25 Best Things to Do in Reno (NV)

Source: Flickr / Ken Lund | CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in northern Nevada, Reno is the second-largest city in the state and kindly nicknamed as “The Biggest Little City in the World”. In the 19th century, this region was the route of the gold and silver rush. In recent years, gambling has dominated the city’s economy. Reno’s good structure to receive tourists and the proximity to Lake Tahoe are the main attractions of the region, in addition to the casinos.

You will also be enchanted by the natural beauty that surrounds Reno. The great advantage for tourism is the arid desert climate of the region, guaranteeing more than 300 days of sunshine a year.

Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Reno (NV)

Source: Map data @2022 Google

1. Grand Sierra Resort

Grand Sierra Resort Reno
Source: Flickr / James St. John | CC BY 2.0

The Grand Sierra Resort is not just a place for gambling as it has a lot of amenities for the whole family. These include a spa, a nightclub, an outdoor pool with cabanas, and a 24/7 gym, plus a bowling alley, a driving range, and an airport shuttle service. Besides, the resort also features a theme park offering go-kart racing and simulated sky diving.

Located just 2 miles from Reno-Tahoe International Airport and 5 miles from Tahoe National Forest, the rooms are classy, clean, and extremely comfortable. The casino is decent sized with lots of slot machine options and a good set of tables.

2. National Automobile Museum

National Automobile Museum
Source: Flickr / Ron Frazier | CC BY 2.0

Established in 1989, the National Automobile Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Reno and it is among the best motorsport museums in the world. The museum has an immense collection of more than 220 vehicles, from “The Thomas Flyer” to the “Batmobile”. This museum is also known as The Harrah Collection in honor of a casino mogul named Bill Harrah, who was the largest contributor of cars to this museum.

Some cars belonged to celebrities, like Elvis Presley. In the museum, there are also sceneries with replicas of streets from the 20th century.

3. Circus Circus Hotel Casino Reno

Circus Circus Hotel Casino Reno
Source: Flickr / Quinn Dombrowski | CC BY-SA 2.0

The Circus Circus Hotel Casino Reno is the best place in Reno if you are traveling with kids as it is the only casino catering for the whole family. Only 3 minutes walking from the Reno Events Center, this circus-themed casino hotel is connected by a skywalk to the Eldorado Resort Casino and the Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.

Upstairs on the second floor, before you go to into the sky bridge, there is a large game room for the kids to spend their time while the parents are enjoying themselves in the casino. Some of the Circus Circus amenities include carnival games, circus shows, a dog kennel, and 6 dining options.

4. Reno Arch

Reno Arch Nevada
Source: Flickr / Ken Lund | CC BY-SA 2.0

Located on N Virginia St., the Reno Arch landmark is the most emblematic monument of the city. You can find it throughout the entrance, and it is fascinating to take a few photos both day and night and carry home good memories of the city. Just when you look at it, it transmits a party atmosphere due to its striking colors and at night it can be observed with great luminosity.

This is also a great place to start your evening in Reno. You can park your car at Harvey’s garage and hit the town on foot. There are many restaurant and casino options within walking distance from the arch.

5. Silver Legacy Resort Casino

Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno
Source: Flickr / Jim G | CC BY 2.0

Located 13 minutes walking from the National Automobile Museum, the contemporary Silver Legacy Resort Casino is an imposing high-rise building. Besides the casino, there are 6 international dining options, shops, bars with slot machines, and a venue for live entertainment.

The hotel structure is completely renovated and modernized. Interestingly, in the middle of the Silver Legacy casino is a giant silver mining machine symbolizing Reno’s glorious past.  The rooms are all very clean and spacious, and some of them offer an incredible view of the surrounding mountains.

6. Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park Hot Air Balloons
Source: Flickr / Ken Lund | CC BY-SA 2.0

A former ranch, the San Rafael Regional Park features recreation facilities, as well as a museum and a botanical garden. Throughout the year, it is always beautiful with something new to see. There is a beautiful little lake that you can walk around that glistens in the sun during the day. The park has many easy paths to walk and bike and some a bit more difficult. Besides, the dog park is by far the best one in town.

There are also multiple animals you might catch a glimpse of while you are there. But, make sure that when you are looking for animals and smelling the flowers, you also watch out for snakes.

7. Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Source: Flickr / Jim G | CC BY 2.0

Close to Reno Airport, Atlantic Casino Resort Spa offers a free airport shuttle, a small arcade, a lively casino, and 8 award-winning restaurants, as well as a spa.

The casino itself features 1,450 slot and video poker machines and approximately 38 table games. At Atlantis, you can play blackjack, craps, roulette, and others. Not to mention a race and sports book, a 24-hour live keno lounge, and a poker room. Also, the friendly poker dealers at Atlantis make playing that much more fun!

8. Sparks Marina Park

Sparks Marina Park
Source: Flickr / Paul Hurtado | CC BY-SA 2.0

The Sparks Marina Park features a 2-mile trail around its 77-acre lake. Along the Marina Park Path, you will see people walking, running, and riding their bikes. The park also features volleyball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, and a very popular dog park.

With an average depth of 60 feet, the lake itself is used for a wide range of recreational activities. From windsurfing and sailing to scuba diving and fishing. However, swimming is only allowed in the designated swim area at the north beach and when lifeguards are on duty.

9. Eldorado Resort Casino

Eldorado Resort Casino Reno
Source: Flickr / Ken Lund | CC BY-SA 2.0

Around the corner from the National Bowling Stadium and the Reno Events Center, the Eldorado Resort Casino is a modern, neon-lit casino hotel with a classic interior. Additional amenities include a full-service, 24-hour casino, 9 dining options, and live entertainment, plus numerous bars, and lounges. Eldorado also hosts shows such as stand-up comedy performances and live music concerts.

The casino, which was originally established in 1963, is now part of Caesars Entertainment, the largest gaming company in the US.

10. Idlewild Park

Idlewild Park Reno
Source: Flickr / Ryan Finnie | CC BY-SA 2.0

With playgrounds, ball fields, a swimming pool, and a skate park, Idlewild Park is a large park bordering the Truckee River. The park has lots of spacious grassy areas for all kinds of recreation near the water. While on your walk in one of the multiple trails or the peaceful area between the river and the pond, try to spot the many ducks and geese that live there.

Idlewild Park’s highlights are the Rose Garden and the Sensory Garden. The shade from the trees and the cold water keeps this area relatively cool even during Reno’s hot summer days.

11. Club Cal-Neva

Club Cal Neva Reno
Source: Flickr / Sarah Stierch | CC BY 2.0

Club Cal-Neva is a traditional old-school hotel and classic gaming casino with old slot machines. This longtime resort also offers informal rooms and casual dining options.  With not much glitz and glamour, Club Cal-Neva takes you back in time when Reno was just starting as a gambling hotspot.

With popular events and promotions among the community of Reno, one of Club Cal-Neva’s main nights of the year is their famous Santa Crawl. Besides, the Top Deck restaurant located inside the club is one of Reno’s favorite restaurants. Make sure to try their Steak & Eggs or the Prime Rib.

12. Wingfield Park

Wingfield Park Reno
Source: Flickr / Ken Lund | CC BY-SA 2.0

With a beautiful promenade along the riverbank, Wingfield Park is actually an island in the Truckee River. This is a recreational park offering kayaking, swimming, and picnic areas. During summer, the park also hosts plays and concerts.

Besides, the park also features a sculpture garden and a nice walking path perfect for an afternoon stroll. People from all over Reno go there to enjoy the cool Truckee river or sit under a tree on a hot day. The riverbank provides many water activities like fishing, tubing, and swimming. This is especially nice for kids since the water is very shallow.

