Best Things to Do in Reno, Nevada

“Though she may be but little, she is fierce.” Shakespeare may not have known it then, but he was penning a perfect description of Reno. This sparkling city in Northern Nevada is home to more than its fair share of fun, leaving all sorts of things to do in Reno, NV.

The “Biggest Little City in the World” has a lot to offer visitors. Reno is remarkably diverse in fun activities and sights, despite its smaller size. As it’s a place full of juxtapositions, you can take your pick among top tourist attractions, between casinos, alpine lakes, science museums, and river view restaurants.

Wondering what to do once you drive under that famous Reno arch? Plan your itinerary with this guide to the best places to go in Reno, Nevada.

Best places to visit in Reno, NV

Rancho San Rafael Park

There might be no better place for a breath of fresh air than Washoe County’s Rancho San Rafael Park. These 580 acres of ranch-turned-parkland feature miles of hiking trails and space for other outdoor activities.

At Rancho San Rafael Park, you can perfect your throwing arm on the disc golf course or embrace a little nostalgia with a game of horseshoes. Keep a lookout for birds or cast your reel in the fishing pond. Kids can run around on the playground or play tag on the wide-open pastures. Bring your pup to the off-leash dog area so they can join in on the fun.

Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the available pavilions or sit by the historic ranch houses still standing in San Rafael Regional Park.

National Automobile Museum

Voted one of the top tourist attractions in Reno and one of the best car museums in the country, the National Automobile Museum is worth more than just a drive-by.

National Automobile Museum

Take a guided tour of the permanent collection boasting a whopping 225 vehicles on display, from themed cars to classic models. These were largely acquired from the biggest and most historic collection to date by William Fisk “Bill” Harrah, at one time 1,400 strong.

Learn about the invention of the car itself and its integral impact on America and its people over the years. Join in on interactive exhibits where you can honk antique horns or pose for a selfie in full costume on an old-school car.

Feel like a superhero in the presence of an original Batmobile in the Batman-themed exhibit. View the Cars of the Stars exhibit to see 14 cars with a claim to fame. Clock one owned by none other than Elvis Presley and James Dean’s ride in Rebel Without a Cause.

Nevada Museum of Art

The range of exhibits at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno is of such high caliber that it’s the only art museum in the state accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Wander through the art galleries and permanent collection. They’re divided based on four themes, covering subjects such as contemporary art or art from the western US.

The Nevada Museum of Art is focused as much on education as it is on art. Start a new hobby with art classes for all skill levels. Attend an artist lecture or special events for families.

You’ll find the Center for Art + Environment here, a world-renowned research center that delves into the creative interactions between people and their wide range of environments. Check out their research library with archives from hundreds of artists.

Idlewild Park

Just outside of downtown on the Truckee River, the 49 acres of greenery in Idlewild Park offer a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Reno.

Idlewild Park

For a couple’s getaway, take a romantic walk by bushels of delicate flowers in the rose garden of Idlewild Park. If you’re on a family vacation, young ones will love watching the world go by at the duck ponds or playing in the two parks meant specifically for kids. Teens can hit up the skate park for a fun activity. When the weather heats up, a pool will please the whole crew.

For the outdoorsy crowd, take a stroll on the many walking trails around Idlewild Park or try river fishing. Work up a sweat with a baseball game, or try the basketball court, tennis courts, or volleyball area.

Mount Rose Ski Resort

Though just a 25-minute drive from downtown Reno, the closest skiing destination on Lake Tahoe, Mount Rose Ski Resort, feels like a far cry from the city.

Mount Rose Ski Resort

With over 12,00 acres and an average snowfall of 30 feet, there’ll be plenty of powder to carve your way through at Mt. Rose. Roll right from the slope-side parking lot to the neighboring lifts—no shuttle needed!

Mount Rose Ski Resort is one of the top hills in the area for beginners, but even seasoned vets will find runs more their speed. The terrain is split 50/50 between advanced and learner levels. Experts can climb to the famous Chutes for a steep adrenaline rush and some of the most extensive verts on the continent.

Snowboarders interested in practicing a trick or two can hit the slopes at the three snowboard parks at Mt. Rose, featuring rails and jumps.

To keep the kids occupied on your Reno family vacation, sign them up for ski lessons taught by locals, or watch them jump for joy when they hear about the trampoline park, disco bowling, and go-carting.

