Anybody live in or been to Reno NV?

DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,497
edited November 2018 in The Clubhouse
Heading there Dec 5th-8th for my son to compete in the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics cross country national championships. We will have all day Thursday & Friday to explore & have fun. Looking for kid friendly activities. I will have a rental car so driving a bit is an option. Staying at Circus Circus. He's 12.

Been Googling & not coming up with much. Indoor activities seem pretty slim. Thinking about driving to Lake Tahoe, but not sure what to expect this time of year. We don't ski.

Ideas?
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  • StevieBStevieB Posts: 248
    Tahoe is worth the drive, awesome scenery. Squaw valley is nice also. They had the winter olympics there many moons ago.
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  • DabutcherDabutcher Posts: 2,151
    Good luck to your son! Sounds like a fun adventure. Peace. D
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  • mantismantis Posts: 15,456
    I have friends that live out there and they also said Tahoe is the move. California isn't far either and they have some killer Pizza places out there to try out .
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  • We live in the greater Reno/Sparks area and love it. Hopefully we can answer any questions you may have for your visit out here.

    Of all the hotels, my wife and I think the Circus Circus hotel is probably on the lower end of the casinos here. You would probably be better off at the GSR (Grand Sierra Resort) or the Peppermill. Both are much better hotel/casinos over Circus Circus. Prices may be different though, so depends on your budget. The GSR has a bowling alley and movie theater indoors which is kinda nice. They will also have a skating rink and a nice pool. The Peppermill is a nice resort with nice pools as well.

    You are coming out at a transition time of year here. It's definitely getting cooler and there should be some snow in the mountains by the time you get here. Of course all that depends on some storms coming through.

    As for things to do, there is the Harrah's auto museum which is pretty cool. Don't know how much a 12 year old would appreciate it, but it is definitely something to do if you have the time. There are a lot of fascinating cars that Harrah collected over the years.

    Tahoe is a must if you haven't been. It's a good 3-4 hour trip around the lake, but some areas of the road may be closed due to snow - all depending. Emerald bay is a beautiful point, but again the road may be closed to it.

    South Lake Tahoe is home to Heavenly ski resort and you can take a gondola ride to the top for a pretty penny. It's a nice view of the entire lake, but a bit pricey. They have a lot of shopping down there and you get a good vibe for a winter ski town. The casinos up there are ok, with Harrahs being the best of the bunch. If you wanted to stay a night up there, that would be the place to go. However, weekend pricing is pretty expensive.

    If you want to see the lake from a good point of view, take the Mt. Rose Highway up to the lake. It's more scenic. If there is snow in the forecast, you will need to rent a 4 wheel drive to get through the passes without having to chain up - if the rental agency even provides chains.

    Northstar resort (on the North side of Lake Tahoe) has a very nice village area where you can see the skiers and a skating rink with lots of shops. We like it better than Squaw for that reason. Both are nice though and as mentioned, Squaw did have the Olympics back in 1960.

    Depending on the snowpack by the time you come out, you could also go snowshoeing up in the "meadows" just past Mt. Rose ski resort on your way to Tahoe. It's a beautiful place to go and if you have some bird seed or even some bread you can watch the chickadees come and land and eat from your hands. Our son loves that and he's 5. We like it.

    If you want to do some shopping, go to an IMAX theater and stuff like that you can go to the Legends Mall. It's an outdoor mall that has a Scheels Sports store that is pretty cool. Good places to eat (Grimaldi's Pizza, BJs).

    Anyway, hard to know what your son is into. Reno is a gambling town, but those that aren't into that move here for the outdoors - that is why we moved here.

    If there is anything I can do to help you out on your trip, let me know. Just send me a ping. I'll ask my wife what else there is to do around here for someone that is 12. She manages all the kiddo activities.
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  • afterburntafterburnt Posts: 5,893
    Never been there but I watch "Reno 911" and it seems like my kind of town. The indoor activity there is drinking a gambling, should be pretty frosty at night.
  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,497
    edited November 2018
    @GospelTruth

    Thanks for the input. I realize Circus is not the greatest hotel, but USATF has arranged a special room rate, so it's cheap. Plus, I'm hoping there's enough to do in the hotel to keep us occupied for an afternoon. Not interested in gambling, so the casino aspect is not important. The event is at Rancho San Rafael park and they've arrange for shuttles to go from Circus to the park. Looking at Google maps there doesn't appear to be an abundance of parking at the park, so we will likely need to take the shuttle anyway.

