Can Reno come close to approximating a Vegas Strip vacation?

The wife and I were supposed to go to Las Vegas with her sister and BIL this spring. Long story short: we’re not going, for various financial and logistical reasons.

So I got to wondering if maybe a long weekend in Reno might be a suitable alternative. We can drive there in under 4 hours as opposed to having to fly, and I’m sure the lodging is less expensive. But I fear my wife will dismiss the idea out of hand, and I’m not sure she’d be wrong. (We’ve never been there, in case you haven’t guessed.)

I have little doubt that I would enjoy Reno. Give me a low-minimum blackjack or craps table and a cocktail waitress, and I’m set for a while. But the wife likes a different kind of Vegas experience. She hates Downtown, but loves the Strip. She enjoys the spectacle of the big Strip hotels and can spend an afternoon going from hotel to hotel just to gawk. She’ll play slots, but only in the big, flashy high-ceilinged casinos in said hotels (downtown casinos are “seedy”). And she loves the shopping. She can spend all day in the Venetian or Caesar’s malls.

So, could she enjoy Reno? Any hotel/dining/entertainment recommendations?

Reno tends to have shitty blackjack rules. Also, I shot a man there once, just to watch him die.

And that’s all I know about that.

There are several decent hotel/casinos in Reno (I stay at the Silver Legacy, cheap and fairly nice).

The casinos are fine (avoid Christmas time, i.e., after November 1st, or the constant xmas music will kill your soul) Not seedy like downtown Vegas.

I don’t think it will satisfy your wife’s Vegas expectations. Nothing really compares to what you describe as her likes.

I don’t think Reno can hold a candle to Vegas when it comes to glitz/glamour/shopping. The Nevada side of Tahoe might be a better alternative.

Agree. Still, nothing like Vegas, though at least the scenery is better and you can take a nice boat ride on the lake.

I’ve never been to Reno but I have been to Atlantic City. If my hypothetical wife wanted a Vegas trip, I wouldn’t try to offer a consolation trip to AC. A trip with the guys? Definitely. A couples trip? Nah. The savings are night and day though. I’d budget $1500-$2000 for a Vegas trip and probably only $500-600 for an AC trip.

Reno is all Downtown.

Reno’s motto is “Biggest Little City in the World!”

But it is what people from a real city would call a town. Not a Las Vegas substitute.

I’ve heard bad things about their sheriff’s department.

This is the answer I was kind of expecting to get, actually.

I’m guessing I’d have fun there and my wife wouldn’t. Which basically means I wouldn’t either. :wink:

When was the last time you were in downtown Vegas? It’s changed rather a lot. There’s still some seedy places, true, but generally everyone’s stepped up their game with the arrival of the D and the Grand and such. They’re sexing up Fremont, for certain.

(Disclaimer: the last two Christmases running I’ve spent in Vegas, staying at the Golden Nugget downtown. Love the Nugget. Love downtown. The Strip is fine and all, but it’s no Fremont.)

“Glamorizing” Downtown Vegas is like putting lipstick on a pig. It ain’t ever going to be the Strip.

I was there last night, and two nights last week. I thought the D’s casino was pretty low rent, but the rooms were actually very nice (I had a suite, so that’s always good). I like the Nugget also, and will stay there next time. The main problem downtown is that there is some sort of music experience on Fremont Street until midnight every night. In many of the rooms sleep is impossible. Fine for a party vacation, but I’m usually up early for work.

If you shot a man in Reno, then whatcha doing in prison at San Quentin, huh?

(Story: I saw Johnny Cash live at a State Fair once, in Paso Robles, where he remarked that a fan once asked him that.)

ETA: There’s a good train museum in nearby Carson City. And Tahoe’s not so far away either.

I grew up in Las Vegas. As soon as I could drive, I left. Just didn’t like it. It was all artificial. No natural beauty. Later went to UNR in Reno. I loved how the Truckee river meandered through downtown. There were native trees. The people seemed to be a lot friendlier.
I loved the two-bit crap tables. Yep, 25 cents! You could have great time on a $10 investment. Lounge acts were in small venues. You could see the performers eyes.
Needless to say this was 45 years ago!
In answer to your question. No. I don’t believe Reno would have what your spouse likes. But for beauty and a world outside of gaming the Reno-Tahoe area is perfect.

I’ll echo harmonicamoon here. I lived in Reno for ten years and loved it, but it’s not what you’re looking for on this trip.

I end up going to Reno quite a bit (to visit a friend who lives in Grass Valley), and I go to Las Vegas a lot.
From what you describe, your wife would be miserable and terribly disappointed in Reno. Downtown Reno can, at its most generous, be described as kind of like a small section of downtown Las Vegas, only less classy :wink: Like downtown Vegas, you go one block “too far”, and you are in scaryland.
Some things have improved - they built this whole “mall” connecting Circus Circus, Silver Legacy, El Dorado. But it’s kind of like it was built to “shield” you from seeing just how ratty it is outside.
The casinos are all kind of “old”, which has a nostalgic feel to them. But there’s only so much worn carpet and worn felts on tables you will want to see.

But the biggest difference I’ve seen is that in Reno, far more so than in downtown Vegas, you will get more of the down-and-out locals joining you at the table to play. You know, the ones you can smell 10 feet before they pull up a seat. You will see locals/regulars downtown in Vegas, but never as grungy as I’ve seen in Reno (at least at the casinos I’ve played downtown - they may be seen at The Plaza and I wouldn’t know).

Upscale shopping ? Nope.

Shows ? Yes, but they’re more of the caliber of the free lounge acts in Vegas. Mostly 70’s era rock bands (think county fair circuit).

Circue Du Soliel ? Well, there’s a trapeze act at Circus Circus around 9pm…

My recommendation if you don’t want to go to Vegas, but would like to gamble, would be south shore Lake Tahoe. Not as many casinos, but they are a bit nicer. And you’re on the lake, so it is much more scenic.

Nope. Midtown is hipsterville and quickly becoming gentrified. Plu

Reno doesn’t want to be Vegas. Gambling isn’t intended to be the only draw so if that’s all you’re looking for, then… There are more outdoor opportunities, Vegas is mostly dirt.

Don’t go to Cal Neva, that is all. Silver Legacy is perhaps the most upscale downtown, or Peppermill but that’s way south. Virginia City is fun.

That’s more of a South Lake thing, IME.

No, it is not.

I went to Reno on a business trip a couple of years ago. We went to “the strip” on a Thursday night.

We walked through 4-5 casino’s and it was depressing. Everything just seemed “old”. There were hardly any patrons. It was kind of a buzz-kill.

I go to casino’s all the time in British Columbia and any night of the week was busier than that Thursday night in Reno.

The only cool thing I saw was they shut down an old casino and were building the “talles climbing wall in the world” on the outside of it.

I’ve been to Vegas about 7 times in the past 18 years and Reno is NOTHING like Vegas.

YMMV…

MtM