowded fast. Either opt for an early dinner or book a reservation in advance. Make sure to try the pork belly appetizer and one of the unique desserts.
     
    2. Bangkok Cuisine. This Thai restaurant serves classic dishes so authentic, you’ll feel as if you’re in Thailand. A house special is the Bangkok sizzling platter, a yellow curry dish with fresh vegetables. We also recommend the panang curry and tom kha gai soup.
     
    3. Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse. Looking for an excellent steak in an upscale environment? Try Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse located inside the Silver Legacy Resort Casino. Be sure to check out the signature steak, oyster bar and Sunday champagne brunch.
     
    4. White Orchid. For a table clad in fine linens and china, head to the White Orchid in the Peppermill Hotel. The gourmet cuisine is paired with fine wine as part of the wine series. If available, be sure to book a wine dinner.
     
    5. Archie’s Famous Grill. The quaint diner is right across from University of Nevada and is famous for their burgers, fries and onion rings. The Nugget is another spot to grab a burger (order the Awful, Awful, it’s locally famous).
  • On July 31, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in Reno?

    The biggest little city in the world and the surrounding area has many different types of lodging, whether you are looking for the energy of hotel casino, upscale accommodations or the down-home comfort of a bed and breakfast. Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ recommend these properties if you’re seeking the best places to stay in Reno.
     
    1. Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino. Recently renovated, the luxurious Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino is the perfect lake front location for a grand Sierra Nevada vacation. Don’t forget to relax in the heated pool – it has a spectacular mountain view.
     
    2. The Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. If you’re looking for a classic hotel casino experience you’d do no better than The Peppermill, located on South Virginia Street away from the downtown congestion. The Peppermill is best known for its spacious rooms, bold design and 24-hour Café Milano. You’ll have access to two resort pools with waterfalls, three spas, private cabanas and poolside dining.
     
    3. Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. With a spa, eight restaurants and a casino, you’ll never have to leave this resort. Between the indoor and outdoor pools, event and entertainment spaces and the kids center — there’s something for everyone here.
     
    4. The Grand Sierra Resort & Casino. This hotel, located off Highway 395, is known for its eclectic mix of entertainment options, starting with a bowling alley, discount cinema, large concert theater (featuring bands such as Florence + the Machine) and mini golf course. Stay in the Summit rooms for a luxury experience – you can choose between two different grand suites, a loft suite or a two-bedroom imperial suite.
     
    5. Cobb Mansion. If you want a Victorian B&B experience take a short drive to Virginia City and stay at the Cobb Mansion. This charming historic home, decked out Victorian era antiques, serves a wonderful breakfast. You’ll want to wake up for the eggs Florentine and Belgian waffles.