Grown-Up Getaway: How to spend a weekend in Reno, Nevada

I know…you thought I was going to say Las Vegas, right? But I prefer Reno, Nevada to Vegas any day…this medium-sized city is nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and offers plenty to do in the outdoors in addition to gaming and entertainment. Here’s what to do and where to go…with some unexpected surprises along the way!

Grown Up Getaway: Reno Nevada

Where to stay:

You have your pick of casino hotels in Reno, but for the greatest variety of dining options, entertainment and nightlife, pick either the Eldorado, Circus Circus, or Silver Legacy. They’re all connected, and right in a row on Virginia Street, within walking distance of the off-site venues I suggest visiting. In fact, the trio is now called THE ROW, Reno’s most luxurious row of accommodations, dining and spas.

What to do:

To me, the interiors of almost all casino hotels look the same: like the interiors of all malls or cruise ships. Without the benefit of daylight, I get really stir crazy. The good news is, after checking in and getting settled, you can easily step outside and walk along The Riverwalk District for views of the Truckee River. Keep going a few blocks from the hotel complex down Virginia Street to The Midtown District for a more eclectic, art experience with boutique shops, eateries and breweries. 

You can easily while away a half day here, checking out the vintage clothing shops, record stores. bubble tea shops and breweries. This part of Reno used to be avoided by most residents but is enjoying a new identity. It’s still gritty, and to be honest, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it when I first walk along the streets (there are still quite a few of the low budget motels and adult bookstores I remember from the past). But after perusing the new shops, I fell in love. There’s an excellent clothing exchange and antique shop called Junkee’s, and one for children’s clothing called Sippees. Mostly, you’re walking along Virginia Street proper, but in a few places, little nooks and crannies lead off to clusters of brew pubs and wine bars. There’s even an ice cream sandwich shop utilizing all local ingredients (called Simple Ice Cream Sandwiches on South Virginia Street).

Best of all, Midtown sports a beautiful collection of murals. Check out a map here, but if you just walk through the district, you’ll see most of them. Once you reach the Truckee (back toward the Eldorado), you can check out the ‘Space Whale’ art installation that was brought here from the Burning Man Playa. If you want to see more art, the Wilbur D. May Museum is adjacent.

In the evenings, Reno offers an abundance of shows and performances; just check the listings for your particular dates. And of course, there’s casino gaming as well. Alternatively, you could also check out this online poker game where you can get a $20 promo at Global and play wherever and whenever you want to.

Spend your second day exploring the outdoors. There are over 30 golf courses within the Reno area, as well as a whitewater kayaking park directly in downtown on the Truckee. Within 20 minutes of downtown Reno, Mt. Rose offers skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and snowmobiling in the winter and mountain biking and hiking in the summer. Just drive another 15 minutes or so on the Mt. Rose Highway to reach the northern Nevada side of Lake Tahoe at Incline Village. Spend time at Ski Beach in the summer, renting paddle boards or kayaks or just enjoying the sunshine.

Where to eat:

In Midtown, check out Brasserie Saint James on S. Center Street or Sup on South Virginia Street. If you’d rather stay in the hotel after freshening up, head to Roxy or La Strada in the Eldorado for the best ambiance. Canter’s Deli in the Silver Legacy is a nice option if you want something casual before catching a show at The Laughing Factory next door.

Have you enjoyed a weekend away in Reno? What are your recommendations?

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.




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