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29 Best Things to do in Reno, Nevada

29 Best Things to do in Reno, Nevada

If you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation destination, look no further than Reno, Nevada! This vibrant city is home to plenty of attractions and activities that will keep you entertained for days on end. From casinos and nightlife to museums and parks, Reno has something for nearly every age possible.

Here are the best things to do in Reno.

Reno Sign

Reno, Nevada, is a city that is rich in history and culture. Established in 1859, Reno has been a popular destination for travelers for many years. The city has a lot to offer visitors, including casinos, nightlife, museums, and parks.

Reno is also home to the University of Nevada, Reno, which provides students with a variety of educational and cultural opportunities. Reno is a vibrant city that is sure to please travelers of all ages.

Best & Fun Things to do in Reno, NV

Here are the best things to do in Reno, Nevada. Start planning!

1. Visit the National Automobile Museum

National Automobile Museum Exhibit
image by aresauburn™ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In Reno, you can visit one of America’s most exciting museums—the National Automobile Museum! The museum is home to over 200 incredible cars and other automobiles.

The exhibits at the museum date back to the late 18th Century and most were from the collection of William F. Harrah. These exhibits appear in four galleries: one large collection of racing cars as well as a racing car park near the entrance area.

This museum is a must-see for car enthusiasts of all ages. It houses over 200 vintage and classic vehicles, ranging from muscle cars to luxury automobiles.

2. Take a walk through Wingfield Park

Wingfield Park Scenery
image by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

This park is the perfect place to take a stroll, have a picnic, or go for a jog. It is also home to the Truckee River Whitewater Park, where you can go kayaking, rafting, and more.

While you’re here, explore the Reno Arch! This iconic landmark is located in downtown Reno and has been a symbol of the city since 1926.

See Related: Cheap Things to Do in Las Vegas, Nevada

3. Visit the Nevada Museum of Art

Nevada Museum of Art Building
image by Rmart123 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Nevada Museum of Art is the only accredited art museum in Nevada making it a must-see for any art or history lover.

The museum is focused mostly on the environment in relation to humans. It is divided into four themes with art spanning the outer sculpture gardens to static and rotating exhibitions inside the galleries.

The Nevada Museum of Art is an important stop for architecture fans as it is housed in an imposing 4-story building by the famous architect Will Bruder.

See Related: Best Museums in the US You Need to Visit

4. Take a stroll along the Reno Riverwalk

Building at Downtown Reno
image by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reno is a great city for travelers who want to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air. The Reno Riverwalk is a perfect place to do just that.

This scenic walking path runs along the Truckee River and offers beautiful views of downtown Reno. The Riverwalk has a reputation as one of Reno’s best free tourist attractions.

It follows through the Truckee River and displays many different cultural attractions, sounds, and activities. Urban Renaissance hasn’t had a greater life than it does now along the Reno Riverwalk.

If you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an afternoon bike ride, this is the place to do it. The trailhead is located just south of downtown Reno where you can find parking as well as bathrooms and water fountains.

The trail itself meanders through parks, past several bridges and underpasses that allow access across busy roads without having to cross them at street level. So whether you’re a Reno local or just visiting, be sure to check out the Reno Riverwalk!

See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends

5. Visit The Discovery – Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum

Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum Exhibit
image by Management/TripAdvisor

The Discovery – Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum is an interactive science center with an interactive playroom that spans 6,700 square feet and has its own museum. The museum offers educational activities to children from 3 years of age and up.

There are plenty of learning opportunities hidden within games. They can discover deep underground mine tunnels, explore 3 stories in a cloud tower, climb through caves as well as play on the green carpet outside.

It’s a paradise for young kids. If you’re looking for family activities in Reno, look no further!

See Related: Cheap Things to do in Las Vegas, Nevada

6. Spend the day at Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, California and Skyline

Looking for amazing day trips from Reno?

Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area for a reason – its crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain backdrop are simply breathtaking.

Just less than one hour away from Reno, it offers a wide variety of outdoor activities with small towns and villages lined along its coastline.

Lake Tahoe is one of the largest alpine lakes in the world and is located along California’s Nevada border. Its waters stretch across seemingly endless distances, surrounded by beautiful beaches, dense forests, and snowy mountain landscapes in the background.

