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Best Things To Do in Reno

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Gambling, culture, nightlife, shopping, historic towns, outdoor activities and intriguing attractions are plenty of reasons to visit the Reno area. Reno also is an NCAA town, home to the Nevada Wolf Pack, so college games are another attraction. There's the National Bowling Stadium as well, which is open for pro play only, and the region has more than 50 golf courses. While downtown Reno can keep visitors busy for a few days with museums, casinos, dining and a ballpark, having a car provides for a well-rounded trip. Every visitor who has more than one day to explore the area should visit beautiful Lake Tahoe. Summertime offers water, mountain and beach activities and winter features snow sports galore. The quaint towns of Truckee, Virginia City and Carson City are worth the drive as well.

Aces Ballpark & Freight House District

Neighborhood: Downtown Reno

The Reno Aces is a minor league baseball team and local family favorite. The stadium, which opened in April 2009 in downtown Reno, is connected to the Freight House District, which offers an alehouse, bar and grill, lounge and Mexican grill. Music, food and a young nightlife scene occur year round at the Freight House District, so you'll want to come out here whether or not there's a game. The Aces season runs between April and September.

Animal Ark

Neighborhood: Downtown Reno
Just a 45-minute drive north of downtown Reno, this intriguing, 38-acre desert space is filled with interesting, natural enclosures for native and non-native animals. You'll find everything from mountain lions, tigers, wolves and cheetahs to tortoises and birds of prey. This isn't a zoo, rather a wildlife sanctuary for non-releasable animals. Animal Ark shelters animals that do not have the skills to survive in the wild. Some animals are permanently disabled, some were kept as exotic pets and either confiscated or unwanted, and some were born in captivity to serve as ambassadors for their endangered cousins. Many of the animals would have been euthanized if Animal Ark had not provided them with a home. Visit local and exotic species and learn about their habitats. You can even watch the cheetahs run in events several times a year.

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Truckee

Neighborhood: Truckee

This small town is an alpine gem surrounded by the majestic western Sierra Nevada. Truckee is best known for being near Northstar and Squaw Valley USA ski resorts. But some also know that the charming, historic downtown corridor features quaint shops and good restaurants, all within walking distance. Truckee is about 40 minutes from downtown Reno on Interstate 80 west toward Sacramento.

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Wild Island

Neighborhood: Downtown Reno

If you're traveling with kids, this is a fun place to visit in the summer. Shrieking children delight in the toilet bowl water slide and splash in the wave pool, while adults relax in the lazy river. An 18-hole mini-golf course has plenty of fun obstacles to keep it interesting, and a brand-new, nine-hole Pirate Cove mini-golf course is located inside under black lighting. During winter or to take a break from the heat, visitors can check out the go-kart track, bowling alley and arcade games inside.

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National Automobile Museum

Neighborhood: Downtown Reno

The museum, located in downtown Reno, is a favorite for car-loving visitors. Named among the top 10 museums by Car Collector’s magazine, the museum is known for its dramatic displays, in-depth interpretation, extensive collection and opportunities for visitor participation. The museum displays more than 2,000 cars, the majority of which are from the world-famous collection of the late gaming pioneer and avid collector, Bill Harrah. Can’t get enough of cars? Come during one of Reno’s biggest events, Hot August Nights, a showcase of historic cars in pristine condition with many events planned around it.

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Wilbur D. May Museum

Neighborhood: Downtown Reno

This cool place is a museum of rare collections and exotic artifacts including T'ang Dynasty pottery, primitive African artwork, Eskimo scrimshaws, Egyptian scarabs, Greek icons and a genuine shrunken head from South America. It’s also a place to experience interesting traveling exhibits on flora and fauna. Be sure to check out the arboretum outside. It is a fascinating display and living museum of colorful flowers, creek-side meadows, outdoor courtyards and secluded benches.

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Carson City

Neighborhood: Carson City

Nevada's capital city is a welcoming combination of the old and new. You can start the day off with a stroll on the Kit Carson History Trail, continue through history and see the capitol building, then take a ride on the historic V&T Railroad. There's plenty to see for the antique and history lover but Carson City isn't stuck in the dust. Visit local casinos, museums, shops and restaurants (including Adele’s for fine dining and the Cracker Box diner) for the full Carson City experience. From Reno, take U.S. 395 South.

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Virginia City

Neighborhood: Virginia City

In just a 35-minute drive from Reno, you can step back to the 19th-century mining boom, which during that time turned Virginia City into the most important settlement between Denver and San Francisco. It also turned grubby prospectors into instant millionaires. At the peak of its glory, Virginia City was a boisterous town. Some say the spirits of these Comstock characters still inhabit the places they built. Come for the history, stroll along the rickety wooden sidewalks, take a mine tour, visit Piper’s Opera House (built in 1885) and drink a cold beer inside the Bucket of Blood Saloon (built in 1876). Visitors also drive up for unforgettably wacky events such as the International Camel Races, Outhouse Races and Mountain Oyster Festival.

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Lake Tahoe

Neighborhood: North and South Lake Tahoe

Anyone visiting Reno should make the trek up to Lake Tahoe. Tahoe has something for everyone. During the summer, visitors and locals enjoy wading in the crisp alpine water to paddle board, jet ski, boat, kayak and swim. The athletically inclined head to the hills for world-class hiking, mountain and road biking, golfing, casino events, shopping, gondola rides and more. Tahoe is a huge draw during the winter, when about 18 resorts welcome downhill and cross-country skiers and boarders. Other snowy pursuits include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and ice-skating. By car, the lake is 72 miles around and attractions in the area mostly are considered to be in either North Lake Tahoe or South Lake Tahoe (though some locals may refer to West Shore and East Shore when offering directions). North Lake Tahoe is about 50 minutes from Reno and South Lake Tahoe is about an hour and a half from Reno.

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Nevada Museum of Art

Neighborhood: Downtown Reno

This is Nevada's only accredited art museum and is housed in a strikingly modern building designed by internationally renowned architect Will Bruder, who was inspired by geological formations in Nevada’s landscape. You can see art from around the world in rotating exhibitions and view more than 2,000 works of art in the museum’s permanent collections. The four-level, 60,000-square-foot building also houses a café (Café Musée) with fresh, tasteful fare and a museum store with one-of-a-kind artistic gifts, jewelry, toys and books. There's also a 180-seat multimedia theater, a library and two outdoor sculpture galleries (including one on the museum’s top level—a must stop). First Thursday offers another reason to visit the museum, when folks come out in droves to drink, mingle and listen to music.

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Burning Man

Neighborhood: Black Rock Desert

Spectacle. Sensory Overload. Culture. Participation. Stimulation. Burning Man is anything but ordinary. The annual event, which began in 1986, is held in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, about 120 miles northeast of Downtown Reno. The event is held the week prior to and including Labor Day weekend and takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy. Burning Man is an experiment in community, self-expression and self-reliance. Participants must bring everything they need to survive in the middle of nowhere for a week or however long they decide to attend. It's a different event for everyone. It’s a camping experience, an amazing art tour, a perpetual dance club and a chance to connect with other like-minded people, dress up, act out and laugh hard. Events include everything from yoga classes, parades and roller-skating to jewelry making, body painting and interaction with art projects. Bicycles are required transportation to get around the seven-square-mile so-called Black Rock City. The event is not for the faint of heart and you may endure searing sun, pounding rain, icy cold and hour-long dust storms (beware: playa dust penetrates everything).

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