Reno Tahoe, NV

Destination Location

Reno Tahoe, NV
  • 39.529633, -119.813803:primary
  • 39.49917, -119.76806:secondary


Don’t know much about the Reno-Tahoe, Nevada, region? Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz about its resemblance to Las Vegas. Or maybe word has gotten out about the adventure playground that is Lake Tahoe. This destination is everything you could want, and more, to create an unforgettable holiday.

Reno is commonly referred to as the world’s “Biggest Little City” because of the similarities (on the surface) it has to its southerly neighbour, Las Vegas. You’ll find the same fun and excitement, shopping and entertainment, but on a slightly smaller scale, with a few other tantalizing differences. Reno is also known as “America’s Adventure Place” because there is as much to discover out of town as there is in town.

Established in 1868, Reno quickly became one of the premier stops along the ever- expanding Central Pacific railroad due in no small part to its legalized gaming and lenient divorce laws, thus earning itself the nickname, “The Divorce Capital”. However, with large economic booms adding to the growing diversity of travellers visiting the region, Reno started to enjoy a tourist trade that went far beyond the local casinos. While there are still 22 full casinos in Reno and an additional four in Tahoe, there is so much more to see and do in the city – and in the many spots within an hour’s drive of the city.

Destination basics

Reno’s hottest month is typically July, with average summer highs around the 28 C mark and lows of 7 C. Pack your sunglasses and an ample sunscreen for the day, but also a pair of jeans and a sweater for the evening if you plan to be outdoors. Don’t forget your hat!

Winters are chilly, so you will need a good coat and pair of gloves to keep your fingers toasty. Temperatures in the winter months range from highs of 7 C to lows of -5 C. You may even get rain, usually in January, so pack an umbrella just in case.

If you are heading to Lake Tahoe in the wintertime, you will need your warmest parka, scarf, mittens and toque for the snowy conditions.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Reno Tahoe, NV

Reno runs the proverbial gamut when it comes to dining options. The "Biggest Little City" is one of diversity and choice; no matter what a diner's preference, it can be easily found. Couple all this with prices that are generally below those of comparable restaurants elsewhere and it is easy to see how Reno can quickly spoil diners. The low cost is due in part to the casinos and that well-known staple, the all-you-can-eat buffet. But today's savvy diners demand more than family friendly, easy on the pocketbook buffets that the casinos have long been noted for. In keeping with this trend, elegantly appointed rooms, first-class service, menus that pique the imagination, and substantial wine lists are being presented to patrons as the casinos scramble to stay on the cutting edge of dining excitement.

Downtown Reno
Downtown Reno has a lot of options for dining, usually with the best restaurants inside the hotels and casinos. At the White Orchid in the Peppermill Hotel Casino, wine connoisseurs have the opportunity to enjoy exquisite dining and wines in an elegant and romantic setting. Carvings Buffet is also located inside Harrah's and provides a wide variety of food for the buffet. The Eldorado Hotel Casino has the acclaimed El Dorado giving diners an unsurpassed dining experience. The restaurant has received several prestigious awards including the DiRona Award for Excellence in fine dining and Best Gourmet Restaurant from Casino Player magazine. The award-winning wine list consists of 700 wines, and there are 102 different martinis offered.

At the Rapscallion, diners will discover a complete selection of seafood, pasta, and steak, all served up in a trendy West Coast atmosphere.

Greater Reno
The restaurants in the greater Reno area have a wide variety of dining. If you want elegant dining head to Tannenbaum Event Center on the Mt. Rose Highway and enjoy a spectacular view of the forest below. Bavarian World offers German-style family dining within quaint alpine-like settings.

Viaggio is a fine Italian restaurant that features authentic Northern Italian cuisine and an extensive wine list. For the Italian food lovers who are watching their waistline, Zozo's is a neighborhood restaurant that serves low-fat Italian.

Anyone with a craving for south of the border cuisine is in luck in Reno. Authentic Mexican restaurants are commonplace. Within walking distance of downtown, Bertha Miranda's Mexican Restaurant offers its patrons authentic meals and entertainment. Los Compadres is located on historic Fourth Street, which was part of the old Lincoln Highway. They dish up some tasty fare with just a hint of fire. Fresh Tex-Mex style cuisine can be enjoyed at Buenos Grill.