Make a winter weekend out of it and book a hotel nearby Mount Rose.

Circus Circus Reno

If there’s one thing Nevada is known for, it’s gambling. And Circus Circus Reno has that part of your Reno trip covered. No matter your game of choice, a variety of table games and over 700 slot machines at this hotel and casino are sure to keep you busy.

Circus Circus Reno

Up for something high-tech? Try your hand at electronic roulette or blackjack in their exclusive new Interblock Stadium.

Take the stress out of travel planning with a stay at this affordable 4-star hotel with a 24-hour concierge, an airport shuttle, and a spa. Self-check-in and a gym are added bonuses.

At Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, you don’t even need to leave your hotel for some of the most hopping nightlife around. Have a laugh at the comedy club, followed by a cocktail at the cabaret bar. Grab tacos for dinner at the onsite Mexican restaurant and catch a concert at THE ROW.

A full indoor Carnival set up with games and an arcade also makes this a great spot for a family getaway. Fly high at the circus shows at the Midway, featuring all the classics, from acrobats to clowns. Don’t miss your chance to play the biggest Pac-Man in the world.

Galena Creek Regional Park

Southwest of downtown, Galena Creek Regional Park is a serene getaway when Reno starts to feel hectic. Head to this patch of greenery for a great picnic spot that’s off the beaten path and off of most tourists’ radar.

Galena Creek runs right through the core of Galena Creek Regional Park, offering a picturesque retreat that feels miles from city center. Hike the plethora of trails with plenty of spots to stop for spectacular views. Cross the small but intricate bridge for a good photo op.

Both kids and dogs are more than welcome at Galena Creek Park, so take the whole family in tow.

The Discovery

The Discovery science center and museum is educational entertainment at its finest. Kids can expand their science knowledge as they learn about human anatomy, space, sustainable energy, or state history—all while having a great time!

Run wild on the Cloud Climber to learn about the water cycle. Tinker with tools and build your own creation in The Shop or embrace your inner artist in Davinci’s Corner.

Watch as water flows through a working replica of the Truckee River in Truckee Connects, traveling all the way from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. Organize your own experiments and make creative inventions in 67,000 square feet of hands-on permanent exhibits and labs.

Lecture series, science-themed parties, camps for kids, and family science nights add to the fun at The Discovery.

Wingfield Park

A combo of five parks, Wingfield Park is one of the most popular destinations along the Truckee River Walk. Wind through various hiking trails and riverside walking paths for spectacular views. Bring the dog for a jog in this pup-friendly spot.

Wingfield Park

Play a pickup game of basketball or tennis on the available courts. Take to the blue waters for a spot of fishing, kayaking, or swimming in the river. Then, borrow a barbeque to whip up some lunch and relax on a nearby bench.

Watch a dance performance or listen to live music in the amphitheater during the summer season. Yearly Artown events let you enjoy some of Reno’s arts and culture outdoors.

Fleischmann Planetarium

Take a trip to outer space on your Nevada road trip at the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center. Part of the University of Nevada, Reno, this local landmark has been around since the Space Race.

Fleischmann Planetarium

Reserve your tickets to one of the daily digital shows open to the public in the Fleischmann Planetarium’s iconic Full-Dome Theater. Feel small under the night sky of a 360-degree projector that can create a horizon-to-horizon video, the first of its kind in the United States.

Move to the exhibit hall in the hands-on Science Center, included with your show ticket. See the impressive meteorite collection, one of four Rand-McNally Earth Globes worldwide, and replicas from famous sci-fi movies like Star Wars and The Avengers. Take a picture with the life-sized TARDIS to appease your inner fan.

Drive a NASA module on Mars or control robotic telescopes in the Canary Islands and Chile remotely through a smartphone and practice your deep sky photography in the interactive exhibits.

Wilbur D. May Center

Make time to visit the Wilbur D. May Center while you’re in San Rafael Regional Park. Located in the midst of the green space is this unique complex combining history and nature.

Check out the permanent collection of eclectic antiques that the local Wilbur D. May once brought back from his globetrotting adventures. Obtained as travel souvenirs, the rare objects on display at the Wilbur D. May Museum range from Japanese swords to Polynesian carvings and tribal masks to Chinese pottery. Temporary exhibits also rotate through the collection of galleries.

