Reno

The Reno Arch

Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World" is located in the beautiful north-west region of the State of Nevada, right at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is the second largest tourist destination in Nevada, featuring resorts, gaming, family entertainment, outdoor activities, festivals, museums, fantastic cuisine, shows for everyone, art and culture.

Understand

Reno is steeped in a rich, diverse, and rugged history. This is where the historic Johnson-Jeffries fight happened. This is where Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable made "the Misfits" in 1961. It is where the railroad tumbles down out of the mountains from California to cross the Truckee River and begin the long journey east. It's difficult to walk the streets of Reno without seeing the history in this dynamic city.

Most Renoites consider the start of it all to be 1859, when Charles Fuller built a log bridge across the Truckee River and started charging to cross over it on the way to the Gold Rush in California or coming back to Nevada for the "Washoe Rush" in Virginia City. Fuller set up shelter for weary travelers to rest. He served meals at a price, and created an opportunity for prospectors to exchange stories and information.

The town site of Reno, named after Civil War General Jesse Reno, was established on May 13, 1868.

Since its beginning, Reno has spread across much of the Truckee Meadows. Reno and Sparks (a smaller adjacent city) now spread across this small valley separating the Sierra Nevada mountains to the West and Nevada's expansive desert areas to the East.

The profiteering characteristic of the founders may have occasionally plagued the course of Reno's subsequent generations. Some Renoites claim Nevadans are simply of a freer nature. Others think the city has repeated the steps of the goldrush era founders. Certainly, the choices made today are what will determine the true nature of the community. Regardless, Reno enjoys a pretty decent quality of life with four seasons, winter and summer fun, a major university, and plenty of other entertainment.

Reno is in Northwestern Nevada, at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and serves as the urban center for a region including nearby Carson City and the Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, and historic mining town Virginia City, home of the Comstock Lode. Along with the city of Sparks, Reno is located in the Truckee Meadows, and together they form the Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Area.

Competition in the last years of the 20th century slowed down the gambling business in Reno considerably. Given that its downtown centered around these activities for a good 50 years, the same downtown suffered. Downtown today has weathered the storm, and is improving with projects like a baseball and entertainment district and several condo projects that were completed despite economic slowdown. Growth in the area has continued due to its livability. Reno is working hard to build a different kind of city for a greater variety of tastes, and keeping that in mind will help the visitor see the town through the right kind of eyes.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°F) 43 48 55 62 71 81 91 89 79 66 52 43
Nightly lows (°F) 25 28 33 36 44 52 61 59 51 41 32 26
Precipitation (in) 1.0 1.1 0.8 0.5 0.7 0.6 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.6 1.0 1.2

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

Reno is at the western edge of the Great Basin, a zone stretching to Salt Lake City that does not drain to the sea - water is carried away by evaporation only. Average precipitation is approximately 7 inches a year, with much of that occurring in the winter in the form of snow. July is the warmest month, with an average high of 91°F, and January is the coldest month, with an average low of 19°F.

Get in

By car

From Northern California

As both Reno and the Sierra Nevada are popular weekend destinations for Northern Californians, traffic can be bad coming to Reno on Friday evening, and leaving Reno on Sunday evening, especially in the ski season.

The most direct route to Reno from Sacramento is via Interstate 80 over Donner Summit (7239 feet or 2206 m). This route sees a great deal of snowfall during the winter, and will shut down for periods of up to a day several times during a typical winter. Northern California residents also use U.S. 395 in Susanville, this highway stays at a lower elevation and has less problems of traffic and weather. Residents living in the Redding and Chico areas of California find this route safer and quicker. If you plan on crossing this or any other pass in the Sierra Nevada in the winter, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and always carry tire chains if you do not have four-wheel drive.

An alternative route is US 50 over Echo Summit (7330 feet). This route follows the American River up from the Sacramento Valley, and then drops into the Lake Tahoe Basin. From there you can continue on US 50 into Carson City, and from there head north to Reno on US 395, or continue around the lake to Incline Village and drop into Reno on the Mount Rose Highway. This route is two lanes only for much of the way, and traffic can be heavy both in the winter and the summer, and winter maintenance is not as good as on Interstate 80.

Passes across the Sierra south of US 50, aside from CA 88, are not maintained in the winter (from approximately November until May.) And when they are open they are out of the way and potentially dangerous.

