City of Reno, Nevada, cityscape showing the downtown skyline with hotels, casinos and surrounding residential area. Editorial credit: Gchapel /

Reno, Nevada

Reno is a moderate-sized city found in the western portion of the US State of Nevada along the Nevada-California border. It is the third-largest city in Nevada and is coined the “Biggest Little City in the World” for its many cosmopolitan interests in a small town. It is considered a jump-off point for many outdoor enthusiasts for its proximity to Lake Tahoe and the local waterways of the Truckee River and Lake Washoe. Similar to Las Vegas to the southeast, Reno is known for its vintage casino dazzle and outdoor recreation fueled by the seasonality of the Truckee Meadows and Great Basin. Despite being the former gambling capital of the world, this community is laid back and welcomes all who wish to get lucky, with a hint of adventure welcomed by the outdoors.

Geography And Climate Of Reno

Aerial view of Reno, Nevada
Aerial view of Reno, Nevada. 

Reno covers a total area of 288.98 sq. km and is located in the western portion of Nevada. The city is in Washoe County and sits on the High Eastern Sierra foothills of the Truckee Valley. Other nearby cities include the neighboring city of Sparks, which is 4 miles to the east, and Carson City, which is 31 miles south. As for bodies of water, Lake Washoe can be found on the city's southern outskirts and is approximately 23 miles away. The 121-mile-long Truckee River is another significant waterway flowing through Reno's heart. It commences as the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe, flowing through the Sierra Nevada, passing Reno, and draining into the Great Basin of Pyramid Lake found to the north.

According to the Köppen Climate Classification, Reno has a Mediterranean Climate. With four seasons, Reno experiences arid and hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The annual temperature in Reno is 50.7°F, with an average high of 74.8°F observed in July and an average low of 30.7°F in January. The least amount of precipitation is seen in August with 0.3 inches recorded, whereas the largest precipitation occurs in January with a norm of 2.8 inches. That said, Reno sees 9 inches of rainfall annually and 22 inches of snow. Each year, Reno records approximately 3,505.02 hours of sunlight annually. July is the sunniest with a median of 13.13 hours daily, and January has the least sunlight with 5.95 hours daily.

History Of Reno

St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno, Nevada
St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno, Nevada. 

At the peak of the California Gold Rush between the 1840s and 1850s, Reno served as an accessible crossing location on the California Trial on the Truckee River. In 1859, Reno’s location would be instrumental in discovering gold to the southwest at Comstock Lode, which is in the foothills around Virginia City. This aided in the growth of the mining and agricultural industries. In 1868, Reno was incorporated the same year after the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad that ran along the Truckee River. Before the completion of the railroad, freight rates skyrocketed. When Reno was added to the route, the freight rate dropped significantly with an increase in the movement of silver and gold from nearby Comstock Lode.

The Population And Economy Of Reno

Aerial view of hotels and casino resorts in downtown Reno, Nevada
Aerial view of hotels and casino resorts in downtown Reno, Nevada. Editorial credit: Felix Mizioznikov /

As per the latest US Census, Reno had a population of 271,966 residents. This is an increase of 20.52% since the last reported census of 2010, which saw a population of 225,652. As for population density, it was noted that Reno covers an area of 288.98 sq. km, which means there are 937.9 people per sq. km. Of the population, the average age is 35.8 years old, with males accounting for 50.41% and females making up 49.59%. The median household income is $81,700, and the gross monthly rent is $1,107. Yet, 12.62% of the population lives below the poverty line. In terms of cultural/racial background, 72.2% identified as white, 9.22% as other races, 7.20 were Asian, 6.32% identified as two races or more, 3.18% as African American, 1.11% as Native American, and 0.79% identified as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

The unemployment rate in Reno is 2.7%, whereas the national average is 3.6%. The top industries that constitute Reno’s economy are retail trade at 11.8% overall, healthcare and social assistance at 11.5%, and accommodations and food services at 11.3%. The highest paying jobs come from the following industries; utilities grossing $81,815; mining, quarrying, and oil extractions at $64,250; and public administration at $59,394. Of the 128,000 employed in Reno, retail trade accounts for 15,376 jobs, 14,652 jobs in accommodation and food services, and 14,538 jobs in healthcare and social assistance.

Attractions Around Reno

Reno Arch

The Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada
The Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada. Editorial credit: travelview /

No trip to Reno is complete with snapping photos of the famous arch that is the image of the city and downtown. The sign is the third version since being premiered in October 1926 as a tribute to the completion of the Victory and Lincoln Highways. One can see the original Reno sign that is located near the National Automobile Museum on Lake Street. At the same time, the famous “Biggest Little City in the World” sign is at the heart of the city and is located on the main thoroughfare of Virginia Street for photo opportunities next to many pubs and late-night entertainment.

National Automobile Museum

Vintage cars in the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada
Vintage cars in the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada. Editorial credit: warasit phothisuk /

The National Automobile Museum is consistently voted one of America's Top 10 Automobile Museums. When the founder of Harrah Hotels and Casino passed away, his collection of 1,400 historically significant cars was purchased by the Holiday Inn. Citizens of Nevada received word that the collection would be sold off, and following public outcry, 175 vehicles were donated to a non-profit. Thus, these cars can be seen today at the National Automobile Museum, which as of the present, has expanded to more than 225 cars. There are many cars that all ages will recognize, from the Batmobile and the Thomas Flyer to the NASCAR exhibit.

Reno makes for a reprieve for those that are seeking all the excitement of the Las Vegas strip but in a small town with an abundance of cosmopolitan activities. It's considered a leap-off point for those looking to spend time at nearby Lake Tahoe. But, for those seeking outdoor recreation like windsurfing or fishing, one might want to look to the south at Lake Washoe or the historic Truckee River. The famous Reno sign is a magnet and must-see for all who wish to soak up the bright lights that made Reno a thriving destination. All of this cumulates to its allure as an exciting town without losing its little town charm.

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