4 mi / 6 km
Reno-Tahoe Int (RNO)
A short but action-packed drive that takes you through the beating heart of Nevada's second-most-famous gaming town, our Reno Bright Light's tour is a montage of neon-lit casinos and off-beat urban attractions.
It's best done at dusk. As the light fades over the snow-capped tops of the Sierra Nevada to the west, you'll cruise historic neighborhoods that were built during the US railroad boom and get to try your luck in the chip-slapping casinos.
The start point for this drive is on the north side of the Downtown. It's marked by the glowing outline of Topsy the Clown, one of the veritable icons of Reno as a whole. Don't worry – you can't miss it. Topsy stands a whopping 127 feet tall over W 5th Street, holding a flashing lollipop sign that's bathed in neon light.
Then you arrive at the beating heart of the casino district, the most famous part of the city. This is where you'll hit the poker tables of the Eldorado Resort between the bright lights of the Reno Arch and buzzing Virginia Street - quintessential Reno, if you will.
It's also easy to make hops out to the town's intriguing museums, from the National Automobile Museum to the Wilbur D. May Center, seeing priceless artifacts and vintage Cadillacs from back in the day.
It was back in the 60s that Bill Harrah, founder of Harrah's Hotel and Casinos, opened the National Automobile Museum here in Reno. With a collection of over 1,400 vintage cars meticulously restored to their original glory, the museum became a testament to Harrah's passion and dedication to preserving automotive history.
Today, the museum stands as one of the largest in the world, attracting visitors from around the globe to admire its remarkable collection of fully restored classics. Harrah's vision and the museum's continued success showcase Reno's rich automotive heritage and the transformative power of one person's passion.
The trip finishes on a calmer note, as you join Riverside Drive and follow a big bend in the waters of the Truckee. Go all the way to Idlewild Park to find grassy green spaces for evening picnics and soothing riverside beaches aplenty. On Friday evenings from June to August the place comes alive, buzzing with more than 45 food trucks, as well as craft beer, wine and mixed drink vendors.
With its iconic casinos, vibrant nightlife, and bustling streets, Reno is a playground for those seeking entertainment and thrills. Whether trying your luck at the slot machines or enjoying a world-class performance, the city's lively energy is truly infectious.
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