Reno, Nevada: The Kinder, Gentler Little Sister of Las Vegas

Reno, Nevada: The Kinder, Gentler Little Sister of Las VegasNevada has a reputation as a state where people go to play. With gaming, Broadway-worthy productions, haute couture shopping, five-star dining and more, Nevada is one of the top states for tourism nationwide. But when you think of Nevada, you probably think “Las Vegas.” This is precisely what makes Reno one of the best-kept secrets in the state.

Not only is Reno just half an hour’s drive from Nevada’s capital city, Carson City, but the city offers all of the same attractions of Las Vegas — and often at a fraction of the prices. Perhaps most alluringly, unlike Las Vegas, Reno is located less than one hour’s drive from one of the most scenic spots in the country — Lake Tahoe. Learn what Reno has to offer and perhaps you will find that the next time you want to revel in nature’s wonders, put your money down on the gambling table or see a show, you will chart your course for Reno instead!

Finding Reno on the Map

If you look at a map of the state of Nevada, Las Vegas is right at the bottom of the state, nearest to Arizona. Reno, on the other hand, is located midway along the leftmost state border — less than three hours from beautiful Sacramento, California. This makes Reno a particularly choice destination for vacations combining nature, entertainment and gaming. Perhaps most importantly, Reno doesn’t get the extreme temperature highs its bigger sister city does — Las Vegas can top a staggering 120 degrees in the summer heat, while Reno tops out at around 90 degrees even in the hottest summer months.

Bustling Casinos and Art Culture

If you are a gambler after country singer Kenny Rogers’ own heart, you will be delighted with downtown Reno. The downtown strip is styled to evoke a mini-Vegas, complete with flashing neon lights, an incredible skyline as its backdrop and all the gambling games and perks you could hope for. As well, you can also drive less than an hour and experience the equally fine casinos situated around South Lake Tahoe for a change of scene. Once you have finished gambling, just a few steps away from the casinos you will find a wealth of options for tasty cuisine, live music entertainment, shows and concerts, night clubs, shopping and art galleries worthy of any culture-rich major city. 

Series of Special Events

In addition to the obvious attraction of the casinos and art culture, Reno increasingly is a hotspot for special events, festivals and gatherings like these.

  • Hot August Nights. Reno’s “Hot August Nights” annual concert series attracts the kind of entertainment A-listers usually only seen in Vegas or New York City. Best of all, the annual event happens in conjunction with the Hot August Nights Foundation, which helps at-risk kids.
  • Artown. Artown happens annually each July. More than 500 events celebrate the arts at more than 115 venues — and most events are free of charge.
  • Reno-Tahoe Open. If you love to golf, you won’t want to miss the Reno-Tahoe Open, which takes place at the end of July each year. Many PGA stars have graced the course during this well-attended annual attraction.
  • National Championship Air Races. USA Today named this September annual event one of the 10 best air shows in the world. Speeds reach 500 mph and you will be up close and personal to watch it unfold.

Rivers, Lakes and Mountains

Because Reno is located right at the foothills of the gorgeous Sierra Nevada mountain range, there is also a wealth of activities the entire family can enjoy together — all within a 111-kilometre radius of the city of Reno. You can snow ski, Jet Ski, snowboard, surf, golf, ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle down the throughway, go snowmobiling, hiking, swimming and more. Because of the weather, there is always something to do outdoors all year round. And if you just want to relax beside beautiful Lake Tahoe with a weekend cottage or cabin rental, you can do that too!

With all of these offerings, there is no doubt that Reno can stand toe-to-toe with Las Vegas and still maintain its own world-class status.

About the Author: Mario Guiterrez grew up in Winnipeg and moved to Reno for work after college. He thinks Reno is the greatest city in the United States.

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