    I think my son would enjoy the car museum. Was also thinking of doing the Kimmie Candy factory tour. Have you been to the Discovery museum? Looks like it's more for little kids. Though my son would still have fun, many of the indoor activities I've dug up are things I can do right here at home. Was hoping for some more unique experiences. Will definitely plan to make a trip to Tahoe for an afternoon.

    I will likely head to the park on Thursday & Friday mornings to have my son do a light workout to acclimate to the higher elevation. Looks like there are some walking trails along the river. Any areas of town I should avoid?

    Thanks again!
  • @DaveHo

    You're welcome.

    The Discovery Museum is a great place to go as well. My wife mentioned that to me last night. She thinks a 12 year old would like it. It's a pretty neat museum, though not that big.

    Another option is to go check out Virginia City. If you are into history, this is where the Comstock Lode was discovered and mined out here. It was the rush for silver out here in the "Silver State". If you like old western towns, this is it. Everything is pretty much authentic down to the wooden walkways/sidewalks. It's pretty cool to see and if you do go, you should check out the Bucket of Blood saloon. Cool old saloon with a lot of history. It's about a 45 minute trip from the Circus Circus to downtown Virginia City. It won't be crowded on a Thursday or Friday like it will be on a weekend.

    https://visitvirginiacitynv.com/

    If you would like to take a paddleboat tour of Lake Tahoe, I would suggest the M.S. Dixie. It's a nice ride out on Lake Tahoe and takes you to Emerald Bay and back. We've done it once with friends and enjoyed it. You should be able to find some Groupon or other discounts for the trip if you want to do that. A nice way to see Lake Tahoe if you aren't into skiing or wanting to walk around. They give you a nice history of the lake as well why you are on the tour. Just plan accordingly for getting up to the lake on time for the departure. I would suggest noon so you can see the lake. The 5:30 dinner cruise might be a bit much and will be too dark to see anything.

    https://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/LakeTahoeCA/activity/MSDixieIISightseeingLunchDinnerCruises.cfm

    If there is anything else you find that you may want to check out, run it by me and I'll let you know how good it really is.

    As for finding some places to run around town... downtown isn't the best. Running along the river is pretty nice, but I would not do so around downtown. It's not bad, just not great.

    My wife has run a few races downtown that go from Wingfield Park down to Idlewild Park. It goes along the Truckee river and is a nice run. The link above should show you the route.

    Hope you enjoy your trip out here! Anything else you want to know, just ping me.



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  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,665
    Just keep an eye on the weather and the winds between Reno and the Lake, they can be brutal. Seen many 18 wheelers blown over in the Carson city area.

    The drive around Heavenly is much easier as getting to Squaw Valley has narrow roads and can be quite spooky when the snow is coming down...but breath taking views

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  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 2,150
    There is also the national bowling stadium. Kind of cool to check out, Kingpin was filmed there. I've bowled there a few times.
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  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,497
    Thanks for the links. Virginia City looks like fun. Did something similar to that with the wife near Vegas a number of years ago. We had a blast.
  • JaybeezJaybeez Posts: 718
    I'd second the Dixie trip to Emerald Bay and back, and would also suggest a visit to Fallen Leaf Lake. You can park near the north end of the lake and there are mild hiking trails. Or, if weather permits, drive the road to the top for some cool waterfalls and more aggressive hiking. Road is basically one way, so you have to cooperate with folks coming the other way (pull over and let by, etc.).
    If you stay in Tahoe, a fun little place: https://local.yahoo.com/info-21851738-alder-inn-south-lake-tahoe?stx=hotels&csz=South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150&fr=lsrp
    Recently remodeled, so though it looks dated / traditional, the rooms are nice. Great location also. If you end up there, tell them Sam's Uncle John sent you! (Owned by my nephew's sister and husband).
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  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,497
    Thanks. Will look into those options.
  • While hiking around Fallen Leaf Lake is very nice, in my opinion at that time of year it probably won't be as "nice". The weather forecast is in the 30's during the day and teens at night along with rain/snow. If you do go up, make sure you bring along the appropriate gear. I would say rain jacket and layers underneath along with some good/warm hiking boots and socks. Gloves and hat will be a must no matter what you are doing up there.

