Anyone can go to a casino buffet, ski the slopes of Lake Tahoe or go to a special event downtown, but look just beyond the typical tourist things to do you and you will find that Reno and Lake Tahoe offer a wide range of off-beat and fun things to do for the whole family. Hang gliding or a stream train ride, anyone?
1. Go see a show at the Brüka
The Brüka Theater in downtown Reno is a funky and cool performance art space that holds various productions like The 39 Steps, The Buttcracker, Angels in America and children’s productions like Alice in Wonderland and A Christmas Carol. Participants sit on easy chairs and couches, and there is a bar in the basement.
2. Eat at the GourMelt truck in Reno or the Mamasake truck in Tahoe
Food trucks are popping up all over the Reno/Tahoe area. One of the most popular is the GourMelt truck in Reno that serves up grilled cheese sandwiches and other melted cheesy goodness as well as parmesan fries and homemade tomato soup. Mamasake in Squaw Valley also has a food truck that serves their unique style of Japanese, Italian and Latin American food.
3. Go dog sledding
Mush with the puppies on a backwoods tour of Lake Tahoe in a dog sled. There are several dog sled companies in the area that will give you various tour options.
Play the ultimate game of chance and get your lungs ready to yell out: “BINGO” as loud as you can when your numbers come up. John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks has bingo sessions daily at 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 6:00 p.m.
5. Hit the oldest bar in Nevada
The Genoa Bar in Genoa, NV is “Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor”. The brick building was opened in 1853 and has served up thousands of mugs of beer and shots of whiskey. Belly up to the bar like other celebrities in the past have done including: Mark Twain, Clark Gable, Clint Eastwood, Rob Reiner, Lauren Bacall and John Denver.
6. Hang glide off the edge of the Sierras
Do a tandem hang glide with Thermal Sky Sports. The tours of Tahoe, Washoe Valley and the Carson area start at Slide Mountain near Mt. Rose and last about 15-25 minutes.
7. Climb a cloud
The Nevada Discovery Museum in downtown Reno has a three-story climbing structure that is one-part water cycle and two parts jungle gym. Both children and adults can climb to the highest parts of the cloud to study how Nevada and the surrounding area gets its water.
8. Get in hot water
The seismologically active area where Reno and Lake Tahoe are located is home to several hot springs including Steamboat Hot Springs just south of Reno, Walley’s Hot Springs in Genoa, and Sierra Hot Springs which has clothing-optional pools.
9. Ride a steam train
The Virginia & Truckee Railroad runs from May to October and takes visitors on a tour of the Comstock, Gold Hill and the Carson River Canyon. Each trip is on a historic steam engine train. During the holiday season, the train becomes the Comstock Christmas train complete with lights, elves, hot chocolate and cider.
10. Go snowboarding…on sand
About an hour East of Reno is the Sand Mountain Recreation area. This state park is home to several very tall sand mountains where you can ride a dune buggy, go hiking or exploring or just run around in the sand. Some people even strap special sand boards to their feet and ride down the hills.
Photo of the Virginia & Truckee railroad courtesy of the [V&T railroad website].