Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno, Nevada, is a destination chock full of adventures, ranging from outdoor adrenaline-pumping excitement to family-friendly fun and gambling all-nighters. Located just north of the Truckee River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Reno takes full advantage of its natural attractions and pairs them alongside the many hotels, resorts and casinos that continually draw in large numbers of tourists. Much more than just a small town with big lights, this desert city can be the ultimate all-in-one vacation getaway.
The Truckee River Whitewater Park is in the heart of Reno’s downtown district and features 11 kayak drop-pools and racing courses, as well as hosting the annual Reno River Festival. For those adventure seekers who’d like to go off course with a little more challenge, the city offers several whitewater excursions right on the American and Truckee rivers. Reno also hosts a plethora of fun family activities, such as the 40,000-square-foot Fun Quest video arcade, Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center, Sierra Safari Zoo and Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary, where guests can get up close and cozy with exotic animals in their natural habitat.
With dozens of premium casinos peppered through the city -- like its big brother, Las Vegas -- Reno doesn’t sleep. Many of these casino-resorts have had facelifts in recent years, including popular hotspots like Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa, which offers a full-service spa, award-winning dining options and ’round-the-clock gaming. Many other new multi-billion dollar luxury resorts are being developed to cater to a higher-end crowd. These new additions include Tuscan Tower at the Peppermill Hotel Casino and Legends Marina Casino Resort in the neighboring town of Sparks. Reno nightlife is another draw for the 21-plus crowd, with hundreds of bars, lounges and nightclubs that only shut down when you do. For the cosmopolitan traveler, arts and culture have infiltrated this neon boomtown, showcasing many fine art galleries, educational museums, film festivals and Native culture exploration.
It’s only right that Reno have a killer dining scene to go along with its many world-class casinos and resorts. La Vecchia serves up modern Italian comfort food like homemade lasagna and veal scaloppini. Get there early, and have a three-course Early Bird Special for under $20. For a romantic night of great market fresh French-fusion cuisine, check out 4thStreet Bistro and try the porcini seared sea scallops or braised short ribs. For one of the best breakfasts offered in Reno, forget the resort buffets. Guests of the city have to try Peg’s Glorified Ham & Eggs.
Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) is the region’s largest airport and serves most major carriers. The city is a popular weekend getaway destination for Northern Californians, so traffic can be heavy from Friday to Sunday. Reno does have a public transit bus system, as well as plentiful taxis, but it is recommended to rent a car for easy navigation and accessibility.
Reno is characterized by a semi-arid climate with little precipitation and hot, dry weather from late spring to early autumn. July is the hottest month and has an average high temperature of 91.2° F (32.9 ° C). Though Reno is thought to be a desert climate, winters can get quite cold and due to the altitude (and proximity to Lake Tahoe), and can have an average annual snowfall of nearly 60 inches. Reno is a year-round destination, with several events and activities geared toward the season, and others that go on all year long.