    There are a lot of great hikes up there that we have done and do every summer. If you ever make it back again after your trip and go during the warmer months, let me know and I'll give you some hikes depending on your ability. Love hiking up in Tahoe.
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  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,497
    edited December 2018
    @GospelTruth

    After discussing with my son he agrees we should do activities unique to the area.
    A hike sounds nice, but he is concerned about twisting an ankle or getting too worn out before the race. So, it looks like we are going to do the M.S. Dixie Paddleboat tour and The Nevada State Railroad Museum on Thursday. Friday we will stay closer to Reno & check out Harrah's Auto Museum, & do the Kimmie Candy factory tour.

    Should I buy tickets in advance for the M.S. Dixie? I can't imagine I'd have trouble this time of year buying them when we go, but... Anything to be aware of concerning the drive to Zephyr Cove. Am I likely to encounter snowy roads? There does not appear to be any significant snow in the forecast between now & Thursday.

    Thanks for the input everybody!
  • FestYboyFestYboy Posts: 3,774
    How is it that no one has mentioned the Bunny Ranch?! Talk about an education! :p:D
  • @DaveHo

    Sorry, but I was out on vacation for the week and had limited access to my phone, let alone cell service.

    I hope you had a good time out in Reno. My wife said it was cold and snowy while I was gone, so I hope the weather cooperated for you. You'll have to let us know how your excursions went and how your son's race went.
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  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,497
    My son did well. Finished 235 out of 339 in his age group. Right in line with where his qualifying time put him. He wasn't real happy with the time he ran, but @4700ft elev, I wasn't surprised. The course at Rancho San Rafael was a snowy/muddy mess which made things interesting.

    Thursday we went to the Nevada State RR Museum. It's small but well done. The guy at the counter was a walking encyclopedia. Very knowledgeable & friendly. M.S. Dixie cruise on Tahoe was cool. Unfortunately it was pretty overcast & the mountain peaks were in the clouds, but it was still a great experience. Stopped at Virginia City on the way back to Reno. It was so foggy you could barely see from one side of the street to the other, not many shops open, & it was deserted. Pretty creepy.

    Friday we toured the Kimmie Candy factory. Had a good time sampling all the different candies. Bought a number of bags to take home. Also went to the National Auto Museum that day. That's one heck of a collection!

    Circus Circus was OK. The room itself was clean enough & the staff was friendly. We spent a number of hours in the Midway & only managed to catch 2 circus acts which was pretty disappointing. They need to post a schedule or at least have them at regular intervals. Though the ones we did see were entertaining.

    The only real downer of the trip, and it's a big one, was the meal I had at Cafe Central in the Silver Legacy just before we headed to the airport for our return flight. Fargin jackwagons gave me food poisoning! Spent the 2 hr flight to Denver in the can. It's damn hard to turn around and barf in an airplane bathroom. Yeah, not cool! Got so dehydrated I ended up at a 24hr emergency care place to get some fluids pumped in me. Missed our flight to Philly and had to find a hotel room @ 2AM. Haven't gotten the medical bill yet, but I'm gonna guess the incident will end up costing me at least $500 extra when it's all said and done. Not sure how far I'll get, but I will be contacting the restaurant and demanding some form of compensation.

    I will say that everyone I dealt with in Denver during the ordeal was great.
    Super nice & helpful, unlike Philly where they'd leave you for dead. Extra props go to Frontier Airlines. I literally collapsed at the gate waiting to board. Without hesitation they took our boarding info and re-booked us for the same flight/time the next day. No charge!
  • Too bad the weather didn't really cooperate when you were out here. 90-95% of the time it is sunny here. I think you came on a week when everything was "midwest overcast" for a majority of the time. Tahoe is so much better when it's a nice sunny day - same goes for Virginia City.

    Glad you did enjoy the auto museum though. I've been a couple of times and it's definitely a cool collection of autos.
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