If you’re near Northern Nevada, you have to check out Reno. Reno is about 7 hours away from Las Vegas, and you may think it wouldn’t be worth the trip — but you would be wrong!
This Nevada city is filled with beautiful nature, museums, parks, ski resorts, zoos and so much more. A visit here, and you’ll soon learn why it’s called, “the biggest little city in the world.”
Here are 17+ things to do in Reno that make this awesome city worth a visit.
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN RENO
- Best on the Riverwalk. Courtyard by Marriott Reno Downtown/Riverfront is located in Reno, close to the National Automobile Museum and other popular attractions. This hotel has an amazing indoor pool and an onsite restaurant.
- Best for Foodies. Boasting a prime downtown location just over three miles from Reno-Tahoe International Airport, Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel located on the Truckee River. After exploring downtown Reno, NV savor a delicious Mediterranean meal at their hotel restaurant, The Shore Room.
- Best Amenities. Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is a 4-star Reno resort that features a full-service spa, a large casino and many shopping opportunities. This resort includes a 50-lane bowling center, a resort-sized pool and adults-only infinity deck, plus hot tubs, fire pits and splash pad play area for kids. The resort also includes a golf driving range, go-karts and adventure rides, a family games arcade, and two movie theaters.
Lake Tahoe is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the western United States. It’s 22 miles in length, and it spans across the state line border between Nevada and California. It’s an extremely popular tourist attraction, and it will likely be one of the first things people recommend if you are looking for things to do in Reno.
If Tahoe is where you decide to go, ensure that you’ve allotted enough time to experience all it has to offer. There are many hotels to stay in and several Tahoe-based attractions. If you’re willing to drive over the border to check out the California side of things, you can even go skiing or play in the snow if you want.
A state park called Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park is home to famous beaches. It also offers hiking trails if you would prefer to keep your feet on the ground instead of getting them wet. Even if you’re not a fan of watersports, take a moment to check out the water – the water at Lake Tahoe is some of the purest in the world. It’s only 0.004% less pure than distilled water.
Looking for more things to do in Reno? Try one of these fun activities!
- Take the Ferino Distillery Guided Tour and Tasting Experience. Taste four of Ferino Distillery’s award-winning spirits on this tour in Reno. Unlock the secrets of Ferino’s unique distillation process on a guided tour and enjoy a handcrafted cocktail.
- Enjoy all the things with the Max Action Arena Combo Ticket. Experience the thrill of the Max Action Arena in Reno with this combo ticket. Save on entry to four exciting attractions: XD Theater, Chaos Jump VR, Beat Saber VR, and Virtual Rabbids.
- Experience a Private Distillery Tour by Pedicab with Tastings. Join a private guided tour of Reno’s historic 4th Street area and discover the city’s Brewery District. Travel in the back of a pedicab as you visit 4 different distilleries and sample the spirits produced here.
A famous part of Lake Tahoe, Chickadee Ridge is home to some of the most popular hikes and attractions at Lake Tahoe. The ridge offers stunning views of Lake Tahoe, and it also has a large hill for sledding if that’s what you and your family would like to do.
When it comes to Chickadee Ridge, however, it’s host to some of the most popular trails in the Lake Tahoe region. One of them is called the Snowshoe Hike – as you might guess from the name of it, you will be required to use snowshoes on this hike (if you go in the winter). It is also open in the summer, and then your hike will be snowshoe-free, of course.
Additionally, Chickadee Ridge is home to some of the friendliest chickadee birds you will ever find in your life. One of the main attractions of the ridge is feeding the birds. Put bird seed in your palm and wait a few minutes for the birds to come.
NEVADA MUSEUM OF ART
The Nevada Museum of Art is a premier museum in the Western United States. In the entire state of Nevada, this museum is the only art museum that has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It was founded back in 1931 and it remains a common tourist spot today.
At the Nevada Museum of Art, you will witness many exhibitions and pieces of art. Reminiscent of other art galleries, this museum features contemporary art, including art focusing on landscapes and other western art.
If you’re staying in Reno for a long time, realize that you can get a membership, which will give you free admission and other perks.
Idlewild Park is a park that spans 49 acres in downtown Reno. If you’re looking for a calm day and beautiful sights of the outdoors, Idlewild Park is one of the best attractions.
There are beautiful areas for children to experience as well, including the pool, the skate park, a duck pond, and the famous rose garden. They offer annual celebrations as part of the Reno Earth Day celebration, and numerous festivals throughout the summer are hosted here.