Whether you’re looking to hike, bike, swim, boat or just relax on the beach, Lake Tahoe is the perfect destination for a nature lover.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in the US

7. Work the slots at Peppermill Resort Spa Casino

Peppermill Resort Spa Casino Pool
image by Hotels.com

Peppermill Resort Spa Casino is more than just a gaming venue – it’s one of the best places to stay in Reno for business travelers and vacationers.

This hotel has an AAA 4-star rating and offers luxurious accommodations. Peppermill Rewards Club membership benefits include things like free room and concierge services and deals for a variety of fun things to do in Reno for adults.

The casino offers all the classic gambling tables and many slot machines, as well as two nightclubs, making it the perfect place to unwind (or get wound up) after a long day of meetings or sightseeing.

The hotel also has its own full-service spa, making it the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. And if you’re looking for something truly special, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino also offers weddings and corporate event space.

Whether you’re looking for a place to stay, gamble, or just have some fun, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino is the perfect place for you.

See Related: Best Things to Do in California

8. Get a strike at the National Bowling Stadium

National Bowling Stadium Building
image by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The National Bowling Stadium is a great place to take the kids or hang with friends. It’s been around since 1995, and it’s got 78 lanes spread across five floors with an 8-acre of broad open space. You can bowl, go to the movies, or just walk around this incredible stadium.

It’s a great place to spend a day with the family. There are a lot of things to do with kids at the National Bowling Stadium. You can go to the movies, go bowling, or just walk around the stadium. It’s a great place to spend a day with the family.

National Bowling Stadium is especially perfect if you’re looking for something unique and different to do with your kids.

See Related: Where Should I Travel for My Birthday? Best Places to Go

9. Hit the slopes at Mount Rose Ski Resort

Mount Rose Summit Overview
image by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Mount Rose Ski Resort is a great choice for your next ski trip!

Mount Rose is a mountain resort with an 8,900-foot height and provides 1,800 vertical feet for skiing.

The resort is conveniently located near the center of the stunning Toiyabe National Forest, encompassing over 1,000 acres that include over 62 runs and 8 lift stations.

There are many locations for skiing activities at Mount Rose, including three distinct terrain parks; Double Down, Badlands, and Pondo Park.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, Mount Rose has something to offer everyone.

Why not pack your bags and head to Mount Rose Ski Resort for your next winter getaway?

See Related: Best Ski Resorts in the US to Visit

10. Learn about the solar system at the Fleischmann Planetarium & Science Center

Fleischmann Planetarium Exhibit
image by KHOG/TripAdvisor

Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center is a great place to learn more about astronomy and space. This center was established as a scientific center by Reno University in 1963. The facility is located on the campus but is accessible to the public.

In addition, there are various interactive and educational displays to give you information on spacecraft, space exploration, and more. The Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center is also child-friendly, with various kid-friendly things to do.

If you are looking for something educational and fun to do in Reno, then this is the place for you. Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center is definitely a must-visit.

See Related: Fun, Exciting Month-Long Vacation Ideas

11. Visit the National Championship Air Races

Planes in National Championship Air Races
image by Don Ramey Logan is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

The National Championship Air Races in Reno are a must-see event for any traveler! This event features daring pilots racing planes around a closed course at speeds of up to 500 miles per hour.

Every fall, thousands of air race enthusiasts from across the country flock to the airport in downtown Reno to watch the National Championship Air Race.

The Reno air races last for one month and hundreds of pilots and crew members descend on Reno in lovingly managed aircraft. Six races are held at this event, as well as a large flying display and several civil and military flight demonstrations.

Bill Stead organized the first races in 1964. If you’re looking for a fun event to add to your travel itinerary, be sure to check out the Reno Air Races.

See Related: Best Unknown Places to Visit in the US

12. Learn about geography at the W.M. Keck Museum

W.M. Keck Museum Exhibit
image by Management/TripAdvisor

The W.M. Keck Museum is the second oldest museum in all of Nevada and it’s packed with geological diversity from all around the state. The museum contains numerous mineral and geological objects, such as quartz, amethyst, cadmium, silver, and gold.

The Keck Museum also has resources related to a variety of mining activities that have taken place throughout Nevada’s history.

The most remarkable display in the museum is the 12-foot Silver collection of John W. Mackay, one of the founders of the Bonanza Company who constructed Comstock Lodes.

The W.M. Keck Museum is open Monday through Friday and Saturday but closed on university holidays. If you’re looking for cheap things to do while you’re in Reno, this is a great option.

