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RN&R's 2013 Summer Guide is the key to the city

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School's out for kindergartners and college professors alike, temperatures in the Truckee Meadows are hitting triple digits and downtown Reno's Wingfield Park is swarming with half-naked hordes. In other words, summer has arrived to Northern Nevada. Here at the RN&R, we've decided to put together a few of our favorite summer activities in the form of a couple of maps—a miniature atlas to help you make the most of the sweatiest season.

The key to the city

<ol class="format-list summer-guide-2013"> <li>At River School Farm, 7777 White Fir St., you can enroll the kids in eco-friendly summer camps, take a class on cooking or yoga, joining a Moonlight Drum and Dance Circle or go on a tour of the farm. For the slightly less hippie-hearted, you can also just purchase organic food. For more information, visit</li> <li>Just north of the McCarran ring road, and northwest of the intersection of McCarran Boulevard and Virginia Street stands “Bakardade” (“Solitude”) in lonely magnificence. The sculpture of a Basque shepherd and his lamb by Nestor Basterrechea was dedicated on August 29, 1989 after a public fundraising campaign in the U.S. and Europe. For a look at another piece of Basterrechea’s work, head down the hill to the library at the University of Nevada, Reno, where his “Orreaga” sits.</li> <li>The Joe Crowley Student Union at the University of Nevada, Reno, 1664 N. Virginia St., hosts Free Movies on the lawn on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. through August. Bring a blanket or low-back chair and enjoy. For all who are strapped for cash, there’s popcorn and drinks to fill up on, too. You may have to avoid some drunken college students, but hey, it’s a free movie. For more information, visit</li> <li>The Mining Museum at the University of Nevada, Reno, 1664 N. Virginia St., has been in the news lately for a theft, recovery and arrest. That’s about as much publicity as the museum has gotten in decades, which is unfortunate for a facility that’s a hidden treasure of the Reno area. It’s more than rocks. There are antique maps, vintage photos, actual mining equipment. Get in touch with Nevada history here.</li> <li>Technically speaking, Wingfield Park, 300 W. First St., is sort of near the heart of downtown Reno all year round. But it only really feels that way during the summer, when there’s a constant crowd of all ages, sunbathing on the grass and rocks, playing basketball and tennis in the courts, and swimming, kayaking and tubing in the river. In July, when Artown presents a near constant series of music, theater and movie in the park’s outdoor amphitheater, the impression is unmistakable: Wingfield Park is the center of Reno.</li> <li>Sometimes in the hottest parts of the hottest days, the best thing to do is not bask in the heat, but to escape it, running for solace in some air-conditioned sanctuary. The movies are the classic place to hide from the heat, but the temperature-controlled galleries of the Nevada Museum of Art, 160 W. Liberty St., can be a more brain-stimulating refuge from the heat.</li> <li>In 1937, the New Deal built Virginia Lake, 1980 Lakeside Drive, in south Reno. It happened fast—night crews were used—and was made five and a half feet deep for swimming and wading. Officialdom has since put a stop to those activities, but the lake is still popular for round-the-lake walks, feeding the ducks (officialdom disapproves of that, too, though it’s a fond memory for generations), fishing and simply relaxing in a haven away from the surrounding urban area.</li> <li>A favorite sport for adventurous locals has long been sneaking into the swimming pools of local hotels and casinos. The Peppermill Hotel Casino, 2707 S. Virginia St., is arguably the best.</li> <li>Sitting at Aces Ballpark, 250 Evans Ave., drinking an overpriced beer and eating an overpriced hot dog, while root, root, rooting for the home team might be the epitome, the very definition of summer—well, besides, like, axial tilt toward the sun and a corresponding seasonal increase in atmospheric temperatures.</li> <li>Summer’s a great time to reacquaint your butt with a banana seat. You could totally walk into the Reno Bike Project, 541 E. Fourth St., and say, “Hey, I’m like 45 years old or whatever and haven’t ridden a bike in 20 years,” and they’d help you get set up with a bike and the basics of bicycle maintenance. And they probably wouldn’t even make fun of you (much).</li> <li>West Wind El Rancho Drive-in, 555 El Rancho Drive, Sparks, is great for couples or families who want to watch a movie in the comfort of their own vehicle while it’s warm outside. You don’t even need to shower or get out of your PJs for this night out. For showtimes, visit</li> <li>Grand Adventure Land at Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 E. Second St., is a place for kids and adults with go-kart racing, miniature golf and two crazy fun, thrill rides: Ultimate Rush and the Sling-Shot. If you decide to risk it on the Ultimate Rush, make sure to bring an extra pair of pants—just in case.</li> <li>Simple public parks are often tampered with by officialdom to remove the charm and add Stuff, as Reno has often demonstrated. But there’s a great park right smack in the middle of Sparks. Deer Park, 1700 Prater Way, has picnic tables, tall trees, grills, a swimming pool, and no amphitheaters, aquariums or souvenir shops. The swimming pool is one of the newest additions—added by the New Deal in 1941. It was created for locals, not tourists. Community groups have gatherings here, families have reunions, children play. It’s a good place to get in touch with community.</li> <li>If you have children, go see the children’s Fountain in front of the downtown Century Sparks 14 movie theaters. Even if you don’t have children, then go see the fountain. It’s difficult to explain to people who have not had the experience, but sitting and watching children having fun in the streams of water can be a tonic for a tired spirit. The kids’ fun telegraphs itself to the adults who come to watch.</li> <li>If there’s anything in life more enjoyable than sitting outside in the sun and drinking beer with friends then we don’t know about it. (Well, besides sex. But the beer-in-the-sun thing is a close second.) The local beer scene has really exploded in the last couple of years, but if there’s one beer that has to be tasted before you can call yourself a Nevada, it’s Ichthyosaur India Pale Ale—“Icky”—at the Great Basin Brewing Co., 846 Victorian Ave., Sparks.</li> </ol>

