Wait what? You mean Reno isn’t just Vegas’ unloved ugly step-sister? I had dreaded coming to Reno, but it was en route to the Ultimate West Coast Road trip…
Who would have known I would stay an extra two nights!
Everything I had thought about Reno was wrong.
As my week was full of surprises, I realized that the dirty-cheap casino image of Reno is a poor representation of the Nevada-California community. A real Cinderella in the last five years, Reno and Tahoe have launched new neighborhoods driven by yogis, foodies, and the occasional post-grad environmental science majors.
1. Reno and Tahoe have the best outdoor activities.
Known for snowboarding and skiing, the area is also rich in hiking, camping, sailing, wakeboarding, yoga, biking, and rock-climbing.
The Highest Rock-Climbing Wall in the World
Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno is home to the highest rock-climbing wall in the world. The hotel itself is a millennial meets sustainable luxe boutique, the first non-gaming, non-smoking establishment of its kind in Reno.
I made it to the top for a bucket list check back bend!
Best hikes in Reno and Tahoe:
- Emerald Pools
- “The N” for Nevada
- Walker Creek Hike (waterfall at the top)
- Emerald Bay hikes (including Bliss Trail)
Moon Dune, King’s Beach Lake Tahoe
2. It’s a hippie-hipster hub of microbreweries, wine walks, and pub crawls.
I drank a lot of beer in Reno and Tahoe (sorry mom). Try the new hopocolyspe by Drakes Brewery if you’re into a double IPA.
I’m talking happy hours. Everywhere. With every sip of delicious beer, you know you are supporting a local business. As an entrepreneur, that’s always a good feeling.
Best Bars in Reno and Tahoe:
- Heritage (Trendy/ Upscale Hipster)
- Public House (Hipster/ Craft)
- Mellow Fellow (Snowboard/ Lake Dive Bar)
- Brewer’s Cabinet
- Lincoln Lounge
- St. Jams Infermary
- The Wall (College kid’s – Thursday)
- Chapel (Mid-town Hipster)
- Davidson’s (Live Music, Biker, Crazy — Connected to Motorcycle Shop)
Popular (or rather infamous) pub crawls in Reno:
- Santa Crawl (Google Pictures – December)
- Superhero Crawl
- Zombies Crawl (Halloween)
- Wine Walks and Art Walks (monthly)
3. The organic, locally farmed foods and craft coffee in casually elegant restaurants.
As I guiltily rest my Mac over my food baby, conceived from a week of Reno and Tahoe’s best restaurants and breweries, I must say, it was worth it.
I guess the local community makes up for all those brews and salmon eggs benedicts by being outdoors all the time!
Best Restaurants in Reno and Tahoe:
- Campo (casually elegant — focuses on working with local farms and organic ingredients)
- Mazanita at Ritz Lake Tahoe (luxury– excellent salmon eggs Benedict)
- Depot (hipster/ trendy)
- Laughing Planet (extra vegetarian/ vegan options)
- Peg’s Glorified Ham and Eggs (Mom & Pop diner style — excellent salmon eggs Benedict)
- Old Granite Street Eatery (hipster/ trendy)
- Great FullGardens (extra vegetarian/ vegan options)
Pictured: Campo — so good I ate their twice! The menu changes daily, but I loved the risotto.
4. Reno and Tahoe host a variety of eccentric art and live entertainment events.
Oh hi Burning Man art scattered across the city.
I checked out a folk-soul band at the local concert venue Cargo at the Whitney Peak Hotel, just missing out on a pre-Burning Man concert my friends were catching.
However, Burning Man is just one of many muses rooted to Reno.
Best Festivals in Reno and Tahoe:
- Burning Man
- Wanderlust Festival
- The River Festival
Everyone purchases their costumes from Junkee Reno (pictured).
Best Times to Holidays to Party in Reno/ Tahoe:
- Fourth of July
- Memorial Day Weekend
Best Hotels Bringing the Outdoors In:
Whitney Peak Hotel, Reno’s first non-smoking, non-gambling smart luxury hotel.
5. She said “when you’re kind, people remember you.” Reno/ Tahoe, above all, that is why I will remember you.
I felt so comfortable around Reno and Tahoe’s locals. It’s one of those places where the people don’t judge you, ask questions, and will buy you a beer to hear a good story.
A whole lot of grounded, earthy people — it must be those hikes.
We’ll meet again Reno and Tahoe 🙂 A week just wasn’t enough.
A big thank you to my friend from home Chase who now lives in Reno; to the Whitney Peak crew Eli, Brian, and Martina; to the Ritz Carlton in Tahoe for the craziest sunset experience I have had yet; to Christina, Dave, and Chef Mark for welcoming me and showing me their city.
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