How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Reno and 4 Best Day Trips from Reno

Reno is one of those cities that most people have heard of, but haven’t necessarily been to, and we think that is a shame! Here is how to spend the perfect weekend in Reno. We are sharing our favorite places, where to stay during your getaway, and the best day trips from Reno.

 

Perfect Weekend in Reno and Best Day Trips from Reno

 

Reno has a lot to offer the curious traveler for a weekend. With its cute downtown area, the impressive amount of street art, and vibrant restaurant scene, Reno is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to explore the USA more. There are also some super fun day trips from Reno for you to explore nearby attractions that you could easily stretch your weekend in Reno trip much longer.

 

Reno Mural

 

Make sure you scroll to our Top 5 tips for spending a weekend in Reno at the end of the post to ensure you have a great time!

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What is Reno Known For?

 

Reno is most widely known as “The Biggest Little City in the World.” The slogan was chosen as a winner of a contest in 1929, and only a few years later became more widespread when the city began significant growth due to Nevada’s legalization of gambling and liberal divorce laws.

 

Gambling Chips in Front of Reno Arch

 

Reno is known for its casinos which are the biggest draws to the city. However, over the years, Reno has also developed an amazing art scene and is the home of the world-class art museum Nevada Museum of Art, the National Automobile Museum, and countless of incredible street art. Not to mention Reno is the closest city to Burning Man.

 

Playa Art Park Reno

 

There is no mentioning the city’s name without thinking of the festival which melds art, activities, and events in the Black Rock desert. The biggest little city in the world has a beautiful Riverwalk District which is incredibly vibrant and by far our favorite part of town.

 

Whales Art Sculptures in Riverwalk District Reno

 

We are not big gamblers ourselves, so luckily there is so much to do during a weekend in Reno besides gambling.

 

Casinos in Downtown Reno

 

There is something so exciting and thrilling about going to a casino. The thought of ending your night with double the money in your pocket makes for a great evening in itself. Paired with great company, good food, and music, you will have the night of a lifetime.

 

Bright City Lights Reflected in Window, Reno

 

With casinos being the main draw for most visitors to the city, we of course had to check out some of the main casinos in downtown Reno. Downtown Reno has some of the same famous casino brands as Las Vegas, such as Circus Circus, and Harrah’s, as well as the Eldorado, and the Club Cal-Neva.

 

Circus Circus Casino in Reno

 

Outside of downtown, you can easily see other famous Reno casinos such as the Atlantis, the Grand Sierra, and the Peppermill.

Make sure you stop by to play the slot machines or sit down for a round of poker during your weekend in Reno. (Please play responsibly and know that there is always a financial risk involved.)

 

What is There to Do in Reno Besides Gamble?

 

If gambling is not your thing, or you have already won big time, there are lots of other activities to explore during your weekend in Reno.

 

Walk Virginia Street in Reno

 

Downtown Reno is quite compact, which makes it very easy to walk to all of the nearby sights, bars, and restaurants. The Reno Arch is without a doubt one of the most famous attractions and is a must-see for your weekend in Reno itinerary. This iconic symbol of Reno was originally installed in 1926, however the current arch hails from 1987.

We recommend taking the time to see the arch by day as well as by night. At nighttime the Reno Arch is lit-up with neon lights, as are many of the nearby casinos.

 

Reno Arch Virginia Street.

 

As Virginia Street is the main street through downtown Reno, most of the downtown casinos are right here on the north side of the Truckee River, and many of the trendiest bars and restaurants are close-by on the south side of the Truckee River.

 

Believe Sign Reno

 

More famous signs are close at hand, as the ‘BELIEVE’ sculpture is located at the City Plaza, also overlooking the Truckee River. The sign was originally created for the Burning Man Festival in 2013, and the city later purchased the sign and placed it permanently at the City Plaza for everyone to enjoy.