From Southern California

The most direct route to Reno is via US 395. This route takes you up the Owens Valley to Bishop, past Mammoth Lakes, into Carson City and thence to Reno. The portion between Bishop and Carson City crosses three passes as high as 8,143 ft (2,482 m) that may have moderately heavy snowfall during winter storms. In that event it would be better to take U.S. 6 from Bishop over Montgomery Pass to U.S. 95 (north) which stays in much lower valleys with less snow. At Schurz beyond Walker Lake take 95(Alt) north to Fernley, then I-80 west to Reno.

From Las Vegas

Don't be fooled by the fact that Las Vegas and Reno are in the same state - there's about 8 hours of driving time separating them. Take US 95 north to Fallon, US 50 west to Fernley, and Interstate 80 west to Reno. If you're not a fan of desert landscapes, boredom is a serious risk on this trip. Winter weather will generally not be a large problem on this trip, but don't count on being able to find food or fuel outside the major towns (Beatty, Tonopah, Hawthorne, Fallon, and Fernley)

During the summer the heat along US 95 can be hard on you and on your vehicle. A much more comfortable alternative to cooking in your car is to drive during the night. Many of the dark stretches between the small towns along US 95 reveal numerous shooting stars and other astral phenomena that you might miss during the baking sun. Keep in mind that driving at night can be dangerous due to the visibility limitations from the hills and the mountains. Be sure to have a lot of rest before undertaking this trip.

From the East

The most traveled route to Reno from the east is Interstate 80. Interstate 80 follows the old Emigrant trail along the Humboldt river for most of the way across Nevada, and thus the grades are generally easy. However, it does this at the expense of swinging well north of the direct route to Reno. US 50 ("The Loneliest Highway in America") is more direct, but it crosses several large mountain ranges and thus has some tight curves, steep grades and a few switchbacks. Don't count on finding food or fuel along US 50 outside of the major towns (Ely, Eureka, Austin, Fallon and Fernley).

By train

Amtrak's California Zephyr runs between Emeryville and Chicago, and stops once a day in both directions in Reno. The station is full service, including an indoor waiting room and checked bag service. The station is in the middle of downtown Reno, and is within walking distance of all the downtown casinos.

Amtrak California also operates a shuttle buses between Reno and Sacramento which connects to the Capitol Corridor, serving Northern California, and the San Joaquins, serving the Central Valley and points south, rail routes.

By bus

Long distance bus transit in the state is mostly only along the I-80 corridor. Greyhound maintains a depot in Reno and buses go daily to and from Northern California and Chicago and points east.

Megabus offers service from San Francisco and Sacramento. The bus stop is located at the Silver Legacy Resort & Casino bus stand on West 5th Street between Sierra Street and Virginia Street.

There are buses between Reno and Carson City that are operated by NDOT and the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC).

By plane

See also: Air travel in the United States

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (IATA: RNO) is served by most major domestic airlines, including Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, and United. For the lowest fares, try to avoid flying into Reno on Friday, and out of Reno on Sunday. Southwest Airlines features non-stop service to Boise, Chicago (Midway), Denver, Portland, Las Vegas, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego and Salt Lake City.

The airport offers free wireless for anyone wanting to surf the internet or do some work, and a vast number of slot machines for those with other interests.

Get around

Map of Reno-Sparks Area
Map of Downtown Reno

By car

Reno is served by two freeways: I-80 running east-west, and US 580 (previously 395), running north-south. Circling the valley of the Truckee Meadows is the McCarran Blvd ring road. The primary business artery is Virginia Street, which runs north-south through downtown Reno. Major east-west routes include Moana Lane, Plumb Lane, Mill Street, Second Street, Fourth Street, and Sixth Street. Major routes running north-south in Reno include Keystone Avenue, Lakeside Drive, Wells Avenue, and Kietzke Lane.

Car Rental

Nearly all national car rental agencies serve the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. A list is available at RNO's website.

Note that several agencies do not have fleets within the airport property. Most notably, Enterprise's fleet is located 1 mile away from the terminal. However, the terminal includes an Enterprise service counter, they offer free shuttle service during business hours, and taxi vouchers and a pickup hotline for drop-offs after hours.

By bus

Reno's transit system, called RTC RIDE, is operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. The busiest route, the #1 bus, was recently replaced with two new services, RTC RAPID, a priority express bus making limited stops, and RTC CONNECT, the local. RAPID runs 15 minutes or better headways most of the day through Downtown Reno (a good place to start is the RTC 4th Street Station at 4th and Lake which opened Oct 31st 2010) and down South Virginia Street (the major north-south street) to Meadowood Mall. RTC RAPID should serve any tourist well for most shopping, dining, and gambling needs.