Check out the nearby Truckee River while you’re enjoying fun times with your family and loved ones. Food Truck Friday is also a weekly attraction that will keep your stomach filled and happy.
NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
The National Automobile Museum opened in 1989 in Reno, and features automobiles that were once owned by William Harrah.
This museum has over 200 cars for your viewing pleasure. It also depicts street scenes that are meant to replicate authentic vistas for you to experience. As a museum, you will be able to check out the on-site cafe and other artifacts. This fun museum is considered a Top Ten car museum in the United States.
This museum also has a theater and a world-famous exhibit called the Be the Astronaut. The exhibit is presented as part of a partnership with the Nevada Space Center.
TERRY LEE WELLS NEVADA DISCOVERY MUSEUM
The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, known to most locals as just “The Discovery,” is a very popular museum and science center in Reno. If you haven’t gotten your fill of museums yet, this is another great one to check out when visiting Reno.
This is a hands-on science center, meaning that visitors will be able to interact with the exhibits and learn while they do. This museum was established in 2011, and it’s considered a not-for-profit establishment.
They switch out exhibits periodically, so check their website to see what will be showing during your visit. Make sure you don’t miss their permanent replica of the Truckee River, where kids can learn…and get a little wet…along the way.
HUNTER CREEK FALLS
Hunter Creek Falls is a waterfall on the popular Hunter Creek Trail. The Hunter Creek Trail is a 6.4-mile hike that will show you some of the most beautiful waterfalls you can see in Reno.
The end of the Hunter Creek Falls path ends at a stunning 30-foot waterfall. This is also a hike that is good for the whole family. It’s well-marked and able to be taken at speed or a leisurely pace. Many people use this as a running trail.
When it comes to downtown areas that will entertain and delight people of all ages, you can’t go wrong with Downtown Reno. This area is open 24/7 and is home to large amounts of bright lights, entertainment, and attractions. This area offers casinos, sushi bars, pubs, and cocktail bars, meaning that you can have fun throughout the night.
Additionally, the Riverwalk District offers many shops, cafes, lodgings, and bars, so you can even stay in Downtown Reno. Downtown is a hub that is close to many other attractions, such as the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, The Space Whale, Idlewild Park, and the Tahoe Pyramid Trail.
Either wander through the area at your own pace or take a visit through downtown on a bike.
CASINO OF THE ELDORADO
Casino of the Eldorado is a hotel and casino in downtown Reno, and it offers loads of entertainment.
It opened up back in 1973, and to this day many people believe that it’s the best casino in Reno, NV. Try your luck playing their slot machines, table games, and card tournaments.
In addition to the casino, you’ll also find a full calendar of entertaining shows at The Row, awesome restaurants, bars and lounges, a pool — located on the 5th floor of the Skyline Tower, and unique shopping boutiques. You’ll have everything you need right on the property here.
MOUNT ROSE SKI RESORT
The Mt Rose Ski Resort is one of the most established and sophisticated ski resorts in all of Reno. It stretches across 1,300 acres of land, which includes runs of all difficulties — so you and your family can enjoy it no matter your skill level. This resort also offers snowboard parks.
Mount Rose Ski Resort is only 25 minutes from Reno, so it’s easy to add to your itinerary. If you’re planning to ski in Reno often, get a season pass and save money on your visits.
Mount Rose Ski Resort is Reno’s highest base elevation ski resort, so the views from here are amazing.
Located in South Lake Tahoe, Fireside Lounge is located at Peppermill Resort and Casino in Reno. This classic casino lounge has been around for 40 years, and is a must-visit while you’re in town.
Fireside Lounge is part of the original Peppermint Inn Coffee Shop & Lounge, and it counts as a delicious attraction-slash-lounge for visitors of Reno. Everything about it screams “vintage,” and it’s filled with some of the friendliest staff you’ll ever meet. With plush booths, an awesome fire pit, and signature cocktails — this is a great way to experience Reno.
Fireside Lounge offers live music and events often, so check their schedule to see who will be performing while you’re there.
GREATER NEVADA FIELD
For the sports fans among you, this will be a must-see in Reno. The Greater Nevada Field is home to the Pacific Coast League’s Triple-A Reno Aces, the premiere venue for Minor League Baseball.