13. Catch a baseball game at the Reno Aces Stadium (aka Greater Nevada Field)

Reno Aces Baseball Park is not only a great place to catch a minor league baseball game, but it’s also been known to house some pretty unique animals – and I’m not just talking about their Mascot, Archie; “The Sasquatch of Sierra Mountains”. That’s right – in addition to the Reno Aces and their hairy frontman, you can also find a whole calendar of events including petting zoos and live music.

You can even book out this stadium for your own private events!

See Related: Best Places to Travel in Your 20s in the US

14. Looking for Outdoor Things to do in Reno? Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park Benches
image by mini/TripAdvisor

Rancho San Rafael Park is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors while getting a taste of Reno’s Ranching history.

The park covers hundreds of acres, providing plenty of space to explore. And, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, like camping, swimming, walking, and cycling.

Plus, the William D. May Museum and Arboretum are on-site and open to the public Monday through Saturday. The museum is a great way to learn about the local history and ecology.

If you’re looking for a place to spend a day or two outdoors, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park should be at the top of your list.

See Related: Best State Parks in Wyoming

15. Explore Galena Creek Park

Galena Creek Park on Winter
image by elisa_piper is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Galena Creek Park is an ecological park in Humboldt and Toiyama National Forest that offers miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders.

With a variety of alpine and high desert habitats, the park provides visitors with a unique encounter with plant and bird life. The Visitor Center offers an overview of the local flora and fauna, as well as a guided map to help hikers navigate the trails.

Galena Creek also has a number of activities for kids, including science and summer camps.

The park is open all day, every day of the year (hourly rates vary depending on the season). If you’re looking for a place to explore Humboldt’s natural beauty, Galena Creek Park should definitely be at the top of your list.

See Related: Best Road Trips in the USA

16. Go on the Reno Art Walk

Reno Art Town Mural
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Art Walk Reno is a two-hour guided tour that occurs one time each month and takes you through downtown.

The Nevada art scene is vast, eclectic, electric, and extremely impressive and this local organization organizes street artists to paint all manner of beautiful street murals. There are over 100 stunning street murals that can be found throughout the entire city with some cool 60 done by the one and only Erik Burke.

At its inception, the murals were dismissed by some and considered unfit graffiti, however, the town has since taken up Burke’s artwork and many businesses have since requested Burke’s work on their own establishments.

A guided tour can be a cheap way to gain knowledge about Art Walk Reno. It is definitely worth your time if you are looking for an active thing to do.

See Related: Best Minneapolis Murals You Need to Visit

17. Take in a show at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts

Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts Stage
image by Maagement/TripAdvisor

If you’re ever in Reno, be sure to check out the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. It’s housed in an iconic golden dome that was constructed back in 1968. The theater itself is really spacious, with 986 square meters of floor space at ground level.

And the views from the inside are just as spectacular as the exterior. The Pioneer Theater is home to several Reno art companies, including the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra and The Associated Artists Performing Arts. It is one of the best things to enjoy on a Downtown Reno tour.

It also hosts the Broadway come-and-back Broadway musical series in Reno. If you’re a fan of live theater, this is definitely the place to be. In all, the Pioneer Center hosts nearly 100 diverse cultural events each year – so there’s always something going on.

See Related: Best Museums in the US You Need to Visit

18. Take the kids to Animal Ark

Brown Bear at Animal Ark
image by CekayFarnsworth/TripAdvisor

Animal Ark is one of the best things to do in Reno with kids. It is a 38-acre wildlife sanctuary that was founded on March 1, 1981, with the aim of becoming a resource center and secure place for rescued wild animals that cannot be easily released back to their homes.

Animal Ark is home to various types of animals, primarily local species, and all of them are very well treated with enormous enclosures that match their native habitat.

Animal Ark is an excellent place to learn about and experience wildlife up close, making it a perfect activity for families and animal lovers alike.

See Related: Amazing Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site

19. Watch the Great Reno Balloon Race

Air Balloons in Great Reno Balloon Race
image by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Great Reno Balloon Race is one of the most iconic events in Reno, and even though it takes place in September, it’s still a great time to visit.

The festival features countless balloon launches, balloon glow flights, and even an opportunity to get up close and personal with some unique activities you might not be able to find anywhere else and you’ll get some amazing views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

For example, there are several opportunities for visitors to sign up for “glow” flights that will take them high above the city at night—when all of its sights are lit up like a Christmas tree. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, the Great Reno Balloon Race is definitely worth a visit.

