*This trip was sponsored by the Reno Airport Services Corporation. All opinions are my own*
A few weeks ago, I received an invite from the Reno Airport Services Corporation to visit and see that all Reno and the surrounding cities had to offer! Now I must admit, I thought it could have been a scam, but once I learned that United Airlines recently added a year around direct flight from Houston to Reno that the team wanted to showcase! For followers of my blog, you know this has been my year of travel so who am I to say no to a new experience?! So I packed my bags and headed to Reno, Nevada for the first time ever with a group of writers and bloggers. I must say it was A LOT of fun! Here are the details of my trip in my Guide to Reno, Nevada!
Where to Stay
The RASC team put together our itineraries so we were just along for the ride! After catching the direct flight from IAH to Reno, we arrived late in the evening on Sunday. Once at the airport we hopped a shuttle to our hotels. (We all stayed different places so I will be sure to share the other itineraries too). For this trip, I stayed at the Silver Legacy a Casino/Hotel located on the Row! This area is in the heart of Reno and walkable to a lot of attractions such as the Reno sign, restaurants and other art. The Row consists of three hotels, Silver Legacy, Circus Circus and Eldorado.
As the name would imply, the Silver Legacy is outfitted with old west appeal in the lobby. Once in my room though, we found very modern colorful rooms outfitted with colors like purple and silver and even velvet curtains. I stayed in a King room with views of the mountains *swoons*.
Besides the rooms, for the gamblers the casinos are within the building and there are dining options there as well. If you are like me, you like to spend your coins on other things like the spa! Silver Legacy just added a new one and it is AMAZING. I could have spent all day there in their various lounge spaces, salt rooms and saunas! And that as just the amenities, the spa services like massages and facials are great too!
Where We Ate
I was the only professed food blogger in the group, so whenever the food came out I was ready with my camera! From the food side, I learned that Reno is much like in Houston in that they are focusing on locally sourced food. Additionally, the locals seemed to like homegrown restaurants like we do at home. Here are a few I visited!
Liberty Food & Wine Exchange
We started our trip at Liberty Food & Wine Exchange for brunch. Clearly the people who planned this itinerary knew me so well! Here we dined family style on pancakes, potatoes and shakshuka. We also took a brief tour of their space witnessing all of the behind the scenes magic like the homemade pasta, the amazing pizza oven oh and the ax throwing bar next door.
The Eddy is an outdoor beer garden with hammocks and shipping containers serving as the bar (think Truck Yard). It is a fun chill spot to hang out, have a drink and grab a slice of pizza. The other cool thing about the Eddy is that it sits super close to the Truckee River! This may seem like such a small thing to some, but as a Houstonian who is only close to muddy bayous, this was a highlight!
On our last night, we visited the Nugget Casino for dinner at their brand new steakhouse, Anthony’s Chophouse. It is a beautiful space offering high end dishes that will not break the bank. We started out with their house rolls, which are three rolls combined (GENIUS). For dinner we of course ate steak and enjoyed their shareable sides. The standout moment came when they brought out the 26 Layer Chocolate Cake. It was tasty as it was pretty!
So imagine this, after stuffing our faces at Anthony’s Chophouse we headed to the airport to catch our redeye flight home. Our hosts planned a treat for us by opening up the Escape Lounge in the airport so we could be comfortable while we waited to board. Here is the cool thing, you too can enjoy the Escape Lounge at the Reno Airport! Now certain credit cards will get you free access, but if you are just regular like me you can purchase a ticket and enjoy unlimited bites and drinks. I was stuffed so I only nibbled on a few things. I did however take some chocolate chip cookies to go and they were amazing a day later. Highly recommend!
What We Saw
After our brunch, we set out on a walking tour art tour of Reno, Nevada with a guide from the Sierra Arts Foundation. Much of the art we saw reflects the large Burning Man event that occurs in the dessert outside of Reno every year. The Reno Playa Art Park for example features pieces that were on display at Burning Man. These pieces are interactive and make for great Instagram photos. In the heart of downtown we saw cool pieces like the Reno Space Whale and the huge Believe sign. Again, great for photos and just cool art displays!
The takeaway here is that there is tons of art in Reno everywhere you turn. As you walk through the city take a moment to enjoy the beautiful murals and art pieces.
National Automobile Museum
After getting rained out on our art tour we sought refugee indoors so we headed to the National Automobile Museum. Here you will find vehicles from the original Ford Model T’s to more modern Toyotas. The collection even includes some famous cars from movies and cars with famous owners (Elvis and Frank Sinatra). For the car lovers, general admission is just $12 to see tons of unique classic cars all in one place.
I am not much of a gambler but I have always appreciated all of the bait that casinos push to get you in their doors! Reno is definitely no different. There are performances or other large attractions inside of the casinos that are definitely worth seeing.
Nevada Museum of Art
Unfortunately, the Nevada Museum of Art was closed on the day I spent in Reno so I did not get to personally experience it, but it is a top Reno attraction so it is worth noting. During my visit, the museum featured an exhibit about Georgia O’Keeffe.
One of the cool things about Reno is how close it is to everything. You are only a few hours away from Sacramento and San Francisco on the California side. On the Nevada side you have attractions like Lake Tahoe (more on that in a separate blog post), Carson City and Virginia City. We took a day trip to Virginia City, but honestly the time it took to get there is less than my commute to work!
The city is a former mining town that boomed during the gold rush. I assumed the city was a ghost town when actually, the city is very much alive and well! The residents took up the historic buildings and turned them in to restaurants (or saloons) and other tourist attractions. So when you walk down the street, it does feel like you are in the wild wild west but you are equipped with a cell phone (with shaky signal) instead of a pistol.
During our trip we took a brief train tour on the V&T Railroad to get a closer look at other mining towns and the city as a whole. Throughout the year there are a variety of tours/attractions at the train station such as the Thomas the Train and the Polar Express. It is a great attraction for kids.
The highlight of my trip to Virginia City? Seeing a family of wild Mustangs just roaming the streets!
I walked in to this trip with no expectations (good or bad) regarding Reno and in the end I really enjoyed my trip! While the casinos are a nice attraction, there is so much more to the city especially by way of art and food. It was a great time as my Guide to Reno, Nevada shows, and I cannot wait to go back!
Also, there were four other bloggers/journalists on my trip. We each had unique itineraries so in order for you to get the full picture of the trip, I am linking to their blog posts below. Be sure to check them out!