The Greater Nevada Field is located near the Truckee River, and it’s a popular destination for many locals. Over 500,000 fans buy tickets to the games each year! It’s located near Downtown Reno, so after the game you can explore some of the other entertainment in the area.
If you’re interested in baseball and you happen to be in Reno during one of their games, you won’t regret getting swept up in the crowd.
Animal sanctuaries are great organizations that strive to ensure that endangered animals can live to see another year. Animal Ark in Reno is one of those places, and it is near the top of the list of things to do in Reno.
Animal Ark is a sanctuary that strives to offer protection and safety to injured, non-releasable, and/or orphaned animals. They periodically host events during the year – both educational and entertaining – so make sure you check the schedule before you go off to visit the sanctuary.
SIERRA SAFARI ZOO
Also known as the Sierra Exotic Animal Park, the Sierra Safari Zoo is a zoo that opened in 1989 north of Reno, NV. The Sierra Safari Zoo hosts some of the most exotic animals in the state.
If you’re curious about sloths, primates, bobcats, and other exotic animals, this is the zoo to check out if you’re in the area. They offer discounted tickets to seniors, groups, and the military.
Despite the scale of exotic animals at the Sierra Safari Zoo, it counts as a small-scale establishment. The small scale makes a visit here easy, and the mountain views from this zoo are unforgettable.
FLEISCHMANN PLANETARIUM & SCIENCE CENTER
Part of the University of Nevada campus, the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center was built in 1963, and continues to be a popular attraction today. This planetarium was the first in the United States to host a 360-degree projector using time-lapse technology to show off the one day’s weather in only a few minutes.
For the science lovers in your group, visiting the Fleischmann Planetarium is a must-do. You can check out exhibits and learn more while sitting in the 60-seat Dome Theater, where much of their programming takes place.
Additionally, this observatory includes exhibits that host a SkyDome-style movie system, science exhibits, and even a meteorite that weighs over one metric ton.
RANCHO SAN RAFAEL PARK
Rancho San Rafael Park is a 570-acre park in Reno that’s full of outdoor activities and more.
Here you’ll find hiking and biking trails, the Wilbur D. May Museum, the Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden, a visitor center, a historic ranch house, Herman’s Pond, and the Basque Sheepherder Monument. This is the perfect place to spend the day with your crew.
You’ll also find a dog park, playground, picnic area, and more.
PYRAMID LAKE PAIUTE TRIBE MUSEUM
Just 35 miles northeast of Reno you’ll find the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center, a great place to learn more about the Paiute Tribe.
You’ll learn about the history and culture of the Paiute Tribe, and will learn more about Pyramid Lake itself — which covers 125,000 acres! This massive lake is well-known for its fishing opportunities, and for the unique rock formations surrounding the area. Many consider Pyramid Lake to be North America’s most beautiful desert lake.
The Visitors Center provides information about recreational opportunities at Pyramid Lake — including fishing, swimming, camping, and more.
RENO AIR RACES
Every September for five days, the National Championship Air Races and Air Show, also known as the Reno Air Races, takes place in the Nevada desert.
This amazing event is the fastest motorsport on Earth, where you can watch amazing airplanes race wing-tip to wing-tip, 50 feet above the ground, at 500 miles per hour!
You’ll also find performances by the National Aviation Heritage Invitational, military displays, the STEM zone, STOL, an impressive variety of aviation exhibits and more. It’s a can’t-miss event for the aviation buff in your family.
What is Reno best known for?
Reno, Nevada is best known for its casinos and tourism industry. It’s known as the u0022biggest little city in the worldu0022 because although it’s not large in size, it’s full of fun things to do.
Are there things to do in Reno besides gamble?
There are plenty of things to do in Reno besides gamble! Hike in Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, visit the Nevada Museum of Art or the National Auto Museum, or spend some time at Lake Tahoe.
Is Reno, Nevada worth visiting?
Yes, Reno is definitely worth visiting. In addition to having plenty of activities offered here, it also has a great location near Lake Tahoe and several popular California locations.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO NEVADA
- YOUR NEVADA VACATION
- LAS VEGAS: 25 Super Fun Things To Do In Las Vegas With Kids
- LAUGHLIN: 13 Phenomenal Things To Do In Laughlin, Nevada
- WEEKEND GETAWAYS: 22 Best Weekend Getaways & Day Trips From Las Vegas
WHERE TO STAY IN RENO, NEVADA
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