Downtown Reno, NV

National Bowling Stadium
The casino-filled core of the city, Reno’s buzzing downtown is in the midst of regeneration and features an attractive Riverwalk area.

Though often touted as “the poor man’s Vegas,” the city of Reno has a distinct identity all its own. Nowhere is that more evident than in the brightly lit and lively district of Downtown Reno. Test your luck at some of the town’s biggest casino complexes, discover the newly regenerated riverfront area and photograph the iconic illuminated arch that welcomes visitors to “the biggest little city in the world.”

Originally a river crossing point for prospectors heading to California, Reno was officially founded in 1868, coinciding with the arrival of the transcontinental railway. The University of Nevada was founded in 1874 and helped give the city its youthful vibe. In 1931, the state of Nevada legalized gambling. Visit today’s Downtown Reno to find a hub of hotels and casinos.

Stroll down the central Virginia Street, where many of Reno’s casinos are located. Play poker, blackjack or roulette in venues including the Eldorado, the Caesars-owned Harrah's Reno, Circus Circus and the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino.

Head toward Commercial Row to photograph the famous Reno Arch, which spans Virginia Street and welcomes those who pass under it to “the biggest little city in the world.” Erected in 1926 to celebrate the 1927 Nevada Transcontinental Highway Exposition, the arch has been altered and replaced several times, with the current structure dating back to 1987.

In recent years, Downtown Reno has been subject to regeneration efforts. The most notable revitalization project completed so far is the Riverwalk. Amble along this waterside promenade, pausing to explore galleries, coffee shops and brewpubs. This area also features a movie theater and the Truckee River Whitewater Park, which offers rafting, kayaking and other water-based activities.

To get here, ride the California Zephyr train or fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport, located about 4 miles (6 kilometers) southeast of Downtown Reno. The downtown area is walkable. If you plan on exploring farther, rent a car or make use of the RTC RIDE bus network.

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