Just mentioning the city of Reno brings to mind images of great casinos and a vibrant entertainment scene. Upon closer inspection, guests are delighted to find so much more: a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city that combines dining, culture and attractions to create the perfect location for any meeting or event.
In 2002, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center completed a $100 million expansion and facelift, and it now boasts 381,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, 53 meeting rooms with 110,000 square feet of space, and a 30,000-square-foot multi-purpose ballroom. The stunning facility also includes a spacious 15,000-square-foot registration lobby and eye-catching views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The convention center is just one aspect of Reno's magnificent rebirth. Downtown, a number of the city's smaller casinos have closed in the recent years only to re-emerge as luxury condominium buildings – in fact, more than 2,000 new condominiums are currently under construction. Major hotel renovations include a $300 million expansion to the Peppermill and a $50 million expansion to the Atlantis, which will include a pedestrian skywalk to the convention center and updates to all of the rooms in the Eldorado and Grand Sierra casino hotels. The 126-room Hyatt Place Hotel, which will be located adjacent to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, is currently under construction with expected completion in 2008.
In 2005, the city completed the largest public works project ever undertaken in northern Nevada, termed the Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor, or ReTrac. The $282 million project depressed two miles of train track that ran directly through Reno's downtown into a 54-foot-wide, 33-foot-deep tunnel. The use of the tunnel has alleviated traffic congestion, has increased nearby property values and has opened up 120 acres of new downtown real estate space valued at more than $11.5 million. Not surprisingly, the city's massive revitalization efforts have attracted more meetings and conventions to the city, as planners find value in hosting events in a familiar city with new venues, such as the $25 million, 32,700-square-foot Downtown Reno Ballroom, opened in 2008.
Despite all they have to see and do in Reno, guests to the city often enjoy the chance to schedule a trip to nearby Tahoe, which offers 18 alpine resorts and more than a dozen cross-country ski areas less than an hour away from the city. Plan a day trip to one of Tahoe's most popular ski destinations, the 40,000-square-foot Squaw Valley USA resort, which offers 34 lifts and more than 170 beginner, intermediate and advanced runs. Other popular resorts include the 2,400-square-foot Alpine Meadows, with 13 lifts and more than 100 runs, and the 2,490-square-foot Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, which offers 17 lifts and 83 runs. The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority offers superior assistance in booking ski and snowboard trips, and also provides shuttle opportunities from downtown Reno directly to the slopes.
Ski season generally runs November to early July, but visitors are sure to find some fun at any time of year. Reno hosts several major festivals including the Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest in August and the Reno Jazz Festival in April. Also in April, the annual three-day Reno River Festival brings the nation's top professional kayakers to Reno's Truckee River Whitewater Park. The Great Balloon Race is held every September, while the renowned Artown arts and culture festival is held each July.
Reno's economy rests on tourism and entertainment, as well as manufacturing and logistics. Several corporate giants have headquarters in Reno, including Microsoft Licensing, GP, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Skagen Designs and International Game Technology, which manufactures slot machines used around the world.