The key to the region

<ol class="format-list summer-guide-2013"> <li>Famously the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley is still probably best known as a destination for winter sports, but it turns out the valley is pretty damned beautiful during the summer months as well. During the summer, there are music events, yoga workshops and literary retreats at the resort. Visit for more information.</li> <li>The Mountain Bike & Hike Park at Northstar California Resort, 5001 Northstar Drive, Truckee, has mountain and road biking options for beginners to advanced riders. You can choose to ride the lifts up and bike down, too. This is a great way to get outside and exercise, although you may end up face first over the handlebars.</li> <li>For an overnight, try the cabins at Zephyr Cove Lodge, now called the Zephyr Cove Resort, 760 U.S. 50, Zephyr Cove. The lodge has a long history—former Nevada attorney general and U.S. senator Alan Bible is among its long list of operators—and is beloved by locals, in spite of a renovation of the cabins 20 years ago that reduced the rustic and replaced it with some weird stuff out of keeping with the lake. But that’s easily overcome by the setting among tall pines on the east side of Lake Tahoe. Here is solace and relaxation. The 28 cabins are of different sizes, serving from one to 10.</li> <li>The Gardnerville Skatepark, 1324 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, is considered one of greatest, if not the greatest, skateparks in Nevada. It’s praised for being a large and open park with many different obstacles throughout it to skate on, including an hourglass-shaped bowl. The catch is you have to go to Gardnerville, a town with little in it—besides this park and a new Walmart.</li> <li>Virginia City hits a unique balance of authentic history (it was the site of a major mining boom in the 19th century), tourist trap tackiness (C street, the main drag, is lined with gift shops, candy stores and “Wild West” photo shops) and genuine Wild West grit (the bars and taverns are great places to rub elbows with eccentric old cowboys, artists and bikers). Plus, it’s always 10 or 15 degrees cooler up there.</li> <li>If you want to know why Pyramid Lake and its environs are so precious to the Paiutes, drive to Nixon and visit the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center, 709 State St., Nixon. You can learn about the prehistoric fish that still inhabit the lake, about Anaho Island where American White Pelicans live, about tribal history and culture, about the 1860 war against the tribe fought by whites to protect the right of white men to molest tribal girls, and about the terrain around the lake.</li> </ol>