 

Bettina Twirling in B of Believe Sign Reno

 

Reno Street Art

 

Speaking of the Burning Man Festival, as Reno is the closest major city to the festival, Reno has a number of the famous art sculptures from the festival over the years. Playa Art Park is the main attraction, with a rotating display of art sculptures. Unfortunately for us, when were in Reno the park had been closed, so we could only snap pictures from a distance!

 

Playa Art Park Reno

 

Make sure you visit the art park during your weekend in Reno though as it has some incredibly sculptures to admire and take pictures of.

 

Frida Kahlo Mural Reno

 

Elsewhere in Reno you will find all sorts of murals painted on buildings small and large. This really gives the city a positive and creative vibe, and we loved walking up and down the downtown streets looking at the art.

 

Mural in Reno

 

Snow Covered Tree Mural in Reno

 

Other Fun Things to Do in Reno

 

If the sun is shining during your stay (which it certainly should be as Reno has over 250 days of sun per year) there is no better way to unwind than a bike ride along the Truckee River Walk and explore the Riverwalk District during your weekend in Reno.

 

Bettina Biking under the Biggest Little City in the World Sign in Reno

 

This two-mile loop spans downtown Reno, and offers a great way to start your bike ride. The area around California Avenue is also well-known for trendy shops and restaurants.

 

Truckee River in Reno

 

For a city the size of Reno, there are also a number of popular museums to explore, including the Nevada Museum of Art and the National Automobile Museum.

 

Best Place to Stay in Reno

 

We stayed at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel, which is located in a prime location smack dab in the middle of the city, on the banks of the Truckee River and overlooking the vibrant Riverwalk District. It is the perfect place to stay for a weekend in Reno.

 

Lobby at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

The hotel has an expansive lobby, with gorgeous details throughout, as well as all the entertainment, food, and drinks you need without even leaving the property! Onsite, The Shore Room restaurant has amazing indoor and outdoor views of the city and river.

 

Outdoor Bar at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

And of course if you are looking for great evening plans, the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel has a bocce ball court right in the lobby. The Bundox Bocce’s indoor and outdoor bocce ball courts are perfect for a fun evening during your weekend in Reno. In tune with the expansive art scene in Reno, the hotel even has a small gallery in the lobby where you can admire local artists.

 

Bike Rental at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

One of our favorite amenities are the bike rentals! The hotel offers bike rentals so that you can better explore the city and enjoy a ride along the river! You can pick up a cute old-school bike any time and ride away.

 

Hotel Room at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

Hotel Room at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

Our room at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel was huge, and had a sophisticated, modern design. We loved the views of the Truckee River and surrounding mountains, especially as they were still covered in snow!

 

View from Hotel Room at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel. With its central location, stunning views, and beautiful modern design, it is the perfect place to stay during your weekend in Reno!

 

Hotel Room at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

Disclaimer: Our hotel stay was provided by the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel and we loved it. As always, all of our opinions on our experience and how much you should gamble are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!

 

4 Best Day Trips from Reno

 

If you are spending a weekend in Reno and are looking to extend your stay for a few days, there are a ton of great places to visit just a short drive away in any direction.

 

Home Means Nevada Floor in Elevator at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

Lake Tahoe

 

Situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake which is known for its beaches and stunning vibrant blues during summer. In winter, the Lake Tahoe area turns into a buzzing ski resort with stunning views of the lake while you’re on the snow-covered slope.

 

Bettina Holding Lake Tahoe Magazine

 

Lake Tahoe is only a short 45 minute drive from Reno and the perfect day trip from Reno if you’re looking for some beach time in summer or snow sports during the winter.

 

Pyramid Lake

 

If you follow the Truckee River to the north, you will get to Pyramid Lake which is famous for its unique rock formations which look like pyramids. Pyramid Lake beckons with water sports and is a great place to cool down on a hot summer day.

The drive from Reno to the Pyramid lake takes about 45 minutes and is well worth it!

