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 127-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 4,000-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.
Reno has come a long way since the days of its "Sin City" reputation in the late 19th century. Still famous for its casino culture and as the birthplace of gaming giant Harrah's Entertainment, Reno has expanded its offerings to include much more than just a day at the tables.
Built upon a rich history of American West mining culture, Reno first flourished in 1859, when more than 10,000 gold miners flocked to the area following Comstock Lode, the greatest silver strike in American history. After the re-legalization of gambling in 1931, casinos such as Harold's Club Casino and Mapes Hotel opened, garnering it the status as gambling capital of the United States until the rise of Las Vegas in the 1950s.
Today, Reno has certainly not forgotten its ties to the gaming industry, which continues to thrive. However, it has without a doubt transformed into a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city with an array of historic and cultural attractions to offer as well, a fact well-known by the nearly 339,500 residents living in the greater metropolitan area. Pay a visit to Reno's National Automobile Museum, which features some of the country's most dramatic displays about the rise of the automobile and personal cars of such celebrities as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and James Dean. Peruse the collection of art focused on the American West landscape and environment at the Nevada Art Museum. Kayak, canoe or raft in the 11 pools at the Truckee River Whitewater Park.
Situated just east of the Sierra Nevadas and on the western edge of the arid Great Basin, Reno is just 22 miles northwest of Lake Tahoe, a popular vacation area that boasts the highest concentration of ski resorts in the country. Plan a day trip to the slopes or visit to one of the area's excellent hiking and sightseeing arenas. Explore the pleasant trails of Cascade Falls, which take hikers along a hillside ridge 350 feet above the glacially-formed Cascade Lake and overlooking the 200-foot-high waterfalls. The Nevada Shoreline trail is an easy four-mile trip to the secluded beaches along Lake Tahoe's east shore, while the difficult Chimney Beach/Hidden Beach via South Flume Trail is a 14-mile hike that travels from beach to mountain with an elevation gain of 1,500 feet.
Though the attractions extend beyond the ubiquitous gambling scene, no trip to Reno is complete without visiting at least one of the city's grand resort casinos. Try your luck at the award-winning video slots at the Atlantis Casino. Step into the neon lights and lush tropical ambiance of the Peppermill to enjoy a range of table games from blackjack to roulette to the ancient game of Pai Gow poker. Or experience a bit of casino history by placing a bet at Harrah's Hotel and Casino, which was founded in 1937 in the city as a small bingo parlor. Still, rest assured that no matter how much money is lost at the tables, the fun-loving spirit, fresh downtown scene and array of attractions are sure to make any Reno visitor feel like a winner.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Reno averages more than 300 days of sunshine per year, allowing plenty of opportunities to enjoy its consistently mild temperatures. The city sees average annual temperature highs of 67°F and lows of 35°F. The summer months often bring temperatures in the low to mid-90s, but low levels of humidity make higher temperatures feel much cooler.
With about seven inches of annual precipitation overall, Reno's winter season brings an annual snowfall average of 24 inches, falling from November to March, with December, January and February each averaging about five inches of snow. The ideal time to visit Reno is in the late spring and fall months, which boast sunny skies and mild temperatures.
Reno-Sparks Convention Center
The Reno-Sparks Convention Center, located roughly three miles south of bustling downtown Reno, features 565,000 square feet of flexible meeting and exhibit space. After a $100 million expansion and facelift completed in 2002, the facility now boasts attractive western hallways lined by an entire wall of windows, affording a stunning view of the Sierra Nevadas. The convention center has an inviting 15,000-square-foot registration lobby, which features high ceilings and skylights; 53 meeting rooms offering 110,000 square feet of space; 381,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space; and a 30,000-square-foot multi-purpose ballroom, which is divisible into seven rooms and features programmable fiber optic lighting.
The Reno-Sparks Convention Center features 1,800 on-site parking spaces, two full-service kitchens, in-house catering, fine dining and concession stands, a full-service business center, drive-in access to exhibit halls and an expansive food court that seats 200 guests. In-house technical features include facility-wide fiber optic cabling, T-1 lines, satellite links and local area network and internal Internet service.
Located within a mile of more than 2,600 hotel rooms, the convention center has hosted such groups as the Entomological Society of America and the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association, and such events as the Nevada Women's Expo and Reno Total Home Show. The convention center's superior service and spectacular facilities have earned it the Gold Service Award from Meetings and Conventions magazine for 17 consecutive years.
Reno Events Center
400 North Center Street
Reno, NV 89502
Total Meeting Space - 55,000 Sq. Ft.
Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO)
Approximate taxi fare: $14.49 USD
The Reno-Tahoe International Airport is located just three miles southeast of downtown Reno. Serving nearly five million passengers each year, the 1,450-acre airport encompasses three runways and one terminal of 23 boarding gates. Reno-Tahoe International operates 160 daily arrivals and departures within the United States and Canada. Non-stop flights run to numerous domestic locations including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle.
Airport amenities include numerous full-service restaurants and concession stands, retail shops and terminal-wide wi-fi access. A new baggage check-in and ticketing lobby are under construction, as is a 127-room Hyatt Place Hotel, set to open in 2008 adjacent to the airport.
Reno-Tahoe International offers 450 short-term parking spaces and 1,650 long-term parking spaces. Short-term parking rates are a maximum of $20 per day and long-term parking rates are a maximum of $12 per day. The Reno-Tahoe Express Shuttle operates 14 daily trips from the airport to major downtown hotels for a one-way fare of $20.
Airline carriers serving Reno-Tahoe International Airport
Amtrak service is available to Reno through the California Zephyr route, a scenic route through the Rockies and Sierra Nevada Mountains that runs daily from Emeryville, California, to Chicago. The Reno Amtrak station, located in downtown's East Commercial Row district, is open daily from 8:15 AM to 5 PM. The Sparks Amtrak station, which also provides service for the California Zephyr route, is located just four miles from downtown Reno.
Reno's Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) operates more than 30 bus routes throughout Reno and nearby Sparks via RTC RIDE. Serving more than nine million passengers each year, RTC RIDE's fleet of 75 buses, including two hybrid diesel-electric vehicles, covers an area of 58 square miles. The Route 1 line serves the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, while the Route 14a line serves the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
RTC offers several pass options: one-way passes are $1.25 for children ages 6-18 and $2 for adults; 24-hour passes are $3 for children and $5 for adults; seven-day passes are $13 for children and $21 for adults; and 10-ride passes are $10.50 for children and $17 for adults. Passes for children under 6 are free.
The RTC also runs the Sierra Spirit circulator bus service, which operates daily every 10 minutes from 7 AM to 9 PM. The bright yellow Sierra Spirit buses circles Reno in 30 minutes, with stops at major Reno attractions, hotels and the University of Nevada. Passengers ride for free and can even enjoy free wi-fi service onboard.
Reno has several rental car companies. Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty are represented at Reno-Tahoe International.
Reno has numerous taxi companies, all of which service the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Nevada taxi fares include an initial charge of $3.30 and additional charges of $2.20 per mile. Passengers should expect about $36 fare from the airport to downtown Reno.
Photo Credit : Reno-Sparks CVB
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