20 Things to do in Reno-Tahoe

The Reno-Tahoe Territory is full of extraordinary activities that are as vast and diverse as the region itself. From high desert valleys, tree-lined mountains, and majestic lakes, Reno-Tahoe offers new discoveries for all ages and interests.

  1. Walk or Bike along Lake Tahoe
    Enjoy the vistas of Lake Tahoe from the new East Shore Trail, running from Incline Village to Sand Harbor. The three-mile trail offers direct access to beaches, hidden coves and pristine views of the lake. Walk, run, or bike on the non-motorized gear on this amazing trail which opened in June 2019 after years in the making.  Lake Tahoe is North America’s highest alpine lake.
  2. Paddle in a Clear Kayak
    Lake Tahoe is known for its crystal clear waters. In South Lake Tahoe, Clearly Tahoe offers full-service tours and rentals in completely transparent kayaks so you can fully enjoy the beauty of this alpine lake. Experience depths of up to 65 feet as you cruise along the scenic shoreline. Wildlife enthusiasts can also enjoy a serene kayak, canoe or paddleboard experience at Topaz Lake Park in the Carson Valley community of Topaz Lake. Known as “The Desert Gem,” Topaz Lake is framed by the Eastern Sierra in a remote location off Scenic U.S. Route 395. While the lake is famous among fishing enthusiasts, it is also a well-kept secret among birdwatchers where visitors can spot orioles, swallows, red-winged blackbirds and yellow warblers.  A pair of bald eagles nest nearby, while ospreys and pelicans are frequently seen.
  3. Check Out the Capital City Arts Initiative
    The Capital City Arts Initiative (CCAI) is a non-profit artist-centered organization in Carson City. CCAI presents an array of exhibitions and events that feature local, regional and national artists as well as regional students. Exhibitions cover vast genres and are regularly rotating for a new experience at each visit.
  4. Taste at Bently Heritage Estate Distillery
    The Public House tasting room at the Bently Heritage Estate Distillery in Minden is situated inside a restored 100-year-old flour mill full of historic charm and design splendor. Bently Heritage is an estate distillery, meaning Bently Heritage controls every step of the distilling process. The Public House welcomes visitors to taste the estate spirits and craft cocktails, learn about distilling and enjoy a tour of the beautiful facility.
  5. Visit the Historic Thunderbird Lodge
    The incredible Thunderbird Lodge National Historic Site is a centerpiece of north Lake Tahoe. This historic home of George Whittell, Jr. is a museum and learning center located on the pristine east shore. Built in 1936, the lodge is one of the last and best examples of a great residential estate on Lake Tahoe from the period in which prominent San Francisco society built homes on the lake. Take a tour by land or water and see this amazing historical estate.
  6. Ride the Original Virginia and Truckee Railroad
    Starting in Spring, historic train rides go back more than 150 years. The V&T Railway takes passengers from the Eastgate depot in Carson City to Virginia City and back for an excursion through time. Each ride is fully narrated with historical facts and anecdotes. The trips meander across the scenic Virginia Range, through historic tunnels, adjacent to wildlife habitat that homes wild horses, and arrives at historic Virginia City, Nevada. Seasonal and theme trains are offered.
  7. Learn a New Craft
    There are plentiful workshops, maker spaces and classes to expand skills and pick up a new hobby, be it pottery, welding, sewing, woodworking and more. Ogres-Holm Pottery in Carson City offers pottery lessons. The Woodworking Source in Reno has a regular calendar of woodworking and woodturning classes suitable for beginners.
  8. Find Fixer-Upper Worthy Antique Store Scores
    Carson Valley, comprised of the historic communities of Genoa, Gardnerville and Minden, is home to an array of antique stores, filled with treasures and collectibles, as well as a thriving culture of professional artists. Each offers its unique take on the mountains, wildlife, rugged outdoors, ranching history and the Old West. View the arts and antique map and find your next treasure.
  9. Taste Local Wines
    Reno-Tahoe is an undiscovered wine region. Wineries sprinkle the entire area with tastes from across the globe. One in particular, Basin and Range Cellars in Reno, is Nevada’s only all-Nevada winery. Basin and Range Cellars is an estate winery, meaning, all grapes are grown at a local commercial vineyard.
  10. Try Indoor Climbing
    Test new heights at one of Reno-Tahoe’s many indoor climbing gyms. Suitable for all ages, this rigorous workout is a great alternative to hitting the slopes. High Altitude Fitness in Incline Village has youth and beginner programs as well as technique clinics. Reno’s Base Camp Climbing Gym boats the world’s largest outdoor climbing wall and is a great activity for guests staying in the adjacent Whitney Peak Hotel.
  11. Visit The Nevada Museum of Art
