I'm going to Reno in August for a conference. Anything in town I should check out?

We’re staying at the Peppermill. After the conference, the Mrs. and I are headed for Lake Tahoe for a while to hike and relax and explore.

But is there anything in or around Reno itself we should check out? We’re not particularly into gambling, drinking, or other nightlife but if there’s anything of particular natural historic or artistic or architectural merit, we might enjoy taking a free afternoon or evening to pay it a visit. Any superior restaurant/cuisine experiences would be considered. We did hit Virginia City over 3 decades ago, but don’t remember too much about it other than it being rather historic and rather more touristy.

[sub]kindly omit “shooting someone in Reno to watch him die”. I’ve shot enough people with epinephrine only to have them end up dead that it’s not a novelty any longer[/sub]

Reno is about 45 minutes from Donner Memorial State Park in California, which is worth a stop if you’re familiar with the situation. There’s a self-guided tour, and there are some recognizable landmarks mentioned in the historical recollections. Not particularly pleasant, but it’s definitely interesting.

If you like cars, The National Automobile Museum is a must-see.

The same goes for Scheels if you have an nterest in any type of sporting goods.

I would second Donner Park- it will be close to where you are for Tahoe. It’s not only fascinating history but also a very pretty creek & lake with lots of wildlife.

Also, if you want excellent breakfast- the Old Post Office is outstanding (north side of Tahoe).

I was going to suggest Virginia City, but I see you covered that. I was there 25 years ago and would go back. I found the graveyard fascinating.

I’m not sure what that says about me.

Many years ago there was a nude beach at the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.

I would recommend that.

Not sure of the dates, but Reno has “Hot August Nights” which is a huge deal for car nuts. You’ll see more pastel '57 Chevys than you can stand. Lots of free concerts all over town, parades of hot rods, BBQ cook-offs- all sorts of shit. I think the Peppermill, Grand Sierra and Nugget in Sparks are key spots for activities.

There’s almost always something going on in Reno during the summer. Tonight is a free concert by Los Lobos ( :eek: I know, right?) to kick off “Art Town” (city-wide art festival).

You might also get lucky and be here for the Shakespeare festival at Tahoe. Fantastic theater on the beach at Sand Harbor. Just perfect! Bonus if it’s a full moon.

Second on the auto museum. There is also a pretty cool museum near downtown (don’t remember the name right now). Carson City has the State Museum in the old mint building, and a railroad museum.

Nude beach is on the east shore of Tahoe, just north of Cave rock and south of Glenbrook.

Too bad you won’t be there sept 13-16. The Reno Air Races are on then, and one of the greatest aviation shows on the planet.

Hot August Nights for 2018 3rd-12th

Shakespeare Festival 2018 July-August

First off, cruising around Reno itself can get you into some really seedy areas real quick - like a block off the main drag (Virginia) street. But the Peppermill is a ways from the downtown area and so it’s not so bad.
Since you mentioned hiking, if you head south on Virginia a couple lights south of where 395 goes overhead, there is a Sierra Trading Post store (B&M). They have lots of outdoor gear/clothing at great prices (but you never know just what you’ll find there).

You also mentioned natural historic. If you head over to Carson City (south on 395 - only 15 minutes away), they have a great natural history museum. I visited this years ago, and I was amazed at how much they had crammed in a seemingly smallish building (but multiple floors including the basement).

From Carson City you can either take 50 or continue south on 395 a little bit to pick up 207 over to the south shore of Tahoe. Both are nice drives and will give great views of the lake as you descend down.
A nice drive is to go all the way around the lake (west shore), but it can get a little slow in places in the summer time. You’ll end up in Tahoe City up on the north shore, and you can head over to I-80 to Truckee and then down to Reno from there.

I second the second. Donner pass is about as pretty a place as you will find near Reno. For a good dose of the history, I’d suggest Desperate Passage by Ethan Rarick. Just remember while traveling, don’t take any cut-offs.

Couple of train rides to/thru historic mining operations.
Carson City to Virginia city would hit the historic target.

A must see is the monument where Johnny Cash shot a man.

Donner Park, and the auto museum both look interesting.

We’ve already got the clothing optional beach on the checklist. Just like we did 30 year ago during our last visit.

And perhaps another, more in depth visit to CC, Silver City and Virginia City is merited, too.


If you go through Carson City, the old US mint has a nifty little museum. Across from the Peppermill is a friendly little Irish pub that serves good food. Hydrate and apply plenty of sunscreen.

You will be about a half hour away from beautiful Truckee California.

If you are a foodie, there are two restaurants featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives


i can recommend Jax at the Tracks and their Kobe Beef Meatloaf.

If you like beer at all I heartily recommend the Chilibeso jalapeño flavored beer at Great Basin Brewery. It’s my favorite beer ever, and I’ll be taking a cooler full home with me when I visit later this month.

As for the stuff your more interested in, the others have it pretty well covered

You say that as if there were areas of Reno that aren’t seedy.

Truckee is home to the very impressive Charles Fayette McGlashan Butterfly Collection! It used to be on display at Donner State Park but was moved several years ago.

You’re going to have to tell us what kind of food you want/like to narrow things down. Peppermill isn’t near a whole lot of places, so drive or Uber/Lyft.

If you like classic cars, hopefully it will coincide with Hot August Nights. Ambivalent about them? I hope it doesn’t coincide, traffic increases a bit.

Into fishing at all? Pyramid Lake, <45 minutes north, has Lahontan cutthroat, one of the larger non-invasive species of trout. Also pretty much the only place to find cui ui, but you can’t keep them unless you’re Paiute.

Virginia City is sort of a tourist trap but it’s a very good and honest one if that makes sense? There’s Mark Twain stuff. It’s also a seminal origin point of the San Francisco sound (psychedelic rock), if you’re into that. Looks like their only major August events are the Rodeo 18-19 and random car shows.

I’m not sure which are the least crowded beaches around then but Sand Harbor is pretty accessible. Some nice hikes too, in Reno and Tahoe and down towards Carson. Galena area might be the more accessible and pretty.

There’s a Burger Me in NW Reno and one in the south, don’t need to drive that far. The owner (Mark Estee) owns other places, including Campo, which is probably the most decorated local restaurant.

Err… you do you. I had a taster, and it was good but not something I’d drink more than that in 1 sitting. They make very good beer though. Can’t say what OP’s “not particularly” into drinking means, but my other favorite places are Imbib and Lead Dog. Revision is also winning all kinds of awards, very IPA heavy though so I haven’t tried too many. FiftyFifty in Truckee is also popular, particularly for their stout/porter.

Eh, hipster-y these days. There aren’t too many particularly bad neighborhoods like I’ve been to in in California.