The area’s main airport is Reno-Tahoe International Airport. It’s located minutes from downtown and recently was stocked with multi-million-dollar upgrades in its baggage handling and air traffic control facilities. Seven major airlines fly out of the airport, including Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways. It’s a small airport, which makes it relatively hassle-free. Visitors will find paid shuttle services (offering trips throughout Reno and Lake Tahoe; prices vary) as well as complimentary hotel shuttles (www.renoairport.com/to-from-airport/shuttles).
The Amtrak station, located downtown at North Center Street and Commercial Row, sees its fair share of riders. Taking the train makes for a long ride compared to traveling by airplane or car, and passengers must weather many stops. But the means of transportation is (sometimes) economical, carefree and scenic, whether traveling from Northern California, Denver, Salt Lake City or the plains of Nebraska. The Amtrak also runs daily between Chicago and San Francisco, and passengers enjoy amenities such as comfy seats and outlets for laptops and phones.
You can get to and from Reno by bus with Greyhound. It is an affordable way to travel but can get uncomfortable over long distances, and if you're pressed for time, it might just be best to fly. The Reno station is located downtown at 155 Stevenson St.
Watercraft such as boats, kayaks and even paddleboards are used as modes of transportation at Lake Tahoe. Haul your own equipment to a dock or boat launch for use or rent from one of the many outfits around the lake. Boat launch and rental locations in South Lake Tahoe include Zephyr Cove Resort/Lake Tahoe Cruises, Lakeside Marina and Tahoe Keys Marina; in North Lake Tahoe, try Tahoe Vista Recreation Area, Sierra Boat Company or Tahoe City Marina.
As you might expect, public transportation isn’t as plentiful or efficient as in big cities such as New York or Chicago. But the Regional Transportation Commission’s public bus service does have a fleet of vehicles making regular trips throughout the area. RTC Ride offers 30 bus routes in Reno and Sparks that run at varying times every day. The fares are $2 for adults and $1 for youths, seniors and the disabled. In addition, RTC Sierra Spirit offers free transportation around downtown Reno every day, with stops every 10 minutes between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. RTC Intercity lets passengers commute between Reno and Carson City (the state’s capital). Overall, the region’s public transportation system is fairly safe, with the exception of late-night travel through downtown Reno.
Visitors will find plenty of taxi agencies to take them wherever they need to go, whenever they need to go. It is safe and effective but a pricey way to travel around Reno (about $20 from the airport to downtown). In Reno, you don’t hail a cab; you call the company. Along with taxis, luxury car services also are available. Limousine services are one way to travel comfortably around Reno or up to Lake Tahoe, but again, it’s pricey.
If you’re not driving in with your own, renting a car is highly recommended when visiting the Reno-Tahoe area. There is such a wide area to cover if you have time (from Reno to Truckee, Lake Tahoe’s North Shore and Lake Tahoe’s South Shore) that you will enjoy having your own car for the ride. Rental car agencies are reasonable, plentiful and available at the airport. Parking is easy in town, with plenty of mostly free casino and city parking garages and street parking (bring change for meters downtown). Also, once in suburban Reno, streets are easily accessible. And directions remain fairly simple when traveling to and around Lake Tahoe. But do note that Reno’s and Lake Tahoe’s streets and highways can get congested in the late afternoons and early evenings and during special events and peak seasons..