    The Nevada Museum of Art, in Downtown Reno, was founded in 1931 and is Nevada’s only America Alliance of Museums accredited institution. The museum’s character is shaped by its geographic location and environment. This is reflected in both the building’s impressive architecture and the museum’s permanent collection, which is divided into four thematic focus areas: the Robert S. and Dorothy J. Keyser Art of the Greater West Collection, the Carol Franc Buck Altered Landscape Photography Collection, the Contemporary Art Collection, and the E. L. Wiegand Work Ethic in American Art Collection. The museum also features an event calendar and exhibitions.
  12. Play Bocce Ball
    An alternative to bowling night, bocce ball is a fun and casual game that’s great for bringing friends and family together. Bundoxx Bocce in the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel is a dog friendly, indoor/outdoor great time for all ages.
  13. See a Bald Eagle in the Wild
    In Carson Valley, a natural phenomenon occurs each December to February where birds of prey are drawn to the area’s vast ranchlands by the calf birthing season where the afterbirth provides the high protein nutrients the birds of prey require. This real-life education on the role ranching plays in providing habitat for wildlife is also an ideal opportunity to view Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles and other raptors in the wild. For more information, visit online.
  14. Visit a National Historic Landmark District 
    The Virginia City Historical District encompasses the once booming mining towns of Virginia City and Gold Hill, Nevada, and is one of the largest in the county. These towns are a National Historic Landmark and offer today’s visitors an authentic step back in time. The modern day Bonanza is full of characters, flavors and craftsmen and is a distinctive destination for day-trippers and vacationers alike. To plan a visit to Virginia City, visit online.
  15. Soak in a Hot Spring
    Nevada is a highly active geothermal region, with natural hotsprings dotting the state. Head to David Walley’s Resort in Genoa and soak in a natural hot springs pool and mineral spa. In Carson City, check out Carson Hot Springs for a soak, where the water comes from 35,000 feet below the earth’s surface.
  16. Go Tubing in the Summer
    At Heavenly Mountain Resort, located on Lake Tahoe’s south shore, visitors can ride the 2.4 mile gondola to the Observation Deck at the top, taking in breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Tahoe along the way. To fulfill one’s sense of adventure and speed, grab a tube and breeze down the 500-foot hill without snow or water.
  17. Catch a Show at Piper’s Opera House
    From the 1860s until 1920s, Piper’s Opera House attracted famous stars from Europe and the United States and is listed by the League of Historic Theaters. It is one of the most significant vintage theaters on the West Coast. Today, Piper’s Opera House is a sought-after Performing Arts Center with a full calendar of theatrical performances, concerts, non-profit events and more. Take a self-guided tour or catch a performance. Check the event calendar online.
  18. Visit the Very First Settlement in Nevada
    The Mormon Station State Park in historic Genoa is the site of Nevada’s first permanent, non-native settlement in the state of Nevada. The Mormon Station was built in 1851 as a trading post along the Carson Route of the California Trail where pioneers embarking on the strenuous Emigrant Trail could get much-needed supplies before crossing the Sierra Nevada. The Town of Genoa, situated at the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Range, is a quaint community where visitors can enjoy an entire day visiting shops, restaurants, historical monuments, pioneer artifacts and beautiful hiking trails.
  19. Connect with Native American Culture
    Recently opened in Carson City, the Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum offers a glimpse of the history of the Stewart Indian School and its impact on the Native American culture in northern Nevada. The main gallery is a permanent exhibit about Stewart’s 90-year history. The display discusses the federal allotment and assimilation policies and the creation of Stewart as a federally operated off-reservation boarding school and tells the stories of the students who attended Stewart through their own words.
  20. Taste a Rocky Mountain Oyster
    A nod to the region’s Basque heritage, and also just a great excuse to throw a big party, Virginia City’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry takes place every March on the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. These are land oysters, or bull testicles, we’re talking about. Cooks from around the region compete to earn bragging rights as the best ball cook – and they get creative. Taste these delicacies smoked, fried, baked, or grilled, and wash them down with a beer or two. The raucous party includes a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Ball Breaker Saloon Crawl, costume contests, and a lively atmosphere. You’re sure to have a ball.

The Reno-Tahoe Territory is a tourism-rich destination that encompasses Reno/Sparks, Carson City, Carson Valley, Virginia City, North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe. Each area has its own unique culture, history, scenery, and hidden gems that display amazing contrast for a region so close together. To get the full picture of what Reno-Tahoe is all about, you need to experience it. Start planning your trip to Reno-Tahoe by visiting RenoTahoe.com.

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