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Things to do in Reno, NV

Things To Do in Reno, NV

Updated on January 23, 2023


This post will be a little on the geocentric side, mostly because the author is from Reno and has a particularly favorite time of year in The Biggest Little City. While these events have already happened by the time you read this post, it certainly can be used as an ideal planner for a vacation next year. We’re not necessarily doing this to offer up a free plug for the city of Reno, NV, but we are doing it to let you know that vacations to this neck of the woods are not only cheaper than you probably think, but there is a LOT more to do than just gamble.

Reno has an event season beginning in the latter half of the summer that has grown to become one of its busiest seasons of the year (which is ironic, because these events were designed to help with sagging tourist numbers in a time of year when most people are done with their yearly vacationing, or at least planning on not vacationing until ski season). And believe us when we tell you there is something for everyone to enjoy beginning with:

Best Reno Events

Hot August Nights.

What was once a popular regional celebration of the nostalgia for the 1950’s has become one of the premiere events celebrating classic automobiles. Some 250,000 people stream into the Reno area to either show off their classic cars or get a look at some rare vintage autos. There are cruise events and auctions, free concerts from big name acts, and plenty of other free entertainment (just the car gazing is well worth the trip if you’re a classic car fan). Next year, Hot August Nights begins on August 8th, and runs through the weekend. Be advised: hotel prices tend to rise sharply for this event, so you might consider staying at a hotel in a nearby town (Carson City or Minden Gardnerville) or even consider camping at one of the hundreds of camping facilities in the Sierras that are within an hour’s drive of Reno.

The Best In The West Nugget Rib Cook-Off.

Every Labor Day weekend, dozens of professional rib chefs descend on Sparks, NV to compete for thousands in prize money and bragging rights. If you are a fan of all things BBQ, this is an event not to be missed. The real winners are the visitors, who get to sample dozens of sauces and dry rubs. We’ve heard some people don’t even indulge in ribs for the rest of the year. Featuring free concerts, and a carnival for the kids, the Nugget Rib Cook-off should be experienced at least once. The event is free, though there is a charge for food from the various vendors.

The Great Reno Balloon Race.

The first weekend after Labor Day, Reno hosts three days of balloon races at Rancho San Rafael Park. Beginning with the visually stunning ‘Dawn Patrol’ event in which five balloons launch into the pre-dawn sky and illuminate themselves from within, sunrise sees the ‘Mass Ascent’ event where more than a hundred hot air balloons rise into the sky to contribute to one of the most stunning and unique temporary landscapes one can hope to see. This event is free to the public.

The Reno National Championship Air Races.

For this author’s money, this is the best event in the Reno area, and by far one of the greatest sporting events one could hope to attend. You think NASCAR is fast? Try the air races, where the unlimited class contestants fly over 500 mph at only a hundred feet off the ground. There are many different classes of races, beginning with small bi-planes on shorter courses, going all the way up to the jet class and unlimited classes races. Most of the unlimited class racers are vintage aircraft dating from World War 2 and it’s a rare chance not only to see them fly, but to race against each other. In addition, there are hundreds of vendors, static displays of both vintage and modern military aircraft, and there are air demonstrations (usually stunt pilots) between the races. Plenty to see and do, and an amazing experience for the entire family. The races last for five days, always beginning on the Wednesday after the Balloon Races. There is an entrance fee, as well as a fee for parking.

International Camel And Ostrich Races.

Held in nearby Virginia City, a national historic landmark from the Silver boom days, these races are exactly what they sound like, and so very entertaining. They usually take place during the weekend of the balloon races in Reno, so you can fill your visit with a variety of activities that only happen once a year.

The Way It Was Rodeo.

Not a fan of modern day rodeos? Virginia City hosts an Old West style rodeo complete with bronc rider, bull riders, trick ropers and extreme motorcycle stuntmen, just like it was in the Old West! Yeah, we’re not sure about that last one either, but even if you don’t care for motorcycles, it’s a chance to see a rodeo in an authentic Old Western mining town that has been preserved and listed as one of the largest National Historical Landmarks in the United States.

World Championship Outhouse Races.

Held in early October and pretty much what it sounds like. The rules are simple: one person must occupy the outhouse, and the rest of the team can push, pull or drag the contraption along the course to the finish line. Lots of fun and – despite the name – a family friendly event that is free to the public.

In addition to all of the great events, the natural wonder of Lake Tahoe in autumn is a unique experience. Too cold to swim, the beaches hold their own unique beauty when they’re empty, and while the Northeast U.S. might have its endless arrays of fall colors, there’s something amazing about seeing fall-colored aspens against a backdrop of evergreens.

