The Biggest Little City In The World: What To Do In Reno, Nevada

Reno City Guide

I don’t know about you, but I had always envisioned Reno as a smaller version of Las Vegas with smoky casinos, all-you-can eat buffets, and an older crowd who lived for the good old days. Why I had this idea of Reno is beyond me, but after my recent trip to the city, I realized I was way off. Sure the casinos still populate the downtown area (who doesn’t love a bit of gambling?!), but Reno itself was a hip city packed with breweries, art, and a unique culture that completely blew me away. Imagine a budding Austin in Nevada – a city combining the golden history of Reno with an artistic and organic young population. The mix creates a vibe like none other, and I’m excited to see what the future of Reno holds!

I had so much fun getting a taste of the city, and I am already planning on another visit. (Fun fact: Tahoe is only a 45 minute drive from Reno!). Whether you’re into cocktails, gambling, art, or food, Reno has something for everyone. So next time you are planning a getaway, be sure to consider Reno, Nevada! Check out my tips below on what to do and more!

HOW TO GET THERE:

We took the new direct Southwest flight from Dallas Love Field straight to Reno. It was a super easy flight, and we made it into Reno by lunch! We rented a car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the Reno Airport and had a quick drive to downtown.  

Reno City Guide Riverwalk

WHAT TO DO:

  • Explore The Riverwalk District The Riverwalk District is one of the liveliest parts of the city. To maintain the history of the riverwalk, many of the old homes have been converted into new restaurants, shops, bars, and galleries. Spend an afternoon wandering around the riverwalk. If you’re feeling active, try paddleboarding or enjoying an outdoor yoga class!
  • Visit The Basement – Underneath one of the prettiest West Elm stores I’ve ever seen, you’ll discover The Basement. The old post office has been transformed into an underground area with stores, salons, a live music venue, bars and restaurants. It was such a cool space, so we recommend you stop by to at least grab a juice at Rawbry or a drink at Stamp Social ClubThe basement reno
  • Do a beer bike tour with Reno Brew Bike through the craft beer scene – This was my first time experiencing a brew bike, and it was an absolute blast! I was paired up with a bachelorette party to bar hop throughout the day, and it was a fun way to see more of the city and stop by some of the top local bars! Reno Brew Bike Tour
  • Snap a photo under the famous Reno Arch – Did you know there are actually TWO Reno signs? Nor did I! Be sure to visit the famous Reno Arch and snap a picture underneath. It’s in the heart of downtown, so you can explore the casinos while you are there too!Reno City Guide
  • Grab a shirt at Reno eNVy – What’s a trip without a souvenir? I got this one and love it!
  • Visit The Generator – Fun fact, Burning Man is #1 on my bucket list. The Generator is an inclusive art space for anyone creative. What makes it so fascinating is that some of the largest and most famous works of art at Burning Man are made and housed here. I got to meet Matt Schultz, the artist behind the famous Space Whale and lend a hand with the work of art. Pretty awesome.The Generator Reno Art The Generator Reno Burning Man The Space Whale Reno Matt Shultz Generator The Generator Reno Pirate Ship
  • Check out the Burning Man Art Installations around the city – You can find so many incredible works of Burning Man art around the city, so spend some time exploring. I loved the Believe sculpture on the riverwalk, and the Space Whale will soon have its own home in the city. To see the full art trail list, click here.Believe Burning Man Sign Reno

WHERE TO EAT:

  • Wild River Grille – We had dinner here our first night and loved the menu! If the weather permits, snag a table outside for a great ambiance.
  • Two Chicks – Any menu that has a grilled cheese on it wins my heart, but Two Chicks is absolutely incredible. While it’s open all day, swing by for brunch for a delicious meal. Hint: the Eggs Benedict and Biscuits and Gravy are delish.Two Chicks Reno Grilled Cheese
  • Bimini Steak House – For our second night in Reno, we had dinner at our hotel’s steakhouse, Bimini Steakhouse. The ambiance was great with a casino-esque feel, and the menu had everything we could’ve wanted. Definitely recommended.
  • Rawbry – If you’re looking for something a bit healthier, head down to The Basement for a fresh juice from Rawbry.Rawbry Reno The Basement

WHERE TO DRINK:

  • The Eddy – The new beer garden and art space along the Truckee River with food trucks and lawn games
  • The Depot Reno – An antique train depot transformed into Reno’s first distillery, brewery, and restaurant combo
  • Pignic Pub – Pack your own meats and veggies to grill on one of Pignic’s many grills while enjoying a full bar scene Pignic Pub Reno
  • Death & Taxes – A dark and trendy mixology hotspot with speakeasy vibes
  • St James Infirmary – The bar has a vintage feel, great drinks, and a lively rooftop patio
  • Chapel Tavern The neighborhood watering hole in midtown
  • Stamp Social Club – A new underground bar with great cocktails in a unique atmosphere Stamp Social Club Reno

WHERE TO STAY:

While I normally stay in small, boutique hotels, I switched it up in Reno and stayed at The Peppermill. The hotel had the classic casino-feel with tons of slot machines and tables when you arrive – but it adds to the charm of what Reno was originally known for! The hotel was absolutely huge, and I wish we had more time to explore the hotel and enjoy all of the amenities! The Peppermill is constantly voted as one of the top hotels in Reno, so if you plan a visit, definitely check out The Peppermill. The hotel has 11 restaurants inside (we recommend Bimini), each with its own grandiose decor. The hotel also has an amazing pool for guests to enjoy.

Peppermill Reno Casino Hotel Review

Peppermill Reno Pool

Peppermill Reno Fountain

We stayed in a suite in the Tuscany Tower, and my favorite part of the hotel room was the large bathroom with a whirlpool tub and tv. It was the perfect way to unwind after a long day! The hotel also offers a selection of unique accommodations – like this Safari Adventure Suite.

The Peppermill Reno Breakfast in Bed

If you stay at the hotel, be sure to book a treatment at the Spa Toscano. The massage was sooo relaxing, and I had full-day access to enjoy the amenities of the spa.

Another hotel I recommend checking out is the Whitney Peak Hotel. It has a more modern feel than a lot of the other hotels, but it does lack a casino. The Atlantis and The Renaissance (especially if you enjoy bocce) are both recommended as well!  

What to Do In Reno

FUN FACTS ABOUT RENO:

  • Reno is only an hour from Tahoe
  • The Reno airport has many slot machines
  • Reno is known as the divorce capital of the world after 30,000 couples came to Reno during 1929-1939 to get divorced due to relaxed divorce laws
  • The National Bowling Stadium (also known as the Taj Mahal of Tenpins) is in Reno and was using in the 1996 Bill Murray movie, Kingpin
  • It’s known as the biggest little city in the world
  • Frank Sinatra used to be a regular in Reno

While this post was in partnership with Reno Tahoe, the opinions expressed are my own. 

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