I’d been living in the S.F. Bay Area for over seven years before I finally discovered Reno. For those of you without a Jeopardy-grade geography recall, that’s like living in Salt Lake City and never driving up to Yellowstone: an unforgivable travel offense. But don’t worry. I’m making things better by putting together a Reno/Tahoe bucket list for all you intrepid domestic travelers. And here it is:
1. Spend a soothing day at the Atlantis Spa.
Even if you aren’t staying at Atlantis Casino Resort (and you should), it’s worth picking up a day pass to their luxurious spa. There’s a brine inhalation room with a softly-lit waterfall, a Laconium relaxation room with a sole-soothing, heated floor, and muscle-melting Jacuzzi pools with amazing views of the Sierras. Did I mention the milk and honey body wrap?
2. Take a swing at Grand Sierra’s aquatic driving range.
Four floating island greens make for unique targets on this famous driving range, and the incentive to get a hole in one is a good one: you can actually win a trip to Hawaii. But don’t get frustrated if your aim isn’t PGA grade — with a 7 a.m. to midnight schedule and drinks allowed on the range, it can be as much a social event as a sporting one.
3. Make tracks at Mt. Rose.
This is more of a winter “to do,” but no discussion of Reno/Tahoe is complete without at least one mention of its ski resorts. With tons of powder, some truly beautiful views, and the closest proximity to Reno, Mt. Rose is an excellent stop for those who want to play on the slopes all day and at the casinos all night.
4. “Step back in time” in Virginia City.
This Gold Rush era boomtown almost disappeared after the Great Depression — until a popular Western TV show brought it back into the spotlight. Today, visitors can tour historic buildings from the 1800s, take a tour of the local mines, or hop on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad for a ride through the Comstock mining region.
5. Check out local events like the Cowboy Poetry Festival.
Wrangling cattle and writing verse aren’t mutually exclusive occupations. This festival is set in the storied town of Genoa, home to the first ranch in Nevada and just an hour from Reno’s lively downtown. Don’t worry if you can’t tell pentameter from hexameter; there’s plenty of music, food, and shopping to enjoy as well.
Have something to add to the Reno/Tahoe bucket list? Mention it in the comments! As to me, I’ll be checking the Reno Rockabilly Riot event off my own list this weekend. Rock on, Reno.