Other routes to know about are the #11, which runs between downtown Reno and downtown Sparks, and the Sierra Spirit circulator bus (7AM – 7PM), which connects various downtown destinations along the Virginia Street corridor down to the Truckee River to the south and the University of Nevada, Reno, to the north. In downtown Reno, all buses stop at or near the RTC 4th Street Station at 4th and Lake St, where you can also find The Bus Book.

Fares may be paid on the bus by cash (exact change) or by pass. All RTC RIDE passes are available from the Pass Vending Machines (as of March 28, 2011 all day passes are $4 at the Station, if you buy them on the bus they are $5. One trip fare is $2, but asking for a transfer allows travel on any bus in any direction for 1 1/2 hrs from the time of purchase. All major casinos have a bus stop for easy access.), available at RTC 4th Street Station and Meadowood Mall, and may be purchased with cash, coin, debit or credit cards (cash only if purchased on the bus).

By taxi

Reno’s taxis are plentiful, efficient, and comfortable. At the airport, downtown or near any major casino they should be very easy to come by, in other places expect to call to arrange pick-up. Don’t drink and drive.

See

Reno is an interesting city, with plenty to see and do day and night; many attractions which should be considered "must-see" are located 30–60 minutes outside of town by car. Therefore, renting a car is a good idea when visiting Reno.

In-City

Casinos

No entry on Reno would be complete without an overview of the various casinos in the city. In addition to gambling, these properties provide a variety of dining and entertainment opportunities and should not be overlooked.

Events

Tourism is the main focus of Reno, and a number of yearly tourism events are held in the Reno-Sparks area, mostly during the summer months.

Yearly events

Do

The Circus Circus and Silver Legacy casinos at night

Gamble

Casinos are Reno's most common visitor attraction.

Mountain Biking

The open desert terrain that surrounds much of Reno, especially to the Northwest, offers some fantastic mountain biking. Peavine mountain has many networks of trails that are a biker's paradise, most of it singletrack, and most of it technical. Many cyclists start near Rancho San Rafael Park to access the Peavine trails. Be careful, however, as there are often gun-happy residents shooting away, not always sober, farther out in the government lands; also be sure to bring plenty of water, as the desert heat can be quite oppressive. Find more information in books such as Mountain Biking Reno & Carson City: Best Trails by R. W. Miskimins. Nearby areas, like Lake Tahoe offer even more for the mountain biker, such as Tahoe's famous Flume Trail.

Road Biking

There exists a rather good bike trail along the Truckee River which extends from the eastern fringes of Sparks to the western limits of Reno and beyond. The section inside city limits is fun and easy for bikers of any skill level, but is actually only a section of the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway which—when completed—will run from Lake Tahoe all the way to Pyramid Lake: 116 miles in total.

Burning Man

Reno is the closest major city to Black Rock City and the corresponding Burning Man festival. Many burners pass through Reno on the way to Black Rock City, and many Reno businesses cater to burners by stocking extra water and camping supplies during the Burning Man week. Some hotels offer Burning Man discounts for travellers staying overnight in Reno.

Ski

Winter Ski slopes overlooking Lake Tahoe

Reno is within two hours of an incredible number of ski resorts. Here is a short list.

Kayak

Reno offers a kayak park at Wingfield Park. Equipment rentals and outdoor adventures can be booked nearby.

Buy

Exploring the Truckee River Arts District will give you firsthand experience of Downtown Reno's recent urban renaissance. There are two main shopping and dining hubs in the district:

Eat

One thing Renoites know is food! Check out some of these great spots:

Drink

Sleep

In addition, most major Reno casinos are hotel/casino resorts. See above for a link to a list of casino resorts.

Cope

Consulates

Go next

Regionally, Reno features a variety of attractions which are hard to beat. These attractions are best experienced during the spring, summer, and early fall, as wintertime in the area renders most of them closed. Reno gets cold in the winter, so if you’re visiting in the winter, look to ski resorts to entertain you during the day.

Routes through Reno

Sacramento Truckee  W  E  Winnemucca Salt Lake City
Sacramento Truckee  W  E  Sparks Salt Lake City
Alturas Susanville  N  S  Carson City Bishop


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.