Here we are now, entertain us

Top all-ages spots near campus


The University of Nevada, Reno is downtown, which is nothing but casinos and bars, right? And the campus itself is just classes and the long stretches of walking in between those classes?

If you are barely willing to venture outside of your dorm room, this could be the initial reality. But travel past the casino veneer of downtown and places where you can actually, you know, hang out and have a good time suddenly litter the horizon. The campus is rife with such places, as well. All are within walking distance, depending on your threshold for walking, which should be stellar given all that campus-hoofing you’ll no doubt be undertaking.

These venues have no age restrictions whatsoever, and it is somehow possible for students under 21 to have fun in Reno. I know, I was surprised, too.

Century Riverside 12

Century Riverside 12 is a movie theater of utmost convenience, located frighteningly near other places of interest downtown, among them Dharma Books and Java Jungle. It is, um, a good place to catch a movie. When you’ve finished your studies for the day, of course.

Dharma Books

While your textbooks gather dust in your dorm, you can indulge your inner bibliophile at Dharma Books, named after Jack Kerouac’s classic beat novel The Dharma Bums. The used bookstore specializes in the rare and the out-of-print, and its many shelves are full of both, with subjects ranging from geography to Allen Ginsberg.

Java Jungle

Java Jungle serves plentiful coffee into the wee hours of the night. It’s open from 6 a.m. to midnight, meaning it provides essential fuel for study sessions that have grown far too long and/or panicked. Reflecting its location in the heart of art-pregnant downtown Reno, Java Jungle has art on every inch of its walls from different sources, lending it an atmosphere of shambolic inconsistency. It also features sandwiches and pizza, if one is looking to delve beyond coffee and atmosphere.

Joe Crowley Student Union

It’s an obvious choice to freshmen who have already breached its doors and seen its bustling insides. The JCSU acts as both a study hub and a hangout. It’s home to eateries as diverse as Port of Subs and Panda Express, as well as to a Starbucks that hosts weekly concerts. Both the Union’s theater and lawn alternate hosting weekly movies during the semester. Also, almost everyone has to inhabit the JCSU for an extended period of time to buy textbooks from the ASUN Bookstore, so you may as well familiarize yourself with its less expensive and less scholarly outlets.

Junkee Clothing Exchange

Junkee Clothing Exchange is a huge thrift store, the inventory of which changes constantly and always holds something of interest. People will tell you that college is about trying new things. It’s a cliché that holds some truth. So in your free time, try on something bizarre and perhaps a previously unknown shade of purple.

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center

The Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center serves as UNR’s library, and its size provides ample room for quiet studying when the JCSU grows too cacophonous. Its first floor is an enormous computer lab, while the remaining floors are stuffed with books and tables for those simply wishing to pour over their texts alone or in groups. It also contains a convenient coffeehouse of its own, Bytes Café, because insomnia from drinking coffee and studying is apparently an encouraged college habit.

The Overlook

When you have gone insane from the coffee, and you look at your watch, and it has suddenly become noon, a variety of on-campus lunch venues inhabit The Overlook, which, fittingly, overlooks Manzanita Lake. The food ranges from Chinese (Mandalay Express) to burgers and fries (Smashers), among others.

Sierra Arts Gallery

Run by the Sierra Arts Foundation, which also supports the Riverside Artist Lofts located immediately above the gallery. The Sierra Arts Gallery is both free and decorated wall-to-wall with local art. It’s a space in which to unwind, observe and absorb.

West Street Market

The West Street Market is an amalgamation of several different shops, including Brickhouse Bakery, Niko’s Greek Kitchen, Earthly Delights and Se7en Teahouse, as well as a spacious outdoor area, home to a farmers’ market and countless concerts. The concerts are a particular draw, as almost every other venue downtown is a bar that may or may not feature a burly fellow out front who grunts, “I.D.”