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Best Things To Do in Reno

The bright neon lights of Reno's casino district have beckoned to gamblers for decades; the Eldorado, with its noisy slots and green-felt table games, is one of the most popular places to challenge Lady Luck. But there's more to Reno than poker chips. The Biggest Little City is also home to several excellent museums, including like the National Automobile Museum and the Nevada Museum of Art. And Reno makes for a great getaway for outdoorsy travelers thanks to its easy access to the ski slopes of nearby Mount Rose and Lake Tahoe. But if you want to enjoy the fresh Nevada air without leaving the city, take a stroll along the Truckee Riverwalk.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Reno

Free
Sitting only about 40 miles south of "The Biggest Little City" on the border of Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the country, boasting soaring mountains and crystal-clear waters. It's best known as a skiing destination, where visitors will find top-notch facilities like Squaw Valley (which hosted the 1960s Olympic Winter Games) and the massive Heavenly Ski Resort. But Lake Tahoe also makes for an excellent summer getaway thanks to its sprawling beaches, ample boating and fishing opportunities and well-maintained hiking trails.
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Natural Wonders Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Lake Tahoe
Sitting only about 40 miles south of "The Biggest Little City" on the border of Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the country, boasting soaring mountains and crystal-clear waters. It's best known as a skiing destination, where visitors will find top-notch facilities like Squaw Valley (which hosted the 1960s Olympic Winter Games) and the massive Heavenly Ski Resort. But Lake Tahoe also makes for an excellent summer getaway thanks to its sprawling beaches, ample boating and fishing opportunities and well-maintained hiking trails.
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#2

#2 in Reno

Free
Downtown Reno's updated Riverwalk area – located along the Truckee River between Arlington Avenue and Lake Street – draws art lovers and gourmands alike with its collection of galleries and restaurants. You'll find most of these up-and-coming establishments lining the southern end, which residents have come to refer to as CalAve. And if you're not sure where to begin, tag along on a Wine Walk. This event – hosted by the Riverwalk Merchants Association for $20 per person  takes place the third Saturday of the month from 2 to 5 p.m. and includes wine tastings at more than a dozen galleries and specialty stores.
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Riverwalk
Downtown Reno's updated Riverwalk area – located along the Truckee River between Arlington Avenue and Lake Street – draws art lovers and gourmands alike with its collection of galleries and restaurants. You'll find most of these up-and-coming establishments lining the southern end, which residents have come to refer to as CalAve. And if you're not sure where to begin, tag along on a Wine Walk. This event – hosted by the Riverwalk Merchants Association for $20 per person  takes place the third Saturday of the month from 2 to 5 p.m. and includes wine tastings at more than a dozen galleries and specialty stores.
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#3

#3 in Reno

Free
Every September, more than 120,000 spectators grab their lawn chairs and head north of downtown Reno to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park for the annual Great Reno Balloon Race. During this three-day event, more than 100 brightly colored hot air balloons fill the northern Nevada sky, making this the largest event of its kind in the nation. The balloon's pilots race against each other; the first balloon to make it to Truckee Meadows (several miles south of downtown) wins.
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Festivals Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Great Reno Balloon Race
Every September, more than 120,000 spectators grab their lawn chairs and head north of downtown Reno to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park for the annual Great Reno Balloon Race. During this three-day event, more than 100 brightly colored hot air balloons fill the northern Nevada sky, making this the largest event of its kind in the nation. The balloon's pilots race against each other; the first balloon to make it to Truckee Meadows (several miles south of downtown) wins.
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#4

#4 in Reno

Even if you don't consider yourself an automobile aficionado, you'll want to make a stop at this museum, according to recent visitors. Home to more than 200 vehicles ranging from horseless carriages to race cars to celebrity rides, the National Automobile Museum covers a lot of ground. Most of the vehicles on display are from Bill Harrah's personal estate (one of Nevada's casino gaming pioneers), which is why the museum is often referred to as the Harrah Collection. Some of the museum's most notable pieces include the Thomas Flyer (winner of the 1908 around-the-world race) and the 1949 Mercury Series 9CM driven by James Dean in the film, "Rebel Without a Cause."
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
National Automobile Museum
Even if you don't consider yourself an automobile aficionado, you'll want to make a stop at this museum, according to recent visitors. Home to more than 200 vehicles ranging from horseless carriages to race cars to celebrity rides, the National Automobile Museum covers a lot of ground. Most of the vehicles on display are from Bill Harrah's personal estate (one of Nevada's casino gaming pioneers), which is why the museum is often referred to as the Harrah Collection. Some of the museum's most notable pieces include the Thomas Flyer (winner of the 1908 around-the-world race) and the 1949 Mercury Series 9CM driven by James Dean in the film, "Rebel Without a Cause."
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#5