See Related: Best Hot Air Balloon Rides Around the World

20. Watch a performance from the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra

Reno is a great place to enjoy live music, and one of the best ways to experience Reno’s vibrant music scene is by attending a performance by the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra. This is a full-time professional orchestra that provides quality performances for the Reno community.

The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra offers year-round performance opportunities, including concerts, educational programs, and summer camp residencies. They’re based out of McKinley Arts and Culture Center (we’ll get onto that later) but perform all over.

Families can enjoy live music together while learning about other cultures through music education programs developed by internationally acclaimed guest artists. If you’re looking for things to do in Reno this weekend, be sure to check out the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra.

See Related: Best Sabbatical Trip Ideas

21. Enjoy a picnic at Bartley Ranch Regional Park

Bartley Ranch Regional Park
image by mini/TripAdvisor

Bartley Ranch Regional Park is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some free things to do. The park features picnic areas and walking paths, as well as acres of pastureland.

The Interpretative Centre West Heritage has a western-style structure with a fully furnished kitchen that is able to accommodate parties or meetings. Visitors can visit restored historic Huffaker schools or view an exhibition at the Robert Z. Hawking Amphitheater.

The parks are open throughout the year and all day long. Bartley Ranch is a great place to spend a day if you’re looking for some history, culture or just some time outdoors.

See Related: Best National Parks to Visit in November

22. Get some culture at McKinley Arts and Culture Center

McKinley Arts and Culture Center Building
image by mini/TripAdvisor

McKinley Arts and Culture Center, commonly referred to as the McKinley Arts Centre, is located in McKinley Park in Reno, Nevada. The center was constructed at the old McKinley school and renovated in 1999. It currently houses 2 offices and 2 galleries, 2 craft workshops, and a conference room and an events room available for rent.

The McKinley Arts Centre also houses the Reno Philharmonic and the Reno Chamber Orchestras Masterworks Chorales and the Reno Pops.

In addition, guests are invited to take a guided visit to the center, view artwork in galleries, or take in a music concert at the center. The McKinley Arts Centre is just one of the many reasons to visit McKinley Park in Reno.

23. Relax at Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake and Skyline
image by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Pyramid Lake is a beautiful spot to visit if you’re ever in Reno, Nevada. The lake was named for its rocky formations of pyramid-shaped cone-like structures.

These formations are limestone tufa rocks rising over the still, dark water and started showing as water from the ancient lake gradually receded over time.

This lake possesses several legends.

The first is that the Caves of Pyramid Lake were used by a Native American tribe as part of their burial ceremonies. The second legend is that the Pyramids are actually the petrified remains of a prehistoric creature.

Regardless of whether or not you believe the legends, Pyramid Lake is definitely worth a visit. The views are incredible and it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the summer weather.

Be sure to check out the Tahoe Pyramid Trail if you love hiking trails and want a good experience near the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

See Related: Best Family Road Trips in the US

24. Circus Circus Hotel and Casino

Circus Circus Hotel and Casino Building
image by Booking.com

Circus Circus Hotel and Casino is a great spot for tourists in Reno, Nevada, not only because of the gambling opportunities but also because of the Circus Circus entertainment available.

This quintessentially Nevadan resort is renowned for offering guests a range of entertainment, from animals and acrobat shows, as well as performances and musicals.

Circus entertainment and carnival games are available daily for your child with prizes like stuffed animals. For adults, things to do in this Reno casino include gambling (of course) but also taking in the sights – and a few cheeky G&Ts.

The Circus Circus Hotel and Casino offers an aerial circus show as well as stage performances and musicians playing a variety of music nightly. The hotel also has several restaurants on-site as well as a food court with fast options.

25. Sierra Nevada Zoological Park

Pair of Zebra in Sierra Nevada Zoological Park
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Sierra Safari Zoo is one of the top things to do in Reno for animal lovers and families with kids alike. The Sierra Nevada Zoological Park is a wildlife park and conservation center located in the heart of the desert. As such, it features a wide variety of animals that you won’t find at your typical stuffy, formal zoo in temperate climates.

The Sierra Safari Zoo is great for families with energetic kids because there’s a lot to do and see here. In addition to the wide variety of animals, the Sierra Safari Zoo also offers a number of educational programs and tours.

If you’re looking for an adventurous date or family outing, this is definitely one of the top things to do in Reno.

See Related: Top Vacations with Minimal Walking

26. Idlewild Park

Idlewild Park
image by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Idlewild Park is a great place to take your family, especially if you have young children. With a large playground, petting zoo, train ride, water park, and roller coaster, Idlewild Park has something for everyone.

