Reno is full of unique and fun local attractions that are delightful to visit during any time of the year. From local events such as the Reno Balloon Races, to traveling art and theatre entertainment, as well as local landmarks like the Reno arch and the Truckee River, the city of Reno offers a range of options to entertain just about anyone. Here are twelve of our favorite iconic Reno attractions you can visit anytime of year.
Rancho San Rafael Park
Sitting on over 600 acres of land, this expansive park hosts great events all throughout the year, including the annual Reno Balloon Races (pictured above). Originally a working ranch dating back to the 1890’s, Rancho has been a public park since 1979 and has expanded several times since its inception. The park features an arboretum and botanical garden, a small dinosaur park, several walking and hiking trails (including one leading under McCarran Road to Evans Creek), the Wilbur D May museum, and several small lakes of water. It is a great location for local birdwatching and also has an enormous off leash dog park. Because of all these great offerings, Rancho San Rafael ranks at the top of our list as one of the best outdoor spots in Reno.
Virginia Lake Park
Virginia Lake Park is a hidden treasure located in the middle of Reno and offers a bunch of activities. The park has a playground for kids and a dog park for your furry friends. It has several picnic tables, a walking loop around the lake, and offers great birdwatching without having to travel outside the city. You can also fish for rainbow trout, brown trout, and bowcutt trout, which are routinely stocked by the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
The space whale is a large, illuminated steel and stained glass art sculpture, and is one of the largest art pieces in Downtown Reno. The special art project was constructed by local artist Matthew Schultz. It shares space in the Reno City Plaza with another large art piece, the Believe sign. Both of the art projects are unique and beautiful, and are currently being featured in Downtown Reno. The best time to view the space whale is after sunset, when you can see the art piece fully illuminated.
The Reno arch is an iconic landmark that spans across Virginia Street, the main road through downtown Reno. As one of the most famous Reno attractions, it is often used as a landmark for events and is a common stop for tourists and locals alike. Originally built in 1926 to promote the Nevada Transcontinental Highway Exposition, the Reno arch has been redesigned through the years, with the current version constructed in 1987. The arch represents a piece of Reno history, and is a must-visit landmark.
Mt. Rose is a great outdoor destination for year round activities, and is one of the best Reno attractions. From skiing to hiking, this is a versatile mountain that offers outdoor activities for the whole family. In the summer, you can climb to the peak of Mt. Rose to take in the expansive views of Reno and Lake Tahoe. In the winter, you can enjoy those same views as you ski down one of Mt. Rose’s world class ski runs. If you are looking for info on local ski passes, read our post about ski passes available for 2019/2020 winter season.
The Pioneer Center is a theatre for performing arts, known for its distinctive gold geodesic dome roof. The facility holds up to 1500 guests and offers a wide variety of top quality entertainment throughout the year. You can see everything from traveling broadway shows, to contemporary dance, speaking events, and music. Local orchestra group, the Reno Philharmonic (or Reno Phil for short), is a regular performer at the Pioneer Center, and a highly recommended group to watch, no matter the season.
One of the best features of Reno is the river flowing directly through the city. The Truckee River is beautiful and offers scenic views all year long. There is a path that follows along the river through the whole city, and there are many local businesses to visit along the downtown section of the path. Because of the variety of scenic views along the entire river, the riverwalk area is definitely worth a visit when strolling through downtown Reno.
Nevada Museum of Art
The Nevada Museum of Art was originally founded in 1931 and is the only accredited art museum in the state of Nevada. The building itself is a work of art, showcasing a modern building design and over 70,000 square feet of exhibit space spread over 4 levels. The deck atop the museum offers one of a kind expansive views of downtown Reno. The museum offers several different permanent and rotating art collections, many of which offer some link to Nevada’s rich history. The museum’s next main exhibit, “Decorative Arms: Treasures from the Robert M. Lee Collection” displays historical suits of armor, decorative antique firearms, and swords, some of which date back to the early 1500’s.
The University of Nevada Reno, located just north of Downtown Reno, is the flagship academic institution of Nevada. From the Wolfpack sports teams to the prestigious research institutes, UNR is a source of pride for the local Reno community. The beautiful campus is highlighted by old brick buildings, and features an arboretum and Manzanita Lake. The UNR campus also features Nevada’s oldest geology museum, the W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum. Originally opening in 1908, the museum is free to the public and showcases extensive fossils and minerals, many of which are unique to the rich history of mining in Nevada.
Greater Nevada Field
The Greater Nevada Field is another great Reno attraction, and is a fun option for the whole family. The Reno Aces, the resident baseball team, is a Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The stadium is also home to Reno 1868, a professional soccer team part of the United Soccer League. Aside from the sports matches, the stadium also hosts other events (such as a haunted house for Halloween and a decorated walkway for Christmas).
Bartley Ranch is a large regional park boasting 56 acres of pasture, numerous hiking trails, several dedicated picnic areas, and a regulation size horse arena. The park also features the outdoor Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater and the Historic Huffaker School. The covered bridge entrance and easy walking trails make this park an excellent choice for an afternoon out with your family.
Reno is home to the world’s largest outdoor climbing wall, located at the Whitney Peak hotel. BaseCamp is 164 feet tall and offers unparalleled views of Downtown Reno. Located right next to the iconic Reno arch, the climbing wall was built to accommodate everyone from first timers to experienced climbers. You can rent everything you need to enjoy this unique experience at BaseCamp.
If you haven’t been to any of these places, we highly recommend you check them out. All of these attractions in Reno offer something you can do with your whole family. It’s a wise idea to research some of the places before visiting, because locations such as the Nevada Museum of Art and the Pioneer Center have rotating events, that way you’ll be up to date on their current offerings. Please let us know about any other great Reno attractions you do with your friends and family, we’d love to share them! Use the map below to easily find these locations.