#5 in Reno

Founded in 1931, the Nevada Museum of Art is the oldest established cultural center in the state. But you wouldn't know that by looking at it. In 2001, the museum underwent a $22 million move and renovation; the building that now stands at the southern end of the Truckee Riverwalk is a fantastic example of modern architecture inspired by the landscape and the geological formations of the Black Rock Desert.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Nevada Museum of Art
Founded in 1931, the Nevada Museum of Art is the oldest established cultural center in the state. But you wouldn't know that by looking at it. In 2001, the museum underwent a $22 million move and renovation; the building that now stands at the southern end of the Truckee Riverwalk is a fantastic example of modern architecture inspired by the landscape and the geological formations of the Black Rock Desert.
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#6

#6 in Reno

Free
Though a few recent visitors said this landmark casino has begun to show some wear, travelers still rate the Eldorado as one of the best places to gamble in Reno. Spanning 81,000 square feet, the Eldorado offers everything you need to test Lady Luck, including table games, slots, poker and sports betting. Plus, it also boasts 13 restaurants and bars — a point of major praise for visitors who appreciated not having to leave the casino to dine (they especially loved the buffet). Reviewers also offered compliments for the staff, who travelers found to be professional and friendly. If you're not up for gambling, the Eldorado Resort features several on-site nightlife venues and hosts regular concerts.
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Casinos Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Casino at the Eldorado
Though a few recent visitors said this landmark casino has begun to show some wear, travelers still rate the Eldorado as one of the best places to gamble in Reno. Spanning 81,000 square feet, the Eldorado offers everything you need to test Lady Luck, including table games, slots, poker and sports betting. Plus, it also boasts 13 restaurants and bars — a point of major praise for visitors who appreciated not having to leave the casino to dine (they especially loved the buffet). Reviewers also offered compliments for the staff, who travelers found to be professional and friendly. If you're not up for gambling, the Eldorado Resort features several on-site nightlife venues and hosts regular concerts.
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#7

#7 in Reno

If you're itching to get on the slopes, but don't want to make the trek to Lake Tahoe, consider heading to Mount Rose. Situated a little more than 20 miles southwest of downtown, Mount Rose is the closest ski area to Reno. And at 8,260 feet, it's also Tahoe's highest base resort, making for optimal ski conditions.
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Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Mount Rose Ski Resort
If you're itching to get on the slopes, but don't want to make the trek to Lake Tahoe, consider heading to Mount Rose. Situated a little more than 20 miles southwest of downtown, Mount Rose is the closest ski area to Reno. And at 8,260 feet, it's also Tahoe's highest base resort, making for optimal ski conditions.
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#8

#8 in Reno

Looking for another opportunity to break away from the casino and enjoy some fresh Reno air? Consider paying a visit to Greater Nevada Field, home to the city's minor league team  the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Reno Aces. While the park doesn't offer skyline views, it does boast a stellar vantage point of the surrounding mountain range. Aside from its location along the Truckee River, the ballpark received praise from recent visitors for its cleanliness and variety of concession food. During the offseason, the city offers ice skating from November through February at a skating rink set up in the plaza in front of the ballpark.
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Sports Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Greater Nevada Field
Looking for another opportunity to break away from the casino and enjoy some fresh Reno air? Consider paying a visit to Greater Nevada Field, home to the city's minor league team  the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Reno Aces. While the park doesn't offer skyline views, it does boast a stellar vantage point of the surrounding mountain range. Aside from its location along the Truckee River, the ballpark received praise from recent visitors for its cleanliness and variety of concession food. During the offseason, the city offers ice skating from November through February at a skating rink set up in the plaza in front of the ballpark.
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#9

#9 in Reno

Billed as a hands-on science center, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum provides further proof that there's more to do in Reno than sit at a blackjack table. Exploring everything from science and technology to engineering, art and math, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (or "The Discovery" for short) offers a bevy of interactive permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions across its 67,000 square feet. Some of the highlights include a three-story-tall jungle gym that allows visitors to learn about the water cycle and an 80-foot-long interactive replica of the Truckee River.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum
Billed as a hands-on science center, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum provides further proof that there's more to do in Reno than sit at a blackjack table. Exploring everything from science and technology to engineering, art and math, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (or "The Discovery" for short) offers a bevy of interactive permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions across its 67,000 square feet. Some of the highlights include a three-story-tall jungle gym that allows visitors to learn about the water cycle and an 80-foot-long interactive replica of the Truckee River.
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#10

#10 in Reno

Not all wild animals are found in Reno's nightclubs; some are found in Animal Ark. Sitting on 38 acres 25 miles north of Reno, this facility is not a zoo, but rather a "safe haven for nonreleasable wildlife," according to its website. Animals from all over the world have taken shelter within the ark's enclosures because they lack the necessary skills to live in the wild, often because they were injured or abandoned. Visitors have the opportunity to watch the ark's residents – which include several species of North American predators and some exotic species from other geographic areas – interact and play.
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Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Animal Ark
Not all wild animals are found in Reno's nightclubs; some are found in Animal Ark. Sitting on 38 acres 25 miles north of Reno, this facility is not a zoo, but rather a "safe haven for nonreleasable wildlife," according to its website. Animals from all over the world have taken shelter within the ark's enclosures because they lack the necessary skills to live in the wild, often because they were injured or abandoned. Visitors have the opportunity to watch the ark's residents – which include several species of North American predators and some exotic species from other geographic areas – interact and play.
... more
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