13. Gold Dust West Casino – Reno

Gold Dust West Casino – Reno
Source: Unsplash / Kay | CC BY 2.0

Not too crowded and with a lot of different slot machines, the Gold Dust West Casino is a lively establishment with several dining options. For example, the Grill is one of the most popular restaurants in Reno. Even amongst people who do not gamble. The Grill’s main dish is the Prime Rib, and you get a free piece of pie with any food purchase.

The casino itself has a lot of newer games. However, make sure your pockets are deep because you need a decent amount of starting funds to do decent.

14. The Discovery – Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum

Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum
Source: Unsplash / Emily Webster

Through unique, hands-on programs and exhibits, the Discovery – Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum is both a science and technology museum. Established in 2011 as a children’s museum, The Discovery is now home for informal science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) learning for all ages.

Among the permanent displays, you can explore the Mindbender Mansion which focuses on puzzles, or the Inside Out exhibit that teaches everything about the human body. Not to mention the exhibit Under the Stars, which explores the universe. Visit the museum‘s website for special offers and packages.

15. Wild Island Family Adventure Park – Waterpark

Wild Island Family Adventure Park
Source: Unsplash / Iker Urteaga

Wild Island Family Adventure Park is like a huge playground for the entire family. They have something for everyone including an area where little kids can play. Its main attraction is the waterpark with many water slides and pools, including a wave pool. The park also features a volleyball court and a sandy play area.

On the other hand, the dry side of Wild Island is just as fun. It has pirate mini-golf, blacklight go-karts, laser tag, bowling, and over 100 arcade games and prize store. Also, Outback Steakhouse is right there for when you get hungry after playing the whole day.

16. Truckee River Walk

Truckee River Walk Reno
Source: Flickr / PunkToad | CC BY 2.0

The Truckee River Walk is part of the trail that leads from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. This portion of the trail is a paved walkway along the Truckee River and passes through two of Reno’s best parks. Some sections of the walkway are shared with bikes.

The intense colors and surrounding landscape along the Truckee River Walk make this an attraction not to be missed. You never know what you will see as you walk the promenade which is on both sides of the river between Arlington Avenue and Lake Street.

17. Nevada Museum of Art

Nevada Museum of Art
Source: Flickr / PunkToad | CC BY 2.0

Bright and energetic displays compose the accredited Nevada Museum of Art showing contemporary art, altered landscape photography, western art, and more. The layout of the museum is wonderful, and it has attractions that cater to everyone. Besides, they have guided tours, crafts, and live performances as well as thoughtful and ever-changing exhibits.

This family-friendly and fully wheelchair accessible art museum is a must-see in Reno. The museum is also very educational, and they give free color painting for kids while telling stories and teaching them to pan gold. The rooftop views of Reno and the mountains are breathtaking.

18. Animal Ark

Animal Ark Nevada
Source: Unsplash / Cara Fuller

Half an hour north of Reno, the Animal Ark is a wildlife sanctuary and nature center offering educational opportunities for visitors of all ages. This is not a huge place or a zoo in the sense that their priority is animal rescue more so than entertainment for visitors. So, by supporting the Animal Ark you are helping animals that for some reason cannot be placed back in the wild.

The entire loop is about a mile long and the animals are well taken care of and each exhibit tells you the animals’ story. The majority of viewing areas give nice vantage points of the animals inside, which seem comfortable and at home in their habitats, running or playing around.

19. Wilbur D. May Center

Wilbur May Center
Source: Unsplash / Nick Karvounis

The Wilbur D. May Center is a year-round destination with a museum full of exotic artifacts collected by Wilbur on his travels around the globe. The center is dedicated to Wilbur who was an adventurer, world traveler, rancher, artist, pilot, businessman, Soldier, and Reno philanthropist. Displayed since 1985, his collections include antique firearms, Japanese swords, European glasswork, Egyptian tomb items, and much more.

