A very Reno day

What makes Reno, Reno


Take a float on the wild side: Reno's Truckee River is a great place to spend part of your adventure time this summer.

Reno has a very different personality than other cities its size. With its gambling, art scene, local food movement, proximity to Tahoe, and the university's presence, there are a lot of different kinds of people and personalities vying for attention here. All of these things and others mix, blend and bounce off each other to create the quirky overall personality of Reno. And when you're living here—or even just visiting—you need to at least dip your toes into pieces of each to fully experience this city. Here are some of the things that I think are important to really get a taste of what Reno is all about. Do as many of these as you can in a day to have a real “Reno day.”

Go downtown

I mean really go downtown. Gambling is so entrenched in this town's history that you need to be able to appreciate it for what it was and what it is now. It may not be as lively or as vital a draw for Reno now, but it's still an important facet. There are also many bars peppered throughout the downtown area with frequent crawls and wine walks. And while you're at it, you'll get to see some of the newer sections, too. The Riverwalk is beautiful, especially around this time of year, and there's some great restaurants, the movie theater and Wingfield Park to enjoy as well.

Awful Awful

And while you're downtown, you can pick up an Awful Awful at the Reno Nugget. Make sure to bring cash though—they don't accept cards. You can also try an Awful Awful burger at the Wolf Den by the university, the Sparks Nugget and/or the Carson Nugget. Don't be fooled by the shared name though, they're not the same burger. If you want more detailed information on these burgers, you can read Dennis Myers' story “The Awful Awful Truth” from June 27, 2013.

Visit museums

The Nevada Museum of Art is the only nationally accredited art museum in the state, so this one is a no-brainer. Even if museums might not be your kind of thing, you've got to visit this one at least once if only to check it off your list. To find out what current exhibits are at the museum and more information, visit www.nevadaart.org.

And for families with younger kids, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum is a great choice. It's made for family-based learning and can be a great time for kids and adults. For more information, visit www.nvdm.org.

Walk through Midtown

Midtown is an especially quirky section of Reno. There are quite a few restaurants and shops with an active art scene as well here. This is also a great way to spend your money locally, as most of the places in Midtown are locally owned businesses. It's an area unique to Reno, and it lies just south of downtown.

Peavine Mountain and the “N”

For the university sector of Reno, taking the hike—or if you're more athletically inclined, running—to the “N” on Peavine Mountain is basically a rite of passage. Most students do this multiple times throughout their time at the university, and the university sponsors hikes to paint it each year. For others, this may not be as common, but it's certainly still a great area to hike or run and also get into the university spirit. Peavine is a big part of Reno because of its location, and it's also a subject of environmental group-sponsored clean-ups at times.

Visit the co-op

The Great Basin Community Food Co-op is a great way to get your feet wet with the local food movement in town. GBCFC sells products from many local producers and focuses on organic and natural foods whenever possible. The people at GBCFC are also deep into that movement and can give you a feel for that part of Reno's identity, too. For more information, visit greatbasinfood.coop.

Float the Truckee

Floating the river is a very popular activity in town, especially for locals. This is a great time when you can get outside, enjoy the river and have fun with family and friends while experiencing a Reno tradition. You can rent tubes, but some go for ones that they already own or cheap air mattresses. It's all up to you. For more about this, you can read “Tubing Time” on page 17.

Hike Mt. Rose

Hiking Mt. Rose is a fun hike not too far from Reno. It's a great forest hike for a couple of miles, and as you ascend to the summit, the forest clears up, giving you an open view of Washoe Valley. And once you reach the top, you have a gorgeous view of Reno and Tahoe. It's well worth the trek.

Get up to Tahoe

Although it's not technically in Reno, Lake Tahoe plays a huge part in Reno's identity. Tahoe is great all year round for a variety of activities. There's always hiking and sightseeing, and of course there's skiing, snowboarding and other snow activities in the winter, but in the upcoming months, it'll be most popular for beach days. Beaches in both South and North Lake Tahoe crowd all summer long for fun in the sun. The beach is great for all ages, and there's tons to do. From simply swimming and tanning to boating and wakeboarding, everyone can have fun at the lake. And as far as I can tell, most everyone does. Tahoe seems to be a shared and loved experience of most Renoites.