The steak, prime rib and fish crowd will discover several restaurants in the Sparks area to their liking. John Ascuaga's Steakhouse Grill in Sparks serves broiled steaks, prime rib and fresh seafood. True lovers of barbecue ribs cannot miss the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off held in Sparks every September.

Lake Tahoe One of the oldest restaurants in the area is Pfeifer House in Tahoe City. It offers the patron an extensive menu of freshly prepared dishes.

Northern Nevada is undergoing major changes to keep up with the steady growth of both the population and new business coming into the Truckee Meadows. Once known only for the bawdy lifestyle of gambling, “quickie” divorces and instant marriages, the area is emerging as a well-known cultural center, as well as host to some of the “hottest” special events in the United States.

Downtown Reno
The Virginia Street corridor is the center of activity for not only gambling, but special events as well. The bright lights of the casinos and the famous Reno Arch declaring “The Biggest Little City In The World,” greet visitors as they enter downtown.

The boisterous casinos have been the main attraction along the Truckee River for decades. The Club Cal-Neva Hotel Casino has been around since 1948, and is still going strong as one of the most popular gaming establishments in town. Harrah's Reno opened as a full casino the same year and the action has never ceased. The National Automobile Museum, located two blocks east on Mill and Lake Streets, houses some fascinating antique cars collected by William Harrah on his ride to fame and fortune. Harrah's Events Plaza is a center for downtown events and entertainment. The Circus Circus Hotel Casino is a favorite for family fun with high-flying acts and a great arcade for the youngsters. The Silver Legacy Resort Casino is the new kid on the block and already known for sponsoring major events and adding to the revitalization of downtown. The Automated Mining Machine towering 120-feet over the casino floor is a wonderful attraction for visitors. The Eldorado Hotel Casino plays host to special events, as well as is a popular gaming venue.

“Reno-vation” is taking place in the downtown area to make more open and attractive spaces for visitors and Renoites to enjoy. The Truckee River Walk is one of the first efforts. The major casinos are also expanding and renovating in an effort to keep downtown alive and well. The whole city gets into the act to host one of the major cultural events in the nation, the Reno Summer Arts Festival featuring Artown. The Pioneer Centre for Performing Arts presents the Reno Philharmonic, the Nevada Opera and Nevada Festival Ballet. Marvelous museums are lavishly dispersed throughout the area including the Wilbur D. May Museum and Aboretum at Rancho San Rafael Park and the Nevada Museum of Art on Liberty Street downtown.

Some major hotel/casinos outside of the Virginia Street hub include the Peppermill Hotel Casino and Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa on South Virginia Street. East of downtown resides the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, a high-rise city unto itself. Sparks
Although it looks like its part of Reno, this is a separate, thriving city. Founded in 1904, it served as maintenance facilities for the Central Pacific Railroad. Named for then-governor John Sparks, the city has come a long way in establishing itself as not only a great place to visit but to live. The Sparks Heritage Museum displays artifacts relating to the beginnings of the town that is sometimes known as the “Rail City.”

The hub of activity is centered in Victorian Square at Interstate 80 and Victorian Avenue. John Ascuaga's Nugget towers over the Square and the hotel sponsors many major events taking place there. Fine dining facilities in this establishment includes Restaurante Orozko. Smaller casinos are to be found as one strolls along the Square, one of the most popular being Rail City Casino. The casinos along Victorian Square host major events almost every month of the year. Sparks Hometowne Christmas is a favorite and Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off.

Lake Tahoe
One look and you'll know why it is called the Jewel of the Sierras. The areas surrounding the largest alpine lake in the country offer year-round recreation and beauty. The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino is perhaps one of the most elegant places to lodge and have fun. MontBleu Casino Resort & Spa and Harrah's Lake Tahoe are also well known for fine dining and top entertainers.

During the summer months, the Zephyr Cove Resort & Marina beckons visitors to cruise on the M.S. Dixie II. On the south shore of the lake, Lake Tahoe Cruises offer sailing on the Tahoe Queen. The beaches and parks are popular for sunbathing and hiking. Sand Harbor presents the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and Kings Beach hosts the Lake Tahoe Music Festival.

The ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada mountains are unmatched anywhere. Boreal Mountain Resort is usually the first of the season to open because of snow-making equipment. Granlibakken Resort & Conference Center offers fabulous lodging and conference facilities, as well as fine slopes. Heavenly Ski Resort and Northstar-at-Tahoe are first-rate for challenging ski areas. Cross-country ski enthusiasts will find the best trails in North America at Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort in Soda Springs. And, of course, there is Squaw Valley USA, famous for hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics and still a world-class venue for winter sports of all genres.

"The Biggest Little City in the World" is indeed that! When the slogan was adopted in 1929, the city fathers were desperate to find a way to gain recognition for the little town on the Truckee. That's hard to believe these days, since there's so much to do in Reno you might not have time to fit it all in.

Theater, Dance and Opera
The Pioneer Centre for Performing Arts is home to the Nevada Festival Ballet, Reno Philharmonic and the Nevada Opera. Nightingale Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) offers first-rate entertainment by the Reno Chamber Orchestra which is becoming increasingly popular. The college also is home to the Nevada Repertory Company, the only university repertory company in the United States, which hosts several outstanding productions throughout the year. Music lovers will enjoy the Reno Jazz Festival, one of the largest jazz competitions in the country.

During the summer head to Lake Tahoe to enjoy world-class performances with the stunning backdrop of the pristine lake. The Lake Tahoe Music Festival presents a feast of programs from classic to contemporary at various locations in the alpine forest. The Tahoe International Film Festival gives new filmmakers a venue to show their works.

The ultimate cultural event of the summer in Reno/Sparks is a month-long feast of activities at Artown. More than 200 events and exhibits are featured at a dozen venues citywide. The residents in the community are a literate lot. A national survey has proclaimed Reno to be the most well read city in the United States. The Washoe County Library System offers more than 1700 community programs for children and young adults to encourage good reading habits. The Nevada Humanities Committee sponsors the Great Basin Book Festival in September at Wingfield Park Amphitheater featuring noted authors, book signings, literary discussions and lectures.

Whether you are a spectator or a player, the sporting activities in the Truckee Meadows are second to none. The golf courses dot the landscape from the valley to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course at Lake Tahoe is rated by Golf Digest as one of the "top 25" in the United States and is host to the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. The Reno-Tahoe Open is held at Montreux, a Jack Nicklaus designed course, and spectators can watch players vie for more than $2,000,000 in prize money. The Dayton Valley Golf Course is a challenging play area to the south of Reno. Golf Club at Genoa Lakes in the same area hosted the U.S. Open Qualifying tournaments in 1998 and 1999.

World-class ski areas seem almost as numerous as the snowflakes falling on the Sierras. Normal winters can bring close to 40 feet of snow, however the temperatures remain fairly mild, making the area a skier's paradise. Boreal Mountain Resort, on Tahoe's north shore, is usually the first to open for the season with the help of state-of-the-art snowmaking machines. Of course, the resort most well known is Squaw Valley USA, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The south shore of Lake Tahoe is home to Heavenly Ski Resort with the top elevation near 10,000 feet. Cross country skiers and snowboarders will find their sports well represented at the Resort at Squaw Creek, Royal Gorge, Diamond Peak and Granlibakken Ski Resort.

The areas in and around the Truckee Meadows are also a paradise for fishermen. Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake are two of the better known fishing areas with trout in abundance. For fishing right downtown, try the Sparks Marina.

One of the favorite events in the area is the Reno Rodeo. Another similar event includes the Snaffle Bit Futurity where top riders compete against each other with various horse tricks. For something a little different, Virginia City presents unusual competition at the annual Camel and Ostrich Races.

Aeronautical activities attracting numerous participants and thousands of spectators include the Great Balloon Race and the National Championship Air Races.

Northern Nevada has something for everyone. The above mentioned activities are just the tip of the iceberg. We've come a long way, baby; and we've only just begun.


State: Nevada

Country: United States

Reno by the Numbers
Population: 225,200 (city); 425,400 (metropolitan)
Elevation: 4506 feet / 1373 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 10 inches / 25 centimeters
Average Annual Snowfall: 24 inches / 61 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 36°F / 2°C
Average July Temperature: 75°F / 24°C

Quick Facts

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT-8; Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Country Dialing Code: 1

Area Code: 775

Did You Know?