Year around Places to Visit

We may be known for hassle free payday loans in Nevada, but we do like to get out of the office from time to time. As part of our travel series, we'd like to share our thoughts on Reno, NV. Hitting “The Biggest Little City in the World”, famous for its awesome casinos and fascinating ski resorts, tourists get tiny butterflies in their stomach while making their way to the most beautiful city in the north-west region of Nevada. A Reno Vacation is always fun and memorable for every tourist who has been to that amazing city that resides by the calming Lake Tahoe and the great peaks of the Sierra Nevadas. Without any further delay, we’ll jump to the famous attractions that are on our list. Make sure to put them on the top of your checklist when visiting Reno. If you’re planning a Reno Vacation, don’t miss out on our hand-picked yet selective Reno attractions that are worth visiting. Here you go!

The National Automobile Museum

If you’re a passionate car lover, either classic & vintage cars or modern racing cars, this automobile museum in Reno will be the perfect spot for you. Being voted among the top ten automobile museums in USA, this museum serves as home to a larger collection of antiquated and ancient cars. It’s the perfect eye candy witnessing a combination of some really amazing and beautiful cars. Some of them are so rare that you’ve probably never seen them before. You’ll find Rolls Royce, Phantom Corsair and Cadillac (that has once been a part of Harrah Collection). Moreover, the real world backgrounds entail antique old gas pumps to Burma shave signs giving a spectacular view to the visitors.

Rancho San Rafael Park

Parks are not confined to children only! Oh yes, at least this one is certainly not. Being the largest park of Reno, Rancho San Rafael Park houses a dog park, gym, jogging and walking paths, an arboretum and playground for children as well. Walk among the trees and get a chance to glance over panoramic landscapes in the arboretum. There’s a special dog zone in the park and they are not allowed in any other area of the park. There’s a Great Basin Adventure specified for children and a museum which explains the history and former life of the park with a captivating antique farm house that can be booked for events like wedding, birthdays and much more.

Reno Arch

The most popular landmark in Reno is The Reno Arch, it’s in midtown on Virginia Street. In 1926, this glorious arch went up in celebration of establishment of the city’s highway. The recent arch was set up in 1987 and later on in 2009 it was further illuminated by high-energy LED lights. The impressive antique bulbs were offered to the attendees to keep the event going. In 1964, the Old Reno Arch that was once taken down and considered as scrap for a while is now mounted over by the National Automobile Museum located on the amazing Lake Street. It appears classy in comparison to the modern Reno Arch. It’s a must-see for tourists to click pictures with the Reno Arch, it's one of the most photographed landmarks in the world.

Located about 28 miles north of Reno, Animal Ark houses the wildest animals from all around the world. For one second you’ll be completely lost in your own thoughts and surprised to see mini Africa situated within Reno. This 38-acre African touch wild-life sanctuary offers a great chance to have a look at these rare wild animals sustaining in their original habitat through glass. Animal Ark opens seasonally.

Wild Island Family Adventure Park

Seeking some family entertainment? Wild Island Family Adventure Park is your ultimate go-to for great family fun. This water park comprises of daring slides to mini sized water adventures for your kids. Make waves in cool & crisp blue pools or float your stress away in the water wearing floating tubes. If dipping in water isn’t what pleases you, then head on for some miniature golf adventure. There are a few indoor activities too, enjoy a round of action filled gaming at Coconut Bowl. Wild Island is super challenging and fun, holding an arcade gaming zone, food and beverage setup with an adult interactive lounge too.

Nevada Museum Of Art

For all the arts & craft lovers, Nevada’s art museum namely “Nevada Museum of Art” portrays enchanting and distinguished collection of Warhol, Rafael and Picasso for seeking pleasure.

Legends At Sparks Marina

Having up to 60 shops, restaurants and entertainment activity zones, Legends of Sparks Marina is the renowned shopping arena in Reno. It's significance is that you won’t find any of these shopping outlets anywhere around except Legends at Sparks Marina. Take a slow walk and see legendary statues, art, and get an eye full of significant figures portrayed from the history of Reno, Nevada. Take a ride on the indoor Ferris wheel placed within Scheels, the famous sporting goods store. In addition, your taste buds will appreciate tasting home prepared fudge that's sold there. Have a look around and experience a NASCAR simulator or a shooting range. Trust us; it’s more than just shopping.

The brilliant orange neon lights of Casinos in Reno serves as the leisure to gamblers for years, the famous Eldorado bears table games with bustling slots, a great platform to compete with Lady Luck. Reno isn’t confined just to poker chips and casinos only. Step out to explore fascinating museums, comprised of the Nevada Museum of Art and National Automobile Museum. The biggest little city in the world serves as great place for nature loving travelers and tourists. Hike around Lake Tahoe or ski on the slopes of Mount Rose. Don’t forget to stroll and breathe in fresh air of Northern Nevada.

Remember, these events are not just for out-of-towners. You’d be surprised how many Reno locals haven’t gone to these great events, saying “I’ll do it next year”. CASH 1 wants you to enjoy all the great things that can happen just in your own backyard, and if you find yourself in need of a financial boost, come see us for a nevada title loan or classic car title loans. We have services in Nevada and Arizona.