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Reno Neighborhoods

The city is separated into districts—downtown, southwest and northwest, to name a few. And it’s surrounded by the city of Sparks, the town of Truckee, Carson City (the state’s capital), the Carson Valley, the Washoe Valley and the Lake Tahoe area. Reno is nearly a mile high (at about 4,400 feet above sea level in town) and the sparkling Truckee River cuts through it. City visitors peer at the western Sierra Nevada’s tall, wooded peaks on the west side; the brown, bald Peavine hills to the northwest and the mostly open range on the east and south sides of town. Some visitors may consider lodging downtown to be able to walk between casinos, independent restaurants, into the arts district and along the Truckee River. But others will book a room just outside the city’s core, if they are interested in better pricing or certain amenities (for instance, good restaurants such as Charlie Palmer Steak at Grand Sierra Resort). Either way, you’ll want a car to drive from one side of town to the other and to explore the entire area.

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Downtown Reno

Art, entertainment, outdoor recreation and casinos converge in the city’s core. The area is a mix of old and new businesses and high-rise condominiums, creating a district where most everything is within walking distance. The Truckee River carves through town and flows beside Wingfield Park, which plays host to dozens of festivals and concerts throughout the year. A few blocks east of the city’s center is the Reno Aces Ballpark, which opened in April 2009 and has blossomed into a major attraction for Triple-A ballgame fans from April through September. The Freight House District, adjacent to the ballpark, draws year-round visitors to its restaurants and bars. Just south of downtown is the starkly modern Nevada Museum of Art building, which serves as the cornerstone of the arts district, home to a smattering of galleries, shops and restaurants. Nearby, California Avenue features a blend of renovated craftsman bungalows and stately homes woven between restaurants, bars and shops.

Sparks

Sparks, a six-minute drive from downtown Reno, is known for several shopping and entertainment attractions. At the heart of Sparks is Victorian Square, which features restaurants, movie theaters, shops and festivals, such as the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off each September. Just five minutes away from Sparks’ center is Sparks Marina, with walking paths, trees and sandy beaches surrounding a 77-acre lake. The marina also includes a dog park, volleyball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas and concession stands. Also nearby is Legends, the one-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment destination with a Scheels and outlets such as Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, a Nike store, a Banana Republic outlet and BCBG Final Cut.

 

Truckee

The quaint, historic mountain town about 40 minutes away from downtown Reno is surrounded by thick evergreen forest. Active visitors venture to epic hiking and mountain biking trails, ski resorts, camping spots and fishing holes in nearby lakes and rivers. Crowds converge on the town for events such as the Truckee Brew Fest, Truckee Thursdays and Truckee Renaissance Faire in the summer and the Downtown Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop in the fall. A trip up narrow, twisting Donner Pass Road, over Rainbow Bridge to Donner Summit, and down around alpine Donner Lake is a memorable journey. The route was part of the one taken by early immigrants and the infamous Donner Party of 1846-7.

 

North Lake Tahoe

This area is a lure for athletic and outdoor pursuits such as hiking, biking and skiing. At 6,225 feet above sea level and surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, the lake provides spectacular vistas. Luxury homes hug the shoreline of Lake Tahoe, as do classic wooden boats. You can stroll through Tahoe City’s concentration of shops, restaurants and bars. Take a drive along Lakeshore Drive in Incline Village and gaze at multi-million-dollar mansions or tour Thunderbird Lodge, a Tudor Revival—style summer estate built between 1936 and 1939 nestled in the forest and on the shore. And if you keep to the Nevada side (the other side is in California), you can try your hand at a game of blackjack or craps.

 

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe, about an hour from downtown Reno, is home to Heavenly Ski Resort. While the resort may be the largest presence on this side of the lake, there are more reasons to visit. It’s a bit more accommodating to the non-athletic tourist who may desire something other than hot, calf-burning action. South Lake has a nice mix of shops, restaurants and other pursuits. Those itching for great nightlife on their vacation can enjoy entertainment at the summertime concert series at Harveys Outdoor Arena, casino shows, dance clubs and cocktail bars. There are also historic sites, museums, beaches and natural wonders.

 

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