A Family Friendly Holiday in Reno

Things to Do, What's New — By christinanellemann on December 3, 2010 at 8:00 am

Reno is not just for the adults. The holiday season is a great time to visit the Biggest Little City with the family and experience several light shows and parades, mountain and snow sports, and good eaten’. This holiday season is bringing a good amount of snow and wintery weather to the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area, so having an indoor plan is a good idea if you have little ones with you.

Light Festivals

Sparks kicks off the holiday season with their Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade on December 4. Christmas trees in both Victorian Square and downtown Reno will be lit for the entire month of December. The Biggest Little Christmas Light Show in Reno will be the Lights of Tanea in South Reno. This neighborhood offers a synchronized light show in exchange for non-perishable food items for the homeless. The lights will be available for public viewing from November 26-December 25 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.


The best places in Reno/Sparks to shop for the entire family are at The Summit on the Mt. Rose Highway and the Legends at Sparks Marina. These two outdoor shopping centers also have beautiful decorations for the holidays as well as special events on the weekends.

Outdoor Activities

The Rink by the River in downtown Reno will be open until February 21, 2011 and offers group skating lessons.

The railroad museum in Carson City and the Virginia & Truckee railroad in Virginia City will be offering lighted train rides with Santa Claus and his Elves. The Christmas Train of Elves departs Virginia City on December 5, 11 and 12 at 12:30, 2:00 and 3:30. Hot chocolate and cider will be served and the elves will read a Christmas story for the kids.

Indoor Activities

In case the weather is a bit too brisk, there are several indoor activities for all ages including the National Automobile Museum in Reno, the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada in Carson City, bowling at the Grand Sierra Resort, the free circus shows at Circus Circus, or take in a Reno Bighorns basketball game.

Holiday Dining

The best places for families on a holiday vacation in Reno to dine are at the casino buffets. If it’s your first time to a casino buffet, read this previous post. Most casinos put on a wonderful spread for Christmas and New Year’s including carving stations for turkey and ham and excellent desserts. Even the pickiest eaters will find something to eat. Try Toucan Charlie’s buffet at the Atlantis, the Chef’s Buffet at the Eldorado or the Rotisserie at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks.

Photo of Circus Circus Chinese performers courtesy of [aresauburn/Flickr]

Tags: activities, Christmas, Events, Food, holiday, lights, Reno, snow, Sparks, Tahoe, winter


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