Reno has been known as the "Divorce Capital of the World," partly because of its lenient divorce laws.

Eddie Money's music video "Take Me Home Tonight" was shot in Reno.


This desert city is located near the border of California on the central western side of Nevada. It lies 60 miles (97 kilometers) northeast of Lake Tahoe, 425 miles (684 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas, 425 miles (684 kilometers) southwest of Boise and 220 miles (354 kilometers) east of San Francisco.

In 1844, John C. Fremont led a mapping expedition with the help of a Paiute chief who escorted the party through the wilderness of the Pyramid Lake region to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Two years later, in 1846, the ill fated Donner Memorial State Park party would rest on the banks of the cool Truckee before trying to cross the rugged mountains on their way to California. However, their disastrous journey did not discourage those who followed during the gold rush.

Soon the Truckee Meadows became the meeting point of the emigrant trail going east to west and the north-south passage. Ruts made by the wheels still remain as testament to the long, hard journey. During this time, entrepreneur Charles Fuller decided he could make money by building a toll bridge across the Truckee to accommodate the travelers going west. In a log shelter close to the crossing, weary travelers and prospectors could rest and compare travel tales. Card games where a favorite way to entertain themselves, usually for money.

In 1861, after having to rebuild the bridge several times because of floods, Fuller sold his business to Myron Lake, whose vision for the future was the start of a thriving community. His dream of connecting east with west by railroad would become reality. In March of 1868, the first train rolled into Lake's Crossing. Teamed with a gentleman by the name of Charles Crocker, Lake was able to exact a promise from the Central Pacific Railroad to build a depot on his property. Land in the community was divided into lots and auctioned to builders.

With more pioneers deciding to remain in the beautiful, thriving area, and spurred by the newfound wealth from gold and silver, gambling and other vices became the "hot button" issues of the day. In 1908 the Reno Anti-Gambling League was formed and they succeeded in their mission to outlaw gaming. It was not long until laws eased to allow very restricted, "civilized" games. Furtive, high-stakes gambling never stopped even with the ban on wagering. It was not long until the likes of Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd found the hidden gambling clubs to be useful in money laundering. Prostitution and bootleg liquor became big business under the guidance of these criminal masterminds.

With the decline of the gold and silver boom and the start of the Great Depression, a campaign was started by Mayor E. E. Roberts to ease the laws against alcohol, gambling and divorce. He rationalized that previous prohibitions did not work and revenues could be gained from licensing and taxing these establishments. A law legalizing gambling was signed in 1931.

Putting an end to matrimonial woes became big business in Reno during the 1930s. With only a six-week waiting period finally established, thousands of couples received a "quickie" divorce. The rich and famous had found the ideal place to gain their freedom. Elegant hotels and dude ranches sprang from the green meadows to accommodate the influx of those casting off the shackles of marriage. Soon the Truckee River Walk was flowing with diamond rings thrown in by happy divorcees. During World War II, weddings became the business of choice. Judges and clergy worked overtime to wed throngs of couples hoping for wedded bliss. In 1945 alone, more than eighteen thousand couples tied the knot. The first commercial wedding chapel was established in 1956 next to the Washoe County Courthouse. "In and Out" marriages became big business along the Truckee.

Bill Harrah and Harold Smith were among the first to realize the amazing potential in gaming establishments. Reno had the wealthy visitors and they might as well spend their money in the casinos. Starting modestly, the two soon built their individual establishments into the most popular places in town. Slot machines, crap tables and twenty-one games soon relieved many visitors of their money.

To this day, Reno is still growing. Hotels and casinos have been erected outside the "red-line" district of downtown. And downtown is restoring itself in new ways reflecting the diversity of the city. Unfortunately, many of the famous old landmarks have met their fate via wrecking ball and implosion. The Reno Arch still proclaims the town as "The Biggest Little City In The World" and will probably remain forever. The town has become a center for Artown and Lake Tahoe. Special events bring in as many visitors as the casinos. Gaming is here to stay, but Reno has so much more to offer. Respectability has come to the banks of the Truckee.

Points of interest in Reno Tahoe, NV

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