And, best of all, it’s free!

Idlewild Park is one of the top attractions in Reno not only because it’s free, but also because it’s such a beautiful park. Stretching 49 hectares, Idlewild Park is located on the edge of the city near the Truckee River.

In addition to the playground and other attractions, Idlewild Park also has a Rose Garden with stunning views of the river and a pool with diving equipment! There are also many other activities available at Idlewild Park, such as walking trails, bike paths, and picnic areas.

If you’re looking for a fun-filled day out with your family or a relaxing stroll through a beautiful garden, Idlewild Park is the perfect place for you.

27. Wilbur D. May Museum

Wilbur D. May Museum Garden
image by Joe G/TripAdvisor

Wilbur D. May was an interesting man who had a great impact on Reno, Nevada, not to mention the world. The Wilbur D. May Museum is located in the Rancho San Rafael National Park and it is definitely worth visiting.

Wilbur D. May was born in 1886 in Colorado. An uncontainable force, at age 16, he would run away from home to enlist in the British Army, eventually becoming an ambulance driver during World War I. He eventually joined the US Army on America’s entry into the war, rising to the rank of major.

From there he had a storied career involving learning to become a pilot, working for a retail giant, traveling throughout Africa for game hunts, becoming a Nevada cattle baron, and no small amount of philanthropy.

What’s more, he loved Reno – and Reno loved him back.

The Wilbur D. May Museum contains Wilbur D. May’s large personal collection of interesting “objets d’stuff”, and is a great place to learn about the history of Reno, Nevada, as well as his global travels and World War history.

See Related: Best Wedding Destinations in the US

28. Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive

Reno Rodeo
image by ArjayFuller/TripAdvisor

Reno Rodeo is one of the world’s largest professionally produced rodeos. It has been held every year since 1919, attracting nearly 140,000 people to Reno, Nevada.

The Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive involves a massive livestock drive. Herds of cattle are driven across town, and guests can enjoy a hearty Western breakfast while watching the cattle go around Reno.

Reno Rodeo also features other activities such as cow-riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding, and family-themed activities such as carnivals and parades. If you’re looking for a unique thing to do in Reno, the Reno Rodeo is definitely worth checking out!

29. Reno Sculpture Fest

Reno Sculpture Fest is an annual event in Reno, Nevada. It’s a free event that takes place during September of each year. The festival takes place at various locations throughout the city of Reno and features several art installations from artists from across the nation.

For example, one year there was a massive outdoor installation called “The Traveling Cloud” at one location: it was basically a cloud made out of fabric that was suspended from the ceiling by invisible wires.

You could walk under it, inside of it, and even climb on top of it! There were also other cool sculptures around town like “Fire Balloons” where you could weave through balls made out of the fire (don’t worry—they were only lit up on one side).

Reno Sculpture Fest is definitely worth checking out if you’re in town during September, so put it on your calendar.

See Related: Best Bungee Jumping in the World

Final Thoughts

Reno is an excellent place to vacation and explore. There are so many fun activities to do, you will never run out of things to do in Reno.

The city offers everything from outdoor adventures like hiking or kayaking, to indoor activities such as museums and arcades for kids. You can even enjoy a nice meal at one of the many restaurants throughout Reno.

FAQs

What is the best time of year to visit Reno?

The best time of year to visit Reno depends on what you want to do while you’re here. If you’re looking to take advantage of the many outdoor activities the area has to offer, then spring or fall would be ideal.

However, if you’re more interested in casino gambling and nightlife, then winter or summer would be better since those are when most of the big events and festivals happen.

Is Reno, Nevada worth visiting?

Similar to Las Vegas, it is known for its casinos but because it is close to Lake Tahoe and many other ski resorts, it is also an ideal destination for outdoor recreation with the number of parks, lakes, and mountains.

If you love the great outdoors, you’ll find that stopping through Reno is worth your time as a traveler.

What is Reno, Nevada best known for?

Reno is known for its sparkling neon lights & casino atmosphere, but chancing your luck is just one of Reno’s best attractions.

There are many things you can do in this place that goes beyond gambling. Some of these include skiing and snowboarding in the winter at nearby Lake Tahoe, exploring Virginia City’s wild-west history, or checking out the awesome art galleries and museums.

There are numerous wildlife tours that you can book from Reno, including morning walks with pack goats and falconry excursions.

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