Reno, Nevada: The Biggest Little City in the World

There has been some recent chatter in the local blogosphere regarding Reno and how much it kicks ass. For the most part I agree. The city has evolved tremendously over the past few years, and the renaissance that is going on in downtown Reno is fantastic.

I have a graduate degree from the University of Nevada, and I have lived and owned a home in Reno for three years now. I’m digging it. But if you took away Lake Tahoe? Hmmmm. That would make things a little tough. Of course, that is not the case, but it is certainly one of the reasons why entities like the RSCVA refer to the region as Reno-Tahoe. Its close proximity is a major asset to living here; and there are many more. Still, negative perceptions regarding Reno persist.

A friend of mine flew down to San Jose yesterday for business, and he headed into the hotel bar to wind down from a long day. He sat next to a rather large ad exec, and they struck up a conversation. The man asked, “Where are you from?” My friend replied, “Reno,” and the man immediately countered with, “I’m sorry to hear that.” Without hesitation my friend sarcastically replied, “Yeah, it sucks, you should definitely not go there.”

My friend’s response amuses me because it says so much with so little. I know so many people from Reno that would have immediately dove in to some long laundry list for why Reno is actually a great place to live. In part, they would have felt that it was their citizenry duty to stand up for the place they live, but the comment would have also triggered a certain amount of self-consciousness for which they would have felt compelled to defend.

My friend was not self conscious about the man’s comment, and he instead probably did more for the Reno brand than any long diatribe about its benefits. I have a suggestion for anyone here in Reno encountering this kind of negativity. Politely give the individual directions to the nearest I-80 onramp.

9 thoughts on “Reno, Nevada: The Biggest Little City in the World”

  1. It’s funny how everyone’s home town is the worst, with the highest crime and the crappiest drivers and no night life. Also whatever your home town is is the same and wherever people are currently living is sub-optimal as well. Eyes are clouded, people are always unhappy with their situation and sure that everywhere else sucks too.

    You’re right though, tell people to stay away from Draino:


  2. I’m a Reno transplant, having lived in L.A., S.F. and Las Vegas. It definately took me a good amount of time to appreciate the city for what it has to offer other than it’s proximity to Tahoe. But go ahead and take away Tahoe. Pound for pound, Reno stands up. The baddest little city in the world, I say!

  3. I agree with Jason! Tahoe does add alot but Reno sure has come along ways compared to where we were at 15 years ago. The dream was a Riverwalk back then, now we have kayaking, Artown, balloon races, camel races, Hot August Nights, Cinco De Mayo Marathon, Street Vibrations, biking, skiing, Air Race and the list goes on. We’re like the city for the means of transportation events. Bring on the cable cars! Reno is turning out to be one cool city!!!!

  4. Everyone has their own personal reasons. For me, much of the skiing and mountain biking that I do is around Lake Tahoe, and it is the surrounding mountains that produce the snow that melts into the rivers that I like to paddle.

    I am right there with you and Jason, and it is really the whole point of the post. I am just trying to say that Tahoe is a part of Reno’s charm regardless, and I would never have discovered Reno if it were not for Tahoe.

    You mentioned cable cars. What if San Francisco didn’t have the Pacific Ocean?

  5. My new position is this: Until such time as there is a ice cream bike cart Making laps between my house and the white water park, this town is a backwater haystack, and I’m staying in my basement reading old copies of Creative Stitchery. Honestly! What kind of world do we live in here?!?!?!


  6. Hey thanks for the link and a big shout out on the post…especially the part about pointing the naysayers towards I-80 (although I don’t think “polite” fits as well into my version)!

    Reno’s got so much going and so much in the pipeline. The best part is the old-school character that is being preserved along the way. And, yeah, Tahoe’s pretty cool, too.

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