Things to do in Reno, Nevada

Reno, Nevada, located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, offers visitors many outdoor and indoor activities. You can experience the thrill of gambling, enjoy the delights of a great show or even relax by an alpine lake.

Reno is known for its rich history. The city was built on the back of cattle ranches, railroads, and mining, but it’s now transitioning to a more modern-day lifestyle. Reno is also known for its many museums, including the National Automobile Museum. This museum boasts an impressive collection of 200 historic vehicles.

Things to do in Reno, Nevada

It’s also worth visiting the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center, which features interactive displays and kid-friendly activities. You can also find plenty of things to do at the Riverwalk District in downtown Reno. The district is walkable, with many restaurants and bars to choose from.

The Reno Arch – Nevada’s Most Recognizable Landmark

The Reno Arch is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Reno, Nevada. This historic sign is best viewed at night. It is located at the intersection of Virginia Street and Commercial Row. A short walk through the casino district will get you to the arch.

The first Reno Arch was built in 1926 in honor of the Nevada Transcontinental Highway Exposition. The Lincoln and Victory Highways were completed, and the exposition was promoted.

Reno - Biggest Little City Main Street Arch Sign
Reno – Biggest Little City Main Street Arch Sign

The slogan, “Reno, the Biggest Little City in the World,” was adopted. Over the years, this slogan has changed, but it is still used today.

After the Nevada Transcontinental Highway Exposition, the city of Reno asked for a new slogan. An entrant from Sacramento, California, won the contest with the saying, “Reno, the Biggest City in the World.”

An octagon sign originally accompanied the slogan with 25,000 light bulbs. However, the torches were removed in 1935.

Reno Arch - Best tourist attractions in Reno
Reno Arch – Best tourist attractions in Reno

When the city of Reno moved to a more modern plan for its downtown area, the original arch was relocated. Since the 1960s, the Nevada Arch has been reconstructed in several locations. In 1987, the central arch was placed on Virginia Street. Later that year, a smaller version was put on Lake Street.

After the original arch was relocated, it was covered in pigeon droppings for many years. Finally, it was repainted and refurbished. Today, the old arch is located next to the National Automobile Museum.

National Automobile Museum

The National Automobile Museum is a car museum located in Reno, Nevada. This museum is dedicated to studying the automobile, focusing on cars used by celebrities and the entertainment industry. Its collection comprises more than 200 vehicles, ranging from classics to modern-day muscle cars.

In addition to its impressive collection, the museum offers an array of special exhibits. For example, the Speed Ally gallery features a range of race cars. These include a silver 1936 Mercedes-Benz that’s only available for viewing in the U.S.

National Automobile Museum, Reno
National Automobile Museum, Reno

If you’re into automobiles, there’s no better place to visit than the National Automobile Museum. You’ll find over 200 cars on display and a series of themed streets and street signs.

You’ll also find four galleries filled with exhibits. There’s the Harrah Collection, the Speed Ally, the Harrowing History, and the Thomas Flyer. Among the shows, you’ll find a 1921 Rolls-Royce dressed in copper.

Nevada Museum of Art

If you are looking for a unique cultural experience, the Nevada Museum of Art is the place to go. It is the only art museum in the state accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

The Nevada Museum of Art was established in 1931 as the Nevada Art Gallery. It has been a cultural institution for the community, providing significant arts education programming for school-aged youth. In addition to the museum’s extensive collections, it also maintains a research library.

Nevada Museum of Art
Nevada Museum of Art

Today, the museum is a world-class art center that brings world-class artists to Reno. It hopes to expand its educational initiatives and research capacity in the future.

Aside from its permanent collection, the Nevada Museum of Art hosts many researchers and educators. In addition, the Nevada Museum of Art offers classes for aspiring artists, children, and hobby crafters. These include glass art, drawing techniques, and sensory play in the paint for babies.

Additionally, the museum has a scholarly focus on the arts and environment. This is done through the Center for Art + Environment, which opened in 2003.

Places to visit in Reno - Nevada Museum of Art
Places to visit in Reno – Nevada Museum of Art

The Museum’s Center for Art + Environment is home to its permanent collection, divided into four thematic focus areas. Each area represents a different aspect of the art and environment, including Art of the West, Altered Landscape Photography, Work Ethic in American Art, and Contemporary Art.

Visitors can choose from a variety of exhibitions. These include local and national artists. There are also lectures and film screenings. Many of the exhibits speak to the impact of humanity on the natural world.

Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum

The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (or simply “The Discovery”) is an excellent destination for families in Reno, NV. It’s a hands-on science center that features permanent exhibits and temporary exhibitions. With 67,000 square feet of space, there’s plenty to see.

Things to do in Reno - The Discovery Museum
Things to do in Reno – The Discovery Museum

It’s open to visitors of all ages, but the primary focus is on children and young adults. There are some special events and activities planned each month. In addition, school field trips are offered throughout the year. Children can also attend camps and birthday parties at the museum.

The museum has various exhibits covering history, art, engineering, and science topics. One of the highlights is the three-story tall Cloud Climber. Other attractions include an interactive replica of the Truckee River and a replica of an Ichthyosaurus skeleton.

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

If you are looking for a park close to downtown Reno, you should look no further than the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. Located in northwestern Reno, this park is one of the largest in Washoe County. The park has a variety of amenities, including hiking trails, nature areas, and picnic pavilions.

It also has a large dog park, which is great for those bringing their four-legged friends. Besides the dog park, you can also find an arboretum, five reservable picnic pavilions, and a disc golf course.

Best places to visit in Reno - Great Reno Balloon Race, Reno, Nevada
Best places to visit in Reno – Great Reno Balloon Race, Reno, Nevada

In addition to the various amenities, the park also has several events. Some of these include the Great Reno Balloon Race, which takes place every September. Another event is the Basque Sheepherder Monument, located near the park. Lastly, there is a dinosaur park, another thing to check out if you want something to do.

You can check out the museum for those interested in the area’s history. This part of the park is on the property and gives a lot of background on the area’s history.

Places to go in Reno - Downtown Reno and Rancho San Rafael
Places to go in Reno – Downtown Reno and Rancho San Rafael

Another feature of the park is the Wilbur D. May Center. It’s not only a nice monument to the life of the late philanthropist but also includes a museum and an arboretum.

Lastly, there are several multi-purpose fields on the property. You can also enjoy a picnic, fish at the Anglers Pond, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

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