Great Reno Balloon Race

#3 in Best Things To Do in Reno
Great Reno Balloon Race picture
Great Reno Balloon Race
1 of 2
Getty Images

Key Info

1595 N. Sierra St.

Price & Hours

Free
September; see website for details on hours of events

Details

Festivals, Free Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.8scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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.

The race starts at 6:45 a.m. on opening day, and the balloons land as the sun sets on the third day. During the day, other competitions  including kid-friendly activities  take place at Rancho San Rafael and around the city. For the coolest photo ops, consider waking up early for the Glow Patrol (5 a.m.) and the Dawn Patrol (5:30 a.m.). During these early morning hours, balloons that have been certified for flying in the dark (thanks to their onboard lights) take to the skies, glowing against the dark landscape. 

The event is free to attend, but parking will cost you, depending on where you decide to leave your car. If you want to park at Rancho San Rafael, plan to pay $10 per car. Even better, leave your car at the north lots at the University of Nevada, Reno, which is free. If you're staying in downtown Reno, event organizers suggest you walk to avoid the traffic. Recent spectators agree: walking to the event means you don't have to arrive in the wee hours of the morning to snag a parking spot. For more information, visit The Great Reno Balloon Race website.

See all Hotels in Reno »

More Best Things To Do in Reno

Lake Tahoe
Riverwalk
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 9
#1 Lake Tahoe

Sitting only about 40 miles south of "The Biggest Little City" on the border of Nevada and California,Lake Tahoeis 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

Read more
reno tahoe media/RSCVA & VisitRenoTahoe.com
See full list of Best Things To Do in Reno »

Explore More of Reno

Recommended

The 21 Most Beautiful Waterfalls to See Around the World

Discover which stunning falls offer once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

Kyle McCarthyApril 25, 2019

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019