 

Carson City and Historic Virginia City

 

Also a short 30 minute drive from Reno is Carson City. The city is close to Lake Tahoe and the historic Virginia City. The Nevada state capital is bursting with old-fashioned charm and combines shopping, dining, culture, as well as a happening nightlife scene.

Being so close to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Carson City offers a lot of outdoor activities and will be a great extension of your Reno getaway. You can find everything in Carson such as golfing, fishing, boating, and hiking.

If you would like to travel back in time, make sure to visit historic Virginia City. The city was growing during the a 19th century mining boom and is home to countless Victorian buildings which make it look like a movie set. It is definitely worth a visit during your weekend in Reno.

 

Loneliest Road in America

 

To the east is the famous “Loneliest Road in America” which we completed after our stay in Reno. The Loneliest Road is exactly what the name would suggest – lonely! The loneliest road in America is also known as the Nevada portion of the transcontinental Highway 50, starting in Carson City and going all the way across Nevada to the Utah border.

While the road lacks civilization, it makes for an incredible drive and road trip as you will get to see some beautiful sights along the way.

 

Sand Dune Recreational Area on Loneliest Road in America

 

Make sure you fuel up and bring enough food before starting your drive as there are only a few towns on the way. If you like camping, you’re in luck as there are campgrounds and BLM land along the road, making it a great place to relax and enjoy some star gazing.

The first stop on your drive is Sand Mountain Recreation Area which is a beautiful sand dune in the middle of nowhere and a great stop for anyone who loves ATVing or wandering around sand dunes.

 

Austin Nevada Ghost Town

 

Further along the Loneliest Road in America, you will come across the cute ghost town Austin, Nevada, which could be from a movie set and Nevada’s best kept secret: hot springs.

You may not know this but Nevada has more hot springs than any other state and it would be a shame to not take advantage of them. Spencer Hot Springs is right on the Loneliest Road in America and a great spot to relax and enjoy the view of the mountains.

 

Hot Springs Pool at Spencer Hot Springs Nevada

 

The loneliest road continues all the way to the Utah border, and can be completed easily over two days or as long as a week, depending on what timeline best meets your schedule. If you are only interested in completing a small portion of the drive as a day trip for your perfect weekend in Reno, it is still worth the drive!

 

Make sure you also check out more road trip ideas in the Southwest USA if you are keen on exploring more of the USA by car after your weekend in Reno.

 

Weekend in Reno Travel Essentials

 

These travel essentials and accessories will help ensure you have a great time in Reno! Make sure you bring a camera or your fully charged phone to be able to capture the beautiful memories you create on this trip!

The Next Trip Top 5 Tips for The Perfect Weekend in Reno

 

Whether you're spending a fun weekend in Reno or are staying longer, here are our top 5 tips for an unforgettable time in the biggest little city in the world.

 

1) Rent a Bike

 

Reno has a beautiful downtown area and a great Riverwalk District which is great to explore by foot, but even more fun to bike along in summer. Rent a bike from the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel and enjoy riding along the river during your weekend in Reno.

 

2) Take A Picture with Street Art

 

There is no mentioning of Reno without thinking of its incredible art scene. If you don't feel like visiting museums, make sure you take some photos with the vibrant street art. You will find everything from fun geometric prints, landscape murals, and graffiti, to portraits of Frida Kahlo. Your weekend in Reno would not be complete without admiring some of the astonishing local art.

 

3) Explore the Riverwalk District

 

The Riverwalk District is very much the heart of the city and it is by far the most vibrant and fun place to be on a sunny summer day. Bike along the river and stop by some local restaurants and shops to enjoy everything the Riverwalk District has to offer during your weekend in Reno.

 

4) Prepare for Dry and Hot Summers

 

Summers in Reno can get very hot and dry. Make sure you are prepared and always bring water with you and wear sunscreen. A bad sunburn is not what you want as your lasting memory of your weekend in Reno!