When you’ve had enough of the indoors, wander outside through intricate botanical gardens full of seasonal flowers, non-native plants, and trees changing color in the free arboretum. Climb up to the Irwin Overlook for stunning views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Truckee River.

Greater Nevada Field

Cheer on the local Minor League Baseball team on your trip to Reno at Greater Nevada Field. Sitting right off of Evans Avenue, the home base of the Triple-A Reno Aces is the most major spot for sports, entertainment, and evening events in the area. Grab a hot dog and take a seat under the bright lights with 9,500 others in the peak of comfort.

Greater Nevada Field

Not into baseball? Not to worry: There are plenty of other options. From concerts to the circus, the whole family will have a ball here!

Plus, Greater Nevada Field is open all year round. Visit the onsite haunted house around Halloween and the downtown ice rink when the weather turns chilly.

Reno Riverwalk District

Smack in the middle of downtown Reno, the lively Reno Riverwalk District consists of two miles of restaurants, hotels, and boutiques bordering the Truckee River.

Spend an afternoon strolling down the well-maintained Reno Riverwalk boardwalk with scenic river and skyline views. Stop for a coffee or a bite to eat at one of the many cafes and bistros along the way in this dining destination.

Riverwalk

Street performers and live music amp up the atmosphere, particularly on the open mic nights and other special events. Couples should come for the monthly Truckee River Walk wine and art walk, a great date night activity.

Want to get a little closer to the water? Rent a tube or kayak to go for a casual paddle through crystal-clear waters or a float through mild rapids in the whitewater park.

Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts

If you’re looking to take in some arts & culture while in town, catch a show at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. This theater and event space has been home to the local arts scene since 1968. It hosts the Reno Philharmonic, A.V.A. Ballet Theatre, Artown, and multiple touring Broadway productions every year.

Check out the architecture of the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts while you’re there. This concrete building, with its tell-tale gold domed roof, earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places.

Even so, the modern features of this cultural center keep accessibility in mind. If you need extra assistance, be sure to ask about the wheelchair-accessible areas and an assisted listening system.

The Depot Craft Brewery & Distillery

The Depot Craft Brewery and Distillery is all about combining tradition with innovation. Just look at the main building; this 20th-century brick house that was once the local Railway headquarters is now a gastropub. Head inside for dinner, brunch, or happy hour and an atmosphere that’s warm and welcoming.

Inspired by the history of both the structure and the area, The Depot Craft Brewery and Distillery was born to preserve and share some of the best parts of Reno life, past and present. They specialize in turning humble ingredients into something greater.

Feel the sense of community as soon as you walk through the door. Chow down on classic American pub food, with a little extra pizzazz, next to their remarkable craft beers.

Hub Coffee Roasters

Hub Coffee Roasters is exactly what it sounds like: a neighborhood hub. This coffee shop & community hangout is all about relationships, both with Colombian coffee farmers and with the local community. That means all the great coffee with none of the pretentiousness.

Hub Coffee Roasters

Sit and stay a while—after all, that’s what Hub Coffee Roasters was made for! Grab a table outside to enjoy your brew with a view of the Truckee River at their riverside location. Get a tune-up on the side at the in-house bike shop in their downtown outpost.

Take a sip to taste the fruits of their ethical sourcing and artful roasting techniques. Or just swing by one of two (soon to be three!) locations to take some bean bags home for the yummiest souvenir.

Peppermill Resort Spa Casino

Peppermill Resort Spa Casino makes luxury accessible. The AAA Four Diamond resort blends suites and amenities like designer shopping and outdoor geothermal pools with a surprisingly affordable price tag.

Peppermill Resort Spa Casino

Relax at Peppermill Reno’s three-story Roman-style Spa and Salon Toscana, ranked one of the top hotel spas in the United States. Lounge on the sun deck, get a blowout at the full-service salon and visit the only Caldarium upstate.

By night, choose from one of nine onsite restaurants at Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. Whether you choose a steak at Bimini or all-you-can-eat sushi at Oceano, make sure to get the homemade gelato for dessert. Top it off with live music and cocktails in the lounge.

Browse the 82,000 square feet of the casino for a smoke-free poker room, the requisite blackjack table, slots, and a race & sports book with more than 100 screens. If you’re feeling lucky, there’s even a selection of high-limit table games.

Is gambling not your scene? One of the best things to do in Reno, NV, is to play a different kind of game with the retro video gaming options at the Game Lab instead!

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