Known as "the biggest little city in the world," Reno, Nevada, is a great alternative to those looking for an exciting Las Vegas experience without dealing with quite as many crowds. In fact, before the late 1950s, Reno was the gambling capital of the United States, but several events over the past 20 years caused a number of casinos to close down.[find-an-apartment]
However, it still offers a robust cultural experience and is certainly able to stand up to its big brother, Las Vegas. If you're thinking of visiting this city, you'll have no problem keeping yourself busy, as there's something here for practically everyone.
The original Reno Arch was built in 1926 to commemorate the completion of the Lincoln and Victory Highways. It was originally only meant to stay in place until the Nevada Transcontinental Expedition was over, but once the event had passed, city officials decided to keep it. They went on to hold a contest to find their city's new slogan in 1929, and it has remained since. The current arch is actually the third to be built, with the original two having been moved to other places in the city. It's perhaps the most defining visual feature of Reno and one that you can't avoid seeing.
Reno hosts a number of festivals throughout the year that brings hundreds (if not thousands) of participants into the city. Some of the most well-known events include Hot August Nights, a classic car convention, as well as The Great Reno Balloon Race and a massive Cinco de Mayo celebration that practically engulfs the entire city.
Another notable event is the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. It's been a beloved Reno tradition ever since it began in 1989, drawing St. Louis-style rib fans from all across the country. It has been estimated that some 200,000 pounds of ribs are prepared every event — not a small amount, given the 500,000 or so participants that make their way to the festival.
Although Reno doesn't draw the same numbers as Las Vegas, it still provides a thoroughly enjoyable gambling experience. The city most frequently attracts gamblers from San Francisco and Sacramento, since it's much closer than Vegas would be. Several casinos have seen tremendous growth in the past several years, such as the Atlantis, the Peppermill and the Grand Sierra Resort.
The Atlantis features one of the largest gaming floors in the city of Reno, at more than 100,000 square feet. In fact, it is currently in the middle of a massive expansion program. Having been open for more than 30 years, workers are currently taking steps to bring its look into the modern age. This also means an expansion of the already sizeable gaming floor and another hotel tower, which would bring its room count above 1,000. In fact, most hotels in Reno have more than 1,000 rooms, and a number offer plenty of space for gaming, so you'll be sure to find something that piques your interest without much trouble.
Though you may not think of it as such, Reno has a surprisingly deep academic community. The University of Nevada's Reno branch is the oldest in the state. It has been growing steadily over the past decade and currently enjoys an enrollment of about 17,000 students. Its specialties include mining, engineering, agriculture and journalism.
Truckee Meadows Community College offers a number of excellent two-year degrees and is a part of the Nevada System of Higher Education. About 13,000 students attend class at the primary campus and its four satellite centers. It offers several associate degrees as well as certificates of completion in more than 50 different career fields.
Reno also has a number of charter schools that are great opportunities for young minds to develop. There are also a few private elementary schools around the city.
Though Reno has no major franchises to call their own, there are plenty of professional teams playing in other leagues. The Reno aces play in Aces Ballpark and are the triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Reno Astros are a semi-professional basketball team who play at Moana Stadium throughout the season.
Reno is also host to both amateur and professional combat sporting events, particularly boxing and mixed-martial arts. It's also expected that the city will soon be host to the newest ECHL ice hockey team,which is sure to draw a number of eager fans.
The city is home to the National Bowling Stadium, which hosts a number of tournaments throughout the year, as well as the United States Bowling Congress every three years.
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