 

5) Play a Game or Two at a Casino

 

After all, Reno is most famous for its casinos. Stop by a casino and play a game to get the complete weekend in Reno experience. There is nothing quite like the thrill of placing a bet with the hope to end your night with twice as much money in your pocket. (Please play responsibly and know that there is always a financial risk involved.)

Save this post to your USA travel Pinterest board for when you plan your next weekend in Reno and getaway in the USA.

Your ultimate guide to spending the perfect weekend in Reno. Here are all the things to do in Reno, the best street art, most instagrammable murals, best Reno photo spots, and the 4 best day trips from Reno. Reno travel guide | Reno Instagram Spots | Reno Photography | Reno Arch
Your ultimate guide to spending the perfect weekend in Reno. Here are all the things to do in Reno, the best street art, most instagrammable murals, best Reno photo spots, and the 4 best day trips from Reno. Reno travel guide | Reno Instagram Spots | Reno Photography | Reno Arch

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20 Comments:

  1. You published this at the perfect time, Bettina. I’m planning another road trip at the end of July where I’m starting in Reno, so I’ve been looking for things to do there and this is perfect. All of your photos are so dreamy. 🙂

  2. So many awesome things to do in Reno! I’m kicking myself for letting my husband talk me into driving by Reno without stopping on our road trip! Thanks for the awesome tips, I’m giong to plan another trip to Lake Tahoe, and this time make sure we get to Reno.

  3. Reno looks even more beautiful with you and your stunning outfits there!! What a fun guide to this city – the street art looks amazing! But I have a feeling a large amount of my time will be spent in the casinos haha

  4. Your photos are mind-blowing! Visually appealing! Thank you!

  5. It’s funny but I have actually never heard of Reno. So glad I do know about this place now. It looks amazing.

  6. Incredible photos as always! My mom has stores of stopping in Reno when roadtripping as a kid. I have been to Vegas a number of times and would love to explore other areas of Nevada one day. Thank you for your comprehensive guide and great recommendations 🙂

  7. Girl, your photos are INCREDIBLE and you look so glam in every single one! I actually knew very little about Reno before reading this post. I lived in the US when I was at university (Santa Barbara) and never had chance to visit! Saving this for when I’m finally able to return 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  8. Absolutely love your beautiful photos! Who would have thought there was such an artsy city in Nevada! It is now on my bucket list for sure 🙂

  9. I had never heard of Reno, but it looks such a cool place 🙂 I need to add it to my travel list! Also, I absolutely love your pictures, they’re so colourful and beautiful. I am saving your blog post for future trips in America.

  10. I’ve never heard of Reno before but it reminds me of a smaller version of Las Vegas! Looks really cool!

  11. Reno looks amazing! There is so much to do there and I had no idea! Thanks for this great guide!

  12. I never really knew what to find in Reno and I am discovering this city through your article. It looks really cool! I love the street art and the ambiance. It must be so fun to see some of the Burning Man festival sculptures! This article is full of info, thank you Bettina!

  13. I had never thought about visiting Reno until I visited your post. Wow your photos are just stunning!

  14. I never considered visiting Reno before, but I would live so much to visit! You recommended some great things to do!

  15. Wow I had never heard about this place at all before! Sounds like such a fun city, and I love the slogan! Made me want to go if I have the occasion 😀

  16. Reno looks so cool!! I guess it make sense that a lot of the old Burning Man art ends up there. I hope to visit Reno in person one day.

  17. Ahh, obsessed with all of your colorful photos, Bettina! Thank you for putting Reno on my radar, love all these day trip ideas!

  18. Oh wow such a cool and colourful little city, who knew there was so much to it! And as usual, your photos are gorgeous, Bettina!

  19. I love that there’s so much to do in Reno beside donating your money to the casinos lol. We live in California and will definitely take advantage of some close to home travel and will put this on our list of places to go to for a long weekend. I LOVE your outfits and thanks for sharing!

  20. Before seeing your photos I didn’t know anything about this place! It looks quite fun there!

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