The most popular exhibit amongst the kids is the animation one. There, you can create movies and get to learn so much about the history of stop motion and color palettes. As a bonus, the center also features an arboretum and a botanical garden.

20. Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts

Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts
Source: Flickr / GPA Photo Archive | CC BY-SA 2.0

In the heart of downtown Reno, Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts is a distinctive gold-domed performing-arts venue hosting ballet, opera, and other community programs. Formerly known as the Pioneer Theater-Auditorium, the center opened its doors in 1968. Nowadays, this is the largest performing arts facility in northern Nevada with 1,500 seats.

The venue has a full bar with wine, beer, alcoholic drinks, and non-alcoholic options to include coffee and tea along with a variety of snacks. Also, the center offers dance classes and performance demonstrations as part of its Pioneer Center Youth Programs.

21. Sierra Nevada Zoological Park

Sierra Nevada Zoological Park
Source: Flickr / biofriendly | CC BY 2.0

Even though the Sierra Nevada Zoological Park is a small-scale, seasonal zoo it is home to over 40 species of animals amid mountain views. These include zebras, lemurs, monkeys, large cats, and more. If you can choose, try to visit the zoo late morning. This is when the animals are awake, more active, and moving around.

The zoo offers the possibility to feed and pet deer, goats, alpacas, llamas, sheep, and miniature cows. There is also a nice seating area to rest and have a snack or drink from the gift shop! Besides, the zoo features a playground and an inflatable slide for the kids.

22. Bartley Ranch Regional Park

Bartley Ranch Regional Park
Source: Flickr / Ken Lund | CC BY-SA 2.0

A former dairy farm, the 56-acre Bartley Ranch Regional Park was established in 1995 featuring walking trails, a regulation-size horse arena, and reservable Western buildings. The main trails include the 1.5-mile Ranch Loop Trail, the 0.4-mile Quail Run Trail, and the 0.2-mile Flume Trail. Besides, Bartley Ranch is home to several plants and animals.

Across the park, you will see many informational signs telling the story of the farm. The park is also popular as a venue for several events and functions. Among the rentable spaces in the park are the Historic Huffaker School and the outdoor Robert Z Hawkins Amphitheater.

23. Greater Nevada Field

Greater Nevada Field
Source: Flickr / Ken Lund | CC BY-SA 2.0

The Greater Nevada Field is Northern Nevada’s premier sports, entertainment, and event venue. With a capacity to hold 9,534 fans, the stadium is beautiful with very green grass and many food options. Besides being home to the Reno Aces and hosting minor-league baseball games, this lively stadium also holds other sporting events and concerts.

Overall, ticket prices are reasonable, and the entertainment value is definitely above average. Also, the atmosphere is so fun and electric that the kids get to interact with the players warming up.

24. Steamboat Hot Springs

Steamboat Hot Springs
Source: Pexels / cottonbro | CC BY 2.0

Steamboat Hot Springs is a natural spring with geothermal mineral water. Although the spa functions in an old building, once you are inside you will feel amazed by the private and relaxing environment. The facility offers several packages including massages, private tub room, detox, ayurvedic, cancer care spa day, bridal party, and more.

The hot tubs are a favorite among the customers. The adjustable water temperature and essential oils make this a really wonderful soak. It is recommended that you take extra towels, flip flops, and your own moisturizer.

25. Two Chicks

Two Chicks
Source: Unsplash / John baker | CC BY 2.0

Owned by the two best friends, Haley and Jessie, Two Chicks is an industrial-chic eatery offering local, seasonal American breakfasts, sandwich melts, and salads. The ladies focus their menu on brunch, so mimosas and orange juice are almost mandatory. Besides their huge mugs of coffee, the food is delicious and very fresh. They also offer gluten-free and dairy-free options.

Also, the staff is all genuinely friendly and helpful if you need tips and recommendations on what to do in Nevada. And it does not hurt that the service is so quick!